Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Josephine

The northern end of the Otago Settlers Museum is home to the first steam train used on the Dunedin-Port Chalmers railway.

Josephine, as this train is known, made its first run on 10 September 1872.

On 6 September 1878, it was also one of two engines used to haul the first Christchurch to Dunedin through express train south from Oamaru. Later used for railway construction work before being sold to the Otago Iron Rolling Mills,

Josephine became an exhibit at the New Zealand and South Seas International Exhibition in Dunedin in 1925.

In the following years Josephine sat outside what is today the Otago Settlers Museum, slowly rusting away in the open air.

By the late 1960s the old engine was perilously close to complete disintegration. Instead a public appeal raised money for its restoration and a special shelter to incorporate the engine within the Museum building.

Josephine is a Double-Fairlie locomotive and one of only five such engines surviving around the world.

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