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The Taranaki Flyer was the name given to a passenger train that was operated by the New Zealand Railways Department between Wanganui and New Plymouth.


The primary passenger service on the Marton - New Plymouth Line was the New Plymouth Express between Wellington and New Plymouth. It was augmented by three slower mixed trains that ran south from New Plymouth daily. In 1926, patronage was sufficiently high to justify replacing one of the mixed trains with a dedicated passenger service between New Plymouth and Wanganui. This train came to be known as the Taranaki Flyer.[1]


For most of its life, the Taranaki Flyer was a carriage train hauled by steam locomotives, and when it was introduced, it took approximately 4.5 hours to complete its journey. On 31 October 1955, the carriage trains were replaced by more economical railcars.[2] The railcars used on this route were of the Standard and 88 seater types of the RM class. During the railcar days, the northbound train was no. 524 and the southbound train was no. 525.[3]


During the 1950s, the impact of airlines and private cars started to significantly reduce patronage on New Zealand's trains. Although the introduction of railcars prolonged the life of many other provincial services in New Zealand, it was not successful for the Taranaki Flyer. On 7 February 1959, the service ran for the last time. The final train no. 524 was handled by an 88-seater, RM 116, and a Standard railcar ran train no. 525, RM 30 Aotea.[4]

AB745 The Taranaki Flyer Project[edit]

NZR AB class No.745 North British Locomotive Company built Pacific locomotive, makers No. 22880 of 1922 is being restored by The Taranaki Flyer Society Inc.. The locomotive was involved in a washout accident on 16 July 1956 and plummeting 50 feet, while hauling a full load of freight from Wanganui to New Plymouth. Both crew survived. Too expensive to recover it remained in situ built into the embankment at Hawera. The engine lay undisturbed until November 2001, and in 2002 salvage work began after 46 years underground. The raised wreck minus tender was taken to Waitara. In 2007, The Taranaki Flyer Society Inc. was formed and AB745 was transported to its new home at the old railway goods shed at Stratford, where it is was being restored.[5][6] Due to the loss of lease on the old Stratford old railway goods shed and lack of funds, the Society decided reluctantly to offer the locomotive to other groups. Rimutaka Incline Railway Heritage Trust's proposal was accepted and the locomotive relocated to their workshops at Maymorn south of the Rimutaka Tunnel in October 2013.


  1. ^ Geoffrey B. Churchman and Tony Hurst, The Railways of New Zealand: A Journey Through History (Wellington: Grantham House, 1991), pg. 133.
  2. ^ Churchman and Hurst, The Railways of New Zealand, pg. 133.
  3. ^ Tony Hurst, Farewell to Steam: Four Decades of Change on New Zealand Railways (Auckland: Harper Collins Publishers, 1995), pg. 74.
  4. ^ Hurst, Farewell to Steam, pg. 74.
  5. ^ http://thetaranakiflyersocietyinc.weebly.com/
  6. ^ http://www.elocal.co.nz/view_Article~id~249~title~Taranaki_Flyer_Returns_to_Life!.html

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taranaki_Flyer — Please support Wikipedia.
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5 news items

Marlborough Express

Marlborough Express
Tue, 27 Aug 2013 09:52:30 -0700

The 1922 Glasgow-built steam engine known as the Taranaki Flyer needs a new home after the Taranaki Flyer Society shut up shop. Now rusty and in pieces, the locomotive is being offered free to another society, as long as they pay for its removal ...

The Southland Times

The Southland Times
Wed, 18 Feb 2015 14:41:06 -0800

EXPLOSIVE: Taranaki flyer Waisake Naholo is set to make his debut for the Highlanders in the starting side against the Crusaders on Saturday night. As many as seven players could make their debuts for the Highlanders against the Crusaders on Saturday ...


Tue, 21 Oct 2014 08:56:15 -0700

Premiership finalists Tasman will have a hefty influence on next year's Highlanders team after two more Makos and a Taranaki flyer were confirmed for 2015. First-five Marty Banks and veteran lock Alex Ainley will join Makos team-mates Shane Christie ...
Taranaki Daily News
Wed, 06 Oct 2010 12:21:19 -0700

Steam train lovers are steaming ahead with plans to get the Taranaki Flyer back on track. The Ab745 steam engine has been out of action since it derailed near Hawera in 1956, but a group is rallying in Stratford to restore it to its former glory. One ...


Mon, 21 May 2012 10:03:49 -0700

The Taranaki Flyer Society has suggested it use the line to run a restored steam train between Stratford and Whangamomona. Venture Taranaki visitors manager Paul Stancliffe said the challenge would now be how to keep the people who used the line in the ...

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