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Wb 299 was withdrawn from service in 1957.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.

Recent posts

Regulator for Wb 299

A regulator handle is being manufactured in Canada for Baldwin steam loco Wb 299, adding key components to the rebuild of the 1898-vintage locomotive.

Trust member Peter Darian-Varzeliotis prepared CAD drawings for the various components that are mounted on the boiler back-head, including the regulator handle and clasp, latch and connecting rod and the sector plate. The latter, with its many fine-pitched teeth, presented a design challenge as details in the blueprint were unclear.

17 August 2017

Upper Hutt Summer Carnival 2017

Steam locomotive Wb 299 cab and interactive display was the centre-piece of our display at the 2017 Upper Hutt Summer Carnival. We rigged up a petrol-power air compressor to a pea-shooter whistle, which carnival goers were invited to try. The Pyle-National headlight and gauge lights could be worked as well, with light cast onto a steam pressure gauge and the original Baldwin Locomotive Works maker's plate that was fitted to Wb 292.

7 April 2017

Wb steam locomotive display at Railex 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.

3 January 2017

Cab work continues for steam loco 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.

30 September 2016

Upper Hutt displays

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.

22 March 2016

Trust display at Upper Hutt Summer Carnival

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. 

3 March 2015

Wb 299 rebuild under way

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.

1 December 2014

CAD design work begins for Wb locos

CAD (Computer Aided Design) work has begun for the rebuilding of two Wb class Baldwin tank locomotives at the Rimutaka Incline Railway. Wb 292 and Wb 299 were salvaged from a dump site at Seddonville on the West Coast in 1989, having been dumped after withdrawal from service in 1958 and 1960. They have been in storage at Maymorn since 2008, and the frames of both locomotives are now inside the rail vehicle shed awaiting attention.

15 May 2014

1898-vintage Baldwin steam locomotive moved into shed

On Saturday 16 February 2013 the frames of steam locomotive Wb 299 were moved inside the rail vehicle shed at Maymorn. This was made possible by track work completed earlier in the day.

This is the culmination of many years work on the shed and track, and adds to the number of historic rail vehicles in the shed.

18 February 2013

Baldwin Wb steam locomotives

On a snowy August 2008 morning Wb 292 and Wb 299 arrived at Maymorn from Paekakariki. Their journey here begun about 50 years ago when they were dumped into a river near Seddonville on the west coast of the south island as river protection.

In 1989 Hugh McCracken salvaged the two engines and moved them north with the intention of restoring them to service. The locomotives are stripped to components, frames and boilers being the largest recognisable portions.

31 August 2008