The rolling stock at the station has been in Kawakawa since the mid 1980′s. Since the time that the railway was closed in January 2000, the carriages were left outside in all weathers where they did not fair very well.
It was decided that we would rename our fleet with names of the native New Zealand birds that could be seen from the train on its journey to Taumarere.
On restarting the railway in 2006, we refurbished two coaches, “KINGFISHER” (our dining car) and “PUKEKO” to get the railway up and running again. “BLUE HERON” (the Observation Car) was the third to be renovated, and we have rebuilt “WEKA”, which is a completely open wagon, to carry up to 24 cycles.
The building of our Workshop Shed meant that carriages could be kept under cover and allowed to dry out and stop further deterioration.
Students from NorthTec completing a Unit Standards of a Building Course started the rebuild of another carriage, “TUI”. A group of volunteers have now finished this work and this carriage is now regularly used. We appreciate the assistance of local suppliers who have donated materials.
Three other carriages in the Workshop Shed are of interest. The oldest, named “BITTERN”, was built in 1915 and used as a mainline car until 1969, when it was converted into a cookhouse for the breakdown train. Also, there is a mainline 1931 carriage with a guards van to be named “FANTAIL”. Lastly, there is an exciting project underway to recreate a carriage which was built in 1871 with both First and Second class compartments. There is picture of one on our line. So far the wheelbase has been built and painted, the floor has being built, windows fitted and now the verandas at each end are being created. This carriage has been named “MOA” as this type is now extinct!
Below are a few pictures showing the state of some of the carriages before and after being renovated by our dedicated volunteers.