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In 1871, in Northland, the first railway to operate in the North Island started taking coal from the mine at Kawakawa to the riverside at Taumarere. These early wagons were hauled by horses over a timber track.

Keirunga members enjoy 100th Anniversary steam excursion

Several members of Havelock North Live Steamers enjoyed a day excursion from Feilding to Taihape and return through the picturesque Rangitikei countryside on Saturday 25 October 2008 as part of the main trunk line centennial celebrations

The 'Stringfellows' express hauled by the Wab794 with 8 carriages left Feilding at 8.30 am, arriving in Taihape at 11.30 am. It was Gumboot Day in Taihape, and the road around the railway station was closed with stalls and displays, a live band and gumboot throwing contests.

After enjoying lunch and the sights of Taihape, the group boarded the train for the return trip, arriving in Feilding at 3.30 pm.

Below are some photos of the excursion.

Stringfellows Express at Taihape Railway Station

Stringfellows Express at Taihape Railway Station ready for the return trip

Wab 794 at Taihape Railway Station

Wab 794 at Taihape Railway Station after turning around on the new turntable, getting ready for the return trip

Stringfellows Express en route to Taihape

Stringfellows Express en route to Taihape

The Wedding Express

On Saturday afternoon, 25 October, Keirunga member Mike Hartle and his wife Dale rode the Wedding Express which left Feilding for Palmerston North and return. This excursion also carried newly married couple Julie Forbes and Albert Mepham. They had earlier been married in an authentic Edwardian ceremony in Feilding.

Bridal Couple preparing for photographs

Bridal Couple preparing for photographs

The couple travelled in the Aa 1013 carriage which was used on the 1908 Parliamentary Special. It had been stripped and restored by Mainline Steam for this journey, and was decked out in bridal livery.

Parliamentary Carriage decked out in wedding livery

Parliamentary Carriage decked out in wedding livery

The excursion loco was Ab663 - known as the Sharon Lee. The A and Abs were considered the most handsome New Zealand example of a "Pacific" steam locomotive. A total of 141 were built from 1915 and they could be seen at work in every corner of New Zealand.

The Sharon Lee bridal train

The Sharon Lee bridal train prepares to leave Feilding for the short return excursion to Palmerston North.

Other photos from the Centennary Weekend

The following photos were taken by Geoff Marshall, a railway enthusiast.

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