The Freight Wagons

Over the years the Society has collected a representative collection of older freight wagons - many synonymous with the Fairlie branch line. These include a sheep wagon ['Jc' 5051]; meat wagon ['Xb' 2153]; wooden and steel general purpose wagons ['M' 225 and 'La' 24598 respectively]; steel box wagon ['Kp' 2626]; beer crate wagon ['Ubw' 61]; general purpose wagon ['Nc' 1053]; ballast wagon ['Yb' 579] and horse box ['Ug' 125]. The horse box was converted in 1977 to carry passengers.

Within the past few years, a second 'Kp' steel box wagon, now painted silver, has been added to the collection, as well as a 'Na' flatdeck wagon, which is used for storing wood.

All the wagons are restored and many are displayed in the Keanes Crossing shed. From time-to-time they are used for demonstrating purposes behind Ab 699 or D 16.

The Kakahu Carriage

'A' 1142 was built at the New Zealand Railways Addington Workshops in 1911 as a composite day car, having both first and second-class compartments.

It entered service the same year and finished its running in the South Island. Converted to an all-second-class carriage in June 1943, it was written off in March of 1958 and sold to a Mr Scandrett in September 1958.

Eventually it was transported to Kakahu where it was used as a sleep-out. It remained there until 1986, when the society purchased it for $50 and moved it to Pleasant Point. The carriage body of 'A' 1142 is now bolted onto the under frame of carriage 'A' 1548. 

After more than 50 years sitting idle, and three restoration attempts, the Kakahu Carriage entered service again on Saturday, November 9, 2013.

It was officially put back in commission by Timaru district deputy mayor Richard Lyon.

Pleasant Point Museum and Railway president Bryan Blanchard said the restored carriage would replace the existing birdcage carriage, which was due for some work.

Restoration work began on A1142 in 1993, followed by another push at restoration 10 years ago. The majority of the work has been completed in the past three years.

Restoration team leader Don Spencer said the finishing touches were just days before the commissioning . "Everything looks nice and shiny. It all takes a long time when you are restoring old equipment."

He estimated more than 2000 hours had been spent on the project. "When you are sanding, varnishing and polishing old bits of brass, it's very time consuming. It's come up pretty well considering it's 100 years old."

Mr Blanchard said 10 people worked on the restoration and more than $10,000 had been spent.

- Hat tip: The Timaru Herald

The Guardsvans

The society owns two 30-foot-long guardsvans. Both completed their service with New Zealand Railways in the South Island.

'F' 423 was built in the Hillside Workshops in 1915 and was purchased by the Society in 1980. It arrived in Timaru in July of that year and was restored to house the society's radio studio and associated equipment. Trucked to Pleasant Point in December 1980, it is now commonly referred to as Bill Timmings' van, in memory of the man who was the mastermind behind the radio studio idea.

'F' 510 was built at the Addington Workshops in 1929 and was given to the society by a member in 1982. It was stored on a Levels Valley farm until January 1984, when it was trucked to Pleasant Point for restoration. This van entered service at Pleasant Point on January 13, 1985, and is now a permanent part of the passenger carriage set.

The Leslie Wain Carriage

'A' 421 is unique, being the only fully restored half-birdcage carriage in New Zealand. Built in the New Zealand Railways Addington Workshops in Christchurch during 1895, it commenced service on October 12 of that year in the Christchurch region as a first class saloon balcony carriage.

During 1905, it was transferred to the Invercargill region. In the years that followed, it was reduced to a second-class carriage before eventually being written off in 1955. Three years later it was sold as a bach (holiday home) in the small Mid Canterbury township of Mt Somers. It was donated to the Society in 1977 by the trustees of the late Leslie Wain and trucked to Timaru in 1980. While in Timaru, it was placed on the under frame and bogies of carriage 'A' 529.

During June 1984, the carriage was trucked out to Pleasant Point for partial restoration to allow it to take an active part in the filming of the pilot film on the life of Alf Hanlon, and in particular, his defence of Minnie Deans - the only woman to be hanged in New Zealand.

The filming took place at Ashburton and Christchurch and meant the carriage had to travel via the New Zealand Railways main line. On its return to Pleasant Point during October 1984, the restoration was competed in time for it to enter service on December 28. It is the plush first-class seats, balcony grill [from which the term birdcage is derived] and the clerestory roof that set this car out from the other carriages in the collection.

The Schools’ Carriage

'A' 717 was one in of a batch of 10 second class carriages built at the Hillside Workshops between 1901 and 1902. It entered service in the Dunedin region in 1902.

For many years it was used to transport school children into Dunedin. Girls were put in one end and boys in the other. The idea of segregating the children had merit, but boys carved holes in the middle division so they could spy on their female counterparts. The holes and gouges are still visible.

In April 1956, it was converted in to a mobile workshop and reclassified 'Ea' 2893. It remained as such until purchased by the Society in 1983 for $190. The carriage was trucked from Washdyke to Pleasant Point on July 23, 1983, and restored in time to be placed in service on December 27, 1983. It is representative of a class of carriages known as turtlebacks.