Keirunga links to Parliamentary Special
Occasional visitors to Keirunga with their own locos, Richard Taylor and Ian Welch, were instrumental in getting the 100 year old historic railway carriage 1013 back on the tracks for the re-enactment of the Parliamentary Special, the first passenger train to travel the length of the North Island Main Truck Line, from Wellington to Auckland in early August 2008. Photographed below by Bob Bevan-Smith at Porirua.
The century-old wooden carriage was part of the first passenger train, but the carriage had fell into ruin and sat rotting in a field in Pahiatua for many years. One side had rotted away and the interior had been torn out, but after being trucked to Wairarapa wheelwright Greg Lang, who spent 2 1/2 years restoring the carriage, it graced the main trunk line again. JA1271 pulled five historic wooden carriages.
Ian Welch says the carriage is the only original car remaining. His workshops at Plimmerton restored the chassis, and Richard Taylor helped by having nameplates for the carriage designed and made. The carriage has been named "Aotearoa".
The Parliamentary Special, a heritage steam engine with five carriages attracted enormous interest as it travelled in the tracks of its 1908 predecessor. In 1908, it carried 44 politicians north to meet the United States Navy's Great White Fleet, moored in Waitemata Harbour – three months before the last spike was driven on the Main Trunk Line.
Read the full stories on Stuff's website: After 100 years, carriage good to go, and Train buffs delight in romance of rail (+pics), the Otago Daily Times article: Special parliamentary train to mark centenary, and news on Parliament's website: The 1908 Parliament train. Also have a look at OnTrack's website, with a full history of the Parliament Special.
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