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Josephine - A History

 

 

 

    In Dunedin today lives "Josephine", an 'E' class No. 175, built in 1872 by the Vulcan Foundry, (who built the renown Vulcan Railcars), at Newton-on-Willows, England. She is just as much part of this story as K88, so we have to give you a little glimpse into her history.

    This grand old lady was known as Old Joss to her crews; a name she did not really deserve.

    The Class 'E' was designed by Robert Fairlie as a unique double-ended tank locomotive which was excellent on light pioneer railways. It came into use in 1865.

    About 1869 Mr. J. Millar, a Civil Engineer, recommended the 'Fairlie' type locomotives to the Otago Provincial Council for use on the proposed Dunedin to Port Chalmers railway.

    So eventually two 'Fairlie' locomotives were ordered from the Vulcan Foundry by the Dunedin and Port Chalmers Railway Company. These finally arrived at Port Chalmers aboard the ship Wave Queen in August 1872. The two new locomotives arrived in sections and were put together by a private firm.

    They began work ballasting the Port Chalmers and Dunedin railway. The line at this stage belonged Proudfoot Oliver and Holt. One of the first drivers was a Mr. Galloway, who started driving her from Black Jacks Point to the Port, ballasting the line to get it ready for the Governor Boyne to open it.

    It was not till late in 1872 that the Dunedin and Port Chalmers Railway Company railway line was opened for traffic.

    Josephine and her sister locomotive Rose belonged to the Dunedin and Port Chalmers Railway Company until early 1873 when the railway was taken over by the General Government. The two engines were then leased to the Provincial Council. In 1876 when the Provincial Councils were annihilated the two Fairlie engines were taken over by the New Zealand Railways who classified them 'E'.

    Josephine was transferred to Wanganui in 1883 and seventeen years later (November 1900,) was sold to the Public Works Department for *500. She arrived back in the South Island as P.W.D. No. 504 around 1901-02. She was used on the Cromwell Branch among several other places, but was returned in 1903 to the North Island, this time to Mangaweka, then a base construction camp on the Main Trunk railway. In 1907 she was seen lying disused in a shed at Mangaweka so her working life on the Main Trunk was not very long.

    By 1917 Josephine had reached the end of her working days on the New Zealand Railways. During that year she was sold to the Otago Iron Rolling Mills for *173 as scrap metal, but by some lucky chance survived the "cutters torch," and was set up as a static display in 1925 for the Dunedin and South Seas Exhibition. Since the 1925 Exhibition Josephine has sat outside the Otago Settlers' Hall, along from the Dunedin Railway Station, exposed to all weathers, year in, and year out. For almost 80 years Josephine has been just a tourist attraction in Dunedin - probably of more use where she is now, than she was back in the late 19th century.

    Of the other 'E' class loco-motive Rose, we hear very little, except that she was condemned and broken up around the 16th January 1899.

    The 'Double Fairlie' was never a good type of locomotive on New Zealand's pioneer lines. It is said that the permanent way engineers did not like the weight of nearly 30 tons on their light roads and bridges, even though it was distributed over eight wheels. Many of the engine crews disliked them, most probably because they had not learn t their peculiar little ways.

    However, you will see that by 1878 the provincial councils had been abolished by 2 years. By abolishing those councils and putting them under one roof so to speak, it did not quell the rivalry that existed between provinces.

    This was shown when K88 pulled New Zealand's very first through express train between Christchurch and Dunedin. 

  

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Last Updated: Wednesday, 05 April, 2017