• Hunslett Locomotive arrives at Ocean Beach
Since the early 1980's, DSA 252 has been the resident shunting locomotive at the Freezing Works at Burnside, Dunedin. Through the transition from New Zealand Refrigerating to Waitaki and on to PPCS it retained its distinctive blue and white livery and was generally well maintained. It was built in 1954 by Hunslett and originally equipped with a National engine and gear box which was soon replaced with a lower powered but more user friendly Gardner 8L3 as an urgent interim measure until finally being rebuilt with a 315hp turbo charged Caterpillar D343T and torque converter in the late 1960's.
The usage of the locomotive declined with the scaling back of the Burnside plant although it continued to see occasional use; serving the still active freezers. When Tranzrail opted to lift the siding in 2004, the locomotives owners had it transferred to their Silverstream plant behind the Taieri Aerodrome for storage. As the rail sidings at the Silverstream plant (part of the industrial sidings that branch off the former Otago Central Railway shortly after the line passes over the Silver Stream bridge) are also out of use, the owners and the Otago Railway and Locomotive Society reached an agreement for it to move to the Ocean Beach Railway on loan (retaining the option for it to return to PPCS use if required). The funds for the move were provided by the Southern Trust.
In the weeks leading up to the move, the locomotive was serviced, inspected and prepared for its new role. At 5:15am on Saturday 5 February, a couple of Ocean Beach members completed the final arrangements prior to the arrival of the transporter and crane at 6:00am. The fog, security lights and dawn made for an errie scene as two sleek 30T cranes descended on the elderly locomotive. The cranes worked in unison to gently lift and turn the locomotive through 90 degrees and place it on the sleeper crib on the transporter. The locomotive was secured and departed at 7:00am for its trip over the motorway. Despite the wide carriageway on this part of State Highway 1, most motorists were reluctant to overtake and chose instead to follow the transporter on its sedate journey into the city. Its route took it past the Dunedin Locomotive Depot and over part of the formation of the original Peninsula and Ocean Beach line. On arriving at the Moana Rua crossing, it was quickly unloaded and ran down to St Kilda depot under its own power.
Loading DSA 252 onto a transporter for it's move to the OBR.
DSA 252 travels along Dunedin's southern motorway.
Following a thorough wash, polish and testing, it was used on our normal Sunday operating day the following day, with the DSA hauling Vb629 and Af874; and freshly repaired steam locomotive A67 hauling carriage A193. Both locomotives performed faultlessly and it was pleasing to see large numbers of people checking out the addition to our fleet. Despite the tickets being valid for all the services, surprisingly the customers were very focused on which train they wanted to travel on. Around half were insistent that they wanted to travel behind the blue diesel they'd seen in the newspaper while the balance preferred the steam locomotive, and would wait in the blistering heat of the day for their chosen train to arrive at the platform.
• Other News
As previously mentioned, the replacement smokebox steam T for A67 has been fitted, finishing this project and returning the locomotive to steam. The society extends its gratitude to its funders and the members who worked tirelessly to complete the project under difficult conditions. The lights and steam generator have also been operated on a few occasions and have operated flawlessly. While largely coincidental, A67 and DSA 252 entering service on the same day was symbolic to maintaining balance and catering for diverse interests as the collection is enhanced. Passenger loadings have continued to be pleasing despite the indifferent weather.
Work on wagon K610 has centred on repairing the area under the A side doorway and preparing for the door track to be refitted. Further steelwork has been restored and painted on cattle wagon T175, allowing the cladding to be fitted at the No 2 end compartment B side. 9 more floorboards have been sanded and primed for the wagon.
The new lights in the workshop continue to represent a huge advance and make working on the many and varied projects a lot easier. A member has donated a large number of tools and the workshop has been re-organised and tidied to take full advantage of the new equipment.
The refurbished regulator has been fitted to the Kerr Stuart and the boiler has been cleaned down and primed, ready for the heat proof silver paint to be applied.