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


Saturday, February 20, 2016

New Zealand January 2016 - 7. Blenheim Riverside Railway

The Blenheim Riverside Railway is a superb new 2ft gauge line that has been developed over the last 30 years. It runs 5.5km from Brayshaw Heritage Park to the heart of Blenheim alongside the Taylor River. An 800m branch to the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre and Omaka Classic Cars was recently opened in 2015.

The railway makes Blenheim unique as a 2ft gauge railway centre worldwide. There is nothing quite like this anywhere else.

At Brayshaw Park Station, the main loco working currently is GEORGE, 4wDH A&G Price 166 of 1951, built in Thames, New Zealand for the Ohai State Coal Mine.

B-B DH ONAHAU - 1145 DH3443 - was donated to the railway. It was built in a Picton shipyard in the 1990s for service on a now defunct private railway in the Marlborough Sounds. Too slow for passenger work, it is the preferred locomotive for maintenance trains.

Maintenance vehicles coupled to ONAHAU in the spacious shed.

This rotary grass cutter built by the railway is reminiscent of larger versions once used on Queensland sugar cane railways.

WW 7443, a converted ex-NZR jigger

This is a Ruston & Hornsby 20DL 4wDM, believed to be 202969 of 1940. It had a varied history in the UK, receiving its steam outline for use at the Cotswold Wildlife Park. It came to New Zealand in 1984 and was purchased for the railway in 2011. It is currently being equipped for passenger use.

'Donald' was built as a 0-4-0T in 1901, almost certainly by the Glasgow Railway Engineering Co Ltd. It worked at the Puponga coal mines until 1930 and was then dumped. Rescued in 1989, it has been a long-term rebuilding project. Converted to an oil-burning 0-4-2T to make it suitable for passenger use, it should return to steam during 2016.

MURRAY is Ruston & Hornsby 170204 of 1934, converted from 2ft 6in gauge. It worked at Milburn Lime & Cement and is currently the backup passenger train loco.

RM1 is a B-B DH railcar built by the railway in 1992 and available to handle light services or operate shuttles on the Omaka branch on busy days.

The railway runs alongside the Taylor River through parkland. This is just past Eckford's Engineering Corner as the line approaches central Blenheim

The train passes below High Street at the Alfred Bridge and joins the River Board Walk at Leeds Quay

Beaver Station terminus alongside the river quay in central Blenheim

On returning to Brayshaw Park, GEORGE runs around its train in readiness for its run up the Omaka branch, opened in 2015

The Omaka branch crosses a bridge over the Taylor River constructed by the Marlborough District Council

Train at Omaka Station ready to return to Brayshaw Park

Climbing up from the river bridge on the return journey to Brayshaw Park

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