Team photo of those involved with the first mainline mechanical test runs of RM31 on 3/4 September 2011


Pahiatua Railcar Society
P.O. Box 67
New Zealand


RM133 Railcar Trust Board
P.O. Box 67
New Zealand


Railway Videos

The Station

When New Zealand was colonised by English settlers in the 1840’s, railways were already well established in many parts of the world. The first railway in Wellington ran from Pipitea Point in 1874 and was planned by the central government to be part of a main trunk railway stretching from Wellington to Auckland.

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A Living Dream

Follow the trials and tribulations as John Murphy and others seek to realise the goal of getting Standard Railcar RM31 back on New Zealand's railway network. Added are archive film clips of previously unseen footage of other railcars traveling around various locations throughout New Zealand along with many interviews. It also details the aims and progress of two other major railcar restoration projects currently underway by members of the Pahiatua Railcar Society.

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Links to other Rail Groups

Aristo Craft Trains

Bush Tramway Club Inc

Canterbury Railway Society (Inc)

Driving Creek Railway

Feilding and District Steam Rail Society

Gisborne City Vintage Railway Society

Federation of Rail Organisations of New Zealand

New Zealand Railway & Locomotive Society

New Zealand Railway Photograph Collections, Numberplates etc.

Ormondville Rail Preservation Group

Parry People Mover (Railcars)

Pleasant Point Railway (NZ)

The Plains Vintage Railway & Historical Museum



Steam Incorporated

Taieri Gorge Railway

Terry's Train Trax.

The Skunk Train, California Western Railroad

U.S.A Trains

Waitara Railway Preservation Society Inc.

Weka Pass Railway

Wellington Tramway Museum

Westport Railway Presevation Society.

Links to other Rail Sites


Want to Join?

The Pahitua Railcar Society is an incorporated society and registered charity and membership fees are $30 per annum.

We have members from all walks of life (including female) and invite anyone interested in the restoration or operation of railcars to join. Active members come from all parts of the country from Hastings in the north to Wellington in the south.

There are no regular planned work days but generally there will be someone working around the yard, on one of the many projects being undertaken, at least on one day every weekend.

We are a member of the Federation of Rail Organisations of New Zealand and are one of only a few heritage railway societies licensed to undertake excursions on the NZ Railway Network.

John Rumbal greasing Tr 36 on 25 August 2001

Chris White welding RM 121 cowcatcher

Early Beginnings

In early 1991, two Pahiatua residents, Don Selby and Warick Greaves, were discussing what they would like to do next following their helping on the local 1990 celebrations committee.

For nearly 37 years, the last complete Wairarapa railcar RM5 ‘Mahuhu’ had been held in storage firstly by the Railway Workshops at Woburn then the Wellington Branch of the New Zealand Railway and Locomotive Society, that was later to become the Silverstream Railway Society. The two discussed the possibility of leasing this railcar and forming a group to go about restoring it to a mainline standard.

A meeting was held at the Pahiatua Squash Club in February of 1992 and as a result, the Pahiatua Railcar Preservation Society was formed. The new group attracted strong local support and managed to negotiate a lease on the 1897 built Pahiatua Railway Goods Shed. This was to serve as a base and provide inside storage for RM5 following the successful negotiations with the Silverstream Railway Society Incorporated for a forty year lease.

Arrival of RM 31

The society continued to attract new members and eventually commenced negotiations to lease the standard class railcar RM31 ‘Tokomaru’. This railcar was purchased by John Murphy of Wellington along with two other similar railcars, RM33 and RM35, following their retirement by the Government Railways in 1972.

After a number of trips around the country including a foray to Auckland, this railcar was stored in a specially built shed on land right next to the railway at Opaki, just north of Masterton. In early 1996 it was moved to the old railcar shed at Masterton and was finally towed to Pahiatua by a Tranz Rail ‘Dc’ class locomotive on the 30th June 2001.

Finally after ten years of effort by many members, RM31 has now received clearance to operate on the National Railway Network and will soon be seen in various parts of the country from time to time.


Arrival of RM 133

In late 2001, an independent group of railway enthusiasts from Wellington to the Hawkes Bay, affiliated to the Pahiatua society, successfully negotiated the purchase of the last remaining complete articulated Drewry railcar RM133.

This became available as it was no longer needed for its previous role by Crash Fire services for crew training in the evacuation of passengers from crashed aircraft at Auckland Airport however just prior to being moved by road to Pahiatua, it was damaged by fire.

It was known for some time that a second Drewry railcar had escaped the gas cutting torch, a fate suffered by all the the remaining thirty three members of the class. Both ends of this car, RM121, were located and have now been relocated to Pahiatua where restoration work has been commenced in restoring this railcar to near its original condition, in favour of RM 133 which is stored pending possible restoration in the future.



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