Easter with Kiwi

Celebrating Easter with Kiwi the Engine 

- From The Timaru Herald

Kiwi the Engine carted around 1000 passengers on tours of Pleasant Point during the town's 10th annual Easter weekend steam-up.

Despite Sunday's "crook" weather nearly 300 people headed to Pleasant Point Museum and Railway to celebrate the holiday with Kiwi the engine and friends, in addition to the nearly 500 who enjoyed the trains on sunny Saturday followed by another good turnout on Easter Monday.

We had quite a few sitting in the vintage movie theatre [to keep sheltered and warm]," Pleasant Point Railway and Historical Society president Bryan Blanchard said.

"It's fairly unique what we do here. It doesn't get stale."

Popcorn, face painting, and bouncy castles were also on offer to keep children entertained during the three-day showcase of Kiwi, an 1878 engine.

"It's good to see the enthusiasm, from boys and girls.

"It's a great place for the mums and grandparents to bring their kids."

Getting the weekend running smoothly was a "joint effort" with about 20 volunteers - some dressed in vintage clothes "which makes it look realistic" - keeping up with the crowds, Blanchard said.

The railway is next operating on Queen's Birthday, June 2, from 12.30pm.

Admission is $6 for kids over 3, $12 for adults, family ticket $35.



Ab699 back in action 

Ab699, dressed as Ab718, leaves Pleasant Point station on September 23, its first day of running in five years. Photo: John Bisset

After several years out of service for a major overhaul, Ab 699 back together and was welcomed into service again on September 23, 2018. 

Chief engineer Dowall McLeod cut a ribbon with Timaru deputy mayor Richard Lyon, officially marking the engine's return to service after a massive five-year overhaul.

The Mackenzie Highland Pipe Band played the locomotive out of Pleasant Point station and the day's events were topped off with night running.

One noteable change on the day was that 699 was instead dressed up at Ab 718 - the lead engine (followed by Ab 798) on the last train from Fairlie 50 years ago.

The Timaru Herald visited for the day and wrote this article to mark the occasion. Thank you to everyone who either helped with this project, or came out to help us celebrate its completion. We couldn't do it without you.

Help wanted!

Joan is retiring from our society from the role of Publicity Officer. Joan's done a sterling job on this for a number of years, and we have been looking around for someone to fill this important part of our society’s operations. So far we have not been able to find anyone. If you would like to help the society, or know of someone who could be interested, please feel free to contact us. Full training will be given.

Track work 

It's cold, hard work - but someone's got to do it.

During the winter shut-down period, the track team have been busy ripping out old sleepers and replacing them and the ballast they sit in.

With a sleeper every two feet, it's not a quick process and the materials aren't cheap either.

When the society was first relaying track, the then-county council ordered the rails be hidden at grass-level. Together with that, limited funds meant we could only afford river-run shingle - a mix of dirt and stones - to sit the track in. That meant the sleepers didn't get the drainage they needed.

While the track has since been raised out of the ground, it's an ongoing project to remove the old ballast as we spot-resleeper and replace it with proper dirt-free ballast.

To find out how you can help, either physically or financially, contact us here.