Steam Inc 2

Finding a home for twenty historic railway carriages is one of the more unusual challenges an organisation might face, but for Totalspan Wellington, which had already built a storage shed for a local railway society, it was easy.

The franchise’s experience was one of the key considerations for Steam Incorporated selecting Totalspan to house its carefully restored carriages - some over 100 years old.

Steam Incorporated, which has operated on their Paekakariki site, north of Wellington, for 40 years collects carriages and provides tours to support the group’s mission: restoring and maintaining former New Zealand Railways steam locomotives and rolling stock.

The organisation has over 300 members - around 50 are working members who volunteer time to restore the locomotives and carriages. Three full-time staff manage restorations and excursions, carrying up to 10,000 passengers each year.

Deputy President Peter Norman says members come from a variety of backgrounds - most with no formal engineering training, but with a passion for trains and the age of steam.“We’re enthusiasts who’ve picked up skills as we’ve gone along.”

The organisation’s working locomotive - Ja1271 - was the fourth-to-last steam engine built for NZR, entering service in 1956. It was restored over 12 years at a cost of over $400,000.

Peter says, in addition to Totalspan’s previous experience, the company’s ability to design and build a complete shed solution was very important. He says he appreciates the quality of the workmanship and service.

The ability to select a colour and design for the new shed that satisfied the stringent demands of the Historic Places Trust was also important. The new storage shed is located alongside a 70-year old freight shed, used by US Marines during World War II, demanding a design that wouldn’t impact on this historic site.