Rimutaka Incline Railway

Building a Sanctuary for Steam

Steam locomotive Wb 299

Wb 299, Westport c 1955. Photo: John Creber

Wb 299 is one of two survivors of a class of twelve built in 1898 by Baldwin Locomotive Works, Philadelphia, U.S.A. The loco was based at Westport on the West Coast of the South Island, hauling coal trains from inland mines to the port. Two Wb class locomotives were originally based at Wellington, working trains to and from the Hutt Valley and Summit.

[Photo: Wb 299 at Westport loco depot, c 1955 - John Creber].

Wb 299 was withdrawn from service in 1957. In January 1960 the loco was dumped as river protection at Seddonville, north of Westport, a common fate for many steam locomotives in the South Island from the 1930's - 1960's. Wb 299, along with sister 292 were recovered in 1989 for preservation and eventual restoration.

Wb 299 cab on display at RailEx 19 November 2016

The cab front, side and back of 1898 Baldwin steam locomotive Wb 299 was on display at RailEx over the weekend of 19-20 November 2016. The display was prominent among the variety of exhibits in the Walter Nash Centre, in the middle of the large sports stadium.

The cab was popular with young and old, as visitors were welcome to try out the driver's seat and work the interactive display of  lights, gauges and other artefacts.

New components for...

New cab front for steam locomotive Wb 299

Work continues on rebuilding the cab for 1898 Baldwin steam locomotive Wb 299. The photo above shows progress with fabricating the cab front on 24 September 2016. The curves for the roof and firebox cut-out took some time to mark out, having radii of 87.657" and 27". It was fantastic to see the distinctive cab outline come together as the cut-outs were completed.

The front window dimensions were great to work with, being whole imperial units. The larger windows to the sides are 15" x 28", the smaller inner windows 12" x 19.5". The...

Wb299 on display at March Madness, 19 March 2016

The Trust recently had displays at a couple of key Upper Hutt community events - Upper Hutt Summer Carnival on 27 February, and March Madness on 19 March.

The cab interior of steam locomotive Wb299 can be seen in the lead photo, set up on Main Street Upper Hutt during the March Madness fair. We set up an interactive exhibit, with an authentic "pea-shooter" whistle, and a collection of Pyle National lighting equipment. The shunting headlamp was mounted on the rear lamp bracket from Wb299, gauge lamps illuminating the maker's plate off Wb292, and a steam pressure gauge. Visitors could...

Other tags: Maymorn
Cab and bunker side of steam loco Wb 299 prominent in public display

A brilliantly fine day at Trentham Memorial Park for the 2015 Upper Hutt Summer Carnival - a great venue for the Trust to promote its activities and operating days. Prominent in the display was the cab and bunker side of steam loco Wb 299, which proved popular with the public. As earlier published in Wb 299 rebuild under way the cab is an interactive exhibit, folk are free to try out the driver's seat and glance out the cab window - and get a sense of the scale and heritage of the loco. 

We also...

Cab side

The rebuild of Baldwin steam locomotive Wb 299 is now well under way. The first major components - cab and bunker side were fabricated in time for display at RailEx. A cab seat and raised section of cab floor were added to make a more interesting exhibit, which proved quite popular with visitors.

An earlier story - CAD design work begins for Wb locos - details the research and computer aided design work done to produce a digital model and working drawings suitable for fabricating the cab and bunker side sheets. A number of original...

Other tags: Maymorn