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Mountain Bound - Steam In New Zealand's Alps

This film features a journey from Timaru to Rolleston (in New Zealand) on the main south and midland lines with the Mainline Steam Trust locomotives, featuring J1211, a 4-8-2 steam locomotive built in Glasgow by North British Locomotive in 1939.


Stream locomotive Ka942 on the way to Arthurs Pass in New Zealand's Southern Alps.  Photo: © Compak Telepictures Ltd (Used under license)

J1211 initially went into service in Auckland during December 1939, and it worked between the Bay of Islands, the Bay of Plenty and Taumarunui, hauling express and goods trains. It remained in the North Island until October 1963 when it was transferred to the South Island on the rail ferry Aramoana (after having been replaced in her North Island roles by the newer Da diesel-electric locomotives.

To begin with the engine worked the main lines to the north and south of Dunedin where it was based. In the late 1960s it was replaced by Dg and Dj diesel-electric locomotives and in September 1970 she was transferred to Christchurch to work solely on express trains. This was primarily because the carriages on these trains required heating in the winter months, and this could be achieved with a steam engine (as opposed to the newer diesel-electrics). However, specialised steam-heating vans were brought into service in late 1971 and this eventually lead to the retirement of J1211 in November 1971 as the diesel engines could now pull the passenger carriages and still have them heated during the winter months.

Subsequently the engine was rescued and restored by Ian Welch (now of Mainline Steam) and several others who could see the benefit in preserving this historic locomotive.


A triple headed Eo class electric locomotive in Otira (New Zealand).  


The full 'Mountain Bound' movie, produced in the 1990's was edited as a complete sequence from Timaru to Rolleston. At Rolleston the locomotive is changed to Ka942 which then hauled the train for the run through the Southern Alps to Arthurs Pass. There electric locomotives took over for the run to Otira and back—the last time that electric locos were used on this section of line before it (the electric system) was closed.

From Arthurs Pass Ka942 once again takes over for the run back to Rolleston, where finally J1211 takes over for the final journey back to Timaru.

The full two-hour film of this amazing rail journey has been rescued from obscurity, remastered and re-released and is now available online for the first time on Historical Machines TV.


The full two-hour film of this amazing rail journey has been rescued from obscurity, remastered and re-released and is now available online for the first time —either as part of a streaming subscription, or as a stand-alone rental from Historical Machines TV.

Original film Copyright © 1997-2007

Compak Telepictures Ltd

Used Here Under License


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