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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 4, Issue 6 (October 1, 1929)

Auckland's First Locomotive

page 48

Auckland's First Locomotive

It was in 1863 that the first locomotive was put together at Newmarket—it had been imported from England—and it seems to have been a very modest specimen of Stephenson's art.

The engine was made by Messrs. Manning, Wardle and Co., Leeds, Yorkshire, and was sent out per the “Andrew Jackson.” It was a tank engine of the inside cylinder class, with six wheels, all coupled together. The cylinders were 11ins. diameter and 17ins. stroke; the wheels 3ft. diameter (with Lowmoor tyres); total wheel base, 10ft. 3ins.; length of boiler barrel, 7ft. 3ins. by 2ft. 9ins. dia. (made of best Yorkshire plates).

The internal fire-box was made of copper; the brass tubes, 78 in number, being 2ins. in external diameter. A saddle tank, holding 40 gallons of water, was placed on the top of the boiler, making the total weight of the whole engine about 16 tons. The engine was fitted with powerful brakes, because of the heavy inclines on the railway.

The late Mr. Thomas Cheeseman used to tell an amusing story about this first locomotive. It was considered too heavy to be landed at the Queen Street wharf, then a rather crazy wooden structure, and the late Captain Casey was therefore engaged to lighter it ashore in one of his craft. This Captain Casey was quite a character in his way, and in the old files there are some very amusing advertisements from his hand.

He used a good deal of the advertising space for the time-tables of his boats that used to run up to Riverhead, to air his opinions on the political questions and people of the day, and even now, when they are all dead and gone there is a laugh in those caustic comments.

The skipper brought the wonderful locomotive ashore all right, on the waterfront where Customs Street now runs, and got it on board a trolley, which was then taken out to Newmarket, where the only bit of line was available.

The passage of the old skipper and his men through the streets must have been something in the nature of a triumphal march, for in the account afterwards presented to the Railway Commissioners, were two items, one a charge for a trumpeter to blow a bugle in front of the trolley in its journey up Queen Street, via Khyber Pass, and so on to Newmarket, and the other was for 120 quarts of beer supplied to sundry workmen who assisted in the progress of the engine from the waterfront to Newmarket.

It is rather sad to relate that both items were challenged by the auditor.