The history of steam traction on New Zealand’s main line railways extends from the earliest days of railways in those islands in the late 1860s right up to final completion of the change to diesel haulage in 1971, but within that period the most numerous class of locomotive and also one of the most widely-used, versatile and long-lived steam types has been the Pacifics of Class Ab, a design drawn up just after the beginning of the First World War by HH Jackson, the chief mechanical engineer of New Zealand Government Railways at that time, assisted by his chief draughtsman, SH Jenkinson.
CELEBRATING AN ANNIVERSARY: THE Ab 608 ‘CENTENNIAL’ TOUR OF NEW ZEALAND’S SOUTH ISLAND
No. 608 amidst the rolling farmland of the deep south on its journey between Dunedin and Invercargill on October 22, seen here at Wairuna.
The class eventually comprised some 150 units, numbered from 608 upwards, and variously built from 1915 onwards at the Addington workshops in Christchurch, by the private engineering firm of A&G Price in the North Island town of Thames and by North British in Glasgow, the latter builder being responsible for 83 of the class, built from
Read more in issue 214 of HR