ArchitectureSolway is a simple shelter shed and an example of a class 6 station. It has a rectangular plan and a corrugated-iron skillion roof. It has wooden piles, slumped in the middle rear, and is constructed of upright totara slabs, with no framing or interior lining. Battens cover the exterior joints and the appearance is similar to that of vertical board-and-batten cladding. Off-centre on the platform elevation is an open doorway. A telephone has been attached to the east corner of the exterior.
HistoryIn July 1880, the PWD quoted the cost of Kuripuni Station (Solway's original name) at £718. A plan of the shelter shed was amended the following month, and the station, on the south side of the line, was presumably ready about the time the line was opened on 1 November. Little of consequence happened at the station until mid 1910, when the Masterton Agricultural and Pastoral Association suggested relocating Kuripuni directly behind their new showgrounds. The site decided upon was a small distance further south, on the opposite side of the line. The stockyards were to be on the south side, alongside the showgrounds, and it was policy that station buildings and stockyards were on opposite sides of the line. The A&P Association paid £400 toward the relocation and transferred the necessary land to Railways. Work was completed by 9 March 1911. The A&P Association then asked for the station name to be changed to Solway, the name of the showgrounds, to minimise confusion. The name Kuripuni ("dog stopped up") referred to the place where a constipated pet dog had died many generations ago. There was some objection from Railways to the old station name but also to replacing a Maori name with an English one, and the name Purakau was decided upon in August 1911. Within six months the new name had been defaced twice, and as a result the name Solway became effective from July 1912. It still operates as a passenger station, and was given a new platform with a precast concrete frontage in 1963.
Architectural SignificanceSolway is the finest surviving example of a class 6 railway station - at one time there were several hundred. In addition, it is a rare example of a railway building of upright wooden-slab construction. This technique was used for a variety of building types in the 19th century, but surviving examples are uncommon. Construction using vertical members seems to have been a variation distinct to railway stations in the Wellington region.
Historical SignificanceThough no longer on its original site or with its original name, Solway was one of the shelter sheds erected when the Wellington-Woodville line was opened in 1880. It has served the Masterton A&P Association since its relocation in 1911 and continues to operate as a passenger station.
Town / Landscape ValueOn the outskirts of Masterton, Solway has a very modest impact on its landscape.