Whangarei Steam & Model Railway Club Inc.

Incorporated at Auckland 31st July 1978

Member: Federation of Rail Organisations of New Zealand Inc.

Member: New Zealand Association of Model Railway Clubs Inc.

Heritage Park, Maunu, Whangarei

Postal address: P.O. Box 78, Hikurangi


Whangarei Steam & Model Railway Club, Inc. Community Involvement

The club was organised in December 1973 and incorporated in 1978 to acquire, preserve and operate vintage steam and diesel trains for Whangarei Museum Live Days and private rides for groups including Aged Concern, Epilepsy Society, Rotary Club’s Old Folks Outing, play centres, kindergartens, school groups, scouts, rail enthusiasts groups from New Zealand and abroad, and private charters, whose interests range from learning about our heritage and transport history to simply taking a walk down memory lane. Additionally, the club’s older members provide practical training and guidance to our younger members in the operation and maintenance of our railway, in order that this valuable knowledge is preserved for present and future generations.

Since 1999 Education Department teachers (LEOTC Education Officers) have been based at the Whangarei Museum to provide Northland schools with teaching packages so that the children are able to learn about Northland’s development of transport, technology and social changes. Most of the school children have never before ridden a train, and their visit to the railway provides an enjoyable learning experience for them. The club’s members serve as guides and provide the students with interesting and useful information from a personal perspective.

From 1995 to 2002 a total of eighty-three school groups from forty-eight schools have visited the museum and railway, for a combined total of 9,628 school children and adult advisors. Museum Live Days fare-paying passengers have grown from approximately 1,600 in 1997 to over 4,000 to date in 2005.

Physical plant

Rolling stock:

1924 Peckett & Sons Ltd. No. 1664 0-4-2T steam locomotive; in storage

1955 Peckett & Sons Ltd. No. 2157 0-4-2T steam locomotive; undergoing restoration

1962 Drewry Car Co. Ltd. No.2722 0-6-0 diesel locomotive; in operation

1970 Union Foundries Ltd. No. 44 0-4-0 diesel locomotive; in operation

1980 Open passenger carriage, re-built from an NZR H wagon by club members; in operation

An H wagon frame which is soon to be rebuilt back to a cattle wagon with seats for rides.

One flat goods wagon, an old LA frame, ex Wilson’s Portland cement.

Two Jiggers, ex NZGR


Buildings and trackage:

The club’s track, built entirely by the club’s members, has grown over the years from a single track with several points and  sidings to a system with an upper and lower loop. The upper loop has a small station (Milnes) which is to incorporated into an exchange with the Model Engineers system at the park. There is a two road engine shed which houses all the locomotives and the passenger carriage. It is accessed via a turntable. The club owns eight buildings at the Whangarei Museum complex, Heritage Park, Maunu, on Highway 14, west of Whangarei. Six of these buildings are preserved original New Zealand Railways structures from the local area:

  1. Hikurangi Station ex Hikurangi
  2. Kauri Station ex Kauri
  3. Otiria Water Tank (rebuilt in 1984, 5,750 gallons)
  4. Club rooms (ex-Whangarei rail yards)
  5. Millington Bush Station (ex-Whangarei rail yards)
  6. Firewood Store (ex-Whangarei rail yards)
  7. Engine Shed
  8. Milnes Station

The buildings used for club rooms, firewood store, and Millington Bush Station were purchased by the club from Tranz Rail, and previously had various uses at the Whangarei railway station. The large engine shed was purpose built in 1980 by the club’s members to provide secure, enclosed storage and workshop space for the two steam and two diesel locomotives owned by the club. The engine shed was doubled in size in 1985 by the club’s members.

Operating expenses and routine maintenance expenses of the trains and buildings are covered by income from passenger ticket sales. Volunteer labour provided by the club’s members makes possible the continued operation of the club on a self-sustaining basis. Major projects and acquisitions are funded by grants and by gifts of goods and services from local businesses.

Increase in patronage, particularly on live days, has necessitated the design and construction of a much larger carriage. All materials are now on site for the construction of a bogie carriage.


The club also has a number of enthusiastic modellers. Currently they are rebuilding a model of the NZR line from Hikurangi south to Ruatangata (Kamo), including the yard at Kauri.

This will be used as a demonstration layout to the public. There are also plans to build a small ‘00’ gauge layout.




 Seymour the Steam Locomotive #1

Builder: Peckett & Sons Ltd., No. 2157 Year Built: 1955 Wheel Arrangement: 0-4-2T Fuel: Coal /Wood

Gauge: New Zealand standard (3 feet 6 inches) Horsepower: 8

Weight: 10 tons Tractive effort: 2,940 pounds Design steam pressure: 160 psig (11.22 kPa)

# 1 is the pride of the fleet and was named in honour of Mr. Vic Seymour, past club president and driving force for many years. Peckett & Sons Ltd. constructed No. 2157 at their Atlas Engine Works, St. George, Bristol, England in 1955. Seymour was purchased new and imported into New Zealand by Wilsons (NZ) Portland Cement Ltd. (now Golden Bay Cement Co. Ltd.) for use at their Portland Works south of Whangarei. This locomotive is the last of three ten ton 0-4-2T’s purchased from Peckett by the Portland Works, and is believed to be the last new steam locomotive imported into New Zealand. The Portland Works operated one of New Zealand’s largest industrial railways in terms of number of locomotives and tonnage of materials handled. The locomotives were used to shunt rail wagons of finished cement from the cement works to awaiting ships, and to haul coal and gypsum from the ships for use in the cement works. One locomotive could pull four wagons, each carrying nine tons of cement. The steam locomotives were gradually retired in the 1960’s and replaced by diesel locomotives. Mercifully, the steam locomotives were saved from the wreckers’ torches and were gifted to rail preservation societies. The Whangarei Steam & Model Railway Club received locomotive No. 2157 on 16 December 1977, and it has been in constant service at Whangarei Museum. A second Peckett locomotive, No. 1664, built in 1924, was acquired by the club in 1990 after it had been on static display at Tarewa Park in Whangarei. This locomotive is in storage and requires a complete rebuild. The third Peckett 0-4-2T locomotive 1957, built in 1938, was donated by Portland Cement to Goldfields Railway in Waihi. A larger thirty ton Peckett 4-4-0T locomotive 1730 built 1927 ‘Gabriel’, also ex-Portland Works, was sold to Bay of Islands Vintage Railway at Kawakawa. This loco is currently awaiting a major overhaul.


Brief history of Peckett & Sons Ltd., Atlas Engine Works, St. George, Bristol, England.

Established as Fox Walker & Co. in 1864, and taken over in 1880 by Thomas Peckett as Peckett & Sons Ltd. The firm catered to domestic and overseas industrial users with several models of four and six driving wheel locomotives with saddle or side tanks. Peckett became famous for their practice of standard designs. The largest locomotive was an 0-8-0 tender locomotive weighing 73 tons, built for the Christmas Island Phosphate Company. In 1956 the company made an unsuccessful attempt to enter the diesel locomotive market. Peckett built their last steam locomotive in 1958, and the company was taken over by Reed Crane & Hoist Co. Ltd. in the same year. Reed supplied spare parts and documents for a few years before they, too, went out of business.



Loco # 3

This is a Union Foundries rail tractor 0-4-0 diesel unit. It was acquired from Ballance Fertiliser works about 1991. It’s motor is a Perkins 4 cyl. Diesel and it is actually a tractor on railway wheels. It is used extensively on track maintenance work and general shunting.


Loco # 4

Acquired from a local scrap merchant, Alan Howe of Kamo, in 1992. It is a classic Drewry outside frame 0-6-0 with a 6cyl Gardiner  engine. It worked for many years at Portland Cement Works before being bought by Alan on the closure of the railway system. It has been restored in the Portland colours. The club intends to repaint it in the HPR dark blue colour scheme as it is now due for a repaint.  # 4 has proved to be invaluable in use as the passenger loco because of the ease in training drivers and its versatility.    





The club’s membership (male and female) numbers thirty, and ranges in age from 15 to over 92. The club welcomes new members and volunteer workers. Annual club membership is $10.00 per family.

Informal working meetings are held every Tuesday night from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm.

Please call Neil Wood, Club Treasurer at 09 433 8085 for more information.

Or: Alan McGunnigle, Club Secretary  ph/fax 09 438 2425

            Email: mcgunnigle@clear.net.nz

Or: Ted Greenwood, Club President    ph 09 437 6824