Fifty years of locomotives

Jo Koppert and her daughter Jeska Koppert (10), of Middlemarch, and their goat Eddy attend a street party in Middlemarch on Sunday. Photo: Shawn McAvinue
Jo Koppert and her daughter Jeska Koppert (10), of Middlemarch, and their goat Eddy attend a street party in Middlemarch on Sunday. Photo: Shawn McAvinue

Middlemarch impressed during a celebration of vintage locomotives.

Dunedin Railways operations manager Grant Craig said more than 160 passengers travelled in carriages pulled by three vintage locomotives on a return trip from Dunedin to Middlemarch on recently.

‘‘It was hugely successful.’’

The trip was part of festivities marking 50 years of operation of Dj locomotives in New Zealand.

Of the 68 Dj locomotives introduced to New Zealand, nine remained and Dunedin Railways owned seven.

The locomotive leading the way to Middlemarch was Dunedin Railway’s diesel electric locomotive Dj 1221.

Vintage locomotives Di 1102, built in 1966, and Dg 772, built in 1956, travelled from Ferrymead in Christchurch to join the celebration.

The ‘‘tripled-headed train’’ to Middlemarch produced about 300hp.

The three coloured locomotives travelling through the Strath Taieri scenery looked ‘‘magnificent’’, MrCraig said.

The Strath Taieri Lions Club held a street party in Snow Ave to coincide with the celebration.

‘‘I was impressed with Middlemarch — they really put it on and it helped the occasion tenfold.’’

The party events included a shearing demonstration from Ranfurly gang Stringer Shearing.

Constable Allan Lynch, of Middlemarch, supervised a chocolate wheel draw as revellers were entertained by country music band The Rock and Pillar Rebels.

SHAWN.MCAVINUE@thestar.co.nz 

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