he International Steam Pages


Once upon a time, long ago,
Christchurch Suburbs with a C, 1968

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.


It was just a low key Saturday morning (10th August 1968) trip which, as a result of good weather, proved to be a most enjoyable outing. Take a C the seven miles from Christchurch to Islington and there tour the Freezing Works sidings using their little shunter. After that back to Christchurch and onto Lyttleton, another thirteen miles, before turning the C and returning to Christchurch. Not very far at all......

With a four car consist C847 waits for the off in the early morning sun at Christchurch. There were no turning facilities at Islington so the first part of the trip would be tender first.

At Islington the excursionists transferred to two wagons hauled by the NZ Refrigerating Company's 1914 built Manning Wardle for a ride along the station yard. The little lokey then pushed back over the road and into the Works. The C can be seen in the background about to recouple to its train in preparation for the return trip.

A who's who of local enthusiasts can be seen in this and the previous photo.....recognise anyone?

C847 performed on a photo run alongside the Hornby water tower....

.....and then proceeded to run nonstop through Christchurch station to Opawa for another photo opportunity.

Nearing the Port Hills at Ferrymead.

This shot at Lyttleton reveals a world long gone...........check out all the detail in it. 847 is rolling back onto the turntable whilst a slumbering Ivor, in reality Ab780, rests on the next road. The Ab was used three mornings a week to steam heat the train that met the overnight ferry from Wellington (I think this job would later become the last regular Ab job in the country). At the platform a Ds is coupling up to the excursion train to get it out of the way so the subbie in the background can access the platform for loading prior to departure. Behind that two rakes of laden four wheel wagons covered in the old style black NZR tarpaulins and then port buildings and the sea.

Another photostop on the Opawa Bridge......no steam and smoke this time but not a bad reflection.

Hillside built in 1930 C847 was written off in October 1968 two months after this trip. Luck was on her side though as she was eventually purchased by the Wellington branch of the NZR&LS and I understand is occasionally used on the Silverstream Railway in Wellington.

The little 0-4-0T Manning Wardle, maker's number 1841 from 1914, was one of only two Manning Wardle industrial locomotives imported into New Zealand. It spent its entire working life at Islington although since 1958 had only been on standby after the freezing company purchased a small diesel. Soon after my pictures were taken it was finally retired and then entered preservation at the Ferrymead Railway in Christchurch. It was occassionally steamed until around 1975 and since then has been sidelined waiting repairs.


Rob Dickinson

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