NZR FA class

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New Zealand FA class
Type and origin
Power type Steam
Builder New Zealand Government Railways
Total produced 20
Configuration 0-6-0ST
Gauge 3 ft 6 in (1,067 mm)
Driver dia. 36 in (0.914 m)
Wheelbase 10 ft 6 in (3.20 m)
Length 26 ft 6 in (8.08 m)
Adhesive weight 25.5 long tons (25.9 t; 28.6 short tons)
Loco weight 29.7 long tons (30.2 t; 33.3 short tons)
Fuel capacity 1.6 long tons (1.6 t; 1.8 short tons)
Water cap 450 imp gal (2,000 l; 540 US gal)
 • Firegrate area
10.7 sq ft (0.99 m2)
Boiler pressure 160 psi (1.10 MPa)
Heating surface 530 sq ft (49 m2)
Cylinders Two, outside
Cylinder size 12 in × 18 in (305 mm × 457 mm)
Performance figures
Tractive effort 9,090 lbf (40.43 kN)
Disposition 3 preserved, 1 in service, 16 scrapped

The New Zealand FA class was built as a larger version of the tried and true NZR F class 0-6-0T. The requirements were for larger water and coal capacity on a locomotive that could handle grades better than the F class. Due to costs involved in producing new machines, NZR chose to rebuild existing machines with larger coal and water capacity, larger boiler and firebox, higher boiler preasure and larger diameter pistons. Seven F class engines were rebuilt between 1892 and 1897. Another seven were built new, one at Newmarket Railway Workshops in 1896 and six at Addington Workshops in 1902-03.


Due to longer distances being travelled, it became clear that the standard F class were unable to cope due to their limited coal and water capacity. The first twelve locomotives rebuilt to class FA between 1892 and 1895 were designed to overcome this problem. The locomotives were re-equipped with Walschaerts valve motion, new side tanks and cabs, and a larger boiler. Nominally, the extent of the changes meant that very little of these locomotives actually remained from the original.[1]

Although they were now more powerful than the F class and were reasonably successful, the FA class was hampered like the LA 4-4-0T rebuilds in that their coal bunkers were too small. The decision was made in 1897 to extend the frames of F 9, then undergoing conversion at Addington Workshops, and fit an extended coal bunker. To accommodate this, a two-wheeled trailing truck would be added.[2]

Initially, FA 9 was classified as an FB class locomotive to differentiate it from the 0-6-0T conversions. Once its success had been confirmed, all of the FA class locomotives were rebuilt to the FB class specifications between 1900 and 1905. Following the completion of the final conversion in 1905, all locomotives were reclassified as the FA class once more.[3]

Plans had existed in 1901 to rebuild further F class locomotives, but these were scrapped and in 1902-03 a further six FB class locomotives were built, numbers 315 and 372-376. These locomotives differed from the other rebuilds in having a redesigned frame and piston valves in place of the original slide valves fitted to the earlier rebuilds.[4] FA 9 also differed from the standard rebuilds in that its trailing truck had outside journal boxes instead of the internal type used on the other engines.


The FA class saw little work after 1919 due to increases in traffic and in part to their complexity over the standard F class. The locomotives were progressively withdrawn up until 1943, when the last locomotive of this type, FA 250 (based at Westport) was sold to the Whakatane Board Mills for use on their Matahina Tramway in the Bay of Plenty.[5] Most were scrapped and their boilers fitted to F class locomotives.

During their working lives, the FA class locomotives were reboilered at least once, with the original boilers being fitted to members of the F, G, and L class locomotives among others. As a result, most preserved F and L class locomotives have a F or FA class boiler in place of the original type of boiler. While this provides a degree of standardisation, it is somewhat negated by the fact that these boilers come from different makers and have differences in internal fittings such as the dry-pipe.

Two engines that were not scrapped following withdrawal were FA 315 and 373, which had been allocated to the Nelson Section following their rebuilding. They had been put aside in the Glenhope engine shed following withdrawal, and were dumped in the Glenhope ballast pit in the mid-1930s. These locomotives were at the time relatively complete, but in time their wheels, boilers, and water tanks were removed.[6] The remains of the locomotives, if they still exist, comprise the frames, cowcatchers, cylinders, upper cab and coal bunkers.

Industrial Use[edit]

Like the NZR F class, members of the FA class also saw service after being retired from NZR service. The largest user of these engines was the Ohai Railway Board, who owned engines F A 10, 157, and 251 between 1919 and 1954. The last in service, FA 251, was displaced permanently in 1947 by the arrival of the railway's second Drewry 0-6-0DM diesel locomotive. It was not scrapped immediately but may have lingered at Wairio for some time before it was finally scrapped.

FA 41 and FA 250 were purchased by the Whakatane Board Mills for use on their Matahina Tramway in 1937 and 1943 respectively. These two engines were later displaced by two Drewry 0-6-0DM diesel locomotives, and FA 41 was onsold to AFFCo in 1960. FA 250 lasted until 1967 when it was donated to the NZR&LS Waikato Branch for display at the now-defunct Te Awamutu Railway Museum.

The Auckland Farmers Freezing Company purchased FA 9 in 1943, and purchased FA 41 from the Whakatane Board Mills in 1960. Both were converted to 0-6-0DM diesel shunters in 1953 and 1964 respectively, and worked at AFFCo Moerewa and Horotiu respectively. When the former FA 41 was withdrawn in 1980, its frame was donated to the Bush Tramway Club at Pukemiro Junction for spare parts.

Class register[edit]

Key: In service On lease Out of service Preserved Overhaul/Repair Scrapped
Road Number Workshops Date Converted to FA 0-6-0T Workshops Date Converted to FB 0-6-2T Withdrawn Notes
9 Not converted to FA 0-6-0T Addington 1897 1943 Industrial use 1943-c.1990, AFFCo Horotiu, Moerewa. Dieselised 1953. Preserved at the Bay of Islands Vintage Railway, Kawakawa.
10 Addington 1893 Hillside 1903 1919 Industrial use 1919-1940, Ohai Railway Board. Later to the Mount Somers Tramway.
41 Addington 1893 Hillside 1903 1937 Industrial use 1937-1960, Whakatane Board Mills, 1960-1980 AFFCo Horotiu. Dieselised 1964. Frame only at the Bush Tramway Club, Pukemiro Junction.
157 Addington 1895 Hillside 1903 1923 Industrial use 1923-1927, Ohai Railway Board.
179 Petone 1894 Petone 1904 1930
182 Petone 1893 Petone 1904 1928
186 Petone 1895 Petone 1903 1929
226 Petone 1892 Petone 1903 1930
242 Newmarket 1892 Newmarket 1904 1930
244 Newmarket 1895 Newmarket 1905 1930
247 Newmarket 1892 Newmarket 1904 1929
250 Addington 1892 Westport 1900 1943 Industrial use 1943-1966, Whakatane Board Mills. Preserved at the Glenbrook Vintage Railway, but owned by the NZR&LS Waikato Branch.
251 Addington 1892 Hillside 1903 1939 Industrial use 1939-1954, Ohai Railway Board.
Engines built new
276 Newmarket 1896 Newmarket 1904 1931 Built new. Only NZR locomotive built in Auckland.
315 Addington 1902 1936 Built new. Dumped in the Glenhope ballast pit on the Nelson Section, c.1930s.
372 Addington 1902 1936 Built new.
373 Addington 1902 1936 Built new. Dumped in the Glenhope ballast pit on the Nelson Section, c.1930s.
374 Addington 1903 1936 Built new. Used for spare parts when withdrawn, and scrapped in the Nelson railway yards, c.1930s with F 146.
375 Addington 1903 1936 Built new.
376 Addington 1903 1931 Built new.


[7] [8]

  1. ^ Millar, Sean, The NZR Steam Locomotive, NZR&LS, 2011. p. 104.
  2. ^ Palmer, Bill and Stewart, W. W, Cavalcade of New Zealand Locomotives, Reed, 1956, 1965. p. 64.
  3. ^ Millar, p. 104.
  4. ^ Millar, p. 104.
  5. ^ Millar, pp.104-5.
  6. ^ The remains of FA 315 and 373 were used as a source of new boilers for the NZ Army Papakura Camp in 1944; the water tanks were used as abutments on the Pretty Creek Bridge once filled with rocks, and the wheels were taken by farmers to attach to their tractors as weights.
  7. ^ Stewart, W W (1970). When Steam Was King. Wellington, NZ: AH Reed. p. 139. ISBN 0-589-00382-8. 
  8. ^ Lloyd, W G (2002). Register of New Zealand Railway Steam Locomotives 1863-1971. Wellington, NZ: Triple M Publications. pp. 47–171. ISBN 0-9582072-1-6.