In 1877, the Canterbury Jockey Club took on an adventurous project to try and increase the foot traffic around Riccarton Race Course. Off the Main South Line of Canterbury’s railway system, they had their own 1.4km railway track lead off northwards towards Upper Riccarton and these tracks ran right into the grounds of the racing track. This station was called the Riccarton Racecourse Siding and was first mentioned in The Press in 1878.
This station was closed down in 1954 as by that time, Riccarton Raceway land had decreased in size so much, the station was no longer near the track or on their land anymore. As the Riccarton Racecourse Siding slipped into history, all around, a huge industrial area was beginning to take shape. As for the trains that rumbled past, there were no stopping now until Hornby.
As the industrial area became a life force of its own, the closing down of the Riccarton Racecourse Siding Station appeared to have been a bad idea. The answer was simple really – reopen the site for a new railway station that would be known as Sockburn. No one is sure where the name originated from.
It seems that Sockburn Station is still with us, on Nga Mahi Road.
Pictured here is the Fazackerley Poultry Farm in 1926, which was situated in Sockburn.