Carriage joins new home among rail artefacts

    The railway carriage A199, recovered from Wairio, in Western Southland, last year, is delivered to its new home at the Lumsden Railway Precinct yesterday. Lumsden Heritage Trust chairman John Titter says it was an exciting day for all those who had helped with the restoration of the carriage.

    An historic railway carriage has been added to the collection of locomotives, wagons and carriages on display at the Lumsden Railway Precinct.

    Built by New Zealand Railways at Addington, Christchurch, in 1883, the carriage A199 was recovered from Wairio, in Western Southland, last September by the Lumsden Heritage Trust and transported to Lumsden.

    Trust chairman John Titter said the carriage had been languishing in a farmer’s paddock for 58 years.

    ‘‘It was behind a shed and a row of trees.’’

    Although other interested groups had asked to retrieve the carriage, they had said it would need to be cut up, so their offers were declined, Mr Titter said.

    However, the trust had other plans.

    It removed the shed and cut back the trees to recover the carriage intact.

    Hundreds of hours had been spent restoring the carriage to its former glory, Lumsden carpenter Gordon Lawrence working on all the joinery and timber work, and an ‘‘enthusiastic group of volunteers’’ stripping, preparing and repainting the interior, Mr Titter said.

    ‘‘The carriage has been taken back to as close to original condition as we could.’’

    Yesterday A199 was uplifted again and transported about 300m to its ‘‘permanent’’ site in the Lumsden Railway Precinct, beside the former railway platform, which will be extended to protect and conserve the refurbished carriage.

    No-one was sure how the 137-year-old carriage made it to the farm, where it had been sitting...
    No-one was sure how the 137-year-old carriage made it to the farm, where it had been sitting since 1952. Photo: Supplied

    ‘‘It’s a pretty exciting day for us.’’

    Once A199 has had its final embellishments added, including interpretation panels, photographs and displays, it will be used to tell the stories of all the fleet of rolling stock housed as a visitor attraction at the precinct in the centre of Lumsden.