Glenbrook Vintage Railway

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Glenbrook Vintage Railway
Gvr workshops.jpg
JA1250 leads a passenger train on the Glenbrook Vintage Railway at the railway's workshops, 3 January 2008.
Locale Glenbrook, Auckland,  New Zealand
Commercial operations
Name Part of the Waiuku branch line
Built by New Zealand Government Railways
Original gauge 1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in)
Preserved operations
Owned by Glenbrook Vintage Railway Trust Board
Stations Five
Length 7.4 km
Preserved gauge 1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in)
Commercial history
Opened 1922
Closed 1967
Preservation history
Reopened 1977

The Glenbrook Vintage Railway (GVR) is a heritage steam railway in Glenbrook, New Zealand. It is a fully self-supporting operating steam railway, built almost entirely by volunteer labour. It is an ongoing project, with items being collected and restored or replicated as time, labour and finance permit.

The GVR is run by a trust board of three trustees elected and appointed from Railway Enthusiasts Society (RES) membership. The board appoints a general manager who is responsible for day-to-day operation. The 7.4 km (4.6 mi) long railway carries up to 30,000 passengers during the normal operating season, which is from October to June, and is also available for charter throughout the year.

There is a project[when?] being undertaken to extend the railway to the Tamakae Reserve in Waiuku.

The railway is staffed and maintained by volunteers and RES membership provides automatic access to all activities as a volunteer. Special Events are often held, such as "Friends of Thomas" (the tank engine) weekends, Railfan Days (with display freight trains and other unique consists), Country and Western days and night steam runs.


The GVR is based on part of the old Waiuku branch line which opened in 1922 and closed from Glenbrook to Waiuku in 1967.

The initial concept for a steam-powered tourist railway was initiated when the New Zealand Government Railways announced closure of the line, which was a popular route for excursions operated by the RES. Re-construction of the GVR began in 1970, slashing back overgrown gorse that had covered the line, renewing rail and building the Pukeoware Depot and the terminus at Glenbrook.

Delivery of items of rolling stock included the "delivery" rail-tours bringing the steam locomotive fleet from the South Island back to Auckland for use at Glenbrook. Carriages were sourced out of stock being retired from the Auckland commuter network at the time, and in some cases (such as carriage "Manukura"), where the item of rolling stock had sentimental value to the members of the RES.

In 1977 the railway opened between Glenbrook and Pukeoware. Early services over the railway used the line's ex-Ministry of Works Ruston diesel (later GVR NO 3), a motor trolley, and several material trolleys fitted with longitudal seats. For the first proper services, steam locomotive NO 1 (formerly WW 480) was used with two carriages, a guard's van and an open car.

In 1985, JA 1250 (along with KA 945) hauled the first mainline steam excursion from Auckland to Wellington and return. This was the first steam excursion to run after NZR lifted their ban on steam traction.

In 1986 an extension was completed to Fernleigh, 6 km from Glenbrook. On 5 December 1986 DC 4444 and six Cityrail branded carriages made the run from Auckland to Fernleigh (including the GVR section). This train carried Lange to Fernleigh to open the extension. Prime Minister David Lange preseideed the opening on 6 December 1986. The next day a special excursion train ran from Auckland. JA 1250 and DA 529 hauled a large public excursion out to Glenbrook station from Auckland dubbed the "Sunset Coast Express". Acquisitions and improvements to track and structures occurred during the late 1980s and 1990s. In 1995 plans were laid out for the extension of the railway line from the Fernleigh Terminal into the actual town of Waiuku. Planning, lobbying public support and fundraising continued until the major physical works began in 1999. As the original Waiuku station and yards had been developed following the closure of the line in 1968, the decision was made to have the new Waiuku Station at Tamakae Reserve.

As part of the work, a new bridge would be required to reach Tamakae Reserve, and so a temporary station was opened at Victoria Avenue in Waiuku, just behind the Cosmopolitan Club. When the final extension is completed, it is intended that Victoria Ave will be retained. Member preview trains ran on Easter Saturday 2010, and at Labour Weekend 2010 the new route was opened to regular service by former Waiuku Mayor Kevan Lawrence and Mayor of Auckland Len Brown. The heritage 1922 concrete bridge known as Black Bridge has been strengthened to allow trains to operate beneath it, and laying of newly welded rail onto concrete sleepers (a first at the railway) has been completed. Work continues on planning the requirements of the final extension to Tamakae reserve.

The millionth passenger was carried on 7 January 2007.


Standard operating days[edit]

The railway operates every Sunday and public holiday weekend (except on Christmas Day and Boxing Day) between Labour weekend and Queen's Birthday weekend. Daily running normally occurs from 27 December until the end of the New Year holiday period. After that, regular Sunday and public holiday services operate.

Steam train services depart from Glenbrook every 90 minutes between 11 am and 4 pm, with a round trip taking approximately 60 minutes. The return journey consists of a 20-minute non-stop run from Glenbrook to Victoria Avenue, a five-minute stop where the engine runs round the train, a ten-minute run back to Pukeoware Workshops, a 15-minute workshop inspection visit and a ten-minute run back to Glenbrook.

When the train is not at Glenbrook station hand jigger rides are available within the station yard and motor jigger rides are available to Morley Road level crossing, a round trip of four kilometres.

Special operating days[edit]

During the course of an operating season, special events are occasionally organised featuring a range of unique operations. These may range from special display trains to "all-out" operations to cater for extra demand.

Day out with Thomas[edit]

The most popular events operated by the railway, two trains up to six carriages long depart Glenbrook half-hourly between 10 am and 4 pm, usually.

A smaller "shuttle train" operates in the siding linking the railway to the KiwiRail network. Often hauled by small diesel locomotive "Basil" in earlier years, the service has also been operated by WW 480 "Terry the Tank Engine" and more recently by "Thomas the Tank Engine" – a visitor to the railway. The GVR's "Thomas" is Bagnall 2475, owned by the Mainline Steam Trust and formerly used at the Tomoana Freezing Works, Hastings.

Double-decker buses, traction engines, vintage cars and other related displays have also been presented at these events over the years.

On "Thomas" weekends, trains only travel to Fernleigh, before returning to Pukeoware and Glenbrook.

Railfan Day[edit]

The first Railfan Day was held in February 1996, specifically a celebration to dedicate the National Network fleet van FM 1133 to the memory of past long-time treasurer Arthur Tichener and celebrate the completion of the overhaul of historic carriage C 472. A variety of passenger and mixed trains was run culminating in an impressive steam train triple-headed by Silver Stream Railway's C 847, WW 480 and GVR NO 4, the ex-Taupo Totara Timber Company (Mallet).

Since then various similar events have been held with special passenger and freight workings featuring a range of historic rolling stock and locomotives. These events usually run with resident locomotives and rolling stock, although visiting locomotives have occasionally made appearances, such as the Museum of Transport and Technology's (MOTAT) L 507, which attended the 2009 Railfan Festival.

Steam traction festivals[edit]

Steam festivals combine displays of various steam powered vehicles on one major site. The Glenbrook Vintage Railway staged its first festival in Easter 2002, to celebrate its Silver Jubilee. A myriad of visiting railway locomotives, steam boats, miniature locomotives, static steam engines and even a steam powered car were features. Trains operated on a half-hourly basis each of the four days of the festival and the visiting Pleasant Point Model T railcar also operated in the schedule.

Two DC locomotives pulled a special train on Saturday from Wellsford to Glenbrook and back (and associated empty runs from Otahuhu to Wellsford and back before and after the passenger service) to bring patrons to the event and the following day, Mainline Steam's J 1211 hauled a train from Auckland, whilst JB 1236 returned the train to Auckland. Numerous steam train runs also operated across the Mission Bush branch line to Pukekohe on the Sunday also.

A second steam festival was held in February 2007, incorporating a visit from 7nhp Burrell 'Scenic Special' showman's engine Quo Vadis (wrks. NO 3938) and associated carousel. The weekend also celebrated the re-launch of WW 644 into service after 37 years in storage and overhaul. This event was much lower-key, with no visiting engines attending this event.

A third steam festival took place at Waitangi weekend 2009. The opening event was a special evening on Thursday 5 February. Historic 19th century visiting tank engine L 207 (from MOTAT) operated a demonstration freight train (including a rare mainline appearance by historic 3-axle carriage C 472), followed by the recreation of an original New Zealand "trial rail-motor" from the beginning of the 20th century (which comprised one small tank engine pulling one of four purpose built 60 ft car/vans).[1] The train comprised L 207 and the recently restored dining car van "Kurahaupo" (AF 1182), which was one of the original purpose-built trial rail-motor carriages.

Between Friday 6 February and Sunday 8 February, there were many activities including ploughing, steam boats, steam cars, stalls, heritage displays and equipment. Steam trains ran half-hourly throughout the weekend including appearances by L 207, WW 644, JA 1250 and Mainline Steam's JA1275 which had arrived under her own power from Parnell on Saturday morning.[2] WW 480 was on standby duties outside the depot along with a number of locomotives normally in storage or awaiting overhaul such as recent arrivals A 423 and WAB 800.

A fourth festival took place on the weekend of 23 and 24 March 2013, which included the first public showing of a half scale replica Newcomen engine, built by the Auckland Steam Engine Society. This engine stands 5.5 metres tall and is based on the engines built 300 years before at the dawn of the industrial age to pump water from mines. Six locomotives took part in the passenger hauling during the weekend. There were displays of vintage machinery including traction engines under steam. A vintage Bell helicopter in mobile army surgical hospital colours as used in the Korean war was giving rides. Steam launches gave rides on the small lake while others were on display.

Other events[edit]

Other events have included "Railroad Country", "The Great Train Race", "Santa Day" and a "Military" weekend. The first two events have only happened once in the 1990s.

Volunteer crewing[edit]

The two core teams at the heart of every operational day are the Operations Branch and the Commercial Branch. Typically Commercial Branch members can be identified by their roles associated with the functions of Glenbrook Station, while the Operations Branch can be identified by their roles associated with the functions of physically operating the train and manning the signalling system at Glenbrook Station and Pukeoware Depot.

Commercial team[edit]

Based at Glenbrook Station, primary roles include the preparation of the station service scape and cleanliness prior to customers arrival, selling of tickets from the ticket office, sales of stock from the bookstall and souvernir shop, the preparation and sales of refreshments from the refreshment rooms, operation of hand-powered and motorised jiggers, assisting of parking on special operating days and customer service within the station complex.

Operations team[edit]

Based at Pukeoware Depot, roles in the operation team usually require training and qualification – usually gained after experience at entry level roles such as those in the Commercial Branch teams or as Assistant Guards aboard the train.

Key roles:

  • Train Controller/Signalman: Based at Glenbrook Station, in the signal box, he has overall charge of the days operation of the railway, primarily focusing on safe operations of multiple vehicles (either two or more trains on peak days, or trains and jiggers on standard operating days), signalling train services into and out of the station and maintaining the schedule through efficient turn around at Glenbrook station.
  • Engine Driver: Based aboard the locomotive, managing safe operations of the train, the preparation and presentation of the operating locomotive, maintaining responsibility for operation of the train and shunting manoeuvrings – before, during and after public operations, co-operating with the fireman to maintain steam pressure in the course of operations, co-operation with the train running crew to ensure efficient turn around at Victoria Ave., Fernleigh, or Glenbrook station stops, communications with controllers to ensure safety of the train and other vehicles using the railway etc.
  • Fireman: Based aboard the locomotive, taking direction from the engine driver to ensure safe operations of the train, the preparation and presentation of the operating locomotive, assisting in operations of the train and shunting manoeuvrings – before, during and after public operations, managing the water and fire to maintain steam pressure, co-operation with the train running crew to ensure efficient turn around at Victoria Ave., Fernleigh, or Glenbrook station stops, etc. In most cases, firemen will either be contemplating, or training to become fully qualified engine drivers.
  • Cleaner: Based aboard the locomotive, taking direction from engine driver to ensure safe operations of the train, assisting with piloting and shunting movements (including coupling and uncoupling operations), completing the preparation and presentation of the operating locomotive, taking direction from the fireman (in most cases cleaners will be either preparing to begin training, or be under training to become qualified firemen) during the course of operations – particularly in resupply of coal and water, assisting with the shutting down and cleaning of the locomotive at the end of the operating day etc.
  • Guard: Responsible for on board safety and customer service on the train. Looking after passenger safety and managing vehicle safety through the train's consist whilst in operation. Managing safe embarkation and disembarkation at passenger stops. Operating the trains brake system including brake tests and communications with the locomotive crew to ensure brakes are always applied or released when need be. Signalling the train into motion from scheduled passenger stops and any unscheduled stops (such as watering at Waitangi Stream). Managing the assistant guards to ensure safe operation of the train and the highest level of customer service. Managing the commercial information from the days operation including train consist details (i.e., engine and carriage registrations), schedule performance, passenger numbers, noting potential impacts of patronage or unusual operating events etc.
  • Assistant Guard: Taking direction from the guard to ensure on board safety and delivery of customer service aboard the train. Assisting the guard in managing passengers and vehicle safety through the train's consist whilst in operation. Taking direction from the guard to manage embarkation and disembarkation at passenger stops. Taking direction from the guard and locomotive crew to assist with the operation of the trains braking system where necessary. Communicating with the guard to ensure that the train is safe for a proposed departure. Assisting the guard with relevant commercial information that needs to be recorded etc.
  • OIC (officer in charge) Pukeoware: Based at Pukeoware Station, managing the overall operations in and about the Pukeoware depot, primarily focusing on safe operations of multiple vehicles (either multiple trains or internal depot shunting services), signalling train services in co-operation with the train controller, maintaining schedule through efficient turn-around at Pukeoware station, managing the Pukeoware Road level crossing, etc.

Organisational structure[edit]

Although commissioned as a project of the Railway Enthusiasts Society (RES), the Glenbrook Vintage Railway is an independent charitable trust in its own right. The two organisations remain closely linked.

The three board members are either directly elected by financial members of the Society at the Annual General Meeting (usually held mid August to late September), or appointed by the elected members of the RES committee, by motion and majority vote.

The three trustees are:

  • the President of the RES elected by society members at the AGM
  • the Members' Trustee elected by society members at the AGM
  • the RES Committee Trustee who is appointed by theRES by motion and majority vote.

It is normal practice for the society president to automatically become chairman of the Glenbrook Vintage Railway, but on a number of occasions the president has reserved the right to offer the position to another trustee, who is appointed to the position by agreement of the Trust Board and notified to the RES committee.

The Trust Board appoints a manager to each of the key branches of the railway such as Commercial, Operations, Buildings and Facilities. These managers, known as the Heads of Branches (HOBs) meet monthly in the Glenbrook Vintage Railway's registered office at 38 Alfred Street, Onehunga (the office of the RES). The Railway's Trustboard also meets monthly at this location. It is not unusual for the Trust Board and HOBs to make specific site visits, or hold meetings on site at the Glenbrook Vintage Railway to review certain projects (on top of their own regular contributions to Glenbrook Vintage Railway and RES activities).

The HOBs management team are responsible for the proper functioning of their area and also ensuring that the volunteers in their branch get satisfaction from their efforts on the railway and directing contributions to key projects which fit into the strategic directions of the HOB's and Trustboard.

At the beginning of the Annual General Meeting the Trustees of the railway relinquish their roles along with the RES committee, but are able to be nominated for re-election.

2013-2014 Trust Board[edit]

  • RES President: A. Verry (Chairman)
  • Members' Trustee: John St Julian
  • Committee Trustee: M. Clapham

Buildings and facilities[edit]

Glenbrook House[edit]

Relocated from Waiuku and restored in 1995, Glenbrook House serves as the GVR's Glenbrook caretaker's home. Located alongside the railway line, as was traditional of railway houses, the building is also used as a preparation and storage area prior to large events such as steam festivals and the Friends of Thomas events.

Pukeoware Workshop[edit]

The railway undertakes restoration projects at its workshop, located at Pukeoware, some four kilometres from Glenbrook. The site consists of a heavy engineering workshops in its main yard (with facilities for locomotive overhaul and mechanical engineering), a car and wagon shop in the north yard (specialising in carpentry and paint work) and three carriage storage sheds. The railway has been recognised on numerous occasions at the annual Federation of Rail Organisations NZ (formerly National Federation of Rail Societies) conference awards evening for various locomotive and carriage restorations.

Each track in a carriage shed holds between three and four standard 50 ft (15.24 m) carriages. As an example the third shed holds 12 standard 50 ft (15.24 m) carriages across three tracks, with a recently added lean-to addition adding another eight carriage lengths to the shed's capacity. A further extension to the rear of the shed is now being planned after approval of a grant by the ASB Community Trust. This ensures ongoing conservation of historic railway items.

Apart from maintaining and restoring items for use on the GVR and national excursions, the workshops have also been involved heavily in contracted restoration work of other organisations rolling stock such as Silver Stream Railways C 847 in 1994 and Mainline Steams KA 942 in 1990. The workshop also assisted in the preparation of two carriages for the Carriage's Cafe restaurant in Kumeu, and filming of episodes of the Heroes television series on the Tangiwai disaster and Who Dares Wins (game show).

Shady Rest[edit]

A converted former guard's van has been converted into "Shady Rest" – two basic units for volunteers staying overnight. Originally built for husband and wife teams (and each unit comprising one double bed, and two bunk beds). The unit has been valuable for volunteers when preparing for major events at the railway or excursions away with the GVR's national network fleet.

The Signal Box[edit]

Glenbrook Station is the site for the restored former Auckland 'B' box. The box used to stand in the former Auckland yards, near Gladstone Rd, on the location where the current North Island Main Trunk line now passes to go towards Britomart Transport Centre. The box has been fully restored and received a Rail Heritage Trust of New Zealand Restoration Award in recognition of the work. Stage two work has been completed and during October 2012 the box took control of six fixed signals and two sets of points.

Station buildings[edit]

The railway has a number of historic station buildings in its care, all being from former New Zealand Railways stations.

  • Glenbrook Station's terminal building is made up of the original Waiuku Branchline Glenbrook station and Patumahoe station buildings.
  • Glenbrook Station's picnic area shelter (and eventual platform 2 building) is the former Kingsland suburban station shelter, moved to Glenbrook in 2003 to make way for the double-tracking of Auckland's Western Line
  • Morley Rd's station building is the original Pukeoware station building.

Rolling stock[edit]

Steam locomotives[edit]

The GVR steam roster has ten steam locomotives. As of 2013, one was operational, one was under overhaul, and eight (including five owned by other groups) were in storage:

Active locomotives[edit]

  • JA 1250 (ex NZR) 4-8-2 tender. Built 1949 by Hillside Workshops in Dunedin, JA 1250 was purchased by Phil Goldman in 1972. At his death in 2007, the locomotive was bequeathed to the GVR. Named "Diana". Currently not mainline certified. The locomotive's boiler ticket will expire in 2017.
  • WW 644 (Ex NZR) 4-6-4 tank. Built 1915 by Hillside Workshops in Dunedin, returned to service in 2007. The locomotive's boiler ticket will expire in 2017.

Locomotives in storage[edit]

  • WW 480 (ex NZR) 4-6-4T tank. Built 1910 by Hillside Workshops in Dunedin, returned to service in March 2013. Pulled back out of service in October later that year due to a condemned boiler.
  • NO 4 – Ex-Taupo Totara Timber Co. Mallet No. 7, 2-4-4-2 tender locomotive. Built in 1912 by the American Locomotive Company at Schenectady, New York, GVR NO 4 is known as the railway's flagship engine. It is NZ's only Mallet Compound Steam Engine. GVR NO 4 last worked in 2001 and has been stored since, occasionally it is brought out of storage for display at various events, such as its 100th birthday in 2012 when it was displayed in the private siding at Glenbrook.
  • F 233 (ex NZR) 0-6-0T tank. Built in 1885 by Robert Stephenson at Newcastle upon Tyne, F 233 was either purchased from or donated by AFFCo Southdown in 1964 and went on display at the former Onehunga Railway Station in Alfred St (the RES clubrooms) until 1984. It is stored at the Pukeoware workshops, carrying the name 'Ada'. The locomotive is unique in having a non-standard saddle tank, which was fitted by AFFCo.

Locomotives owned by other groups[edit]

  • A 423 (ex NZR) 4-6-2 tender. Built 1909 by A & G Price at Thames, this locomotive is owned by Kevin and Paul Jowett and was formerly displayed at the Te Awamutu Railway Museum between 1971 and 2008. It is stored at Pukeoware, and is stored by the GVR.
  • AB 832 (ex NZR) 4-6-2 tender. Built 1925 by North British Locomotive Company at Glasgow, Scotland. Leased from MOTAT, AB 832 arrived in October 1996. It was the last steam locomotive to see scheduled service in the North Island in December 1967, and is in storage at Pukeoware. There are no long-term plans for this locomotive.
  • FA 250 (Ex NZR) 0-6-2T tank. Built 1892 by Addington Workshops in Christchurch from 0-6-0ST F 250. Donated to the New Zealand Railway and Locomotive Society (Waikato Branch) by the Whakatane Board Mills in 1967, FA 250 was leased out to the Goldfields Railway and later the Waitara Railway Preservation Society. The locomotive was under overhaul when it was returned to the NZR&LS, and arrived at the GVR in September 2010. It is partway through its overhaul, and remains disassembled.
  • WAB 800 (ex NZR) 4-6-4T tank. Built 1927 by A & G Price at Thames. WAB 800 was purchased in 1967 by the NZR&LS (Waikato Branch) and displayed at Te Awamutu from 1967 to 2008. The locomotive arrived in May 2008, and is stored by the GVR.
  • JA 1267 (ex NZR) 4-8-2. Was preserved by a syndicate and stored at the Te Awamutu Railway Museum at Te Awamutu, 1972. It sat on static display under a rudimentary shelter until 2008 when due to the winding up of the museum and dischord amongst the syndicate, the locomotive was placed up for auction. It was purchased by Ian Welch and transferred to the Mainline Steam Heritage Trust's Parnell depot where it is stored pending eventual overhaul to main line running.
  • JA 1275 (ex NZR) 4-8-2. Was preserved by Les Hostick in 1967 and stored at the Te Awamutu Railway Museum at Te Awamutu, 1972. It sat on static display under a rudimentary shelter until 1994 when it was leased to Ian Welch and transferred to the Mainline Steam Heritage Trust's Parnell depot for restoration to main line running condition. Work began in 2001, and in 2004 JA 1275 returned to the main line rails. It has proven a reliable locomotive and sees frequent use on excursions.
  • BA 552 (ex NZR) 4-8-0. Owned by Les Hostick. Previously on static display at Te Awamutu Railway Museum, leased to Mainline Steam in 1994. Restored to mainline standard in 1999, although certification has since lapsed. BA 552 is having work associated with a major boiler survey and minor mechanical repairs done.
  • BB 144 (ex NZR) 4-8-0. Owned by Les Hostick. Previously on static display at Te Awamutu Railway Museum, leased to Mainline Steam in 1994. Restoration work at Parnell began in 2001 after the restoration of JB 1236 was finished and is currently ongoing. It is not intended that BB 144 will be certified for mainline operation.
  • J 1211 (ex NZR) 4-8-2. Purchased by a syndicate from NZR 1971 and moved to Steam Incorporated. Purchased outright by Ian Welch in 1978, and moved to Glenbrook Vintage Railway for restoration prior to its lease to the Bay of Islands Vintage Railway in 1985-86. Restored to mainline standard and fitted with original style streamlining and returned to service in 1988. Converted to oil firing from October 1995[3] to December later that year. Named Gloria in preservation.

Former resident locomotives[edit]

  • J 1234 (ex NZR) 4-8-2 tender. Built 1939 by North British Locomotive Company at Glasgow, Scotland. This locomotive is owned by Steam Incorporated of Paekakariki, and was leased to the RES/GVR in 1998. Arriving in September 1998, it adopted the character of 'Wally' for the 1998 "Friends of Thomas" event in place of WW 480. The locomotive was returned to Paekakariki in June 2015.

Diesel locomotives[edit]

The diesel roster used mainly for Ways and Works purposes, comprises:

Resident locomotives[edit]

  • NO 3 – An ex-New Zealand Ministry of Works 30 hp Ruston Hornsby 0-4-0, GVR NO was the railway's first locomotive. It is maintained in operational condition.
  • NO 7 – formerly DS 207 (TMS DS 94). This locomotive is the sole survivor of the original four Ds locos imported by NZR in 1949 and is under overhaul.
  • NO 8 – formerly DE 507 (TMS DE 1372). This locomotive is operational, and is used for occasional passenger service and regular work trains. The locomotive is operating as DE 507, although it did carry its identity as GVR NO 8 in early 2010.
  • NO 9 – formerly DE 509. The locomotive is nonoperational and stored at Pukeoware. This locomotive is still painted in the 'International Orange' livery and carries its TMS number of DE 1395. This locomotive did see some use in the 1980s on work trains, but was placed into storage and has not operated since.
  • NO 10 – formerly DSA 243 (TMS DSA 455). This locomotive is one of three surviving Bagnall-built DSA class locomotives. The DSA arrived in 1988 as a replacement for NO 5, which had been damaged while being returned from another railway. It received an overhaul in 2008 and was repainted from GVR yellow into NZR red, but retaining its present identity as GVR NO 10.

Privately owned locomotives[edit]

  • DA 1429 (TMS DA 322). This locomotive is operational, and is equipped with the necessary equipment to work on the main line. Stored by agreement with Dean McQuoid, arrived on site in November 2010.

Former resident locomotives[edit]

  • DA 1410 (TMS DA 126). This locomotive was leased from Steam Incorporated by the RES, and arrived on site in September 1998. The locomotive was returned to Steam Incorporated's Paekakariki site in June 2015.
  • DA 1431 (TMS DA 345). This locomotive was leased from Steam Incorporated with DA 1410 in 1998 and later ended up in storage. It returned to Paekakariki in 2008 and has since been restored to operational condition with the necessary equipment to allow it to work on the main line.
  • NO 5 – formerly DSA 230. Drewry DSA 230 was often loaned out to other groups by the GVR, but this practice ended in 1988 when the locomotive was towed while in gear. The result was the transmission was damaged beyond repair, and so Bagnall DSA 455 was obtained as a replacement. The remains of DSA 230 were then stripped of all useful parts and the remains lingered at Pukeoware until they were scrapped in 1990.

Self-propelled equipment[edit]

  • Railcar RM 32 "Pangatoru" –.Stored, owned by the New Zealand Railway and Locomotive Society Waikato Branch, arrived on site December 2001.
  • Plasser & Theurer Ballast tamper 864 – Under Light Repairs Heavily used in civil engineering works (recent large projects include tamping 900 metres of relaid track between Glenbrook and Morley Road, Waiuku Extension works beyond Fernleigh and a 1998 project to tamp most of the lightweight rail track on the Dargaville Branch in Northland.
  • Cowans Sheldon crane 224 – operational. Heavily used in mechanical engineering and civil engineering works including lifting locomotive boilers, carriage bodies, track sets and other equipment. Can be included in a train, or travel (albeit slowly) under its own power.

Passenger carriages[edit]

Domestic carriages[edit]

The domestic passenger fleet comprises late 19th and early 20th century rolling stock. Most vehicles are the traditional narrow-bodied A series wooden carriages, turned out in a red livery, featuring opening windows and outdoor viewing balconies on each end. These carriages either have side-facing longitudinal seating or arrangements of paired seating on one side of the aisle and singular seating on the other. These carriages are named after the Maori migration canoes that brought the Maori people to New Zealand from Hawaiki.

The core fleet of carriages includes:

  • AF 804 "Tainui", 47 12 ft (14.48 m) carriage incorporating guards' compartment and luggage area.
  • A 1161 "Mataatua", 50 ft (15.24 m) standard passenger car
  • A 1162 "Aotea", 50 ft (15.24 m) standard passenger car
  • A 1222 "Te Arawa", 50 ft (15.24 m) standard passenger car fitted with longitudinal seating
  • F 141 "Nga Tira", former 50 ft (15.24 m) guards' van, with the luggage and storage area converted into a covered outdoor viewing carriage. Fondly known as the "Chicken Coop"
  • VB 624 "Waka Whenua", former steam crane support wagon, converted into an uncovered outdoor viewing carriage.
  • UB 1554 "Nga Hau", an outdoor viewing carriage was retired from service in 1998 and scrapped in 2002 following condemning. Waka Whenua was built in 1993 as a replacement.

Notable unique carriages which are operated on special occasions include...

  • C 472, a very historic Clemenson-Patent six-wheeled carriage, built by the Oldbury Car Company, England in 1879. Originally used on Auckland's first railway, the Onehunga Branch (which utilised this style carriage), it was relocated by ship to the Donnellys Crossing Section. After being withdrawn in 1933, the carriage body was donated to the Donnellys Crossing Axemans Association. In 1989, the Railway Enthusiasts Society purchased the carriage and moved it to Pukeoware for a full restoration, which was completed in 1996. The carriage runs at special event days, such as on free Glenbrook yard rides at the Friends of Thomas event.
  • A 543 "Manakura", 44 12 ft (13.56 m) clerestory roof kitchen/diner carriage with seating for 25, coal fired range and stunning stained glass windows (in the clerestory). Withdrawn from service in 2002 for an overhaul, the carriage is stored.
  • A 1452 (yet to be named), 44 12 ft (13.56 m) "wide-body" carriage restored as a parlour carriage featuring a bar, plush leather lounge and extended outdoor viewing area specifically for charter work. Intended to be a partner carriage to Af 1182, this carriage has be turned out in the same green livery to match the dining carriage.
  • AF 1182, 60 ft (18.29 m) carriage with a guards compartment and luggage area. Built with 72 seats for Auckland commuter trains, the carriage has been restored as a dining carriage, similar in style to "Manakura". The guard compartment incorporates heating facilities for light snacks and hot drinks. The carriage has been turned out in a green livery and operated in public service for the first time at the "Friends of Thomas Weekend" of 8 and 9 November 2008. In 2016 the carriage was modified to better suit its dining purpose.

National network fleet[edit]

The railway ownns a fleet of carriages, known as the "mainline fleet", formerly owned by the parent body (Railway Enthusiasts Society) and leased to the railway. The fleet has undergone an overhaul and re-certification with KiwiRail. Excursions have seen them tour all around New Zealand, including to Gisborne, New Plymouth, Whakatane, Bay of Islands, Wellington, Christchurch, Arthurs Pass and Timaru.

Turned out in the original Glenbrook Vintage Railway livery of yellow bodies, white ceilings and chocolate lining, the fleet will consist of the following vehicles...

Four carriages built in the early 20th century for the (then) newly opened North Island Main Trunk express services, before being relocated onto Auckland commuter train services post war through to retirement in the early 1970s:

  • AA 1134, 50 ft (15.24 m) wide-body wooden carriage built in Petone workshops, Wellington, in 1909.
  • AA 1233, 50 ft (15.24 m) wide-body wooden carriage built in Petone workshops, Wellington, in 1912.
  • AA 1258, 50 ft (15.24 m) wide-body wooden carriage built in Newmarket workshops, Auckland, in 1912.
  • AA 1494, 50 ft (15.24 m) wide-body wooden carriage built in Newmarket workshops, Auckland, in 1924.

These carriages are fully certified for operations on the KiwiRail network, and the original "drop toilets" will be upgraded in due course with chemical retention holding tanks.

Three carriages built during World War II to replace the original North Island Main Trunk express service carriages, and later allocated to Auckland commuter trains from the 1970s to retirement in 1994...

  • A 1948 (TMS A56496), NZR 56-foot carriage. Built in 1939 at Addington Workshops, Christchurch. Overhauled at United Group's Hutt Workshops and returned to Pukeoware in May 2008. Carriage restoration completed in October 2009. First operation on the KiwiRail network in private ownership on 17 April 2011.
  • A 1926 (TMS AL56112), 56 ft (17.07 m) steel-panelled carriage built in 1939 at Otahuhu Workshops, Auckland with vestibule guards area. Overhauled at United Group's Hutt Workshops, Wellington, and returned to Pukeoware in March 2009. Carriage restoration completed in March 2011. First operation on the KiwiRail network in private ownership on 17 April 2011.
  • AL56037 (originally A 1991), 56 ft (17.07 m) steel-panelled carriage with separate guard/luggage compartment, built in 1940 at Addington Workshops, Christchurch. Previously certified for GVR domestic use, it visited KiwiRail's Hutt Workshops for an overhaul of the frames and body, the GVR workshops are now undertaking the refitting of the carriage ready for mainline use.

Guard's Van FM 1133 was built as a three-module van for freight service in 1981. Withdrawn when guards were no longer required on freight trains, the RES converted one module into a storage area, the middle module into a crew area and the third module into a fully functioning kitchen for catering on excursion trains. The van is certified for operation on the KiwiRail network.

Wooden Guard's Van F 394 was built in 1913 and used on the 2008 Parliamentary Special and Governor's Special, in green livery. It is certified for operations on the KiwiRail network, and is on loan to Steam Incorporated.

Along with these passenger carriages, it is expected that water support wagon UC 686, steam locomotives JA 1250 and WW 644 will also be certified for KiwiRail network operations.

Freight wagons and way and works vehicles[edit]

A large selection of freight wagons has been purchased, donated or leased. The railway has found use for many of the railway wagons that it has acquired and displays them on demonstration runs and for photographers' specials. The set includes a full rake of ballast wagons and plough van, which have been used during large-scale works such as the Waiuku Extension and major track renewal. Other items include replica workman's hut, refrigerated wagons, cement wagons and bulk oil tanks.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ See Youtube Video.
  2. ^ See Youtube Video
  3. ^ "Railfan". 2 (1). Triple M Publications. December 1995. ISSN 1173-2229. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 37°12′30″S 174°47′08″E / 37.2083°S 174.7856°E / -37.2083; 174.7856