Current Restoration Projects
The Plains Vintage Railway & Historical Museum always has a variety of restoration projects on the go, read on to find out more about them, or to find one you may be interested in coming down to The Plains to help us with. Of course, if you're unable to get your hands dirty, restoring these wonders of the past doesn't come cheap, so donations are always welcome. Some of our projects have specific GiveALittle projects set-up, so to donate to a specific project just click the Donate button in the relevant section. Otherwise, just click the donate button below to help us return these items to their former glory!
We acquired DSA 218 from the Pukeuri Freezing Works near Oamaru on 4th April 2014.
UPDATE - January 2015
We have diagnosed and repaired the main mechanical fault with the DSA, a piston had almost completely disintegrated. With that fixed, we have been able to move onto other jobs - first up is replacing the oil which has become contaminated with coolant and diesel and then replacing the batteries. This will enable the locomotive to be run and let us diagnose any other problems it may have before we can strip it back and apply a new paint job.
History of DSA 218
Railways Career: DSA 218 initially entered service for the New Zealand Railways in 1953 and built for the Drewry Car Company by the Vulcan Foundry (English Electric). Drewry supplied a total of 20 DSA class locomotives and of those twenty only two were originally allocated to the South Island, DSA\\\'s 218 and 234 - both these locomotives had found their way to Invercargill by 1977 and it presumed DSA 218 remained Invercargill based until the end of her New Zealand Railways Career.
After NZR: In 1982 DSA 218 was sold to the Ohai Railway Board, who ran their own private railway between Wairio and Ohai in the Southland Region for coal mining purposes. In 1989 the Ohai Railway Board sold DSA 218 to the Oamaru Steam & Rail Society, however after a short stint at their museum the DSA was swapped for the steam locomotive at the Alliance freezing works at Pukeuri, just north of Oamaru. The DSA performed well for the Alliance Works until it was replaced by a larger locomotive in 2007. The DSA was kept as a back-up locomotive and used intermittently until 2010 when it was withdrawn from active service requiring some mechanical work.
The Plains Railway: In the middle of 2013 The Ashburton Railway & Preservation Society (The Plains Railway) began negotiations for the purchase of DSA 218 after hearing news of its availability. The purchase was agreed to in January of 2014 and the DSA transported by road to The Plains Railway on April 4th 2014.
Restoration: As stated above, the DSA is in need of some mechanical work as well as a cosmetic tidy up of the exterior panel work, this restoration has begun with the first step being the identification of the problem with the engine. A problem was soon discovered - an inserted liner had failed and the Number 3 piston had almost destroyed itself. After a swap out for a spare piston and a replacement liner were inserted the motor was reassembled ready for testing.
A broken leaf spring on the third axle had earlier been identified as a problem, and the spring has been swapped out which will allow us to send the broken spring away for repairs.
After a few false starts, problematic fuel filters were identified as both limiting the engines speed, or stopping it from being able to run at all due to insufficient fuel reaching the fuel. New filters have now been obtained.
If no other mechanical problems arise, we\\\'ll be moving into the cosmetic restoration stage, which will involve removing all body rust, sandblasting the entire locomotive and repainting it in its original NZR livery. Planning is now underway for this stage which will likely take quite some time.
The DSA is a much more powerful locomotive than any of our existing diesel shunter fleet and will eventually enable us to run diesel hauled carriage trains, which will give us more options in the dry summer months and also allow for our Railcar to be out of service if need be without causing operational problems.
Aa 1024 is a long term restoration project at The Plains Vintage Railway & Historical Museum, with restoration starting in late 2008 the carriage has been steadily progressing towards returning to service at our museum.
Aa 1024 dates from the year of the first North Island Main Trunk express trains, 1908 and is one of only a small handful of Aa class passenger carriages to be relocated to the South Island by the New Zealand Railways, it is also the last survivor of of its type to retain the centre toilets making it something quite special.
The interior restoration of the carriage has seen its unusual tongue and groove ceiling (most car ceilings were of pressed steel panels) stripped of its many layers of paint and repainted, the fresh white giving the interior a much brighter appearance than the smoke-stained white of before. Work is currently focussed on removing the many layers of paint from the exterior to enable repainting - which has revealed areas painted in the original, 1908 applied, 'Pullman Green' livery and a shorter-lived shade of green that is much lighter than pullman green.