It was the final chapter of a Te Awamutu saga when the last train of a collection of old locomotives was trucked out of the town yesterday.
The engine, Ja1267, was built in Dunedin by New Zealand Railways in 1953. It steamed into the yard in Te Awamutu in 1972 and has been there ever since.
Now it heads to Parnell, Auckland, where it will be restored and possibly will find its way back on to the tracks.
The train was the final item of a collection, belonging to the Waikato branch of the New Zealand Railway and Locomotive Society, which had been stored in the corner of a farm on the outskirts of Te Awamutu. The collection included seven locomotives and one carriage.
Glenbrook Vintage Railway representative Nigel Whitwell has been in Te Awamutu for the past two months working on relocating the collection. He said most of the rolling stock was moved to Glenbrook, in the Franklin district, on April 21 and 22.
However, Ja1267 had no defined ownership because it was owned by a society, which meant it had to go to public auction. It had been bought by Mainline Steam, an organisation devoted to the restoration and operation of historic mainline steam locomotives.
The organisation runs regular day excursions and multi-day tours over rail tracks throughout the country.
The Times understands the train was sold for $175,000.
Of the original Te Awamutu collection, four trains have gone to Mainline Steam, one is in Waitara and two at Glenbrook.
Mr Whitwell said the collection came to be in Te Awamutu when a large group of items had been collected, but the Waikato branch of the society had nowhere to put them.
"The farmer at the time let them have this little corner, which linked into the New Zealand Dairy Board (now Fonterra) yard by the track.
"When they re-built their yard back in about 2000 there was no longer a link, that's why it (the train) is going out by road."
- Waikato Times