Two railway carriages have had an interesting ‘retirement’, serving as a home, playground, party venue, hay barn and picturesque, quirky addition to a property in Dairy Flat.
The D class passenger cars, built by English Electric, with a cab for the driver at each end, ran on a Wellington passenger line in the early 1950s. Both were retired and brought to Dairy Flat in 1993 by the property’s previous owner – a train enthusiast. Railway tracks were lifted onto the site, and the carriages set down on top of these.
After a conversion that included electricity, carpets, a bathroom, kitchen and laundry, they became the family home until a house was built.
The carriages are not insulated and the current owners, who store hay in them, say they must have been freezing in winter and stifling in summer.
Over the years the carriages, which are now rusty and lichen covered, but still have many original features, have been an exciting place for young children to play and have sleepovers and parties. When the lights at the front of the train were switched on, the beams shone across the rural valley as far as Silverdale.
The carriages have also featured in a television advertisement and were so popular with passers-by that the owners of the property had to put up a gate to prevent people wandering up their driveway to take a closer look.
There are believed to be just 12 such trailer cars left in existence.
The Dairy Flat property, complete with trains, is up for sale, and is being marketed by Michael Guy at Bayleys Orewa.