Local Heart, Global Soul

December 1, 2018

Shantytown’s Kaitangata Steams Ahead… Kind of.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Greymouth’s next mural is a very striking one of a large steam train.

The name on the name plate is “KAITANGATA” and it is resident in the local tourist attraction; Shantytown.

Located 10 km south of Greymouth, Shantytown is more or less an open air museum, with thirty shops, gold panning possibilities, train rides and all sorts of things to delight visitors.

Their website;   Shantytown / Kaitangata steam train starts with th technical aspects: “KAITANGATA – Sharp Stewart & Co. Glasgow, Scotland. Makers # 4270 built 1896. 22 ton, 10.5 x 18 cylinders, 160lb BP, 36 inch wheels TE 7000lb.

The main stay of the railway at Shantytown since its opening in 1972 has been the ‘Improved F-Class Kaitangata’.

This engine is based on the N.Z.R. (New Zealand Railways) ‘F’ class, and was built for the Kaitangata Coal & Railway Co. to work the 8 kilometre line from the coal mine at Kaitangata to the N.Z.R. exchange sidings at Stirling.
The coal company and railway were taken over by the State Mines Department in the 1950’s with the locomotive continuing to operate the railway until the mine closed in 1969. In February 1971 the locomotive was donated to Shantytown.”

I remember going to Shantytown once as a kid, but so long ago that I can’t remember if it was a school trip or a family one. What I remember was attempting to do some gold panning in a long trough. My biggest memory?: That the water was freezing cold! (the things that kids remember from trips when they were young!). My later visits included the area, but not Shantytown, and on this particular visit with my own family we didn’t have time for any extra excursions because we have appointments to meet up with friends in Hanmer Springs in a few days.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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