The International Steam Pages

Operational Steam Sites in New Zealand

The Kingston Flyer returned to operation under new ownership on 1st October 2011 after a two year suspension (5th January 2012). However, it has once again been put up for sale - (17th May 2013) and latest reports are not at all optimistic (8th June 2013). A classic case of making a small fortune running steam trains only being achievable by starting with a large fortune?

Wilson Lythgoe tells me (25th February 2017) that the Kingston Flyer has finally been sold again, this time to a mystery buyer, see Anything is better than leaving everything out in the open to rust and rot but a significant investment will be needed before a wheel can turn in anger.

This list is almost certainly not complete and has been put together from a number of public sources including Continental Railway Journal and Locomotives International. The black and white illustrations are courtesy of Ray Schofield and have been chosen to show what are best described as non-standard types... Except where stated, the colour pictures are mine from October 2002 - there are more in my New Zealand steam holiday (updated 15th March 2003).

Later updates:

Please note that many of these operations are seasonal and even then may operate only at weekends or selected weekends. This page is intended as a guide to what is available and you will need to make the appropriate enquiries before attempting to visit.

A useful website is - this has brief summaries of many museums in the country.

FRONZ have finally got round to producing a global website covering  New Zealand Trains and Trams, if it is maintained then this will be a very welcome additional resource, see (link broken by December 2021)

Additional information - particularly further links to the organisations' web pages would be most welcome.

(@ = National Federation of Rail Societies New Zealand Member)

North Island Click here for South Island

North Island

N1 Bay of Islands Vintage Railway (Northland) @

Ran from Kawakawa to Opua until services were suspended in 2000. The highlight was said to be the run down the main street of Kawakawa. Stock includes a Pecket 4-4-0T (1730/1927).

N2 Whangarei Steam and Model Railway Club (Northland) @

This has a short railway in the Heritage Park at Mauna, some 5km west of Whangerei. Live steam days are held periodically in association with the local Environmental Museum. Likely power is a Pecket 0-4-2T.

N3 The Mainline Steam Trust (Auckland) @

This had the use of the former diesel depot at Parnell, Auckland but moved out in 2015. A number of locomotives were based here including some South African imports. The Trust works regular main line excursions. The trust has depots in Wellington and Christchurch (South Island). See the website for more information -

N4 Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT), Auckland

Apart from its static exhibits, 2km away is the Western Springs Railway which operates irregularly. Power is likely to be one of their small tank locomotives. See the website for more information - They also have operational trams (occasionally use a steam tram) and stationary steam engines. John Raby's pictures of the locomotives in action are on one of my New Zealand steam holiday web pages.

N5 Glenbrook Vintage Tramway (Auckland) @

This major vintage train operation runs regular services including special enthusiast weekends. They have a number of ex-mainline locomotives. See the website for more information - link found broken on 27th October 2017, now This is their Alco Mallet:

N6 Bush Tramway Club (Waikato) @

This is near Huntly and only operates on the first Sunday of the month from April to December. As the name implies it is host to an interesting collection of unusual species including Climax, Heisler and Price logging locomotives. See the website for more information - This is a Price CB type:

Price Loco

This is F Class 0-6-0ST (Dubs, 1171/1878)

F class 0-6-0ST

N7 Goldfields Steam Railway (Coromandel) @

This line from Waihi to Waikino operates a mixture of small steam and diesel locomotives.

N8 Tauranga Museum and Historic Village (Bay of Plenty)

May operate a steam locomotive. (I have since found a note on a private website which stated the museum closed in 1999.) 

N9 Waikato Railway Museum, Te Awamutu (Waikato)

Described as 'difficult to locate' and 'a large barbed wire compound' between the Anchor Dairy Factory and the local racecourse had three ex-main line locomotives in 1998. I believe it is in the care of New Zealand Railway and Locomotive Society, Waikato Branch. At one stage it was said to be open on 'the third Sunday of the month'. 

N10 Steam Incorporated, Paekakariki (Wellington) @

Alongside Highway, 40km north of Wellington. Several steam locomotives for main-line excursions are kept here. They have a magnificent set of traditional red carriages. See the website for more information - (Link dead by May 2023). There is the Wellington Tramway Museum nearby.

N11 Silver Stream Railway, Upper Hutt (Wellington) @

They have a large operational Ka class, a C class and a number of small tank locomotives are here and operate a passenger service over a short but attractive line. See the website for more information - Picture by Nick Lera

Silverstream C

N12 Gisborne City Vintage Railway Society Inc (Eastland) @

The society has restored Wa 2-6-2T 165 which is used from time to time for public excursions. For some time the line was out of action but Trevor Heath tells me (1st January 2016) that's it's back in operation. See and

N13 Tokomaru Steam Engine Museum (Manawatu)

This is 20km south of Palmerston North. It has a superb collection of restored stationary steam engines and two steam rollers. It also has one or two small operational steam locomotives (for a small oval of track) as well as an unrestored Climax and Price C. See these websites for more information - and There are some pictures of the stationary steam here in my October 2002 report. In November 2015, the museum was put up for sale as the owners want to retire after many years running it and has subsequently been sold.

N14 Whangaparaoa Steam Railway (Auckland)

The 15 inch gauge Whangaparaoa Steam Railway (link broken July 2020), is a friendly family run affair catering for families every weekend, it uses 2-4-4T Little Toot on a loop in recreated bush country:

N15 Feilding Steam Rail (Manawatu) - added 22nd April 2003.

Feilding Steam Rail is north-east of Palmerston North. They have leases for a Dubs F 0-6-0, a Dunedin build Wab 4-6-4 Tank engine, and a X class 4-8-2. The F and the W are operational and mainline certified. They have their our own rail depot with three large rail sheds and are building a fourth. They can open up for visitors any day of the week and we have working bee's on Wednesday and Saturday. See

South Island Click here for North Island

South Island

S1 Reefton (Westland)

Not an operational site, but notable for Fairlie 0-6-4T on display in Reefton Park.

Fairle Single

At the Kamara Rest Area, Grey Valley between Greymouth and Reefton is a newly restored Davidson locomotive (25 out of 26 built). This is John Raby's photograph (added 1st February 2017).


S2 Shantytown, Greymouth (Westland) @

This is a replica of a West Coast gold mining town at the turn of the century with a short steam-operated tourist railway. See the website for more information - and my October 2002 report.  The picture shows their type 'B' Climax.

This is their 'improved F class' 0-6-0T (Phil Barnes March 2019 picture, added 7th November 2019):

S3 Weka Pass Railway (Canterbury) @

An 11km tourist railway from Waipara to Waikari over part of the former Waiau branch. 4-6-2 A 428 works trains when the fire risk is low. See the website for more information - and my October 2002 report.

S4 Ferrymead Trust, Christchurch (Canterbury)

This has a large collection of locomotives in Ferrymead Historic Park with both operational short tramway (standard gauge) and railway which are worked on open days. Some of their trams work in Christchurch city centre. This is Wd Class 2-6-4T 357 (Baldwin 19261/1901): Picture by Nick Lera Their website is

Wd Class at Ferrymead

S5 Canterbury Steam Preservation Society, Christchurch (Canterbury) @

The society has a short operational circular railway at McLean's Island. See the website for more information - (link amended 26th April 2014). This is another Price loco (148/1943) which is based on Heisler principles with 'V' disposed cylinders driving onto a longitudinal shaft:

This is a Fowler 0-4-0T (16426/1924) built for the Public Works department :

Fowler 0-4-0T

S6 The Plains Railway, Tinwald, Ashburton (Canterbury) @

A small operational museum with a collection including a number of ex-main line steam locomotives. See my October 2002 report. Picture by Nick Lera

Plains A Class

S7 Pleasant Point Railway and Museum (Canterbury) @

At Kearnes Crossing, 2km from Pleasant Point Village. A museum with a number of ex-mainline steam locomotives and a short railway. See the website for more information -  Picture of L class by Nick Lera

Pleasant Point L class

S8 Oamaru Steam and Rail Inc (Otago) @

At Oamaru Harbour, next to the Tyne Street Heritage Area. It operates trains through the harbour complex with a small tank locomotive. See the website for more information - (Link broken by May 2023) Picture by Nick Lera

Oamaru Harbour Railway

S9 Otago Early Settlers Museum, Dunedin (Otago)

Not an operational site, but notable for Fairlie 0-4-4-0T 'Josephine' on display. This 1872 locomotive is the oldest in the country and reportedly worked its first train. See the website for more information -

S10 Otago Steam Trust, Dunedin (Otago)

The trust has a restoration work shop in Minerva Street on the outskirts of town.

S11 Ocean Beach Railway, Dunedin (Otago) @

This is run by the Otago Railway and Locomotive Society and has been running 'preserved' trains for 40 years. Current operational stock comprises small tank locomotives. See the website for more information - broken by May 2023) I visited here in October 2002.

S13 Project Steam Dunedin Inc (Otago) 

This organisation is restoring two P Class 2-8-0s recovered from the Clutha River in 1992. See (link broken by December 2021) for more information.

S12 Kingston Flyer (Southland)

Running between Kingston and Fairlight, the regular power was one of two Ab 4-6-2. See the website for more information - (link now rubbish). I visited Kingston as part of my October 2002 holiday. Alas, news reports in July 2009 indicated that the parent company is effectively bankrupt and there are some doubts as to whether the railway will operate the normal season starting in October 2009 - check carefully for updates locally before visiting (11th July 2009). The railway reopened under new ownership on 1st October 2011 (5th January 2012). However, it has once again been put up for sale - (17th May 2013). Latest reports are not at all optimistic (8th June 2013). The Kingston Flyer has finally been sold again, this time to a mystery buyer, see (25th February 2017).

S14 Nelson Railway Society (added 4th October 2016)

The Society operates trains in Founders Heritage Park, Nelson. It has now (2016) restored Wf 403 to working order. For more information, please see broken by May 2023). The picture is by Michael T. Burt:

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Rob Dickinson