The International Steam Pages

Once upon a time, long ago,
Tauranga & nearby, Bay of Plenty, New Zealand, May 1972

Wilson Lythgoe has been circulating friends with some steam pictures taken some time back and with his permission and encouragement they are reproduced on these pages and will be added to from time to time. Click here for the index.

This week a look at the variety of locos that could be found in the Bay of Plenty in 1972. This was in the time prior to the Kaimai tunnel and if I remember correctly, due to the light track, the Da class were limited to the section between Tauranga and Murupara. This meant you could have a choice of either Df, Db or Di elsewhere and it was all a matter of luck as to what came along.

A baby Da, Db1005, shunting at Te Maunga. When I prepared this slide I cloned out the 'black line' rising from the loco's cab thinking it was blemish. Then the same blemish appeared in exactly the same spot above the cab in my next two photos. It took a while to find out if it was actually an aerial and what it was for but from a friend of a friend of a friend I was emailed: 'Regarding what appears to be an aerial on top of the Db cab this would be about right At time pics were taken, if this is a local shunt which I think it is, the Mount had a base radio, base call being "Mount Base" and the shunt loco carried a portable radio.'

Shunting finished and Db1005 moved its lengthy train along the branch to Mount Maunganui. 

Two Di and a Da depart Tauranga yard with what seems to be a rather small train for three locos. There's someone on-board the Da so maybe it was a balancing move.

If this shot was taken the same day as the previous two then possibly the two Di were only going as far as Te Maunga to collect a west bound train. Certainly in this photo, taken coming off the Tauranga Harbour Bridge, the train is being hauled by two Di.

Later in the afternoon I got another shot 'near Apata' according to what I wrote on the slide. I can only think the reason I took it here was to show earthworks associated with the new line leading to the Kaimai tunnel.

Two months later I was back in the area and photographed two Db passing through Otumoetai, a small station, on the outskirts of Tauranga. Leading is Db1005 but there is now no sign of the aerial seen in the earlier photos. 

Rob Dickinson