150 years of rail in New Zealand

On July 20 and 21, Pleasant Point Museum and Railway marked an anniversary that is older than many New Zealand towns and is the reason so many exist.

In 1863, 150 years ago, the new town of Christchurch was linked by iron to the settlement of Ferrymead.

That first train set in motion what would become a mission to link the length and breadth of the country by rail, uniting the New Zealand and revolutionising the way people lived and travelled.

In a rarely seen exercise during mid July, two steam-hauled trains operated along Pleasant Point’s mile-and-a-half stretch of line – the only remaining section of what was the Fairlie branch.

Ab 699 – one of the actual Fairlie Flyers - and D 16 pulled trains similar to what rolled through the small railway town prior to the line’s closure 45 years ago. Their trains consisted of passenger cars and goods wagons. This was the first time since 2008 that mixed trains had been run.

On the Saturday night, Ab 699 also ran several special trains between the stations, double heading with D16.

The weekend ended up attracting a huge crowd - more than 1100 people  rode the trains and saw the attractions operating alongside them (that's the equivalent of nearly the entire population of the town). 

And thanks to local cameraman Brian High, here's some extended footage. To all of you who managed to visit for this event, thank you. We hope you had a memorable time.