Volunteers have spent 10 years restoring the WF 403 steam locomotive. Photo: Nelson Railway Society

Restored locomotive needs consent to operate

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After spending the last decade painstakingly restoring a century-old steam train the Nelson Railway Society has been told they will need to obtain a resource consent before they can fire it up.

Volunteers have spent 10 years restoring the WF 403 steam locomotive – however, Nelson City Council says consent is necessary for the train to operate.

“Under the Nelson Air Quality Plan, a steam train fits into the definition of a large-scale fuel-burning device,” says group manager environmental management, Clare Barton.

The cost of the consent can vary according to its complexity.

Clare says council “acknowledges the hard work from the volunteers of the Nelson Railway Society over many years” on the restoration of the locomotive.

“Council officers have talked them through the process of such an application and offered any assistance we can within the legislative requirements of the Resource Management Act.”

As well as the restoration of the locomotive, volunteers spent a further year widening part of the track at Founders Park for it to run on and dug out a 13m pit.

The WF 403 is one of three left of its kind in New Zealand.

It was built in 1907 in Dunedin and operated there and on the West Coast before moving to Nelson in 1973.

The locomotive is not eligible for funding under council’s heritage project fund as neither the railway nor the steam train is listed as a heritage item in the Nelson Resource Management Plan.

The Nelson Railway Society did not want to comment at this stage.