Dixie genuine KiwiRail mini-me after Hutt workshop makeover
A popular Palmerston North mini-locomotive has been given a makeover and a new nickname, just in time for Christmas.
A chance meeting led to a new lick of paint for the Esplanade Scenic Railway Society's model DX train.
Earlier in the year society member Jim Wilkinson spotted KiwiRail's chief executive Jim Quinn at the company's 150 years of rail celebration at which a DL locomotive pulled four themed containers documenting the history of New Zealand rail across the country.
Mr Wilkinson told him about his idea to repaint the society's model DX, which was painted in the old "corn cob" Toll green and yellow, to match KiwiRail's current carriages.
Mr Quinn agreed, and after a few emails between the two, including videos of the society's tracks and trains, it was all go.
Since then a 10-day spell in KiwiRail's Hutt workshop has seen the quarter-scale replica of a DX locomotive undergo an authentic facelift. It now boasts the same livery as its large-scale counterparts, with details including high-voltage warning signs, non-slip sand paint and handrails.
The makeover involved the locomotive's body parts being lifted off the chassis and transported to Lower Hutt.
The society's rolling stock manager Arnold Brown said workshop staff were all keen to paint the pint-sized body parts and had put their name in a hat to decide who would have the honour.
The job presented some challenges for them, including working out a scaled-down paint scheme and remaining accurate, Mr Brown said.
The train has been nicknamed "Dixie" because it is a DXC locomotive model, a modified subclass of the DX.
Mr Brown said the makeover was perfect timing for the summer holidays and the fresh look would hopefully help the society reach its goal of carrying 40,000 passengers this year, a number it's not far off achieving.
"We're delighted with how it's come out and we've had a lot of comments on it already."
The club has three locomotives and nine carriages, including a handful of carriages painted in perfect quarter-scale replication of the revenue-challenged Capital Connection train.