Locomotive back on track

Harry Andrew with the diesel locomotive he has restored. Photo by Sally Rae.
Harry Andrew with the diesel locomotive he has restored. Photo by Sally Rae.
With some of the bolts costing $300 each, restoring a locomotive is not a cheap task.

"It owes me many thousands," Oamaru Steam and Rail Restoration Society general manager Harry Andrew says philosophically.

Mr Andrew has just finished the major restoration on the diesel locomotive he bought about three years ago and carefully refurbished - with a bit of help from his fellow rail enthusiasts - and is now adding the finishing touches.

"I knew what I was doing but it was major work," he said.

The 1954 locomotive was operated in Wellington, Napier and Gisborne, before being run for many years between Invercargill and Bluff.

It used to be driven by Russell Glendinning, of Kingston Flyer fame.

The locomotive ended up at Oamaru Harbour and was used for spare parts when Mr Andrew bought it from the Alliance Group.

It was in a state of disrepair - rusty and missing many parts.

It had been "chopped up" with gas, he said.

Mr Andrew either made or bought the missing parts and even used parts from a locomotive he bought from the freezing works at Lorneville.

People thought he was mad undertaking the project - even fellow Steam and Rail members.

"They were probably right," he laughed.

Mr Andrew also repairs locomotives for a living, looking after the maintenance of the trains at the Alliance Group's Pukeuri plant, so his life revolves around rail.

His newly-restored locomotive, with dual controls, has been used for driver training and it will have its first public outing on the first Sunday in November, when the society starts its summer season.

It will also be used during the Victorian heritage celebrations.

Mr Andrew and the society now have plenty more projects to undertake, including the restoration of a 1904 postal car.

The society will also represent North Otago at the TrustPower National Community Awards in Palmerston North in March, after winning the Oamaru awards.


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