Second locomotive buried in river bed has been recovered
After initially deeming the recovery unfeasible, the Lumsden Heritage Trust has lifted the second locomotive from its watery bed.
In January, one of two 1885 V class locomotives stuck in the Oreti River near Lumsden, Southland, for the past 97 years was retrieved and put on display. At the time, recovering the second one was deemed too hard.
Trust chairman John Titter said due to the interest shown, and what had been learned from pulling out the first train, it was worth an attempt to pull out the second.
The issue that made the second locomotive more difficult was that it was further away from the river bank and would put more pressure on the crane lifting it, Titter said.
They came up with the idea of using a winch to move the locomotive closer to the river banks so it could be safely pulled, he said.
The second one was sitting on gravel so when they were able to lift it, it came out a lot easier than the first, he said.
The two locomotives were similar engines but were in different condition, he said.
On the second locomotive, the exhaust system was still intact however was missing part of its roof.
New Zealand Railways tipped the two locomotives into the Oreti River in 1927 for flood protection, after they were deemed as surplus stock and because the price of scrap metal was low after the war.
Since the first locomotive was lifted and put on display in Lumsden, it had become a tourist attraction for steam enthusiasts from around the world, Titter said.
There was a British man who had taken a cruise ship to Dunedin but when he heard about the locomotive, he hired a rental car and spent a day in Lumsden with his wife to look at it, he said.
The trust had also been contacted by steam enthusiast magazines in Britain to come down to Lumsden and take photos of the old train, he said.
Work on retrieving the second locomotive began on Wednesday.