Information on 1939 era 56' carriage AL1917

  • Running number:AL1917 (was A1917) (TMS were A56255/AL56066)
  • Designed by:New Zealand Railways
  • Built at:NZR Otahuhu workshops
  • Date built:1939
  • Builders diagram:25480
  • Date entered service:March 1939
  • Date withdrawn:Sold by Tranz Rail 1996
  • Returned to heritage operation:October 1996
  • Current condition:Certified for main line running.


AL1917 side view.

Image: AL1917 side view.

Carriage details

  • Weight in working order:25 tonnes
  • Overall Length:17933mm
  • Bogies: 25330


A1917 was built at the Otahuhu Workshops in March 1939, as a 56 foot steel-panelled, 56 seat second class Main Trunk car. The carriage had covered gangways, end entrance vestibules, a lavatory at each end, steam heating, electric lighting, automatic couplers and roller bearing bogies.

A1917 was originally allocated to Wellington. It was transferred to Auckland in 1966. By 1973 it was being used on Auckland suburban services. At this stage it was described as being generally in good condition with good running gear.

In November 1978, A1917 returned to Otahuhu Workshops to be converted to a suburban car with 62 seats for continued use in Auckland. It was allocated the computer TMS number A56255 in 1981.

In September 1982 it was back at Otahuhu for its final conversion to a suburban car van, its present form. With the fitting of a guards & luggage compartment, the seating was reduced to 52. It also received a new TMS number AL56066.

AL1917 overhaul

AL1917 under overhaul at Paekakariki in 1996

Carvan interior

AL1917 interior

The car van continued in Auckland suburban use until early 1996, when it was purchased by Steam Incorporated. It arrived at Paekakariki in March 1996. A concentrated effort saw it returned to service in time to run on the 1996 Labour Weekend trip to Gisborne. Having space for locomotive and train support equipment it is now used on most Steam Incorporated excursions. Seating has now been reduced to 42.


Freshly painted AL1917 at Paekakariki

Steam Incorporated is indebted to Juliet Scoble for this information.


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