Photo: Gumdigger carriage A255 at Christchurch on 27 January 1950, near the end of its revenue-earning service. Photo: JAT Terry.
Further major components required for our 1880s Gumdigger Carriage restoration project have been made available to the Rimutaka Incline Railway.
In 2008 Wayne Haste donated a number of key components from carriage A189 along with an underframe – the start point for the project. The Trust stored these components for eventual use in a rebuilt Gumdigger carriage, pending completion of its storage and workshop facilities at Maymorn.
In late 2014 the Trust was offered one half of another Gumdigger carriage body - A255, which was located on a farm near Dunedin. This was a reasonably rare opportunity to obtain further Gumdigger carriage components, a major boost to the carriage project. The carriage body 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.
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. 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 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. The two halves of the carriage 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.
Donations towards the restoration of the carriage will be gratefully received.