Steam Scene is the working steam museum project of the Canterbury Steam Preservation Society (Inc) and is being developed on thirty acres of land at McLeans Island, Harewood, which is located behind the Christchurch International Airport ten miles from the city canter.
The Steam Museum will be open to the public with exhibits operating on the 1st Sunday of every month, Steam train and a traction engine will be running also, depending on fire restrictions in the area.
Also Field Days and Rallies re held at various times at which traction engines, steam rollers, steam engines and boilers of various types can be seen operating together with threshing chaff cutting, saw milling and shearing taking place, the mills and machinery being driven as they were originally driven; by steam power.
There is plenty of space for picnics and water is laid on. Except at rallies and field days, admission to the grounds and car park is free and you are your family and friends are always welcome.
The Price ‘V' Locomotive was the last of a long line of steam locomotives built by Prices of Thames between 1885 and 1943. The locomotive was supplied to Ogilvies without a cab, coal bunker or water tanks which were built and fitted in Ogilvies own workshop. Its working life lasted from 1943 to some time in the 1960's, hauling hundreds of tons of logs from the bush to Ogilvies Mills at Marsden and Gladstone. It was the only locomotive built by Prices on the American Heisler principle with 10 inch bore and 9 inch stroke cylinders. The Heisler principle has two cylinders set at 90 degrees to each other, which drive a crankshaft, in much the same way as a V8 car engine for example, but only using 2 cylinders.
The loco is driven via universal joints from each end of the crankshaft, to cardan shafts and universal joints onto the pinion shafts of the outer bogie axles. Bevel wheels and pinions with a 2.75:1 reduction are mounted in an axle-hung, oil bath gear case on each outer axle with crankpins and coupling rods transmitting the drive to the inner axles thereby making all four axles, drivers. Steam is supplied by a boiler of 20 horse power which originally had a pressure of 200 p.s.i. The pressure has subsequently been reduced to 150 p.s.i. due to some fairly major repairs to the plate work. The brake gear is steam operated and is applied to all 8 wheels giving the loco tremendous breaking power.
The locomotive was dismantled into smaller parts and transported from Gladstone to Sockburn in Christchurch. From there the parts were moved to an engineering firm in Upper Riccartion where the restoration was begun in November, 1969.
This is one of a number of small industrial type locomotives imported by the NZ Public Works Department in the 1920's for railway and dam construction work and numbered by that department. Some were subsequently taken over by the railways department for construction work and minor shunting duties before being scrapped or dumped for river and sea protection to railway earthworks. Others ended up in quarry railways, in army camps and breakwater construction.
Our locomotive was built by the Leeds UK firm of John Fowler and Co, who entered the industrial locomotive market when demand for traction engines and steam rollers lessened. Built in 1925 it was given an overhaul at Addington Railways Workshop in 1944 and subsequently passed to Houston Bros sawmill tramway near Harihari, West Coast. With this tramway closed down the locomotive was moved to the town of Hokitika and placed in a local park. While there to locomotive became increasingly derelict to the extent the local Council removed it from the park and stored it in the open away from public access.
By early 1978 the Society was keen in acquiring a smaller more economical steam locomotive and in April of that year had acquired a Fowler locomotive boiler in restorable condition from a glasshouse property in Rangiora. The Hokitika Council was the approached to see if the locomotive was available to the Society, within ten days the acquisition was finalized and the locomotive moved to Fernside to a members workshop. The boiler in the locomotive was soon certified as beyond economical restoration, and the ex glasshouse boiler overhauled at Steam Scene McLeans Island for instillation in its place. Finally the boiler and locomotive were joined together at Fernside and the completed locomotive ran for the first time at McLeans Island on 11 April 1981.
It has proved a reliable and economical locomotive for our purposes and should give many more years of service. There are several other Fowlers in preservation around New Zealand and in Australia, the last of these being built in Queensland under license in the early 1950's for Conefield Tramways. Like many restored locomotives today the example is made up of parts from various sisters during repairs and overhauls over many years.
Seam Scene has a large live steam Exhibition Hall facility containing many stationary steam engines and boilers. There is a very wide range of machinery in the Exhibition Hall including various items from the old Christchurch Gas Works, several marine engines, saw mill engines, pumps and a very unique experimental engine from Canterbury University.