Sunday, 31 March 2013

The First Stop, Kawakawa

Kawakawa is famous because of its toilets:  the Hundertwasser Toilets about which I blogged on The Great Adventure in 2010.   To be honest, apart from its location on State Highway 1 and with some decent caf├ęs and the said toilets, Kawakawa has little to offer except, and it's a big except, for the fact that it has a railway running down the middle of the main street and into a sidings with a rather well maintained station and a steam locomotive which should appeal to Mark and Adrian.

A real live steam loco built by Peckett and Sons Ltd of Bristol in 1925 and numbered 1730.  It's a 4-4-0T 3ft 6 in loco run by the Bay of Islands Vintage Railway.  The engine is one of five similar 4-4-0T engines and was originally one of two which went to the Schull and Skibbereen Railway, Ireland, named "Allen" and "Gabriel" (after Mount Gabriel).  Regauged in 1926 to 3 ft 6 in (1,067 mm) and sold to Portland Cement, Whangarei, New Zealand.  It was given to Bay of Islands Scenic Railway in 1985.  If those dates are correct I'm not sure why the nameplate on the locomotive bears the date 1927.


















19 comments:

  1. What a beauty; a sculptural form that performs work.

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    1. Yes Terra there is something majestic and individual about the steam engine that modern machinery, where function alone seems to rule, just doesn't have.

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  2. This would have made my day.....stunning machines.

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    1. We got the complete tour from one of the restorers Adrian. Magic.

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  3. Although I am not a railway enthusiast myself, I do appreciate looking at these, and vividly remember a most interesting visit to the York Railyway Museum about 10 years ago with Steve. Hundertwasser not being exactly my cup of tea, I couldn't care less about the look of those toilets as long as they are clean.

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    1. I'm not sure that I could call myself a railway enthusiast Meike but I really do appreciate and enjoy the journey into my childhood and the engines are, to me, things of wonder and beauty. The Hundertwasser style if not to my taste either but it adds a great deal of colour and interest to an otherwise drab place and so I enjoy them from that point of view. They are very well looked after and were very clean.

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  4. Can't see a steam engine without thinking of my dad, who was one of the real enthusiasts. Which means I've seen "more than my fair share" of museum railways in the past ;) I've not inherited the interest in the technical details, but this colourful one must be a joy for any photographer. I love the red water-tower!

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    1. I can walk round steam trains for ages Monica because they represent such raw power and beauty and are part of my childhood.

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  5. That's a fantastic looking engine, and I learnt something new. I had assumed that the 3ft 6in gauge you mentioned must have been some rather weird narrow gauge line even though it is much wider than the narrow gauge lines in the UK. It turns out that NZ uses 3ft 6in as their standard gauge rather than the 4ft 8 1/2in we use in the UK. I'm guessing this gives a slightly odd look to most engines if you are used to seeing UK engines as the engine is likely to be of a similar width but the wheels will be closer together (a bit like looking at an OO gauge model).

    As for the date, I'm guessing you made the fatal mistake of quoting a wikipedia article :) As far as I can tell the engine was in fact built in 1927 so the plaque is correct (see here and here for two sources that agree with that date).

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    1. I got the information from various sources Mark and if it hadn't been for the statement that it was regauged in 1926 I'd just have ignored the dates and taken it off the plate. I decided that for the purposes of my blog two years wasn't going to make much difference. What did surprise me though was the gauge because the rails really didn't look that much narrower than those in the UK. Perhaps I just see many more rail lines here than in the UK and have got used to them.

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  6. I am always amazed at the history and specifications of steam engines. There were so many sizes and types. Enjoyed your post. Now I missed the rail line running down the middle of the street?

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    1. Oddly, Red, I didn't take a photo of the lines in the street. Silly me.

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  7. You've been doing your homework, haven't you? I've had one of those weird memory things. When I read about the 3ft 6in gauge, I remembered Queensland Rail had that guage and at school we had to learn the guages of the different rails in different states. Why on earth was it thought necessary for children to know that, I wonder?
    You got some lovely shots of the engine.

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    1. Why one should have to learn the rail gauges is beyond me Pauline but then why we had to learn lots of things was beyond me. They are useful for games like Trivial Pursuits though.

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  8. I do like the train... but I thought the loos were REALLY great! Not so much that I wanted to reproduce the style in my own home, but for the confidence to make your home Your Own. Instead of some sterile, or trendy, or whatever, Non-Place.
    Know what I mean?

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    1. I know exactly what you mean Katherine. I don't like the style at all but I do like the fact that they are there. They are fun!

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  9. Thanks to my dad, I still love trains, and up to a few years ago, had an operable Christmas train around my Christmas tree.
    These were lovely shots showing the detailing and craftsmanship of this locomotive.

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