IT’S full steam ahead in getting a locomotive engine returned to its original home town.
One of two 1885 V126 Class steam locomotives was removed from the Oreti River tributary near State Highway 94 yesterday morning.
The locomotives had spent nearly a century buried in the river and it is hoped at least one will be relocated to a specially built track at the Lumsden Railway Precinct, once given a spruce up.
The recovery of the engines was being completed by the Lumsden Heritage Trust.
The trust began exploratory work at the site in 2018 to determine the feasibility of moving the engines.
For Lumsden Heritage Trust chairman John Titter, it felt like history was being made yesterday.
“In some ways we are rewriting history, but in another way they (the locomotives) are returning home to where they used to operate once again after 93 years, they will be back on track in Lumsden.”
It had taken six years of planning to try to get both locomotives out of the river, but it seemed only one would be recovered.
“We were planning to get two, we have two in there, but at this stage, after two days battling here, we think we will be able to get just one,” Mr Titter said.
After recovering the locomotive out of the river, they were removing dirt and debris from it to lighten it before its journey to Lumsden began.
“The weight of the locomotive as it is, sits at probably 40 tonnes.
“On the track, in the days it was used, it weighed 32 tonnes.
“The job is huge. I was planning in the category of massive but now I would say it’s mammoth,” Mr Titter said.
He believed the locomotives were originally dumped to help manage the 1927 floods.