RM 121 & RM 133

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.

Members gather regularly to continue the restoration process. Click here to check on the latest progress.

RM133 Railcar Trust

RM121 is owned and being restored by the RM133 Trust who shares the Pahiatua site with the Pahiatua Railcar Society Inc. Anyone can join the trust as a supporter for $20 per year and are welcome to assist with the task of restoring this valuable heritage item of the New Zealand Railways.

RM121 at Masterton (1976) -
photo: Graeme McClare

RM121 departing Wellington on 634 to Napier (1976) - photo: Robert Sweet

Half RM121 (2003) - photo: Graeme Moffatt

Priming No 2 end of RM121 at Pahiatua - photo: Graeme Moffatt

No 2 end of RM121 (2011) - photo: Doug Johnston

Both halves of RM121 at Pahiatua (2011) - photo: Doug Johnston

Number 1 end at Pahiatua (2014) - photo: Doug Johnston


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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Latest Update

The RM 121 project was significantly boosted by the arrival of the No 1 end car back in August last year and getting that end out of where it was was probably one of our biggest and most costly of challenges.

To date the No 1 end has now been completely stripped out of its motel unit linings, unwanted house windows, non-original sheet steel panels, and fittings which exposed a complete set of good condition original timber ceiling and side wall panels in the passenger area and an excellent frame structure with very little corrosion. Like the No 2 end we intend to rebuild the cab structure because this area has been affected with corrosion and had some home job type mod's over the years. We hope to be able to save a fair amount of the front window area skin though. Unfortunately the car will remain dark green for the time being as that coat of paint currently providing good protection.

We are also now back into the No 2 end car after an 18 month hiatus rebuilding that wooden carriage for Waitomo and are at present replacing sections of the rear wall (articulated end) and the entire steel sheet skin panels of which we removed the original some time back. After that there's some finishing work on the No 2 end cab and vestibule area before we start work on the No 1 end cab replacement and replacing some internal vestibule walls which were removed to increase its interior space.

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