Ka 942 takes the restora­tion award

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS -

A 145-tonne steam train lov­ingly re­stored in a Plim­mer­ton work­shop has taken out a top restora­tion award.

Lo­co­mo­tive Ka 942 has won the Steam Lo­co­mo­tive Restora­tion Award at the Fed­er­a­tion of Rail Or­gan­i­sa­tions of New Zealand con­fer­ence, held at Grey­mouth’s Shan­ty­town over Queen’s Birth­day week­end.

Built in 1940 by New Zealand Rail­ways’ Hutt work­shops, the huge lo­co­mo­tive was ini­tially based in Tai­hape, work­ing the main trunk line. It was with­drawn from reg­u­lar ser­vice in 1967 af­ter 944,000 miles.

In 1972 it was sold to Poriru­abased busi­ness­man and founder of Main­line Steam Trust Ian Welch, in what he de­scribes as a ‘‘very worn’’ con­di­tion.

‘‘A num­ber of years spent stored in the open had taken its toll, with rust hav­ing taken a firm hold in parts.’’

Restora­tion be­gan in the 1980s and its over­haul was com­pleted by mem­bers of the Glen­brook Vintage Rail­way.

In the 1990s the train was a pop­u­lar tourist at­trac­tion, steam­ing a six-hour round trip from Christchurch to Arthurs Pass.

It was re­tired again in 1999 af­ter fire­box prob­lems.

A sec­ond restora­tion took place in Main­line Steam’s Plim­mer­ton de­pot dur­ing 2008.

Tai Pou­tini Polytech­nic Steam School ( West Coast) tu­tor Ian Tib­bles was on the judg­ing com­mit­tee and said Ka 942 was cho­sen in recog­ni­tion of the scale of the boiler re­pairs un­der­taken dur­ing the restora­tion.

‘‘This train is a beast. It has around 1400 horse­power and is re­mem­bered for pulling 14 car­riages on the early main line steam ex­cur­sions to Arthur’s Pass, the long­est con­tin­u­ous climb in the coun­try. It’s great to see it look­ing its best and pump­ing out that horse­power again.’’

Ka 942 took part in the 100-year an­niver­sary of the North Is­land main trunk route in 2008 and Mr Welch be­lieved it should be avail­able for ser­vice for many years to come.

Main­line Steam Trust is an or­gan­i­sa­tion de­voted to the restora­tion, pro­mo­tion and op­er­a­tion of his­tor­i­cal steam lo­co­mo­tives in New Zealand.

There are de­pots across the coun­try, with the big­gest be­ing in Plim­mer­ton and Par­nell.

FRONZ is a not-for-profit or­gan­i­sa­tion rep­re­sent­ing the Her­itage and Tourist Rail In­dus­try of New Zealand, com­pris­ing more than 70 or­gan­i­sa­tions, in­clud­ing museums and rail op­er­a­tors.

The Steam Lo­co­mo­tive Restora­tion Award is spon­sored by Tai Polytech­nic and Shan­ty­town.

Photo: BEN CAL­COTT

Old glory: Ka 942 pass­ing Maka­tote, near Mt Ruapehu in 2008, re-en­act­ing the first rail jour­ney from Welling­ton to Auck­land

100 years ear­lier.

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