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Built by New Zealand Railways at Addington, Christchurch, in 1883, the carriage A199 was recovered from Wairio, in Western Southland, last September by the Lumsden Heritage Trust and transported to Lumsden.
Trust chairman John Titter said the carriage had been languishing in a farmer’s paddock for 58 years.
‘‘It was behind a shed and a row of trees.’’
Although other interested groups had asked to retrieve the carriage, they had said it would need to be cut up, so their offers were declined, Mr Titter said.
However, the trust had other plans.
It removed the shed and cut back the trees to recover the carriage intact.
Hundreds of hours had been spent restoring the carriage to its former glory, Lumsden carpenter Gordon Lawrence working on all the joinery and timber work, and an ‘‘enthusiastic group of volunteers’’ stripping, preparing and repainting the interior, Mr Titter said.
‘‘The carriage has been taken back to as close to original condition as we could.’’
Yesterday A199 was uplifted again and transported about 300m to its ‘‘permanent’’ site in the Lumsden Railway Precinct, beside the former railway platform, which will be extended to protect and conserve the refurbished carriage.
‘‘It’s a pretty exciting day for us.’’
Once A199 has had its final embellishments added, including interpretation panels, photographs and displays, it will be used to tell the stories of all the fleet of rolling stock housed as a visitor attraction at the precinct in the centre of Lumsden.