mechanical person

Ja1250 "Diana"

JA 1250, also known as Diana, is a New Zealand JA class 4-8-2 steam tender locomotive locomotive owned by Phil Goldman. Currently she is operated by the Railway Enthusiasts Society and maintained by the Glenbrook Vintage Railway.


JA 1250 was built in 1949 at Hillside Workshops. Phil Goldman purchased it from New Zealand Rail. Ted Pointon became the GVR’s key mechanical person leading the team restoring it to operating condition.


The locomotive is used twice a year as part of Glenbrook Vintage Railway's Thomas the Tank Engine Day and also operates on some mainline excusrions. In 2006 Diana hauled scheduled passenger services, after a 35-year break.

In November 1969, on the last day of scheduled steam operations, Diana double headed (with J 1234) an excursion from Dunedin to Palmerston and back. During this trip funds were raised to assist with the preservation of JA 1274.

Over Easter 1972, the locomotive operated a rail tour "South Pacific Steam Safari" from Wellington to Auckland via the Masterton and New Plymouth assisted by sister engine J 1236. Unfortunately J 1236 broke down during a run up the steep Raurimu Spiral and JA 1250 "Diana" had to haul that engine and the large train unassisted. The engine completed the climb and many onboard have never forgotten the sound of the engine struggling up the hill. The following week, with repairs completed to J 1236, both engines pulled the large train out to the Glenbrook Vintage Railway for an official handing over ceremony from NZR. The journey had received phenomenal press coverage and even a short film by the National Film Unit.

The locomotive would be in the New Zealand headlines again in 1985. Aftermuch negotiation, NZR allowed privately owned, restored steam locomotives to run on the New Zealand Rail Network. The Railway Enthusiasts Society and Steam Incorporated worked with NZR to organise a special steam train tour celebrating 100 years since the first sod of the North Island Main Trunk was turned. JA 1250 "Diana" and Steam Incorporated's engine KA 945 were on the head of the train.

After this celebrated return to network operations, JA 1250 "Diana" was used on a large number of mainline runs to destinations as far away as Otiria (far north), New Plymouth, Timaru and Arthur's Pass. In February 1992, J 1234, KA 945, JA 1250, DA 1431 and F 163 hauled passenger trains operated in connection with the 2nd BP Pan Pacific Car Rally at Palmerston North.

Between 1992 and 1998 an extensive overhaul was undertaken at Glenbrook Vintage Railway's Pukeoware depot. The locomotive made its first public run after overhaul at Labour Weekend 1998. It has operated regularly on the railway since then and is a major drawcard.

On Sunday 4th July 1999, JA 1250 "Diana" operated public excursions on the New Zealand national rail network for the first time since 1992. The six excursions around the circuit formed by Auckland's Auckland - Newmarket Line, North Island Main Trunk Railway and North Auckland Line from Newmarket to Otahuhu and return were extremely popular. They were repeated from Newmarket in 2000, 2001, 2002, and 2003, from Remuera in 2004 and Ellerslie in 2005.

Other excursions have seen Diana head to destinations such as Helensville, Whangarei, Hamilton and Waharoa. In mid 2006 Diana was used to a haul the The Overlander as part of the Steam Engine Saturdays Excursions. These ran every second Saturday for 2 months.

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