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Easter Weekend

30 March-2 April 2018.

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Did you know?

There are currently 50 members of the Havelock North Live Steamers Club, from Havelock North, Hastings, Napier, Foxton, Upper Hutt, Raumati, Dannevirke, Palmerston North, Levin, Auckland, Lower Hutt, Rotorua, Feilding, Raetihi, and even some from the UK, and Canada.

Member profiles

Here's a brief introduction to some of our members and visitors and their locos.

Brian Koehler

Brian Koehler.

I became interested in trains at a very early age. I started with HO Marklin and was a very active member with the European Model Railway Club in Palmerston North and progressed to a G scale 45mm gauge garden railway. While in Palmerston North the club had the opportunity to visit Keirunga Park in 1988 and I was very impressed in the building of the track.

In 1989 I shifted to Napier and joined the Havelock North Live Steamers in 2004. Since then I have been a very active member, have been general manager and in 2015 became President.

I own an 0-6-0 Canadian shunting loco in Canadian Pacific colours. the loco is powered by a 6 1/2 hp Kohler engine (no bias here!) to an Eaton hydraulic gearbox. We run on most of our running days and have visited several other clubs.

Kathy Murphy

Kathy Murphy.

My name is Kathy Murphy. I have been a member of Keirunga Park Railway for over 12 years. We used to take our grandchildren (now 16 and 18) for rides on the trains and the kind friendly staff at Keirunga were so helpful we decided we would become members and help out but NEVER to own a train. In 2007 our train Eeyore (the-never-to-own-a-train) became a reality and a new stage in our train lives began. Eeyore is a replica of a T.R.Price shunter named for my love of the Disney donkey. The club has given us many opportunities for trips away and to like-minded train enthusiasts from around the country. I am part of the merry band of helpers that provide meals for the many hungry mouths on train days and also on open weekends.

Like many NZers my love of trains stems from train rides as a child. Brian, Eeyore and myself will continue our train journey both on miniature and the "big boys" for many years to come (the passing of a NZR log train in the background of my photo is purely coincendental)!

Brian Murphy

Brian Murphy.

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 fortnight 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.

Warren Blackburn

Warren driving his loco

"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

John Keenan driving his loco

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.

Read about the TR shunter on the TrainWeb website and view a photo.

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 with their Koppel.

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!

Lyle Dawe

Lyle Dawe with Aspen Southern Railway 500.

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 Hartle

Mike Hartle.

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 Romanes

John Romanes.

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 said, "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 said, "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 drum 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: - 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.

John Romanes driving his Alco PA locomotive.

John is pictured above driving his new Alco PA locomotive at Labour Weekend 2009.