The Oberursel is the oldest internal combustion locomotive in New Zealand and the incredible work the MOTAT rail team completed on this locomotive resulted in a win of the Federation of Rail Organisations of New Zealand’s 2023 Motive Power Award.
This Sunday 19 November will see the culmination of many years restoration work come to fruition when two early 20th century locomotives are launched into MOTAT service for visitor enjoyment.
The double launch on LIVE DAY: Rail is a testament to the passion and dedication of MOTATs skilled rail workshop team made up of volunteers and staff. The restorations involved countless weeks, months and years spent researching, investigating, and engineering work on the engines.
Both Bertha and the Oberursel are rare German examples of early rail technology and MOTAT is honoured that German Honorary Consul in Auckland, Mr. Erich Bachmann will be on hand to officially launch the two locomotives at 11am.
MOTATs Head of Workshops Graham Anderson says, The team is really excited to be finally launching these two locomotives and is looking forward to sharing them with MOTAT visitors and engaging them with innovative technology from the past. The restoration process has seen the team gain many new skills we will be able to use on future projects too.
Bertha was built by Orenstein & Koppel of Berlin in 1904 and is one of the only five German steam locomotives ever imported into Aotearoa. It was MOTAT's very first steam locomotive, acquired or preservation in 1957 and was originally restored to operation in 1981, with the most recent restoration project commencing in August 2018 and being completed this month.
Bertha has been faithfully restored to her 1918 condition, the level of care and detail observed meaning that Berthas current condition is the most historically accurate she has been since the 1960s.
An extensive and ambitious boiler overhaul was a major feature of the project, with all work being completed in-house, including the manufacture of a new firebox and front tubeplate from scratch! This is by far the most extensive boilerwork ever attempted at MOTAT and it has been a fantastic learning exercise for the rail team. All mechanical components were thoroughly overhauled, complete with a new set of tyres that were installed over the last few weeks.
The Oberursel, built in Germany in 1912, is the oldest internal combustion locomotive in New Zealand and the only German-built internal combustion locomotive surviving in New Zealand. A 17-year-long major restoration began in 2005 and was completed late last year with the locomotive being driven under its own power for the first time in 40 years last October 2022. The incredible work the MOTAT rail team completed on this locomotive resulted in a win of the Federation of Rail Organisations of New Zealands 2023 Motive Power Award.
For more information please contact:
Nicole Parish, MOTAT Communications Manager, 021 273 3563