Large Scale Central

Canterbury Steam Scene Steamup Apr 2023

Our local steam preservation society (C.S.P.S.Inc) had a show on a few weeks ago, one of the biggest national events here in New Zealand. I went down on the Saturday to check things out. Here’s a bunch of pics & vids of the day.

Seemed a bit misty on arrival, with the smell of (burning) coal in the air. These guys were just getting going.

This lot were firing up right next door, just upwind behind a hedge.

English Piling Co stationary boiler & winches. Took about 1000 pics for future reference. I couldn’t see the driving head anywhere nearby.

One of my favourite breweries also had their wagon there.

Marble Point stone crusher. I could have watched this all day.

I think he was feeding 1 small rock at a time into a small ‘recrusher’ so it didn’t overload. The bigger crusher wasn’t operating when I was there although I didn’t see the afternoon session.

Crowds were building up a bit now. A member of my garden railway club was driver for the steam ride engine. I scored the obligatory cab ride for a few laps.

The 7 ¼” fellas were pretty busy too.


The Clydesdale wagon rides were really popular.

They’re based at Erewhon Station – apparently named ‘cause it’s found almost at the back of nowhere.

This wee thing never stopped all day.

The sawmill had a couple of sessions scheduled, I got to the morning one 20 mins early – scored a prime spot.

These fellas really got hustling once they were into it. Watching it now seems I got the beginning and the end when they were tiring.

The thresher also got a workout.

Lots of other stuff to see, blacksmithing, old rusty metal, wagons, boilers everywhere. Was a great day out.



Opps, almost forgot the important bit.

They’re everywhere… :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


That is the important part !!

I love the old steam trucks. I like to believe in a previous life I drove a Whitby or Steninel steam bus.

Looks like a fun way to have spent the day. Love that resaw setup at the mill, never seen ne quite like that before.

Neil, it looks just like the Annual Show at the Tuckahoe Steam & Gas Association, in Easton, MD. Lots of fun! We go every year and Mike takes the big G-1 track.

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Our local antique machenery group had their annual Spring Power-Up last weekend. They have a large number of steam tractors and road rollers, but unfortunately, none are operational. There was one guest operational tractor that sat idle powering a saw. The only pictures I took all day…

I’m jealous of seeing so many tractors steamed up!

The club also has a sawmill and a narrow gauge steam railroad. We didn’t get to see either run. They were still readying the sawmill when we were at that end of the property and the locomotive; Hawaii RR #5, had an air compressor issue so was not moving.

Looks like I need to come to Australia to see a real steam show!

Thanks Guys - was a really good show.

Bob, I just smile at the thought of being the guy delivering beer in a steam truck. That would be so cool.

Rick, that guy on the re saw was amazing to watch, he reset the cut almost every board and was so quick that I didn’t see it half the time. He didn’t pause once in the 20 mins or so it took to break those logs down.

Peter, that sounds like a great show to see. I ever get Stateside again I’m going to have a bucket list of stuff to see & do. I know there’s talk of our club building a permanent layout at site in the past, perhaps it might come up again.

Jon, That wasn’t even half the steamers in action. Everytime I turned around there would be a 1/4 scale tractor sitting there simmering away, the museum had it’s boiler running with another half dozen machines in action… Complete heaven. :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:


OOohh, I didn’t need to know these were available.

Now you’re in trouble… :rofl:

To be fair to our local group, the Connecticut Antique Machinery Association, they did have nearly all of their large and small stationary engines running off a large modern boiler. Some I have never seen operate in many visits :slight_smile: One is a power generator taken out of service in the 1960’s and now restored. It generates 25KV, but they have no use for the juice!

Ride-on Amtrak, at a New Zealand steamup, the mind boggles!!


Wow, fabulous Neil!

So many tractors, and different sights to see, amazing.

Yeah, I need to get to Tuckahoe. Or someone needs to buy me an airline ticket to New Zealand next year.


At the risk of thread drift, is this an old OR&L loco? If not, do you know what plantation it worked?




Thanks for taking the time to document this! I had no idea this much stuff was still operational at all!


From the CAMA website…

The Hawaii Railroad Co. was formed in 1880 on the “Big Island” to link the sugar cane plantations in the North Kohala District to the Port of Mahukona. On January 10,1883, the 3 foot gauge railroad was completed as only the second common carrier in the Kingdom of Hawaii. The line was just short of 20 miles long and ran along the North and West shores of the Island of Hawaii.

Improvements continued until the “Big Year” of 1937 when the Kohala Sugar Co. laid spur tracks to the mills and their corresponding fields. This marked the first physical connection of the railroad to the sugar cane operations. Previously, trucks hauled the raw cane to the mills where the sugar cane was processed and put in sacks which were then loaded onto trains.

More here… The Long Road to Kent: A History of Hawaii Railway #5 | The Connecticut Antique Machinery Association - Welcomes You! | Jim Anderson, CAMA webmaster

Here is #5 operating on the Connecticut Antique Machinery Associations 3ft track pulling one of two D&RGW wood gondolas CAMA rescued from a collection in Colorado in the mid 2000’s.

Now back to your regularly scheduled thread!

That looks like the prototype of the Bachmann “Industrial”.

It’s similar. That was my reason for buying one, then I realized #5 is a 2-4-2 and “Indy” is a 2-6-0. Just another idea that never got off the ground. The Columbia has the right wheel arraingement, but the boiler/cab is way off.

Thanks Cliff,

Well, since you mention it - our club is hosting the (New Zealand) National Garden Railway Convention in 2025.

Tuckahoe next year, then… :grin: