Despite a wet start to the day the weather improved for our visit to the Plains Pioneer Village Museum and Railway. By a stroke of luck we had struck lucky with the railway having a live steam operating day. Todays loco being a “K” class 1877 Rogers 2-4-2 being of American origin pulling 2 wooden bodied carriages and a wooden bodied guards van all circa 1920. The “K” class was transferred in 1932 to the much larger 4-8-4 loco’s built in the Hutt Workshops.
Our tickets covered us for 2 return trips out along the 2.5km track past the golf course and open farm land. Apparently the railway can be extended but the Plains Railway Society feel that what they have is adequate and manageable.
The guys had a good look around the open buildings but there were loco’s missing,one in particular being 4-8-2 class Ja1260. When we enquired as to their whereabouts we were taken to another huge building where we were given a private viewing of Ja1260 along with a Dubs 0-4-0 tank loco built in 1873. The Ja is next due to appear in steam at Easter so mark that in your calendars.
After an hour or so of trains it was time to explore the rest of the village depicting rural life over the last 100 years or so. Steam powered traction engines mobile and static along with the many diesel and petrol driven varieties that have been produced.
An early pioneers colonial cottage has been restored on site with the different rooms all done out in the early 1900’s style. Some period wallpaper had been found up in the attic of an old Woodville store and purchased for $1.20 a roll. This may have been a bit out of character as most cottages were plastered and painted inside. No gas or electricity and certainly no labour saving devices we see today. Other buildings depict the school dental room or Murder house as the kids used to call it, the Grocer, phones and a rural telephone exchange, newspaper printing room along with all sorts of early electrical gadgets that we all remembered as kids.
For those interested in wood work and carving etc. there is another huge building housing all sorts of wood working tools and equipment small and large. There are also some beautiful examples of what has been produced using the various tools.