Half railcar pulls up

By Tamara Eastwood

Two halves made a whole on the Pahiatua railway station tracks last Tuesday.

In a proud moment for the Pahiatua Railcar Society, the second half of a long-awaited Drewery twinset railcar arrived from a Waitomo motel, via house removal truck and crane.

President Don Selby said it took 10 years to fundraise the more than $60,000 required to relocate the classic railcar.

When railcars were decommissioned in the 1970s, the units were split and sold.

The Drewery twinset was split and one half ended up in a Kerikeri quarry.

Society members acquired the first half more than a decade ago and set about looking for the other half, which Don located at Waitomo about the same time. Negotiations started with the motel owner, who had fitted it out for extra accommodation.

"The agreement to acquire the railcar happened rapidly," Mr Selby said. "But it's taken 10 years to get it here, due to the enormous amount of money required."

The society team started restoring the first half soon after it was acquired, while raising funds to get the second half on site.

The plan is to restore the twinset to its original glory, including refurbishing the interior with a complete set of original seats sourced from KiwiRail and installing a set of cab controllers at each end of the railcar.

When the Drewery twinset is restored, society members hope to use the railcar to take passengers between Woodville and Masterton, and possibly to Napier on day trips.

Society members are undergoing the necessary accreditation with the New Zealand Transport Authority to begin using their existing rolling stock on local railway lines.

Other plans include taking the constant flow of bus passengers, car club and motorcycle club members, who used to come to see the rolling stock, on journeys through the countryside.

- Wairarapa Times-Age

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