Steam train to whistle into town

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Oamaru is pulling out all the stops to welcome a steam train to town on Saturday.

Steam locomotive “Jessica” JA1240 will arrive in Oamaru about 11.45am on Saturday carrying with it 415 passengers.

Oamaru Whitestone Civic Trust members will be dressed in heritage costumes at the train station to welcome the visitors as they arrive.

Oamaruvians, steam train passengers and anybody else interested will be able to view the inside of the Oamaru Railway Station, as it will be open to the public to coincide with the first steam train trip to the town for about 20 years.

Trust heritage co-ordinator Faye Ormandy said the trust wanted to support the train trip.

“We thought it would be a good chance to show off the beautiful historic railway station inside and out.”

Steam trains are quite rare and with one coming to town Mrs Ormandy hoped the public would get in behind it.

“People get pretty excited about a steam train, so we hope they’ll come along and hopefully have a look.”

Taieri Gorge Railways organised the trip along with Tourism Waitaki and said it had sold out quicker than most other train journeys.

“Tickets sold out really quickly – within the space of about six weeks, I think – and that’s awesome, because we quite often have them on sale for longer then that,” Leagh Bower, of Taieri Gorge Railways, said.

“People in Dunedin have shown a huge interest in the steam train and that’s pleasing, but it’s also great to be visiting our neighbours Oamaru on a fantastic steam train of which there are only about six left worldwide.

“It’s really pleasing to see that we will have it completely full and that the weather is supposed to be fine, so that’ll help a lot,” Ms Bower said.

Whitestone Civic Trust and Tourism Waitaki will be making sure businesses in the area are open.

Ice cream man Shaun Osborne, who owns Deja Moo, said he was looking forward to the train coming.

“It should be good and hopefully it’s hot on Saturday, so come afternoon time there’s a few people who will be after ice creams.”

The train is set to arrive in Oamaru at 11.45am and will remain for 2 hours before heading back to Dunedin about 2.15pm.