It's not all cars at the Packard Motor Museum. Our oldest vehicle is a steam locomotive built in 1873, referred to by us as 'Dubs'. In the early 1870s the Hon. Julius Vogel proposed the Public Works Act which kicked off the establishment of the NZ railways.
A whole range of tank engines were ordered from England and Scotland. They were labelled with a letter indicating their class. The A of the A62, designated the first engines used to build this railway system. Twelve Dubs engines were ordered from Henry Dubs' Glasgow locomotive works. Our Dubs started life in Dunedin where the first rails were laid.
Eventually Dubs ended up hauling logs across the beach tressels from North Piha to the sawmill at Glen Esk. Sometimes sand blew in from the west and built up on the rails so workmen were engaged to keep the track clear. However, it wasn't uncommon for the locomotive to tip over. We have some great photos of Dubs being hauled back onto the track by men using ropes and timber-jacks. Today you would use a crane.
In 1926 Dubs was retired and displayed outside the Otahuhu railway workshops. She sat there for 32 years until Jack Ryder purchased and shifted her to his museum in Avondale. Ian Insley dismantled the engine to shift it and start restoration.
Late 1990s, Graeme Craw purchased Dubs and took delivery of several truck-loads of A62 parts. These were transported to the Packard Museum. Now the daunting task of putting the engine back together confronted Graeme and his team. It turned out most parts were stamped with the Works number of the engine and whether they were left or right.
Many hours were spent sandblasting, welding, painting etc. New water tanks were made and a new matai tongue and groove cab completed. Finally, the early whale-oil headlight, which, much to Moira Craw's disgust, had sat on their dressing table for years, was fitted. Project completed. Visitors can view Dubs A62 in our Steam Room.