Wb steam locomotives
Wb 292 and Wb 299 are the sole survivors of a class of twelve built in 1898 by Baldwin Locomotive Works, Philadelphia, U.S.A. The locos were 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].
Both locomotives were withdrawn from service in 1957 and dumped as river protection at Seddonville, north of Westport. This was a common fate for many steam locomotives in the South Island from the 1930's - 1960's. The locomotives were recovered in 1989 for preservation and eventual restoration.
On Saturday 21 March 2020 we rolled the main frame of steam locomotive Wb 299 into the workshop - just a few days before the Covid-19 level-3 and level-4 lock-down.
Shifting the frame into the workshop frees up space for another carriage in the main shed, one of the main reasons for the move. It should also be easier to carry out restoration work, access with lifting equipment etc.
The photos below illustrate progress made since December 2019 and steps taken to prepare the frame to move it into the workshop.