The chance to ride on a jigger is just one of the opportunities for rail enthusiasts during Vintage Weekend Whanganui.

Mainline steam train rides will run from Taupo Quay to Whanganui East and Kai Iwi on Saturday and Sunday. SteamRail Wanganui's shed on Taupo Quay will be open for viewing from Saturday to Monday. Entry is by gold coin.

On Monday people will be able to take jigger rides from the Taupo Quay railway yards.

Ewan Pound, of SteamRail Wanganui, said the technical names for a jigger were motorised trolley or motor trolley.


"They were built in New Zealand from the early 1920s through to the late 1980s, with many built in Whanganui at the Eastown Workshops and later at the Aramoho Plant Zone," Mr Pound said.

"The earlier examples used mainly timber frames, whereas aluminium or durallium were used more often for the frames in the late '70s and '80s."

Motor trolleys were used by "inspectors of the Permanent Way" (track inspectors), track gangers and maintenance staff and, in some cases, station masters.

Although most commonly used for inspection purposes, they could also be used to transport small amounts of materials and tools to a remote worksite, including towing a material trolley if required.

"Due to the small size and light weight of motor trolleys, they were very useful to travel along, and get equipment into, remote areas where the track was damaged by minor slips or washouts and could not take the weight of a locomotive until repaired," Mr Pound said.

Jigger rides will be available between 10am and 4pm on Monday. Rides cost $2 (cash only) and refreshments will be available.