News update May 2012

It has been another extremely successful few months at the railway, with major progress on several fronts and other work planed for the next few months. It seems our limiting factor at present is the amount of time our members can spare to work at the railway, finances being very healthy as a result of increased patronage through better promotion of our activities. We have engaged outside contractors to do some recent work and have other jobs coming up that will benefit from our ability to finance this type of work. Train running has been very successful  with 2 major promotions, The Santa Steam Spectacular and Children's Day Special, being well patronised and enjoyed by the members that helped showcase our attraction. We also trialled the running of trains on public holiday Mondays as had been done may years previous. This has also proved extremely successful however as always it puts a strain on our active membership to crew these trains. Of course the big news is that after many years of false starts and talk , our extension to an eventual terminus near Silverstream village is now well underway. This will allow us to promote ourselves more to visitors that can only travel by public transport, the new station being far closer and more accessible than out present entrance.

L509. Preforming extremely well after is new firebars were fitted, 509 has required only minor work to keep it operating as our main engine.

Fowler #5. Also not requiring any major work the Fowler has been used once or twice a month.

C847. Our Big Steam Sunday promotions are always popular and the star of these days 847 has improved performance wise with all the recent work. One of the driving wheel springs was repaired and the smoke box hopper door was refaced to help seal the smoke box being the only work required over the past few months. Further small jobs are planed before its next outing.

Barclay 1749. Moving steadily towards completion the Barclay is only weeks away from its first steaming since the 1950’s. The new exhaust steam pipes have been fabricated and fitted along with the new sand pipes and boxes for the front. Patterns for new brake blocks were made, then cast and along with new hangers and pins have been fitted completing the braking system. Some of the only missing items on the engine were the displacement lubricators that were fitted to both valve chests and the regulator so new ones have been machined and are now almost ready for fitting. The tanks were painted inside and out and fitted. the cab is currently being tidied up before it is painted being the last major part to be fitted.

McKirdy Station upgrade. Another long project that is nearing completion is the refurbishment of McKirdy station. The counters have been finished and members and our visitors all seem to appreciate the new improved layout. The seat that was formerly against the wing wall that was removed has been modified and fitted into one corner and a display unit is being constructed for the other.  Part of this project has been to tidy up other heritage features on the platform and both luggage trolleys had a make over with new timber and paint followed by the phone box that is now wearing a new coat of paint. Attention is now focused on repainting the former Haywards station building that houses our collection of memorabilia. 

Silverstream Extension. After nearly 20 years of waiting we now have some physical progress towards the ultimate goad of having a destination point for our railway. Over the Christmas period a 85lb turnout was constructed over 6 and a half days and fitted in to the existing track near the cutting at the North End. This allowed train running to resume on the first day of the 2012. This was a massive job that saw our members working solidly during the Christmas break on achieving this important step which will allow access to the new track while maintaining services on the existing. Following this 4 other track sets were  built from scratch using 85lb rail and new treated pine sleepers. The track formation from this point up to the NZRLS shed has been cleared of top soil and levelled ready for a layer of ballast and track sets that will be constructed.. Two successful grant applications to The Wellington Community Trust and the Hutt Mana Charitable Trust have allowed more sleepers and some ballast to be purchased to continue the track laying over the coming months. At our Kiln Street boundary a chain link fence was built by contractors which will allow formation work to take place on the site of the run around loop and future platform . A few other track jobs have been fitted in with all this progress including replacing some life expired sleepers on the track leading into the carriage shed and existing loop at the North End.

Structures. Our water vat has been in for some attention recently. The bottom portion of the ladder which was severely corroded was replaced and a new support placed half way up. A new strainer and filter were placed in the inlet pipe to clean the water that is entering, removing sediment that would otherwise end up in our boilers. The vehicular access gates were re hung with new hinges making them easier to open for delivery's of coal and the like. The small shed that was obtained from OnGas Petone late last year, has been moved inside for refurbishment and placement at Hulls Creek. This will be used to store items currently in the Gangers Hutt that is in a bad state of repair, while it will look like a small station shelter on the outside.