Rimutaka Incline Railway

Building a Sanctuary for Steam
key elements of the Maymorn development, including yard track, water vat, rail vehicle shed, station building, signal box and pedestrian crossing

The Maymorn operational base is important in a number of ways. It is the current focus of volunteer activity, which the Trust is entirely reliant upon for its future. Tranz Metro Wairarapa Line passenger services service Maymorn, which provides connection to and from Wellington, the Hutt Valley and the Wairarapa — and strategically, a future life-line for tourist visitation to the railway.

The facilities under construction at Maymorn will protect the Trust’s current rail vehicle fleet, and facilitate their future restoration, operation and maintenance. Plans have also been prepared and resource consent approved for a large station building incorporating a visitor centre, historic and interpretative displays, and a cafe. These facilities will play a central role in the Trust’s future operations, being the departure point for a journey back in time over the historic Rimutaka Incline.

Heritage station precinct

The proposed Maymorn station will be the first heritage station encountered on a passenger's journey northbound from Upper Hutt, and has been designed to perform as an interchange and junction between the mainline and heritage railways.


Safety is a primary requirement of all operating railways, and the proposed layout of the Maymorn station yard has been drafted with this in mind. There is clear demarkation of public and operational areas, and it is possible for an intending passenger to board their train without having to cross a single railway track. Proposed public access to the station is via Parkes Line Road, which includes carparking and a tour-bus turnaround area.


It is initially proposed to provide facilities for trains up to six carriages long, which will have sufficient capacity for 200 passengers. Station buildings, platforms, crossing loops and storage sheds will be designed to suit this traffic. Provision will be made for future expansion to serve trains up to twelve carriages in length, which would have the capacity for 400 passengers. Provision for future capacity is critically important - in order to avoid the time-consuming and expensive task of dismantling and relocating initial structures and infrastructure.


A crossing loop and access to the storage shed are initially proposed, located to accomodate future expansion. A ladder road diverts from the RIR mainline immediately south of the platform, leading to the storage shed and storage sidings. The crossing loop is able to be used to run around rolling stock or train stopped at the platform, or to shunt the ladder road. Additional storage roads may be added at a later date.

Rail vehicle shed

Storage sufficient to house locomotives and carriage stock will be essential, to provide protection from the elements, security and maintenance and restoration facilities. With careful planning much of the interior of these buildings could be open for public viewing, (excepting machine shop).

Maymorn station building

An authentic heritage station building is planned for Maymorn. A full set of drawings have been prepared by conservation architects, based off a George Troup design dating from 1907.


A 70' (21.3m) turntable is proposed, capable of turning the largest of former NZR steam and diesel-electric locomotives. Initially it is planned to operate the railway with locomotives that can operate safely in either forward or reverse directions, to postpone the expense and trouble of installing turntables at both Summit and Maymorn. The turntable at Maymorn could well be the first to be installed, so that locomotives hauling trains from Wellington to Maymorn can be turned in readiness for return journey.

Ray Randle and Ray Hampoton test drive Jigger #7002

A trial run of rubber-tyred 3-man motor trolley #7002 was made at Maymorn on 30 May 2016, The NZRLS-owned trolley has been restored to operating order by Ray Randle. After pre-run inspection checks and sign-off the trolley was gradually coaxed back to life. Some minor adjustments were needed to the Briggs and Stratton motor and gear lever, but otherwise it performed well.

More than seventy trollies were to this 1961-design, having a lightweight aluminium alloy frame, rubber tyres and aluminium guide wheels. No. 7002 sports brackets on the left-hand side for carrying ladders, and...

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Ab745 and Tr189 standing outside the shed on 14 May 2016

A fairly extensive shunt of the shed was done on Saturday 14 May 2016, in preparation for storing another 56-foot carriage inside. Sleeping car Aa1060 and Gumdigger A255 were moved onto the inspection pit area of road 1, clear of steam locomotive Ab745.

We took the opportunity to pose Ab745 and Tr189 outside the shed for a photo, part way through the shunt.

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More cladding fitted to internal wall in workshop

An update on work done on Saturday 7 May 2016 - we placed 2.4m3 of concrete, casting a set of steps into the road 1 inspection pit, and two floor slabs. Complicated form work and a lot of manual concrete placing - but well worth the effort. The steps and floor slabs have tidied up the inspection pit area of the shed, finishing up some loose ends from previous pours.

We have also continued with insulation and lining of the workshop, and put some spare sheets of ColorSteel to good use, as the photos show. The ColorSteel has the major benefit of being up and finished in no time flat -...

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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...

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Interior wall between workshop and main shed

Since our last update on 7 December - Workshop floor gets funding boost - we have placed over 20 cubic metres of concrete floor in the workshop. The transformation to the workshop building is significant - its fantastic to have so much usable floor area.

Only one road of the shed will be fitted with rails at this stage, and the "road three" rail beams are being boarded over to provide a continuous floor for machine tools, work benches and storage areas.

The interior wall between the workshop and main shed was required to...

Other tags: Maymorn