Pahiatua Railcar Society - New Zealand Heritage Rail

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New Zealand Heritage Rail

Tokomaru – a Pahiatua rail car

Still with her traditional art deco charm, a gem in New Zealand’s heritage rail scene is ‘Tokomaru’, or RM31, a railcar built in 1938 and now managed by Pahiatua Railcar Society at Pahiatua, in New Zealand’s North Island. 

This unique style of railcar was one of only six built by NZ Hutt Workshops for the New Zealand Government Railways in 1938/39 as an innovative way to compete with the rise of motor vehicles, and to replace slower and expensive steam trains, while providing comfortable and fast local rail services.  

RM31 is 30 tonnes and 21 metres long, and while only one carriage, she was built with two compartments, the larger ‘second-class’ seated 36 passengers, and the smaller ‘first-class’ area seated 16 passengers. As with all these standard railcars, Tokomaru was named after famous Māori canoes and was used for North Island passenger rail services for more than 30 years until withdrawn from service in 1972.  

While the railcars are now red with white stripes and grey roofs, they were originally a sleek silver body with a green stripe. Initially, they were used to run a fast return service between Wellington and New Plymouth and later Hawkes Bay between Wairoa and Napier and a Sunday service from Napier to Wellington return. This was of course extended over the years, but they never operated in the South Island.

RM31 is the Society’s only operating railcar and is one of four preserved railcars of the Standard class but the only one in operation of the national lines. Being stored for a time at Masterton, RM31 was bequeathed to the Pahiatua Railcar Society in 2001, an organisation dedicated to the restoration of heritage railcars, locomotives and rolling stock formerly owned and operated by the railways department.

Cruise Express is chartering Tokomaru in October 2019 for a panoramic, 4-day journey from Auckland to Wellington, visiting boutique vineyards in the famous Martinborough wine region – home to the Pinot Noir-flaunting Escarpment winery, now owned by Barossa Valley’s Torbreck. Passengers on this incredible journey will also stay in the grand, Chateau Tongariro, back-dropped by sacred, lofty peaks in the heart of the North Island and the quirky capital of Wellington with a visit to the incredible Te Papa National Museum.  

To secure your seat on New Zealand’s heritage rail or for more information click here or call Cruise Express on 1300 766 537

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New Zealand Heritage Rail

Tokomaru – a Pahiatua rail car

Still with her traditional art deco charm, a gem in New Zealand’s heritage rail scene is ‘Tokomaru’, or RM31, a railcar built in 1938 and now managed by Pahiatua Railcar Society at Pahiatua, in New Zealand’s North Island. 

This unique style of railcar was one of only six built by NZ Hutt Workshops for the New Zealand Government Railways in 1938/39 as an innovative way to compete with the rise of motor vehicles, and to replace slower and expensive steam trains, while providing comfortable and fast local rail services.  

RM31 is 30 tonnes and 21 metres long, and while only one carriage, she was built with two compartments, the larger ‘second-class’ seated 36 passengers, and the smaller ‘first-class’ area seated 16 passengers. As with all these standard railcars, Tokomaru was named after famous Māori canoes and was used for North Island passenger rail services for more than 30 years until withdrawn from service in 1972.  

While the railcars are now red with white stripes and grey roofs, they were originally a sleek silver body with a green stripe. Initially, they were used to run a fast return service between Wellington and New Plymouth and later Hawkes Bay between Wairoa and Napier and a Sunday service from Napier to Wellington return. This was of course extended over the years, but they never operated in the South Island.

RM31 is the Society’s only operating railcar and is one of four preserved railcars of the Standard class but the only one in operation of the national lines. Being stored for a time at Masterton, RM31 was bequeathed to the Pahiatua Railcar Society in 2001, an organisation dedicated to the restoration of heritage railcars, locomotives and rolling stock formerly owned and operated by the railways department.

Cruise Express is chartering Tokomaru in October 2019 for a panoramic, 4-day journey from Auckland to Wellington, visiting boutique vineyards in the famous Martinborough wine region – home to the Pinot Noir-flaunting Escarpment winery, now owned by Barossa Valley’s Torbreck. Passengers on this incredible journey will also stay in the grand, Chateau Tongariro, back-dropped by sacred, lofty peaks in the heart of the North Island and the quirky capital of Wellington with a visit to the incredible Te Papa National Museum.  

To secure your seat on New Zealand’s heritage rail or for more information click here or call Cruise Express on 1300 766 537

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