Steam brings back railway's golden age

MATHEW GROCOTT
Last updated 12:00 06/01/2014
Steam train
WARWICK SMITH/ Fairfax NZ
CHUFFING ON: A steam train, built in 1956, makes its way south from Woodville on Saturday.

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Manawatu residents have been able to get a taste of the golden age of rail.

On Saturday Paekakariki Steam Incorporated ran a steam train excursion from Palmerston North to Woodville, arriving in time for the town's race meet.

The train then travelled down through the Wairarapa to Masterton and back where passengers had the option of stepping off at Opaki and spending time at a vineyard.

The train, JA 1271, was built in 1956 at the Hillside workshops in Dunedin. It was used at Invercargill before it was withdrawn from service in 1970, but was restored by Paekakariki Steam Incorporated's members who had it running again in 1999.

The organisation is not the only one to have been running excursions this month. For the first four days of the year the Feilding and Districts Steam Rail Society ran daily trips from Feilding and Palmerston North out through the Manawatu Gorge and back.

This morning the society will be responsible for taking about 500 of the Scouts involved in the national jamboree at Manfeild Park home via rail. That train was to depart from Feilding railway station at 10am. Scouts had also used the train to get to the jamboree before it started in December.

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- Manawatu Standard

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