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Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
See also John Raby's blogs at www.rabylee.uk/linesidingindex.html


Monday, February 15, 2016

New Zealand January 2015. 1 - Bush steam lokies

I had two very enjoyable weeks in New Zealand's South Island in January this year. The trip was not primarily a railway-oriented one, but there were plenty of opportunities to visit a variety of sites.

 At first I had thought of producing a daily journal but decided this was too onerous and that a retrospective thematic approach might make more sense.

So this first episode deals with narrow gauge steam bush tramway 'lokies', as they were known.

Many tramways operated in New Zealand for timber extraction right up to the 1960s. While some locomotives were imported for use on these lines, remoteness and unique operating conditions combined with local enterprise and resourcefulness led to a whole variety of home-grown products, both steam and internal-combustion.

A favourite theme for bush steam locomotives was gearing to increase haulage power.

BRUCE - a small Johnston 0-4-0 geared loco, built in Invercargill in 1903. 

Now on display at 'Steam Scene' near Christchurch Airport. 

A somewhat larger 0-6-0 Johnston, built in 1902.
This locomotive is on display at Riverton.
The middle wheelset was originally just a jackshaft as in BRUCE.

Gearing was sometimes combined with articulation. American logging locomotives were imported for use on some lines.

A 1913 Climax on display at Shantytown near Greymouth.

A 1923 Heisler, also at Shantytown

A & G Price of Thames built many bush locomotives.
Here is their 1943 take on the Heisler design, fitted with side tanks.
This locomotive is kept in a cramped shed in running order at 'Steam Scene' .

New-Zealand produced bush locomotives were also sometimes fitted with mechanical linkages such as chains or cardan shafts to allow power to be transmitted to the log bogies in front of and/or behind the locomotive.

This '12-wheeler' had an articulated drive to the log bogie in the rear.
It was built by Davidson in  Hokitika in 1910 and is displayed
in a small park inland from Greymouth.

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