A Troup Vintage station, Thames has a comparatively plain platform elevation. There is a simple, pitched verandah, with timber posts, along only half this elevation. The most obvious features of this structure are the gables that define elegantly both ends of the building. These gables, two of which address the street, have finely decorated infill, finials and scalloped bargeboards. There are double-hung sash windows on the main elevations while the gable ends have three small slender windows at face level. The roof is corrugated iron capped with three brick chimneys, and the building is clad with rusticated weatherboards.
Thames was built as part of the Thames branch from off the East Coast Main Trunk railway at Paeroa. The line was opened in December 1898 and it is presumed that the present building dates from the same year. When inaugurated, the line had two Thames stations. The present station site was called Shortland Street, changed in 1915 to Thames South. At this time the principal station, known simply as Thames, was a little further north. In 1929 Thames station building was moved to Thames South and this became the main station. A portion of the Thames South building was moved north to be part of a new flag station called Thames North, sited at the previous Thames station. The cartage of these buildings was a difficult business. They had to be skidded onto trucks and hauled to their new site, which involved a lot of moving of telephone and power lines. The total cost was £956. Since then the station has been little changed. Principal freight carriage initially revolved around gold, then heavy engineering. In 1988 the two-kilometre track to Thames North was closed leaving Thames Station as the terminus.
Thames is a very early and important variant on the Troup Vintage station design. Decorative emphasis rests mainly on the gables. This aspect, coupled with the relative simplicity of the rest of the building, gives it a refined distinction. Despite the attention lavished on the gables, it has a quite unusual lack of ostentation, particularly on the platform elevation.
Thames station's early history is closely tied to the gold industry and associated heavy engineering. The arrival of the railway was in the heyday of gold mining and the township and district were, like Waihi, heavily reliant on the proceeds. The influence of gold lingered but later the railway was an important conduit of engineering products as Thames shifted its commercial base. The building remains in active use: the railway line is "mothballed" pending a decision about its future.
Townscape / Landscape Value
Thames station's elegant road elevation, facing the main road, makes a good contribution to this part of the township.
Queen St (SH25), Thames
Ngati Maru ki Hauraki
H. G. E. Park (lessee)
Troup Vintage station
Landscape / Townscape Setting
500 metres from the town centre