The International Steam Pages

Steam in New Zealand 2014

The following main report is from Chris Grimes who was in the country during April and May 2014. I (RD) was in New Zealand on family matters in February 2014 and managed a day at MOTAT, this seems an ideal opportunity to add a few pictures from that visit which cover some of its other attractions.

General: This is a basic report of what I saw on my recent trip to New Zealand. Beware of using the various group's websites for information; in my experience many are not kept up-to-date. For example, we rode the Blenheim Riverside Railway on a day that wasn't advertised on their website.

South Island

Plains Vintage Railway 06/04/14
Working loco K88 (Rogers 2454/1877). Remains of another K (assumed to be K94) noted in the undergrowth, together with a dismantled F class 0-6-0ST (assumed to be F150). Dübs A 64 in shed together with Ja 1260.

Toitu Otago Settlers Museum, Dunedin. 09/04/14
Double Fairlie 'Josephine' (Vulcan Foundry 637/1872) is now well positioned for photographs, the museum seeming to have undergone some recent reconstruction. A remarkable survivor in very original condition.

Dunedin NZR station 09/04/14
Ja 1274, the last locomotive built at Hillside Works in Dunedin and the last steam locomotive to enter service with the NZR, is in a glass case between the Railway station and the Settlers Museum.

Ocean Beach Railway Dunedin 12/04/14
Limited information available via their web site; Shed visited 'on spec' and fortunately open with a couple of volunteers in attendance. Dübs A 67 was undergoing its10-year boiler exam, Dübs 2-4-0T D 6 waiting restoration, F 111 0-6-0ST dismantled; apparently the boiler was scrapped some years ago. There is a proposal to use the boiler from dismantled F 150 at Plains Vintage Railway to return F 111 to steam. Working loco is Kerr Stuart 'Haig' class 0-6-0T 4185/29 (not seen, in shed at opposite end of line) due to be in steam the following day. See general comment re. websites.

Oamaru Steam & Rail, 13/04/14
Manning Wardle B10 was out of action, having run a 'hot box' some time previously. Working loco was Drewry 0-4-0DM Tr 35. Fowler 0-4-0WT 15909/21 (PWD 535) on display on a flat wagon. It was once common practice in New Zealand to dump redundant steam locos and wagons as part of flood protection or sea defence works. Some very battered items have been recovered at Oamaru relatively recently and are displayed near the shed. They include 4-6-0 Uc 366; frame & wheels plus separate boiler, and a power bogie from a single Fairlie.

Pleasant Point Railway 18/04/14
A699 10-year boiler exam, working loco is 2-4-0T D 16 (due to appear Easter weekend as 'Kiwi the Engine'). The Model T railcar was out of action, body removed from chassis, as part of repairs following a collision on a level crossing.

Christchurch Ferrymead Park 20/04/14
Kitson Steam Tram operational on the tram system, 2-6-2T W192 and Railcar RM 51 on the rail line. MW 1841 (0-4-0ST) noted in one of the display sheds. Not all the buildings have yet re-opened after the earthquakes. The New Zealand National Railway Museum is to be built on part of the site, and work has started, although it is not clear to what extent the earthquakes have affected the project.

Weka Pass Railway 21/04/14
A428 operated the normal timetable, seen here on the turntable at Waikari.

Blenheim Riverside Railway 27/04/14
Working loco was A&G Price 4wDM 'George'; 0-4-0T 'Donald' in shed. This loco worked at Puponga Coal Mine (?) and is part way through a rebuild with a suitable boiler rather different in design to the original (which is still outside the shed). It may also emerge as an 0-4-2T.

Nelson Founders Park 29/04/14
2-6-4T Wf 403 is under restoration, the boiler seemingly being prepared for a hydraulic test.

North Island

Plimmerton Main Line Steam Trust depot 03/05/14
In shed: Rhodesian Railways/NRZ 14A 509, J 1233 (boiler exam), SAR 19D 2695, K 911 heavy overhaul, Jb 1236 cladding removed, Ab 663 'Sharon Lee' dome cover off.

Paekakariki Steam Incorporated depot 03/05/14
Ja 1271 was being shunted over the ashpit by Mitsubishi 0-6-0D, having been working the previous weekend. Ka 945 in shed; requires some major firebox repairs. Ab 608 'Paschendaele' very nearly ready for service. Rhodesian Railways/NRZ 15A 395 in shed; restoration of the loco to working order is expected to start in 2015. This will involve some re-profiling of the footplating, cab & tanks as the NZR gauge profile is somewhat smaller than that of the former Rhodesian Railways.

Silver Stream Railway 04/05/14
Working loco was 2-6-2 C 847; Fowler 0-6-0T and D 509 2-4-0T (AE 1207/77) area also available for traffic. Barclay 0-4-0T 531 (AB 1749/21) has been moved to the Silver Stream Railway from Napier.

Rimutaka Railway, 05/05/14
The line from Cross Creek to Summit (and beyond in both directions) is now a walking/cycle trail. At Summit there is a collection of old locomotive parts on the site of the loco shed; two boilers minus fireboxes, two large inner/outer fireboxes and what appears to be the bunker/footplating off a single fairlie.

Fell Museum, Featherstone, 05/05/14
H199 sits on rollers so that the 'adhesion' part of the motion can be rotated.

Main Line Steam Trust, Parnell Depot, 
Although not officially open that day, I was lucky enough to find a couple of staff in attendance who allowed a quick visit to the shed. Inside J 1211 (Cab/firebox cladding off), 4-8-0 Ba 552 all boiler cladding & smokebox front off, Jas 1275/1267, 4-8-0 Bb 133 all boiler cladding & smokebox front off, ex SAR & Enyati Railway 25NCs 3508 & 3432 stored. The rear of GMAM 4088 could just be seen in the outside yard, with a spare power bogie outside the fence.

'Word on the Street' is that the lease on Parnell Depot will expire shortly, and the site is likely to be redeveloped. The Glenbrook Vintage Railway has been suggested as a possible new location for the MLST's depot.

MOTAT, Auckland, Rail Section Meola Road site 18/05/14
Working loco was 0-6-0T Y-class PWD 542 HE 1444/23, hauling a bogie coach, bogie brake and a L-class open wagon equipped for passenger use. Such conversions were once used to strengthen excursion trains on the isolated Nelson section. 0-4-0DM 730 (Price, 1960) in Yard, In the open shed; L Class 2-4-0T PWD 507, 0-6-0ST F 180 Hudswell Clarke 4wDM D602/36. 

MOTAT, Auckland, Western Springs site 18/05/14
K 900 & Da 1400 on display near main gate.
Tram section; ex-Sydney Baldwin Steam Tram 100 is complete but not regularly in use as the Tramway Group do not have a trailer to run with it. This will be rectified by the current rebuild of Wanganui 4w trailer No. 21, which will require the replacement of most of the old woodwork.

These pictures were taken on Sunday February 16th 2014, traditionally the third Sunday in the month is when there is extra activity at the museum, I confess I assumed it would be easy to look up identities on the web, not the case....

I was extremely pleased to find that Baldwin Steam Tram was in steam and working the tram line, I was granted a footplate ride.

There are five road engines, the first two are relatively recent acquisitions:

Steam Tractor Fowler 8270/1900

Portable Marshall 41506/1906

Aveling and Porter Steam Roller 

Incomplete (Ruston?) portable

McLaren Traction Engine 1428/1916 (noted apparently in steam in passing the museum on another day)

The size of the rightly famous beam engines makes meaningful photography impossible (at least for me). Next door and behind the McLaren above are some fine stationary steam engines:

Tangye Twin Cylinder Pump:

Tangye horizontal engine

Two small pumps

Triple Expansion marine engine:

Belliss and Morcom vertical engine used with alternator

There are all sorts of problems at MOTAT behind the scenes and occasionally they break out into the public domain:

2010 report -

2014 report -

Rob Dickinson