• Current Running number:Ag239
  • Original number: FM20
  • TMS number: FM290
  • Designed by:New Zealand Railways
  • Built by:Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Japan as FM20
  • Date built:1977
  • Builders diagram:Body W32500, Underframe X29500
  • Current configuration: Power & Viewing van.  110kVA
  • Current condition: Certified for operation on NRS.


AG239 in new Steam Inc livery

Image: AG239 in new Steam Inc livery

Van details

  • Weight in working order:32000kg
  • Overall length:15902 (15metres over headstocks)
  • Bogies:X28020


Fm 20 was amongst the first last batch of guards vans built for New Zealand Railways. The "Fm" vans were first introduced in 1977 when a batch of 73 vans were built by Mitisubishi Heavy Industries in Japan. A second batch of 50 vans was built in Korea by Daewoo Heavy Industries in 1981.

With TMS numbering FM20 became FM290.  Then after being rebuilt became AG239

The Fm vans were of modular construction, hence the "m" in the classification. They had 3 removable modules placed on a very solid underframe. Each van had 2 luggage modules separated by a guards accommodation module in the centre. Each luggage module was rated for 3000Kg of luggage or parcels. The guards module has a seat and desk for the guard, seats for 4 "deadheading" crew, heater, sink, and toilet compartment. These vans had modern bogies similar to those being fitted to the "name" passenger trains of the period.

Additional spare modules were purchased by NZR with the intention of being able to quickly switch modules if any became damaged or needing repair. The objective being that the damaged module could be repaired with out the need to take the van out of service for a lengthy period.

With the removal of guards vans on freight trains (the last one ran in 1987) most of these vans became surplus. FM20 (290) was one of many that carried on  in passenger service being rebuilt into AG power/luggage/viewing  vans, others in way & works service and some to heritage operators. 

AG239 Tranz Scenic

AG239 in Tranz Scenic livery

AG239 in service for Dunedin Railways

AG239 in service for Dunedin Railways Oct 2015

 AG239 was configured with two outdoor viewing modules in place of the original luggage modules and a 110kVA diesel alternater set in place of the original guards module.

In this configuration was used for South Island Tranz Scenic servicws based in Christchurch.  When the AO rolling stock were withdrawn it became surplus and went into private ownership.  It was then leased to TGR / Dunedin Railways.  When Dunedin Railways mothballed their operations Steam Inc offered a home for it.

Blue AG239 at Paekakariki

AG239 at Paekakariki after arriving from Dunedin.


AG239 diagram

AG239 current configuration diagram



AG239 new open air viewing and power car

 Starting in Sept 2023 we will bigin to use this vehicle to provide enhanced facilities and improved outdoor viewing on selected trips.

Out door viewing car

New outdoor viewing and power car

Kapiti view from AG239

Early morning view of Kapiti Island from AG239. Photo Peter Steer.


AG239 Manawatu gorge

AG239 with a full load entering Manawatu Gorge

A very popular AG239 on an excursion in Kapiti.


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