Stack Talk


Monday 18 December 2017.
For a copy of our latest newsletter please follow this link.

Sunday 30 July 2017.
On Sunday the 30th our Wellington team ran a successful trip from Plimmerton to Pahiatua and return. A stop was made at the Tui Brewery where the majority of passengers went for lunch while the train went a short distance down the track to Pahiatua where the locomotive was serviced. Thank you to everyone who joined us for the day out and the Wellington team for the organisation and the execution of the trip.

JB 1236 30/07/2017 Opiki, NZ

Tuesday 12 July 2016.
If you would like to see our last newsletter please follow this link.

The Christchurch Depot is also making progress on the re-build of Kb968. Take a look at the photo album on our Gallery Page.

Friday 6 November 2015.
Recently on return from the Marklin excursion Ab663 broke a driving wheel axle while shunting carriages in our Plimmerton Yard. We are currently trying to determine the cause of this as it is a rare event and in fact is the first axle that we have broken on anything in all our years of operation. The locomotive did not derail and no one was injured. We are fortunate that we do have a spare axle for this locomotive.

Tuesday 22 September 2015.
A big step forward in getting our own carriages onto the network was made recently with the submission of the application for registration for AO48, AO215 and Fm3010. These will be followed by 3 more AO cars. The AO cars are all panoramic window cars and are air conditioned. We now await the results of the registration process. These cars have had extensive overhauls by our Wellington team and are now in better condition than they have been for a number of years. We look forward to seeing them in operation.

Monday 22nd June 2015.
The move from Parnell has progressed well although there have been a few moments where we didn't think we were ever going to make it. All the machinery is gone from Parnell and is now in storage. All the rolling stock and locomotives have been moved away with the exception of the South African engines and we hope to have news on their move by the end of next week. For regular updates on the move we suggest you watch our Facebook page.

Mainline Steam Calendar.
We invite you to contribute to the Mainline Steam 2016 Calendar to help raise funds to build a new Auckland Depot. Photos being chosen would reflect Mainline Steam being New Zealand's premium steam excursion with images of our locomotives, volunteers or passengers on one of our tours, heritage line visits or depots. In particular we are not looking for typical 3/4 shots of trains, but something different that captures the drama, excitement, persistence and resilience that the trust has displayed over the last 30 years of its existence.
Simply email your digital photos to Or post on CD to Mainline Steam, Photo Submission, c/o 2 McEntee Road, Waitakere, Auckland, 0614.
Colour or Back / White Digital images are preferred but if sending prints ensure you send an enlargement at least 8" x 10" (15x20mm) to be scanned. CD and Prints will not be returned.
Please ensure you include your full name, address and contact telephone number with your submissions. Limit 3 images per person received no later than 30th June 2015.
We also ask that you add a short comment about where and when the photo was taken, and why you've chosen your photo. This may appear in the Calendar alongside the image.Complimentary calendar sent to successful entries.

Tuesday 21st April 2015.
As many of you are aware our lease on the Parnell Depot has been terminated by KiwiRail. As a result we are in the process of packing up and moving out. As you can well imagine this is a massive task and we could certainly use your help. If you live in the Auckland area we are looking for people to help with the packing process. This involves loading spares into containers and cleaning out the depot. Workers are welcome Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and on Saturday's from 8:30am.

Where are we moving to? Well some of our equipment has already gone to the Glenbrook Vintage Railway and we certainly appreciate the support of the GVR Management and members. Unfortunately they cannot take all our rail equipment and we are still looking for places to store some wagons and the South African locomotives. As for the long term we are in the process of securing a block of land in the Glenbrook area to build a new depot and hope to be able to make a major announcement on these plans in the not too distant future.

Although the termination of the lease of our depot at Parnell is a major blow it was probably inevitable with the skyrocketing price of land in Auckland. We understand KiwiRail's need to maximise their assets and it is not possible for us to purchase the land or to afford the commercial rent required. However, instead of looking on this with despair we are looking at the move as a chance to develop a really special site that has the promise of giving us a great boost into the future. We will keep you informed of progress and look forward to your support as we move into the future. You can view photos of the progress of the move here.

Monday 1st December 2014.
As many are aware Mainline Steam has had its lease on our depot at Parnell terminated by KiwiRail. We received notification of this early in the year and since then have been working to find a new location. KiwiRail offered to lease us a greenfield site at Opaheke between Papakura and Pukekohe. Although it is a little small we were unable to find any other suitable site. We have been working in conjunction with KiwiRail and their consultants to develop a plan for this site and get it through various local body approvals and we appreciate the effort KiwiRail is putting in.

As you can possibly imagine this whole move is a massive undertaking both in terms of time commitment and financial commitment. We estimate the whole project will cost in the region of $1.5 million dollars. This is a money we don't currently have and will need to raise. KiwiRail want us out of Parnell by April 2015. KiwiRail will be starting the required track work at the Opaheke site at the end of December with a cost to us of $700,000. Unfortunately we have no other choices but to proceed with this move. If we don't get this over the line the only alternative left will be the scrapping of all the equipment currently at Parnell. This is an unpalatable alternative for us, and I'm sure, many people in New Zealand.

We desperately need you help to see this project through and we have set up an online donation site at Givealittle. Any amount that you can donate would be gratefully received. The attached picture is an artist's impression of the new shed.


Friday 14th November 2014.
If you are looking for great photos of Mainline Steam take a look at our Gallery Page but you may also like to look at our Flickr Group page. If you use Flickr yourself and have some good looking photos of Mainline Steam equipment you may like to join the group and add your photos.

Wednesday 16th October 2014
Work is progreIan McKay riveting J1211ssing on the boiler repairs to J1211 at Parnell. The new firebox crown sheet has been fitted and riveting is being undertaken at the moment. This, of course, involves hot riveting and it is a fascinating process. A short video of the process can be seen by following this link.

Tuesday 28th January 2014.
We had an excellent weekend in the Waikato running Ja1275 in conjunction with the Glenbrook Vintage Railway. The weather was kind and we had excellent loadings on all the trips. Ja1275 performed very well and we had a number of great run pasts. Thank you to everyone who supported this event.

Monday 13th January 2014.
The Trustees of the Mainline Steam Heritage Trust are delighted to announce that they have entered into a license agreement with  the a newly created  Ian Welch Locomotive Trust to house and maintain the locomotives and rolling stock previously privately held by Ian Welch.  The action by Ian supported by his family, to secure for future generations the welfare of this collection has been warmly received by the Mainline Steam Heritage Trust which is in the process of restoring to main line operations a five carriage set of former British Railway carriages, a train of four vintage wooden carriages of which Aa1013 Aoteoroa built in 1908 is the lead example and eight AO Class ex-NZR carriages which were purchased from KiwiRail in August 2013.

TuesdaEric Burnsy 7th January 2014.
It is with sad
ness that we report the death, overnight, of long time Mainline Steam member Eric Burns. Eric has been a member and supporter of Mainline Steam almost since it's inception. He was well know in the railway fraternity and in earlier years organised a number of excursions for the Railway Enthusiasts Society. His interest in trains was wide ranging from small scale models, through 71/4" live steam and on to full size steam.Eric was a well known photographer and run Sunlander Films where he contracted to NZBC to shoot news footage in the early days of television in New Zealand. In later years he also operated a model shop in Takapuna. He will be sadly missed.

Friday 8th November 2013.
We have added photos to our Gallery page covering the October trip to the 150 Celebrations in Christchurch. Over the next week we will be adding more photos so check back from time to time to see whats new.

Saturday 12th October.The KiwiRail 150 celebrations move to Wellington today with a display at Wellington Railway Station. Mainline Steam is contributing Ab663, Ew1805 and Aa1013. They will be joining equipment from KiwiRail, Silverstream Railway and Steam Incorporated. f you are in the Wellington area it would be great to see you at the exhibition.

Sunday 29th September Ja1275 will be on display at the Strand Station in Auckland as part of the KiwiRail 150 Display. There will also be a DL and the AK cars as well as various other displays. Starts at 10am and closes at 4pm.

September 4th 2013.
The Story of Mainline Steam. NOW AVAILABLE.

This is the history of Mainline Steam from its inception by Ian Welch, through to today. Its 90 pages traces the history of the locomotives currently operated by Mainline Steam, and those waiting to be restored. Ian Welch openly discusses his reasons for starting the organisation, his highs and lows and his love of rail and hopes for the future. This is the most comprehensive history ever written of one of New Zealand’s leading preservation organisations.

Don’t miss your chance to obtain a copy of this entertaining and fascinating read. An order form is available here.

July 25th 2013.
Ja1275 will be running a special train to celebrate the launch of Rail Safety Week on the 12th of August. The train will run from the Strand via the waterfront to Otahuhu and then back through Newmarket to the Strand. Departure from the Strand is set down for 11:35am. You may also like to see this website.

July 7th 2013.
A very successful Main Trunk Trekker excursion yesterday. Thank you to all the Mainline Steam crew who worked on the train. Thank you also to KiwiRail crews who ran the locomotive. Ja1275 performed well throughout the day. Some photos of the excursion are available here.

June 27th 2013.
Ka942 has been transferred to the South Island and by tonight should be in the shed at our Christchurch Depot. It will be operating our Arthurs Pass and Greymouth trips this year.

May 30th 2013.
We have had an number of inquiries regarding J1211 and why aren't we running it. Well 1211 is currently in Auckland because during one of our inspections last year we discovered some thin spots in the crown sheet. Closer physical inspection has now shown the entire crown sheet need replacing. Unfortunately this means we have to remove the boiler from the locomotive frame and take out the fire box. Once that is done we can completely cut out the crown sheet and have a new one fabricated and welded back in. The photo to the left is taken between the crown sheet (bottom of picture) and the outer shell. A view you don't often get. You can see the stays, some have been cut off, that seperate the firebox from the outer boiler. When the locomotive is operating this space is full of water.

April 15th 2013.
Ja1240 returned to its home base at Parnell on Friday 12th. In tow on a wagon was our Bagnall locomotive which had been out at the Glenbrook Vintage Railway for several months and operated at a number of their Thomas weekends. Ja1240 will be operated on the Kaipara Cannonball on the 12th of May to Helensville. This will be the first time the loco will have been north of Auckland.

March 22nd 2013.
Ja1240 will be running at the Glenbrook Vintage Railway Steam Festival this weekend. On the 6th of April it will head an excursion to Te Kuiti. On the 12th of April it will return to our Depot in Parnell. Departing GVR at 11am and running via Newmarket to Parnell. It now looks likely that it will be used on our Kaipara Cannonball trip to Helensville on the 12th of May.

January 22nd 2013.
Mainline Steam is pleased to announce the appointment of Stuart Walker as a new Trustee and General Manager of the Mainline Steam Heritage Trust. Stuart will be taking up this role as of today. Full details of this appointment can be found here.

January 21st 2013.
Over Auckland Anniversary Weekend 26th, 27th, 28th January Ja1240 will be operating on the Glenbrook Vintage Railway double heading with Ja1250.

For older news stories please visit our News Archive Page.

Contact Details:
Mainline Steam
91 B St Stephens Road

New Zealand 

Telephone: (04) 233-8131