Locomotive back in Southland

New home ...The 1880 D Class locomotive D6 is lowered into position at Bulleid Engineering in Winton on Saturday.

A rare historic steam locomotive is being restored to its former glory and is back in Southland after more than a century away.

The D Class locomotive D6 was built in 1880 in Glasgow and spent much of its time running on Southland’s tracks with New Zealand Railways.

But in 1917, the D6 was sold into private service, first to the Taratu Coal and Railway Company in the Clutha district and then to McDonald’s Lime in 1940, where it was in action at its Oamaru plant.

It moved a bit closer to home in 1965 after being acquired by Ocean Beach Railway, a working heritage railway museum operating in Dunedin.

The Lumsden Heritage Trust has now brought it back for its heritage rail display.

Trust chairman John Titter said the locomotive was significant because there were very few left in New Zealand.

“According to the New Zealand Rolling Stock Register there are only seven other Class D locomotives left in New Zealand, of which only two have been restored to running order.”

The trust had taken responsibility for the locomotive and applied for funding to restore it, he said.

During the weekend it arrived at Bulleid Engineering in Winton, where it is to be restored before being taken to Lumsden. – RNZ