Wairarapa Railcars

These railcars entered service in 1936 specially designed to be used on services between Wellington and the Wairarapa district. This route included a section which went over a mountain range which included the then famous Rimutaka Incline. The railcars which were classified RM (Rail Motor) like all other New Zealand railcars were numbered from 4 to 9 inclusive and were single ended nccessitating turning at each end of their journey.

A distinctive feature of these railcars were the large wheels on the rear axle which were necessary for the final drive unit and the axle itself to clear the centre rail of the incline. In 1955, an eight kilometre tunnel was opened through the Rimutaka Ranges and this saw the end of services by these railcars. They were gradually scrapped, however two were saved by Silverstream Railway, RM5 ran briefly on their tracks, RM5 is now the only survior.

With its interior framing of wood, it soon became unservicable and a decision was made to completely reframe it using steel and after the chassis being overhauled.

RM5 is now near completion and, it is hoped to be able to run on the mainline over short distances within the local area.




Rm 5 photo: Jack McClare - 1939

Rm 5 photo: G Moffatt - 10 August 2003

Rm 5 photo: Ray Sigvertsen collection.

Rm 5 at Pahiatua.

Rm 5 photo: progress 17 August 2014

Rm 5 photo: Doug Johnston 5 June 2016RM 5


Diesel-Mechanical Railcar





Number in class



N.Z.R (Hutt Workshops)


3' 6"


B1 - A


57'-11" over buffers


8'-9" over body






Diesel mechanical through gearbox



Max Speed



Pahiatua Railcar Society
P.O. Box 67
New Zealand

Email: info@railcars.co.nz

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

Email: doug@railcars.co.nz

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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