Locomotive's arrival likely to be delayed

The A66 locomotive. Photo: Industrial Heritage Otago
The A66 locomotive. Photo: Industrial Heritage Otago
A 19th-century steam locomotive with a colourful history is still returning to Dunedin, but its arrival is likely to be delayed until next year.

Dunedin Gasworks Museum trust member Dr Peter Petchey said moves to return the A66 locomotive for static display at the museum would prove ''very positive''.

But delays were also to be expected, given the time needed by charitable bodies run by volunteers, and with limited funds, he said.

In June, it was reported the locomotive was likely to return to the city later this year.

Built in the 1870s, A66 became a gasworks shunting engine (1904-49), moving coal wagons around a big gas-production complex, part of which was included in the later museum.

Initially owned and operated by New Zealand Railways (1875-1904), A66 was later displayed at the railway-themed Carnarvon Station restaurant, in Dunedin, where it was damaged by fire in 1988.

Since 2000, the locomotive, now disassembled, has been at Mandeville, near Gore, at the Waimea Plains Railway Trust's rail facilities.

The engine is on lease from its owner, the Otago Railway and Locomotive Society, which operates the Ocean Beach Railway, at St Kilda, Dunedin.

In June, Waimea trust chairman Colin Smith said it was hoped to move A66 via road, on a transporter truck, and also to bring another steam locomotive from Ashburton south to Mandeville.

Mr Smith said more recently that plans had changed, and the Waimea trust would not be co-ordinating transport.

Invercargill-based Southern Steam Train Trust chairman Lindsay Buckingham said the steam trust had proposed to help, including with transport.

Otago Railway and Locomotive Society secretary Grant Craig said the society had received a proposal, yet to be studied and negotiated, for the steam trust to shift the Mandeville engine to Dunedin.

Mr Craig was optimistic that ''win-win'' benefits could be gained, but more work was needed, including fund-raising, he said.


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