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The Arrival in NZ




    K94 at TimaruThe arrival of these new American locomotives aroused disapproval, as the Lyttelton Times reports show. Much irate discussion arose. To think that Allison Smith the NZGR Locomotive Superintendent at the time, should have broken unwritten laws by importing locomotives from a country outside the British Commonwealth, when New Zealand was a strict British Colony faithful to the Motherland. Those early pioneers firmly believed that only engines of the Commonwealth should rule the high iron in that fresh virgin Colony.

    Its only because of those brave pioneering people of early New Zealand that we have this little engine with such a historic, if somewhat uncertain past.

    K88 and K92 are all that remain today of the first American locomotives to be imported into this country; K88 being the only one left of the first two engines to arrive on our shores.

    The other, of those first two 'K' loco's, 'K87', now lies beneath the modern Tranz Rail railway line up in the Arthurs Pass, to help keep the track open for the younger generation of rail traction. A sad end to a gallant machine.

    Here are some interesting little snippets of information from yesteryear which might intrigue you:

    Mr. R. H. Ashton, Express Engineman, was fined the sum of 'one pound' for neglecting to sufficiently oil the right hand back gear eccentric of K88 on 20th June 1879. This caused the eccentric straps to seize between Chertsey and Dromore, (both places are just north of Ashburton) thereby delaying the express train one hour five minutes.

    In November 1881 a Mr. J. Thompson, a cleaner at Oamaru was fined 2/6 for neglecting to clean the boiler tubes of K93.

    Those early railway men must have been a pretty mischievous lot. Their major faults appears to have been speeding, driving whilst intoxicated and fighting whilst on duty, the same as today in our present age of the motor car, where there is still those rascally people who attend to the same occupations.

    Notice the following:

    A Mr. F. Berry, a driver of the Express trains between Christchurch and Dunedin was commended for care shown in observing that the points at the Waimate junction were set for the siding, and pulled up his train in time to save a collision with grain wagons standing therein on the 21st March 1879.

    On the same day (21st March) the same Mr. F. Berry driving K92, was fined 10 shillings for running at an excessive speed across the Rakaia Railway Bridge on the north express train.

    The 21st of March 1879 found Mr. R. Patterson driving K93. He was fined 10 shillings for running at excessive speed whilst working the 11:50 am mixed train from Christchurch to Ashburton.

    All that had happened in one day. 








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Last Updated: Wednesday, 05 April, 2017