Ruston & Hornsby 'Murray'

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Year built



Ruston & Hornsby, Lincoln, England


22/28 HP Oil Loco


Builder’s number 170204


Wheel Arrangement

0-4-0 DM

Gauge (original)

2ft 6in

Gauge (current)

2ft 0in


10ft 1½ in or 3.0m (not including buffers)




3ft 9in or 1.1m


4 ton 


2ft 9in (variable)


Lister / R&H JP3 (Joint Product, 3 cylinder) also called 27/3. 30hp at 1200rpm, water cooled, indirect injection diesel


R&H Patent 3-speed planetary manual gearbox, with combined forward + reverse box. Chains from gearbox to each axle

Braking (original)

Loco braking via hand lever 

Braking (current)

Straight air train brakes via type W valve, set up for spring apply and air pressure release by truck brake cylinder

Couplers (original)

Pin and chain

Couplers (current)

“Chopper” hook+buffer

The 'Murray' loco was purchased as a one-off via J E Wall & Sons by Milburn Lime and Cement in 1934. It was used to replace a homebuilt loco on the company’s 2’ 6” gauge quarry railway at Milburn. It spent a short life there before being replaced by a battery loco around 1939/40, and the loco was laid up. From there it ended up at Shanks Tractor and Engineering Ltd at Milton, owned by its former driver. It sat there unused until circa 1981, when the Ashburton Vintage Car Club purchased it with intentions to regauge to 3ft 6in to run on a siding of theirs which was connected to the Plains Railway. This didn’t eventuate, and in 1990 it arrived at Blenheim Riverside Railway. The forlorn loco was purchased for $600 and included a former Ashburton wagon turntable. Restoration was gradual, and included: re-gauging to 2ft, fitting of starter motor & alternator, air brakes, buffers, and the sliding cab window. Loco officially commissioned as “Murray” after restoration member Murray Guthrie in 1997, however was in limited service before then. Despite rumours, it did not spend time with the construction of the original Manapouri hydro tailrace tunnel. Only 86 of the 22/28HP type (and later variations) were built and “Murray” is one of 5 still known to exist, and is one of the few working Ruston & Hornsby locos in NZ.

1997-Began passenger service

2001- Engine swap due to suspected crankshaft fracture, returned to service

2012- Delegated to back-up passenger loco, otherwise on work train duty

2013- Taken apart for replacement of flexible coupling between engine and gearbox. Engine main bearing at gearbox end replaced and oil leaks fixed. Back together and running by August ’13.

2017- Rear axle breakage. Re-entered service December

2019 – Loco disassembled to replace gearbox coupling, currently out of service

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