Locomotive back on track

Oamaru Steam and Rail Society members, from left,  Harry Andrew,  Frank Waller and Wayne Brunton...
Oamaru Steam and Rail Society members, from left, Harry Andrew, Frank Waller and Wayne Brunton fired up this 1924 steam engine yesterday for the first time in six years. Photo by Andrew Ashton.
A six-year project to repair an 89-year-old steam engine finally came to a close yesterday, much to the relief of the unpaid volunteers who made it happen.

Volunteers from the Oamaru Steam and Rail Society have been refitting the society's 1924 Hudswell Clarke B10 locomotive for the past six years, after the train failed its 10-year survey in 2007.

Society manager Harry Andrew said the fully-restored engine was fired up successfully yesterday and would be back in action next month.

Mr Andrew said he was ''confident'' that the boiler repairs would receive an official go-ahead from Maritime NZ, which has jurisdiction over pressurised vessels, today.

He said volunteers had put in a total of 2500 man-hours into completing the restoration.

''This has been six years in the making with a team of volunteers, and a lot of hard work,'' he said.

An open day would be held on May 19, when the steam engine would once again pull passenger cars on the society's track between Itchen St and the Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony, he said.

The engine would also run on June 9, to coincide with Queen's Birthday weekend and Oamaru's hosting of the annual Federation of Rail Organisations of New Zealand conference, he said.

- andrew.ashton@odt.co.nz

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