Monday, June 10, 2013

A day out in Oamaru

Tr 35 stands ready at Harbourside station for the first run of the day. 09/06/13.

Today the kids and I were able to visit Oamaru Steam and Rail, a small preservation railway that runs between the historic precinct and the harbour. What an awesome little railway!
Arriving with 15 minutes before the first departure, we purchased our tickets ($11 for me, a five year old and a toddler return), took some photo's and climbed aboard ready for our trip. 

Harbourside station.

Ready for departure.

Not long after taking our seats the LE invited us into the cab for the outward trip to the harbour. When a LE asks if you want a cab ride you can't say no. With my son in control of the horn we departed Harbourside and headed towards Quarry Siding. The train made its way around the historic precinct made up of former wool and grain stores before passing the former goods shed. We then made our way along the harbour to the terminus at Quarry Siding. The trip out only took around 10 minutes but was great fun (I need to get out more).

Quarry Siding.

The train sitting at Quarry Siding.

We had a 15 minute wait at Quarry Siding before returning to Harbourside station. After checking out some of the local wildlife - yellow eyed penguins nesting in a shed - we grabbed some shots of the train. 

Tr 35

Tr 35 is a 0-4-0 shunting tractor built in 1939 by the Drewry Car Company. These locomotives were designed to be used to shunt wagons at small to medium sized stations. Withdrawals from service began in the 1970's but this model of Tr has proven popular with preservation groups with over half of the original 23 locos still in existence.

NB 1716

NB 1716 is a 4 wheel open observation carriage that has been converted from a flat top freight wagon. Passenger seating is provided by bench seats long ways in the middle of the carriage.

While working out how to get a clear shot of the passenger carriage and the guards van with all the four wheel drives and boat trailers around it was time to head back to Harbourside station. With no run round loop at Quarry Siding the train returned in 'push me' style with the guards van leading. On the return trip we rode on NB 1716 and took in the sights of Oamaru harbour. All to soon we were back at Harbourside station and I was able to grab some shots of A 1514 and F 668.

A 1514

A 1514 is a 47' 6" wooden clad bogie passenger carriage built at Dunedin's Hillside workshops in 1923.

 F 668

F 668 is a steel clad 30' bogie guards van built at the NZR's Addington workshops (Christchurch) in 1941.

By now the kids were getting hungry so we decided to try one of the small cafes in the historic precinct. The cafe we chose was the Star and Garter which was just across the road from Harbourside station. What can I say. Great food and service and the best cheese and pineapple toasted sandwich I have ever had. If you're in Oamaru and want to score some browny points to off set the ones you lose by stopping to look at trains bring the other half here.

Restored footbridge.

With lunch complete we headed down to the harbour to check out the restored footbridge and have a play in the playground. The footbridge built in 1906 has recently undergone a $42,000 restoration and the community groups and local businesses involved have done a great job. It was interesting to watch most of the people walking down the harbour use the footbridge instead of the railway crossing and I can see why. The view of the harbour from the footbridge was pretty good.

Oamaru Harbour.

As the kids worked off their lunch I managed to grab a few more shots of the Oamaru Steam and Rail train out and about on its home tracks.

Tr 35 with its passenger train passes beneath the restored footbridge.

The passenger train across the harbour at Quarry Siding.

With a cold breeze starting to pick up it was time to start thinking about heading home as we made our way to the car we heard Tr 35's horn. Making a mad dash up the footbridge I managed to grab a few shots of the train as it passed by on its return trip to Harbourside station.

The guard controlling the reversing move.

And the going away shot.

As we left the harbour and historic precinct for home I couldn't resist stopping to grab a shot of SPHQ 001 outside Steam Punk HQ, the Steam Punk capital of New Zealand. 
Steam Punk is described by wikipedia as a 'sub-genre of science fiction that typically features steam powered machinery  especially in a setting inspired by industrialised western civilization during the 19th century.Therefore, steam punk works are often set in an alternative history of the 19th century's British Victorian era in a post apocalyptic future during which steam power has regained mainstream use, or in a fantasy world that similarly employs steam power.' All I can say is that it takes some creativity to convert a retired Ds shunting locomotive into this fire breathing beast. 

Steam Punk at its finest.

A big thanks to the staff of Oamaru Steam and Rail and the Star and Garter for a great day out. Oamaru has to be congratulated for its efforts in preserving not only the original railway line in Oamaru but also the historically significant limestone buildings that make up the historic precinct.

The Oamaru Steam and Rail website can be found at

And that's about it...

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