Our Fleet


GCVR started with the aim of restoring Wa165 back to its former glory. As you can see elsewhere on this website, that aim has been achieved due to the incredible amount of hard work and support given by a large number of individuals and organisations - both Gisborne-based and NZ-wide.


 Wa165 in 1898
Wa165 in 1898 (New)
 Wa165 in 1986 (Pre-Restoration)
Wa165 in 1986 (Pre-Restoration)
 Wa165 Now
Wa165 Now
The full history of Wa165 is available here.

But, Wa165 is only part (albeit the major part) of the incredible GCVR story.
What about the passenger & service carriages that make up a fully functioning train
and the other support vehicles that are also required?


DSC2759 at Muriwai

DSC2759 was purchased by the GCVR as a backup locomotive for Wa165.

It arrived in Gisborne on 14th August 2020, having been carried by truck and trailer from the Wellington area, as the rail-line from Wairoa to Gisborne had still not been repaired following storm damage in 2012.

Little is known about the history of DSC2759, however it was built in 1967 at the Hillside Workshops in Dunedin (NZ) as DSC469 and was the last one to be built of a total of 70 in that class of locomotive. It was renumbered to DSC2759 during the introduction of the computer-based Traffic Monitoring System in 1980.

DSC2759 being lifted off trailer

Initially fitted with two Leyland UE902 diesel engines, it was re-powered with Cummins NT855 diesel engines, probably in the early 1980’s. In the early 1990’s, shunter's refuges at either end of the locomotive were fitted.

In 2002, the locomotive was sold by Tranz Rail (the name for the New Zealand Railway operator at the time) to a private collector. It was not used very much during the next 18 years.

Once DSC2759 had been lifted off the trailer in Gisborne and was sitting on the rails, Bob Abel, one of the GCVR founding members started the engines, drove the loco a short distance away from the engine shed and then into the engine shed. Bob had driven DSC locos around Gisborne for about 2 and 1/2 years - but the last time was 29 years ago!

One of the first jobs upon arrival in Gisborne in 2020 was to remove the remote control facilities, as the locomotive did not come with a remote control unit. Various other maintenance work was carried out including rust removal.

The Use Of Wa165 v DSC2759

Wa165 is now over 124 years old and as a very senior (but still very active) citizen, needs to be regularly rested and cared for to ensure she will remain as a fully operating tourism Taonga for many more years.

That is one reason that GCVR have acquired the diesel electric engine DSC2759, powerful and big, weighing 42 tonnes. At "only" 54 years old it is a mere youth, but still a vintage locomotive with the distinction of being the last one of its class ever built. GCVR will be using DSC2759 on some excursions to take some of the pressure off Wa165.

The other reason involves GCVR's endeavour to make a real contribution to assist in the reduction of Aotearoa’s and specifically Tairawhiti’s carbon emissions. While our coal for the steam engine, which is sourced from the West Coast of the South Island (as it is the most suitable coal available in NZ for Wa165), is of a very high quality with a high calorific value and produces steam for Wa165 as efficiently as is possible for 100 plus year old technology to do, it inevitably produces some black smoke and thus releases some carbon into the atmosphere. In comparison, DSC2759 is a significantly less carbon emitter with it's diesel electric running gear.

To continue running Tairawhiti’s Heritage Railway operation and provide locals and tourists alike with a unique and memorable yesteryear train experience, GCVR believes a combination of reduced use of Wa165 and more use of DSC2759 will be a happy compromise. We are hopeful that our passengers will be supportive of this solution.

While we will endeavour to advise in advance which of our two locomotives will be used on any particular public trip, that may not always be practicable or possible.

As a result GCVR reserves the right to utilize DSC2759 in place of Wa165 on any excursion, depending upon our operational or crewing circumstances on the day. (Equally, the opposite situation could apply.) This could include our need to comply with any restricted fire season requirements which may be in force at the time. Please don’t be disappointed if it turns out that DSC2759 is pulling the train on the particular trip that you really wanted to see Wa165 on.

You can be assured that the train itself, the ride, the destination and the memorable heritage experience will be the same regardless of which engine is at the front. They are both special.

And don’t forget, for a gold coin donation for adults and accompanied children, and your covid vaccination passport, you are always most welcome to visit our Engine Shed on Thursday and Saturday mornings between 9:00am and midday to meet our locomotives and carriages up close, and our dedicated volunter staff who work on and crew them.


TR23 at Gisborne

Built by the Drewry Car Co in 1939, probably at the Dick Kerr Works, Preston, England.

This was one of 15 ordered by the NZ Government in 1938.

Originally fitted with a Leyland 10-litre (610 cu in) petrol engine, sometime around 1954 it was refitted with a Gardner 8LW diesel engine which it still has today.

1939 - 1981 NZR service
1981 - 199X Tomoana Freezing Works
199X - 2008 Eastern Locomotive Group
2008 - Present. Gisborne City Vintage Railway (loaned from Eastern Locomotive Group)

Our Vintage Train

Our normal excursion train comprises the Service Wagon (EA7582), followed by AL56129, FM14, FM9 & FM1409 in that order. On the return trip from Muriwai to Gisborne, the locomotive is attached to the "rear" of the train (FM1409). This means that the steam locomotive Wa165 travels backwards (it can travel the same speed in reverse as it can forwards). As DSC2759 is double-ended, it does not make any difference to the diesel-electric locomotive which end of the train it is attached to.

---------- EA7582 ----------

EA7582 This flat deck wagon is believed to have been built as Ur 2206 by NZR at Addington in 1965 as a flat deck, steel body freight wagon.

The 10,000 litre water tank that we have mounted on the flat wagon was originally used as a milk tanker. Before we obtained it, the "milk tanker" had been used to transport sea water to a fish farm. The frequent immersions in sea water meant that the steel underframe of the tank had a large amount of rust on it, which took 6 months to remove using a needle gun. The tank could then be mounted on the flat wagon.

The flat deck freight wagon is leased from the Rail Heritage Trust.

The "front" module (on the right of this photo) contains various spares (kidney links, air hoses, communication leads etc) and tools.

The 10,200 litre water (originally milk) tank is used to supply water to the side tanks of Wa165. Three pumps (electric, petrol and air-driven) are mounted on this wagon to pump water from the tank to the steam engine. The electrically operated pump is normally used, with the other two as emergency backups.

In the heyday of steam locomotives, water tanks along the side of the track provided the necessary water supply. These days, as Wa165 cannot carry enough water for the trip from Gisborne to Muriwai and return, an alternative water supply is necessary.

Wa165 is supplied with water during the journey to Muriwai and topped up when it arrives at Muriwai. A full load of water at Muriwai means that it can get back to Gisborne without being topped up on the way (as Wa165 is at the opposite end of the train on the return journey).

The "rear" module (normally closest to AL56129) houses the diesel generator which is used to power the 230v AC systems in the passenger cars. These include heat pumps for air-conditioning and power for the buffet fridge and hot water boilers.

---------- AL56129 ----------


This is our "A" car.

This was originally built as A1901 by NZR in Otahuhu in 1936.

It is a 56 feet long steel clad passenger car. In the 1950’s it was converted from a 44 seat car with toilets at each end, to a 66 passenger car for use in Auckland. This is probably when it was redesignated a Suburban Car with the number A56148.

In 1984 it was redesignated again as a Suburban Carvan with the (current) number of AL56129.

This was one of 2 "A" carriages acquired by GCVR. The other carriage was used as a source of spares. Unfortunately at the time it had to be stored outside and was subjected to graffiti and vandalism. That carriage was later sold.

When GCVR acquired AL56129, all of the metal panels were removed and the rotten wood beneath replaced. The original floor and ventilators were retained. The seats were over-hauled and still operate in the original "roll-over to reverse direction" mode.

This is the only carriage which has original "open-the-windows" air-conditioning. No heat pump in this carriage!

---------- FM14 ----------

GCVR Passenger Carriage FM14

This is our "B" car.

This carriage was built in the 1970s by Mitsubishi as a Guards Van.

GCVR converted it to a passenger carriage with approx 45 seats. The seats are from an Air New Zealand B747-100 series aircraft.

All the flooring, carpets and roof lining work was done by GCVR with some outside help.

The toilet fitted to this carriage by GCVR is also ex-Air New Zealand and is of the 'sealed' type, which means that it flushes into a holding tank which is later emptied into a sewer at the GCVR workshops.

This carriage is fitted with outside viewing platforms at both ends.

Work on this cariage was actually completed before the rebuild of Wa165 was finished.

---------- FM9 ----------

GCVR Passenger Carriage FM9

This is our "D" car, as it was the last carriage purchased. It is also the Buffet car.

This carriage was built in the 1970s by Mitsubishi as a Guards Van.

This was one of 2 carriages acquired by the Wairoa YMCA who planned to use them to carry children from Napier to Mahia to the YMCA camp there. The rail operator at the time (Tranz Rail) initially agreed to tow the carriages behind their freight trains for the YMCA, but later reversed that decision.

The Wairoa YMCA had spent a large amount of money on restoring/converting these carriages by the time that this decision was made known. As their funds had also dried up, they put the 2 carriages up for sale. GCVR purchased one and Mainline Steam the other.

The toilet fitted to this carriage by GCVR is also ex-Air New Zealand and is of the 'sealed' type, which means that it flushes into a holding tank which is later emptied into a sewer at the GCVR workshops.

This carriage is fitted with outside viewing platforms at both ends.

---------- FM1409 ----------

GCVR Passenger Carriage FM1409

This is our "C" car.

This carriage was built in the 1970s by Mitsubishi as a Guards Van.

The front section (at the left of this photo) of the carriage has been fitted by GCVR with tables and 19 seats, once again ex-Air New Zealand B747 seats.There is also room for a wheelchair.

A paraplegic toilet has been fitted at the mid-point of this carriage by GCVR. It is also ex-Air New Zealand and is of the 'sealed' type, which means that it flushes into a holding tank which is later emptied into a sewer at the GCVR.

The rear section of the carriage is reserved for train crew use, but passengers can walk through the crew area to access the "rear" viewing platform, which is normally the closest point to the locomotive on the return journey to Gisborne.

The sliding doors (one on each side of the carriage) enable wheelchair users or people who have walking difficulties to access the train via special ramps.

This carriage is fitted with outside viewing platforms at both ends.

Ground Equipment

---------- FKM3 Hi-Rail ----------

Hi-Rail Truck

This "Hi-Rail Truck" is a 1994 Mazda Titan T4600, fully set up for rail & road travelling.

It was found by Trevor Dukes (of M E Dukes & Son) in the second hand yard of Deacon Motors in Hastings. It is believed to be ex-TranzRail. GCVR purchased it from Trevor Dukes using money donated to the GCVR by the Gisborne Kiwianis.

This truck is now used by GCVR for their track inspections (which are carried out early in the morning of the days that the train is due to run).

Track inspections include checking the condition of the track and sleepers and removing obstructions such as fallen tree branches, over-hanging scrub growth and even electric fences that farmers have left positioned across the track as they have moved their stock across the rail-line. Our facilities at Muriwai are also checked.

The truck is also used as a service vehicle to carry equipment used for track and bridge maintenance, as well as weed control along the track.

---------- YP7351 Loader ----------

GCVR Loader

This loader was donated to GCVR by Trevor Dukes (of M E Dukes & Son).

It is used for loading coal into Wa165 and for moving heavy items around the yard.

It was also used to tow the steam engine and the passenger carriages out of the sheds before GCVR acquired the use of TR23 and has also been used when TR23 is unavailable. (Fortunately TR23 is fairly reliable, considering that it was built in 1939).


Tickets can be purchased from the i-Site Gisborne Information Centre in Grey Street (Ph: 06 868 6139). Any remaining tickets will be available for sale at the Gisborne Railway Station 30 minutes before departure.

Boarding the Train

The train leaves from the Gisborne Railway Station. Please arrive 15 minutes before the departure time shown.

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