Here's a brief introduction to some of our members and visitors and their locos.
John Romanes was a founding member of Keirunga Park Railway. His involvement began when he was asked to supply the equipment and shoot some levels for a small group of people who were interested in building a railway at the Tomoana showgrounds. At this time, John was managing a precast concrete factory. He had previously served an apprenticeship in plumbing and spent 13 years in an air conditioning/refrigeration company in Auckland learning sheetmetal work, control systems and management skills.
The Tomoana project eventually faded for a variety of reasons and in due time, John arrived at Keirunga Park for a similar survey. During this time, John says, "I stupidly suggested that I was capable of producing a couple of bridges to ease the shape of the track." That slip of the tongue earned John 6 years P.D!
It was during those early years of helping to build the railway, that John decided to build his first loco to run on it. The mustard coloured "Price 197" was his first attempt at model engineering.
John says, "I would never profess to be a railway enthusiast or a model engineer, but I am a model maker and think that the attention to the little 'frilly bits' makes a model that much more interesting. My advice to beginners is to move a 40 gallon drump into your workshop the same day as you move your first lathe in."
"The time spent at the Keirunga Park Railway and the people I have met there, and grown fond of, the visitors and the public, have certainly enhanced my life, and I hope that this effect will continue long after I have gone."
Update: 11 July 2016 - John Romanes passed away on 10 July 2016, and will be sadly missed by everyone in the model railway hobby at Keirunga Park Railway, in New Zealand and his many friends and acquaintances around the world. His legacy lives on with the many beautiful locos he built during his lifetime. We extend our sympathies to his wife and family.
John is pictured above driving his new Alco PA locomotive at Labour Weekend 2009.
I first became interested in Keirunga Park Railway when friends and workmates told me about the trains. After visiting with my grandchildren and getting to know the members we decided to join. I learnt to use the signal box and to drive the club train but we made the decision never to buy a train.
Well, in 2007 we bought a small petrol engine called "Tweety Bird" and with a new coat of paint my wife Kathy named our train "Eeyore". I went on the committee a year later and in 2011 became president for a couple of years. By now, we were total train buffs and even own a house beside the railway tracks in Hastings.
I enjoy going to the track every 1st and 3rd Sunday and I get the most enjoyment from the smiles on the faces of the young and old as they ride the trains.
My vision for the club is to keep up the high standard of workmanship that has been set out by those past members and to foster the social side of trains by visiting other tracks as a club.
"Mr Stationmaster" Warren Blackburn owns a 0-6-0 centre-cab shunter known as "Val". It is based on a GE 44-tonner and carries the colour scheme based on an adaption of the Great Northern Railway's "Big Sky Blue" colour scheme.
The loco uses a mobility scooter motor rewound for 24 volts driving a gearbox and a chain drive to the axles. Power is supplied by two 12-volt 130 amperes/hours deep-cycle batteries, and is capable of hauling four adults.
He had a lot of help building "Val" with friends, club members and business acquaintances providing the expertise.
Read more information about the 44-tonner on the Bison Rail website.
Warren grew up in a railway household where his father drove for the NZR in the days of steam in the central North Island.
John Keenan is a "train-spotter" from the UK who came to New Zealand in 1964, and currently works for a local authority.
John's present loco is a Price TR shunter which was built by John Romanes several years ago. It has been repowered with a 5 horsepower Tecumseh engine driving through an Eaton hydraulic pump, with chain drive to both axles.
John joined the Havelock Live Steamers club as a signalman when it first opened, and is a past president and currently Secretary/Treasurer.
Daryl and Gerard Moat
Daryl and Gerard Moat own a Koppel locomotive. It is based on a loco made by Orenstein and Koppel-Arthur Koppel in Berlin 1914. The loco is a gear driven coal fired loco originally used in the cement works in France. Only two full-size engines were ever made. The miniature version shown in the photo above was built in the mid 1980s by Bob Walters, and has been owned by Daryl since he joined the club in 1992. Daryl admitted that he really wanted to be a pilot, but had to settle for being a train driver!
Stuart's interest in trains began as a small boy playing with HO train sets given to him by an uncle. A light fabrication engineer by trade, Stu plays around and fires up full size steam locos, especially the WAB794 from the Feilding and Districts Steam Rail Society. He is regularly seen doing maintenance, and is currently working towards his fireman's ticket. Visit Steamrail's website for more information about WAB794.
Stuart's own miniature loco is based on an NZR DH shunting loco mainly used in Auckland. It's a remote control unit, powered by a 12 1/2 hp Briggs and Stratton motor with a mechanical drive to the wheels. Stu built the loco from scratch himself, and is currently building a Lima Mogul, based on an industrial loco used in sugar cane fields in Australia.
Lyle's first visit to Keirunga was in Easter 2006, where he fell in love with a steam loco which he discovered was for sale. After a few quick words to his wife Diane, and a few more in discussion with its owner, the deal was sealed right there on the platform with a gentleman's handshake, and two months later, Lyle and his family took delivery of Aspen Southern RR 500.
Since then Lyle joined the Keirunga club and has been a regular visitor to the track, even though he lives north of Levin. His two sons Jordan and Warren love getting in the cab and helping to fire up and maintain their Dad's obsession.
Lyle is a fitter and welder by trade, and is a qualified boilerman. He regularly drives the Tokomaru "Manning and Wardell" full size shunting loco on public holidays.
Lyle and his family along with Aspen Southern have also been seen at Rotorua, Palmerston North and Mana Ariki (Taumarunui).
Mike is the owner/builder of DG760, a custom-built locomotive based on the original DG760 which was recabbed in 1978. The carriage named DG787 was built as a drive carriage and was designed to look like a slave unit. It carries 4 passengers and the driver. You can visit Mike's website to see the story of the building of the locomotive and carriage, and photo gallery.
Mike is a motor mechanic by trade who has had a lifelong interest in trains.
John Heald, Rotorua
John Heald, a sparky by trade, has spent 11 months building his Brazil class Kerr Stuart with an 0-4-2ST wheel arrangement.
John has named his loco "Beau Sejour Sugar Estate", which means "good stay". The loco is one-third full size (2 foot gauge) and was built from outline drawings, pictures and photos, not real plans, as there are none.
It was Beau Sejour Sugar Estate's second outing at Keirunga Park Railway at Labour Weekend 2009, and John said the loco was "superb, not a problem".
The loco has a steel boiler with 65 ml cylinder bore, stroke is 104 and wheel diameter of 10 inches. It is John's 8th loco, and he says his final loco will be a B-Class Sharp.
Visit the Wikipedia page about the Kerr Stuart locos.