RM133 Railcar Trust


Restoration work on RM121 is progressing well, but we need help. Your support will be greatly appreciated.

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  Manawatu / Whanganui

The RM 133 Railcar Trust Board was set up in 2000 to specifically save and restore the remains of ex NZR Drewry Twinset Articulated Railcar RM 133, the last known substantial survivor of a class of 35 Railcars to serve on most provincial and mainline routes throughout New Zealand between 1955 and 1978 and well remembered for replacing steam hauled expresses in the earlier period. This valuable survivor was located at Auckland International Airport and was used for staff evacuation training simulating an aircraft between 1985 and 2000 when it was offered for preservation.

After suffering unfortunate fire damage to its No 2 end, the remains were removed in February 2002 from Auckland Airport and transported to the location of the Pahiatua Railcar Society in Pahiatua. The Lotteries Grants Board generously assisted the trust with a substantial grant to make this happen.

Over the course of time the trust became aware of the substantial amount of Drewry Twinset Railcar components that included cab control equipment, light fittings, seats and under floor equipment that were removed from other members of the class that were being scrapped and thankfully saved by other preservation organisations and individuals. These have now been kindly donated and to date have been restored to a mainline serviceable condition and await fitting.

The biggest news for the trust was the knowledge that the two body halves of Drewry Twinset Railcar, RM 121, had also survived. One halfwas discovered in Waitomo and the whereabouts of other half was unknown, although rumours were circulating about a North Auckland location. Some meticulous detective work was carried out by one of the trusts' members and eventually it was located sitting in a quarry near Kerikeri and once inspected, was found to be in considerably better condition than RM 133.

After negotiations with the owner, this half of RM121, that was the same as the burnt out end of RM133, was purchased and transported south to Pahiatua. Initially it was planned to restore this in conjunction with the good end of RM133, but this was soon changed once negotiations with the Waitomo owner were commenced and it was found he was prepared to do a swap deal for two wooden carriages.

The Waitomo end has now been moved to Pahiatua and finally the two halves are back together. The goal of the trust is to now bring RM 121 up to a structural and mechanical condition to meet the requirements for future running on the national rail network.

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The RM 133 Railcar Trust Board was set up in 2000 to specifically save and restore the remains of an ex NZR Drewry Twinset Articulated Railcar, This class originally, of 35 Railcars to serve on most provincial and mainline routes throughout New Zealand between 1955 and 1978 and well remembered for replacing steam hauled expresses in the earlier period.

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Latest update

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Update May 2020  10 May 2020

Posted by: RM133 Railcar Trust

The enduring and challenging task of rebuilding Articulated Railcar RM 121 continues to soldier on with a number of significant milestones accomplished and new initiatives underway. The overall general appearance of both car bodies have been taking on further form with the finalisation of cab skin panels, cowcatchers, steps and the continuing fabrication of various elements which all contribute to the all-important goal of a completing a fully operational twinset railcar.

In order to make a significant difference to the ongoing efforts of project some time was set aside around 18 months ago to improve the working facilities and this included the construction of a new concrete floor slab to the first 5 bays of 16 in the 60m long building which had been fully cladded nearly 3 years ago. It is intended to place down more concrete slab in the remainder of the building as funds and time allow but for the time being the two car bodies sit comfortably side by side on the concrete floor allowing work to progress in a more efficient and orderly manner.

For the No 1 car recent progress includes transferring the body onto accommodation bogies which have been modified by fitting specially designed support frames to sit over the bolster castings and fitting a machined boss to allow the rear articulation to sit on the bogie. There was also the completion of the No 1 vestibule steps and door jam repairs, cab to luggage area roof line repairs, the trade mark air intake for the roof fabricated, radio antenna mounting plate welded on the roof, horn bracket fixed in place, fixings for the window grill welded in, window winder brackets fitted, final repairs and modifications to the cowcatcher (ex RM 119) including sand blasting and painting with the skin panels fitted and the window frames being finally secured.

For the No 2 car the new rear wall skin is welded in place, various car body repairs completed including securing the cab roof line and window frames with counter sunk rivets, radio antenna mounting plate welded on the roof, horn bracket fitted, fixings for the window grill welded in, window winder brackets fitted. More significantly the rear bulk head wall behind the driver (which was previously cut out) has been fabricated and fitted with various electrical terminal and fuse boxes also made up and the control desk ex RM 119 has been repaired, sand blasted, painted and will soon be fitted. Finalisation work on the newly fabricated cowcatcher which was made some years back has also taken place with the skin panels fitted and recently Wairarapa Mobile Media Blasting vapor blasted the roof tops on both cars to allow last repairs to be done and good preparation for top coat painting.

Another significant sub project is the 44 twinset passenger seats that were retrieved from the Silver Fern upgrades many years ago. Over the course of the last few years these have been stripped back, modified seat leg spacing’s back to original configuration and all the frames cleaned back and painted. The painted seats bases and swivel frames which are nearing completion are wrapped up until fit out. Focus will soon be on the side frames with ‘lift to adjust’ levers and seat backs before upholstering work begins at some stage.

Under the floor there are some big developments, with work on the 3 bogies finally underway. This has seen a major clean up removing build-up of in service grime and surface corrosion from years of static storage and work done to free up all the pins on the brake rigging. The focus is initially on the articulated bogie where all the brake beam, brake rigging, pins and brake blocks have been removed for sandblasting, inspection and refurbishment or replacement where required. Once funds are raised the artic bogie is likely to be contracted out to a reputable firm for full overhaul in the not too distant future. All the brake cylinders and slack adjusters where refurbished some years ago and just await fitting. The same work will occur on the 2 power bogies but there is still work to do to secure replacement final drives which is no mean task; however the required gear ratios in conjunction with the Voith transmissions have been calculated in order to search for matching drives.

There is also some movement on the engine front. The trust currently owns a number of Cummins NHH220 220hp horizontal engine spares and parts and the intention is to have two of these rebuilt. There is one semi complete engine and the makeup of the rest are in parts which includes blocks, sumps, cranks, cams etc and all the other associated components with many parts requiring machining. Full overhaul kits will have to be sourced but among the parts are brand new heads which is significant. Funds have been raised to make a start on this however before that goes any further the trust is currently looking into an exciting development that has come to light that may change the course of the repower plans and benefit the project greatly.

Doug Johnston,


RM 133 Railcar Trust Board

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Latest donations

Linda on 28 May 2020
You're a great Team ... 😀
RM133 Railcar Trust

Thats awesome, thanks Linda

RM133 Railcar Trust
Daniel on 13 May 2020
RM133 Railcar Trust

Thanks Daniel,

RM133 Railcar Trust
Hamish on 09 May 2020
RM133 Railcar Trust

Thanks Hamish, your help is really appreciated

RM133 Railcar Trust
Daniel on 06 Mar 2020
RM133 Railcar Trust

Daniel, your regular support is very much appreciated, thank you

RM133 Railcar Trust
Ray on 20 Feb 2020
RM133 Railcar Trust

Thanks Ray, your continued support is appreciated

RM133 Railcar Trust

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