The International Steam Pages


Once upon a time, long ago,
Still Lurking at Linwood
April - August 1969

Wilson Lythgoe has been circulating friends with some steam pictures taken some time back and with his permission and encouragement they are reproduced on these pages and will be added to from time to time. Click here for the index.


Although no longer the busy steam depot it had once been there was still a lot to interest at Linwood Loco as 1969 progressed. Steam engines, already withdrawn from stock, arrived from other depots and along with the local engines were being cut up. During the winter months a few 4-8-2 and 4-6-2 were needed for express and steam heating duties plus there was still the occasional excursion promised a steam engine.

April and Linwood engine Ab617 could be found amongst the lighting up wood stacks waiting its ultimate appointment with destiny. 617 was part of the first order of Ab's, built back in 1916, and may have been one of the last of the batch to have been in steam.

Three months later and it was long time Greymouth resident, We375, gracing the lighting up pile. Although the centre rail had been removed from 375's stamping ground, the Rewanui Incline, back in 1966 the old girl retained her modified incline cowcatcher right to the very end.

Over by the coaling stage Ab707 had been left waiting her fate. In the background is We375.

Early August and Ab806 shows what has already happened or about to happen to most of New Zealand's steam fleet. Notice the gas cylinders over by the carriages and the hoses leading to 806. I thought this shot may have been taken on a weekday and cutting up was in progress but no it's a Sunday photo. The gas cylinders must just have just been left outside for the weekend back then: wouldn't Health & Safety have something to say about that today!

That's enough of the Linwood derelicts so let's move onto more positive scenes! 26th August saw Ja1267 in light steam inside the shed and exhibiting a coating of grime that was the standard for Canterbury engines.......

 ..........and yet three nights later it had become a much cleaner looking loco. I wondered had I got my dates wrong but on checking I discovered 1267, along with Ab754, had run an excursion to Waipara on the 27th. Obviously the Linwood cleaners had been put to work! (I'll cover that excursion sometime soon. It was the only time I ever saw a Ja and Ab teamed up and it's a good looking combination.) 

Ja1253 must have run 143/144 express on the 29th August. After arrival back in Christchurch and having been turned time was then spent coaling and servicing.


Rob Dickinson

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