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Newsletter #37, June 2016

Operating Day at Maymorn

Panorama view of Tr189 on a train service at Maymorn, 9 August 2015. Photo: Grant Morrell.

Chairperson's Inclinations

Carriage Fund Appeal for Rimutaka Incline Railway Heritage Trust.

The Rimutaka Incline Railway Heritage Trust is exploring options to secure at least one operational heritage carriage for our current and future operations. At present the Trust is following a number of exciting leads for suitable carriages. This supports our vision to operate authentic carriages over a faithfully recreated heritage railway to provide an authentic visitor experience.

To help us meet the requirement for suitable heritage carriages the Trust is launching an appeal to build a dedicated carriage fund. It is anticipated that this carriage fund would be used available in the event of suitable carriages becoming available for sale through tenders or private sales. From recent experience with transport requirements for rail vehicles the Trust expects the purchase and transport of suitable railway carriages to cost in the vicinity of $20-25,000.

An operational ex-NZR carriage will provide an authentic heritage experience for visitors and passengers to our railway. This will be a significant change from our current operations using the multiple unit car that we operate on behalf of the Wellington Heritage Multiple Unit Preservation Trust.

Once the Trust's new workshop is complete it is envisaged that one of our existing carriages would become resident in the workshop to expedite its return to operation. However this is expected to take a number of years to return to service dependant on funds and volunteer resources.

A "Carriage Fund” will be set up to receive donations so that the Trust can quickly action the purchase/lease and transport of a suitable heritage carriage should we be successful in our approaches. The Carriage Fund will provide the all-important seed capital to support proposals and applications to funding organisations to fund their return to service.

Funds may also be directed towards restoration work on our existing carriages, which are medium to long-term projects. 

Ben Calcott, Chairperson.


Kaitoke, Ww and short train, including heritage carriage

A Ww pauses in the loop at Kaitoke with a short mixed train, bound for Summit. Note the gorgeous Wairarapa-roofed Addington carriage at the rear of the train. These distinctive carriages were built at New Zealand Railway's Addington Workshops, Christchurch in the 1880's. A number of these carriages were fitted with "streamlining" over the elevated clerestory roof in defference to the strong winds encountered over the Rimutaka Incline and in the lower Wairarapa. The car is the last vehicle in the train—as evidenced by the tail lamp.

Photo: Frank Teesdale collection.

In this issue:

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 would have been used by a signal maintainer. Trolleys of this type were commonly seen operating in the Wairarapa. Photo: Rob Merrifield

Ben Calcott inspecting the trolley before operation. Photo: Hugh McCracken
Iain, Ben and Ray carrying out some pre-start checks. Photo: Rob Merrifield
Ray takes the trolley through its paces. Photo: Rob Merrifield
Another view of Ray test-driving the jigger, Hugh and Bart watching with interest. Photo: Graeme Bennett
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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.

Ab745 and Tr189 outside the shed, part way through the shunt movement
Another view of the two locomotives posed in front of the shed during the shunt movement
Ex Ohai Railway Board #1 part way through rebuilding - engine hood, diesel tank, radiator and many other items removed for repair
Tr189 shunting ballast wagon Yc895 out of the shed, the latest of the fleet to be painted and repaired.
Photos: Hugh McCracken
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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 - but we may well line the remainder of the walls in a mix of plywood for the lower 2.4m, and ColorSteel for the top areas and in a much lighter colour.

Flight of stairs down into road 1 of the inspection pits
Ray working on the internal lining of the workshop on 7 May
Floor slab alongside road 2, leading on from the flight of stairs from the inspection pit area.
Photos: Hugh McCracken
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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 switch the lamps via the cab switch box, and "pop" the whistle...

Exterior view of Wb299 cab side at March Madness, with other items of the display
Our display at Summer Carnival, Trentham Memorial Park. Great to be able to share what we are doing with the public at these events
Ben takes a quick break at the Summer Carnival later in the day...
Photos: Hugh McCracken
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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 be insulated, and we have clad this with ColorSteel - most of it left overs from previous exterior cladding work.

Next steps with the workshop are to fabricate and fit a bi-folding train door, plus a pedestrian door, followed by interior linings.

Thanks are due again to recent grants from Cossie Club Upper Hutt and Rimutaka Trust, for funding towards completing our workshop.

Floor slabs between rail beams were placed on 12 December 2015
John de Graaff finishing up main floor slabs on Saturday 19 December 2015. More than 15 cubic metres of concrete was placed on that day.
Another view of the floor laid on 19 December.
The workshop transformed with the completion of concrete floors.
Marking out bedplate positions on road three of the workshop.
A start was made on cladding the internal wall between workshop and main shed in January 2016.
Installing a full-length sheet on 6 February.
All cladding in place for the three bays between the workshop and the main shed on 20 February 2016.
Timber flooring covering over road three rail channels in the workshop.
Photos: Hugh McCracken
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We're grateful for recent grants from Cossie Club Upper Hutt and Rimutaka Trust, which have given us a much needed boost towards completing our workshop.

Reinforcing steel and concrete will be purchased with the funding, and by the end of December we are likely to have most of the floor in place.

Photo:Glenn Fitzgerald.

A few photos of recent work follows:

Compacting fill between rail beams on 7 November 2015.
Tidying up around reinforcing after backfilling on 21 November 2015.
Boxing and reinforcing in place for the floor slabs on 5 December 2015.
Photos: Hugh McCracken
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Tr 189 shunts two ballast wagons down the new loop track,26 September 2015

On Saturday 26 September 2015 the track gang joined up the track sets on the new loop track, and dropped three wagon loads of ballast. By the end of the day the track was able to be used to store five ballast wagons, freeing up our mainline track. Photo: Hugh McCracken

A series of ballast drops, track levelled and lined. Photo: Glenn Fitzgerald
Looking along the loop after one of the ballast drops. Photo: Glenn Fitzgerald
Tr 189 propels two ballast wagons along the loop track
Tr 189 a little further down the loop
View down the loop track from the double slip
View down the loop track from the double slip, Tr 189 fetching wagons on the mainline in the distance
Ballast wagons parked up on loop at end of day
View along mainline, with ballast wagons parked up on loop.
Photos: Hugh McCracken
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Another ballast wagon is in the paint shop. Rust and old flaking paint has been removed with a needle-gun, making short work of this laborious job.

Individual components from shunt locomotive ORB #1 are also being prepped and painted, including areas of the frame, headstocks and sand boxes.

We have also added a lot of backfill into the floor area of the workshop extension to our shed, using a small rubber-tracked excavator to move around 20m3 of hard fill.

A few photos from recent weeks follow.

Needle-gunning rust on YC2329 on 25 July 2015
Sand boxes from ORB #1, with prepped headstock in the background
Ron painting the underframe of YC2329 on 5 September. Photo: Hugh McCracken
Backfilling the floor area of the workshop extension to our shed on 29 August
Delivering another load of fill inside the shed.
Photos: Glenn Fitzgerald (except where otherwise noted)
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More progress with our loop track at Maymorn, following on from the previous Loop track build starts story from July and August.

Rails have been crowed to form the curve off the double slip, cut and drilled. Good to finish that part of the loop and get on to the straight lengths.


In the foreground - cutting 50kg rail to length, while in the background another trackset is assembled.
Photos: Glenn Fitzgerald 
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Maymorn loop takes shape

During July and August we have started building the loop track at Maymorn, which extends eastwards from the double slip. The formation is already prepared for the loop, sloping to the cess drain to the north side. The loop passes through a short curve past the slip, then its straight-running through to and past the pedestrian crossing.

The loop will initially be used as a storage siding and will be useful to shunt wagons and carriages that are 'uphill' of our shunt loco.

Laying out the rail on a rather gloomy Saturday 18 July
Union joint taking shape, 50kg/m loop rail to the left, 91lb/y rail to the right leading to the double slip
Crowing the required curvature into rail on 25 July. Photo: Glenn Fitzgerald
Battling with the hydraulic "crow". Photo: Glenn Fitzgerald
Overview of work - rail drilling and crowing in progress. Photo: Glenn Fitzgerald
First straight trackset in foreground, more rail cutting under way.Slow going, with every rail needing prep. Photo: Glenn Fitzgerald
By 1 August most of the curve had been crowed, with a good number of sleepers added.
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Gumdigger carriage A255 back together again on the Rimutaka Incline Railway, Upper Hutt. Photograph: Ben Calcott.

An 1884-vintage "Gumdigger" type carriage is destined to run again on the Rimutaka Incline Railway. The Trust has recently been offered the two carriage body halves of Gumdigger carriage A255, which have been transported from Dunedin to its base at Maymorn, Upper Hutt. A255 was built at Addington Railway Workshops in 1884, saw service in and around Christchurch until 1964,

In 1964 it was sold to a farmer in Mosgiel for use as a storage shed - and subsequently one half was on-sold. One carriage body half was required to be moved urgently and the Trust had to take swift action to remove it from the property to ensure that it was not demolished. By a stroke of luck the second half of the carriage still survived and was also donated to the project. The two halves of the Gumdigger carriage were transported north from Dunedin on 12 May 2015, reaching Picton three days later. Its arrival at Wellington was delayed a couple of days due to a storm on 14 May.

On Tuesday 19 May the two carriage halves were transfered from rail wagon to hiab truck with the assistance of staff at KiwiRail's Wellington CT terminal. By late afternoon A255 was back together again on a carriage underframe, and safely stored out of the weather in the Trust's rail vehicle shed at Maymorn.

The long task of restoring the carriage and returning it to operation will start shortly, with the aim of retaining as much of the original material and character of the design as possible.

Donations towards the transport of the carriage components and restoration of the carriage will be gratefully received.


The two halves of the carriage body on a KiwiRail wagon at Wellington after its journey from Dunedin. Photo: Hugh McCracken
KiwiRail forklift transferring one of the two carriage bodies. Photo: Ben Calcott
KiwiRail staff help transfer the carriage bodies from rail wagon to hiab truck. Photo: Ben Calcott
The two halves of the carriage reunited on an underframe for the first time in 50 years. Photo: Hugh McCracken
Another view of A255, during a shunt to place it under cover in the rail vehicle shed. Photo: Ben Calcott
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The first half of Gumdigger carriage A255 in transit at Dunedin in December 2014. Photo: Clark McCarthy.

The first half of Gumdigger carriage A255 in transit at Dunedin in December 2014. Photo: Clark McCarthy.

The two halves of Gumdigger carriage A255 were reunited in Dunedin in May 2015, and traveled by rail from Dunedin to Wellington from 12-16 May, They will be placed onto the carriage underframe and into safe, dry storage in our rail vehicle shed. Once the workshop is finished we plan to start work rebuilding the underframe, bogies and compartments.

A255 was built in 1884 as a low roof centre balcony composite car. Gumdigger carriages were built between 1882-1887 in New Zealand Railway Workshops and The Railway Carriage Company, Oldbury UK. This particular example is one of only 3 or 4 such carriages in existence, others being located at MoTaT, Auckland. A255 was built at Addington Workshop, Christchurch, completed in September 1884. It was converted to second class accommodation in 1927, and written off at Addington 31 March 1952. It continued on in non-revenue service reclassified and renumbered as Ea 2568, finally written off on 12 September 1964. It was then was sold and relocated to a farm in Milton. The other main body component was located on another farm in the Dunedin area and has also been donated to the Trust for the project - for which we are extremely grateful.

Second half of A255 loaded onto truck trailer, Taieri Plains. Photo: Clark McCarthy.
Interior of the second half of the carriage - 131 years old... Photo: Clark McCarthy.
Both halves of A255 loaded onto KiwiRail wagon at Dunedin on 12 May 2015. Photo: Clark McCarthy.
Three days later the carriage was waiting for a ferry crossing at Picton, weather in Wellington delayed arrival a couple of days. Photo: Matthew Tempest
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