Progress on our WMR Carriages

At January 2017 restoration work on Wellington & Manawatu Railway
Company carriage 48 (later NZR A 1126) has progressed to the point that
No. 48 has had the interior partitions made and fitted, and the old
entrance doors are being restored. The interior has been varnished and
painting of the exterior in a colour as close to that used originally as
possible, is progressing. The rate of exterior painting has slowed as it
need to be coordinated with other finishing work.

At the time of this report, work is concentrated on building the spark
guards that were fitted under the clerestory roof to prevent locomotive
sparks from coming into the saloons through any open toplight sashes.
these windows can be opened or closed, for ventilation reasons.

Another task that is proceeding is the making of patterns and cores for
reproduction dead buffers, as fitted by the WMR and later removed by NZR.

Also on site are WMR carriages 52 and 42. All were built as second class
carriages by the WMR at its Thorndon workshops. No. 42 was part of the
first batch, and had an end toilet, unlike the other two which were
built in a subsequent batch with a central toilet compartment. these are
the last survivng complete WMR carriages.

A gallery of restoration Photos

WMR 42 arriving on site for future restoration, 22 April, 2015.

WMR 42 arriving on site for future restoration, 22 April, 2015.


The two bogie sets are off-loaded

The two bogie sets are off-loaded


Interior view of varnished interior and partitions. (Photo: Glen Fitzgerald)

Interior view of varnished interior and partitions. (Photo: Glen Fitzgerald)


WMR 48 at 3 March, 2016, shown in final red colour. (Rob. Merrifield)

WMR 48 at 3 March, 2016, shown in final red colour.
(Rob. Merrifield)

Earlier pictures of WMR 48

Bill Prebble gives the car a last minute check
over before it is coupled up to the duty loco
and it is squeezed under the roller door onto the tracks.


On the road. Showing the extent of the refurbished woodwork.

The car is run over the Silver Stream Railway’s
line and passes under the signal gantry

At the McKirdy station platform and a check
being made of the running gear.

New clerestory sashes assembled ready for
glazing, with one completed sash.

New headstock ready for placement on tenoned
joints with old and replacement framing timbers.
These timbers are a tribute to the joiner’s art.

Overhauled bogies stored ready for wheels
and replacement under the body.

BACKGROUND: The NZ Railway & Locomotive Society Inc (NZRLS) owns two ex WMR cars which are located at Silverstream, Hutt Valley. Before restoration work could commence, we had to erect a display shed/workshop, build a track base, concrete the shed floor and front apron, and install an electrical supply. The building is wired for lighting, single and three phase power. Other utilities are to be installed later.

THE CARS: Both cars were built in 1906 by WMR at its Thorndon, Wellington workshops, to Jackson & Sharp (USA) plans for carriages supplied by that firm in 1902. Principally constructed from kauri salvaged from the company’s original Belmont viaduct, they feature American oak and mahogany interior finishing timbers. #48 is structurally sound. #52 is in an advanced state of failure, mostly from decay of timber.

STATUS: A small group commenced restoration of #48 late in 2004, under the auspices of the NZR&LS. Funding has been from grants by community trusts and from donations.

PROJECT OBJECTIVE: Restoration of #48 to the original internal and external appearance as it was completed by WMR in 1906. The target completion date is December 2008 – the centenary of WMR acquisition by NZR and the opening of the NIMT. Future restoration of #52 will be considered after completion of #48.

WORK TO DATE: In the past 2½ years the car has been stripped of modifications made after the Government’s purchase of the WMR in 1908 and all decayed timber. The body has been straightened. Replacement framing and new cladding have all been fitted. Some internal paint stripping has been carried out. The bogies have been disassembled, overhauled and painted.

WORK IN PROGRESS: Hardwood parts for the new end platforms are machined and ready to be fitted. Fitting of headers to the windows is under way.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: A big “thank you” to our many sponsors and suppliers of grants, materials or services, for your support. A great deal has been achieved since we began this project. We look forward to another year’s progress and hope to tell you more of this in 2008.

Some images from the shop

Photos: R. Merrifield.
August, 2007.

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