From small beginnings the Society is now recognized as having the largest collection of archival material relating to New Zealand Railways, a collection which is continually being added to.
The Society's premises are located in North Street, Ava, opposite and on the south side of the Ava Railway Station on the Wellington to Upper Hutt line. The premises are open most weekdays, but not to any fixed hours. People wanting to do research are advised to make prior arangements with the Archivist, Mark Cole. Contact by voice or phone message at (04)568 4938, fax to (04) 586 5554 or email to email@example.com. If you are a Society member, please always quote your membership number.
|Our archives consist of the following :|
|Railway Department correspondence files.||Plans||Maps||Technical manuals||Working timetables and train advice's.||Aerial Photographs.|
|A large Library of books.||Magazines and newsletters on railways issues.||Subjects pertaining to railways.||A comprehensive record of railway accidents.|
|Newspaper clipping collection.||Lists of Permanent NZR Staff.||Signalling and Interlocking Circulars||Tickets.Various forms and documents.|
|Proceedings, Gazettes etc.||Annual Statements.||Loco Instructions.|
A fee is chargable for archive information and the copying of documents.
Affiliated societies, will be charged as for Society members. The above charges are to assist in meeting the overhead costs of maintaining and administering the archives and the Society's premises. The Archivist and archive team work on a voluntary unpaid basis.
We are also pleased to accept donations of railway memorabilia of all sorts and all such donations are suitably acknowledged. Donations can also be bequeathed to the Society by making suitable provision when one's will is being prepared.
|Newspaper clippings collection||menu|
This collection has been compiled by the society from publications dating back to 1860. It is a comprehensive collection of clippings from::
If you can give us date / publication / topic / place as near as you can with these we will attempt a match. The papers are filed in chronological order and photocopying is possible.
|Plans referenced by NZR Drawing numbers etc.||menu|
There is an extensive series of drawings, tracings, blueprint etc. that have been produced by various departments of the old NZR.
These are stored in branch and drawing number order. They vary in size from 8x11 inch and even smaller to very large similar to A1 size or bigger, especially CME plans. At present the reference method is by drawing number. We will endeavor to find something for you by name and approximate date reference but cannot promise a successful result.
|Signalling and Interlocking circulars||menu|
These circulars were distributed to staff to advise of changes to signalling arrangements and consequently the running rules. They have been catalogued and are referenced by the number of the circular, date and location. Dating from March 1901 to now, this collection is not complete in the early part.
A sample of the index:: Manor Park (the location) 843,
944, 1535 1824, 2243 (Sept 1993)
These are the circular No.s applying to this location. Each subsequent number replaces the previous one.
|Holdings of Aerial photographs||menu|
These complement the plans of station yards and were used by the Engineering and Land offices to derive yard layouts and alterations, for property definitions and many other applications. They comprise an invaluable record of the Railway's growth and often show other areas of importance in the locality. The reference is by station location.
These cannot be reproduced by the society but can be inspected at Ava. Copying can be done by the copyright holder whose name and photo reference number can be supplied.
|Listing of Technical Manuals||menu|
We have technical/operations manuals for some of the equipment in use by the NZR. This covers items from Locomotives to air compressors to commercial items ie. Westinghouse Braking Systems. These can be partly photo copied for information about specifications, instrument layouts etc.
Reference them by equipment name, year of manufacture and/or number.
The Library collection of railway related books is being catalogued and contains about 570 hard and soft covered books.
A list will be published on site in due course. Unfortunately while in storage no reference can be made to individual books. Note: At present photocopying is not possible, or even when books are available, due to the book's binding preventing it from lying flat.
|Periodicals and Newsletters.||menu|
There is a comprehensive collection of periodicals from all over the world and also many local preservation society's new-sheets. The go back many years as many collection have been donated by members. A list of titles will be published in time.
|Maps and Plans||menu|
The map collection is catalogued and referenced by location and drawing number. Most originated from the CCE's office and include many annotated with railways additions, property lines etc.
We also hold a comprehensive collection of New Zealand topographical series maps, in both imperial and metric measurements, issued by the former Lands and Survey Department.
|Loco 204 Work Orders.||menu|
Loco 204 Work Orders were issued by the CME's office for
work to be done by the Railway Workshops. These work orders covered
work to be undertaken on locomotives, rolling stock and other sundry items.
Approximately 7,000 copies are held in our archives.
|Engineering Society papers etc.||menu|
There is a collection of the following proceedings, papers, gazettes etc. bound and unbound
These can only be consulted by arrangement but will not photocopy easily in the case of bound volumes.
|Railways and Public Works annual statements.||menu|
A complete sets of these from 1885 until 1992 is held.
Reference by year, category and topic for information.
|Technical Operations of the NZR||menu|
A large collection of Railway Department correspondence files is held at Ava. (These are in addition to those held by National Archives at various locations throughout New Zealand. A register of such files is held by the Society.)
Reference by description. If you are seeking names from the staff lists please be careful with the position held and advise as much information as is already known, particularly full names. The lists are divided into Departmental divisions, Management and permanent staff. Accurate identification will assist the searcher. No information is held on temporary staff.
|Train Advices and working timetables.||menu|
Train advices are amendments or additions to normal train services and operational requirements not covered in the working timetable. There are thousands filed in chronological order in decades. These are available for perusal.
Working timetables were used within the department and
detailed the train numbers, distances, station structure, crossing points etc. -
information not available to the general public.
|Tickets and Forms of the NZR.||menu|
A large collection of tickets, forms and other items is held and will be displayed when suitable space is available
The Society also maintains archives on such items as
various lines of railway (open and closed) and general railway subjects such as
weed spraying, railway vehicles and rolling stock, Royal tours etc.
These boxes contain correspondence, plans, descriptions newspaper cuttings and some photographs on a variety of subjects::
Royal Trains, Railway houses, Painting and colour schemes, Circus trains, Refreshment Rooms, Windmills - to name a few.
In the same style there are folders containing lines of railway and branch railways. Some are:: - North Island Main Trunk, Fairlie branch, Cambridge branch, the closed Foxton branch.
Locomotive collections are also included. Items specific to a type of locomotive but not having a home in any of the more structured archives. Here you will find correspondence, tests, odd facts, colour schemes, incidents, scaled drawings and other interesting items.
|The Register of Railway Related Accidents.||menu|
The register, which is regularly being added to, is estimated to contain 10,000 entries. Entries are listed chronologically with each entry recording the date, location, the type of accident (eg collision, derailment, slip etc), a brief description and a list of references. Printouts of portions of the register can be arranged, for details please contact the Archivist.
Below is a sample page from the register::
ACCIDENTS (1980 -1984) (see other listing for slips & earthquakes not directly involving trains)
Note: "Collision" refers to a train hitting a person or small animal
References B=Box on accidents;N=Newspaper; P=Photograph; CFJ=CF Johnson's list FT=Funnel Talk; RX=Rotorua Express; S/phore=Semaphore; T/talk=Trains Talk; Wh=Whistle; Yn=YARN DA=Danger Ahead;F&W=Foxton & Wanganui Rly; LHW= Learning the Hard Way; NZTW=NZ Train Wrecks; TD=Tangwai Disaster & 30 other railway accidents; TT=Tragedy on the Tracks; Vulcan=VuIcan Railcars in New Zealand; GM; CCE; DE etc = NZR Files; GM-RO=GM's Review of Operations; D.2=Railways Statement; DTM CM=DTM Circular Memorandum Date Description Reference 6 Jan 1980
Derailment. Wagon "UC" 2309 while being shunted
7 Jan 1980
Derailment. Wagon "UK" 4220 + "UK" 11430 on shunting
P, DE 260/6A
7 Jan 1980
Derailment. Wagon "UK" 7574 + "UK" l3670 on shunting
P, DE 260/6A
8 Jan 1980
Capsize. 40-ton steam crane No 200 capsized while
unloading components for bridge No 7
9 Jan l980
Collision. "Dj" 1203 on Christchurch - Invercargill express
goods collided with herd of cattle
GM-RO YE 31/3/80
11 Jan 1980
Derailment. Wagon "ZP" 4330 on Middleton - Greymouth
19 Jan 1980
Derailment. 5 wagons on Greymouth - Middleton goods
due to broken axle
GM-RO YE 31/3/80
20 Jan 1980
Derailment. "Dsc"' 438 while shunting
21 Jan 1980
Derailment "Da" 1448 rtunning light while shunting
23 Jan 1980
Slip "Dx" 2641 + 2 wagons derailed on Auckland -
Wellington express goods
GM-RO YE 31/3/80
24 Jan 1980
Morley Rd Loco
Derailment. "Dc" 1559 running light
24 Jan 1980
Derailment Wagon "UK" 685 on Westfield - Wellington
We also hold copies of reports issued by the Transport Accident Investigation Commission on railway and tramway related accidents.