Sunday, 19 February 2012

Steam Locomotive Ja1271

Those of you who have followed this blog for more than a year will be familiar with the significance of Art Deco weekend to Napier as the Art Deco capital of the world with a programme of events which has something for everyone and lots of it too.  It is also the weekend when the Napier earthquake of 1931 is remembered and the efforts of those who re-built the city from the ruins are commemorated.

As so much of the weekend is based around outside activities and the city centre is mobbed during the whole weekend the weather we've had for the previous weeks and the forecast for the weekend did not bode well.  As luck would have it the sun shone out of a clear(ish) blue sky for the two days and the rain didn't start until about 10.30pm tonight (Sunday).

I have enough material and photos - even allowing for all the posts I've done in previous years - to amuse myself (and hopefully you as well) for days and perhaps even weeks to come.

I shall start with one of the most popular things which I had never seen before despite the fact that it makes many journeys from Napier during the Art Deco week.  Yesterday I managed to catch it when it was at Napier Station prior to it one of it's journeys.

'It' runs under the romantic title of Steam Locomotive Ja1271 a 4-8-2 110 ton beast designed by New Zealand Railways and built at their Hillside workshops in Dunedin in 1956.  It was withdrawn from service in 1971 and returned to heritage operation in 1997.


I should add that the children in the last photo are ostensibly in period costume!


  1. Wonderful. Although I never inherited my dad's detailed interest in railways and locomotives, I have seen quite a few in my day and travelled on many museum railways in both Sweden and Britain. Gotta love that last photo with the boys in old costumes - I've been so engrossed in early 20th century photos this past week that I might not even have reacted to their dress style as unusual! ;)

  2. I remember the sound of the old-time locomotive with fondness. My grandpa used to make that sound for my entertainment while we sat and swung on my grandparents' front porch. That's another warm memory!

  3. Ja1271 - that really is romantic. I'd give it a name just for the sake of it. In the absence of any other suggestion how about Black Beauty.

  4. I came over following the SP trail...and was rewarded by those magnificent photographs!
    I loved those steam trains and can still recall the sounds they made...and the smuts!

  5. I can imagine the sounds and how it feels to be right there as it comes in. I love the last shot with the two little guys standing out in front!

  6. In reference to one of your other recent posts.... now THAT'S a steam train!

  7. Ah. Memories. How wonderful they can be. I love the comment about the smuts, Fly. Our Prep School was situated with two train lines crossing under each other with one on each of two sides of the school. Boy did we get smuts!

    There doesn't seem to have been a tradition of naming locomotives here in NZ. I think Black Beauty is a splendid thought CJ because she certainly is just that.

    One day I may manage a trip to Otane on the train.

  8. Lovely set of images.
    I knew that it had been Art Deco weekend before reading this, because at 9.00am this morning I was sitting in the dentist's chair and he told me that he and his wife had stayed the weekend in Napier, having flown down in his little plane. He chatted on for ages about it, long after I was physically unable to reply to him, being deep into the procedure that funds his weekend flights...

  9. Sorry, that was a rather off-the-topic, self-indulgent and rather grumpy comment from me. :-)

    1. Katherine I have absolutely no problem with off-the-topic, self-indulgent and rather grumpy comments made by you - I was going to say 'or anyone else' but I might modify that to 'or almost anyone else'. Rest assured that my dentist (who is also the father in The Family) certainly doesn't aspire to a plane-running income. But then he's always had a social conscience. I had one of those when I was young. Now I'm retired I have the luxury of being able to have one again.

      Sorry. What were you saying?

      My alternative comment would have been much shorter: 'You! Grumpy? Never!'

    2. And I'd have meant it! WISIWIB. What I see is what I believe!

  10. I love steam trains, they're like big mucky animals! The little boys in the final photo actually look very convincing, but far too clean - kids in pictures dressed like that are usually ragamuffin Bisto Kids characters (whatever happened to the Bisto kids)

    I[ve looked back through some of your past posts on this topic, and I think it looks absolutely brilliant, lots of fun and really nice atmosphere. But, I have yet to see anything particularly art deco about it, I associate art deco with ladies in Jean harlow dresses and zigzag furniture and so on. I imagine that Napier has lots of buildings like this, though?

    I'm glad you had nice weather. One of your previous posts shows what is obviously a perfect day, really made me wish I was there, watching the band in their brilliant white uniforms under a clear blue sky....

    Yes, as you might be able to guess, it is grey and cold in London.

  11. Thanks Jenny. I can't recall a wet Art Deco weekend in the 7 years I've been going. It's certainly getting bigger and bigger each year too.

    I love your apt description of steam trains as 'big mucky animals' - they do have a life of their own that modern engines just don't have.

  12. That really is a sleek black beauty! Bet it was little boy heaven. Mind you, looks like a big boy enjoyed it, too.