Blenheim Riverside Railway  

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History of Donald.

Posted by Darrin Wilkinson on October 16, 2015 at 5:45 AM

Several people have contacted the Society seeking information about our little 2ft tank steam locomotive.  Please read below the information from the Marlborough Museum's Website

"Donald"  The little loco's history.

Steam locomotive, built in Glasgow, Scotland c.1900

It left Glasgow, Scotland on 28 June 1901 and arrived at Wellington on the ship Machrianish, before being shipped onto Nelson and Puponga [source: Nelson Evening Mail, 19 July 1901 and 25 October 1901, via Papers Past website].

The locomotive is an 0-4-0 tank engine and it served Puponga Coal and Gold Mining Company Limited, near Farewell Spit, Tasman District, until 1930.

In 1990 the Collingwood Museum Society lent the 'bones' of Donald to the Blenheim Riverside Railway Society [BRRS] for eventual restoration.

From 1992 to 2004 fundraising, re-building and re-assembly took place.

Currently there is a huge restoration project underway as can been seen by our updates. BRRS Now has more skilled labour and sought further funding.

Donald is being restored as a 0-4-2 by adding a trailing axle to reduce track wear.

There is an article on the Tasman District featuring the Puponga coal mine in New Zealand Memories magazine, November-December 1995, issue 3, pps 162-165, with two photographs showing a small locomotive. "According to J. Newport's history of Collingwood, a small locomotive was due to arrive from England mid 1901..." [page 163] and "The make and class of the quaint little English-made locomotive is one of the great mysteries among locomotive freaks.

It is of unknown pedigree and is one of the few locomotives to operate in New Zealand that has foiled all research attempts. However, the experts can tell us that it was affectionally known as "Donald". [page 164].

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