Downey Collection: D79 Rail Cranes - Summary of Holding:

The collection was created by Auckland photographer Les Downey and is held by the Walsh Memorial Library, Museum of Transport and Technology (MoTaT), Western Springs, Auckland. The collection is wide-ranging on railway subjects and consists of predominantly photographic material (mostly black and white) with smaller quantities of published text collected from a variety of sources.

Mr Downey predominantly worked from the early 1950's, opening a Photographic Studio in Newmarket c1953-54. This was sold (including his Linhoff camera) in 1959. (Most of the crane runners noted below carry Westinghouse brake maintenance dates for 1952-53 indicating the pictures are from this period). He resumed photography with a 35mm camera in the early 1970's. The print collection was sold to the Walsh Library prior to Mr Downey's departure to Australia. The negatives had previously been sold to NZR along with the copyright. The negatives should now be held by National Archives. Mr Downey currently resides in Brisbane, Australia.

This summary relates to the 'Rail Crane' file (D.79) which was viewed on April 15 and 24, 2003. Related material (such as breakdown vans) can be found in the 'E & WW' file D.61. Mr Downey was contacted by phone on April 27 to check some details. Except where noted the identifications relating to picture content are by the author. These should be considered provisional and subject to confirmation. ? indicates unreadable character(s) or unclear and a best guess is given. Any error in the following material is the author's own.

My thanks to Mr Downey, and to Walsh assistant-librarian Allan Rudge for assisting with examining the material.

Phillip Treweek (May 3, 2003)


1) Photographs

Lib No.MarkedDescription / Notes
D48741Support wagon, with hut marked A73
D48780(2018)Craven 40 ton lift steam crane - rear 3/4 view from right side. Part of support wagon visible (carries marking WB/A 11.51)
D48781Support wagon (with hut marked A73 on end) attached to rear of Craven crane. (Huts and bunker match D48948)
D48942(2183)Craven 40 ton lift steam crane No.200 with support wagons and wagon L 11512. Rear 3/4 view. (Runner marked WB/A 8.53)
D48943Craven 40 ton lift steam crane - jib up. 4 wheel wagon L 11512 attached in foreground, runner to rear. Dilapidated loco in background. (Reverse view to D48946)
D48944Craven 40 ton lift steam crane No.200 in yard with jib up. Rear 3/4 view from right side. Runner partially visible (marked WB/A 8.53).
D48945(2186)Bogie crane runner for Craven 40 ton lift steam crane - shows toolbox on outer end, spare bogie carried on inner end, and rollers visible on support frame. (Marked Tare 17.15.0, WB/A 8.53). Appears to be in yard, with points in foreground and sheds to rear.
D48946(2187)Craven 40 ton steam crane in yard jib up - rear 3/4 view. Derelict loco (marked 494) adjacent to left. Support wagons in background - appears to be UB 1440, with LB 13425 holding wheels (possibly from loco).
D48948(2189)Support bogie wagon UB 1440 with two huts - one with rounded roof (marked WW73 by single door) and one with angled roof (doors both sides as seen from D48949),and bunker/tank between. (Wagon marked Tare 10.15.0 beneath? 11.52, and 5.52 above 5.52 at end)
D48949(2190)Support bogie wagon UB 1440 as seen from reverse side
D48959(2199)Craven 40 ton steam crane with jib down in profile from right side. (Marked 62.10? with H 53 at front). Support and runner wagons just visible in frame.
D48959(2200)Craven 40 ton steam crane No.200 in profile from right and slightly forward. Coaling crane visible to rear.
2061Cowans Sheldon 6 ton Hand Crane No.252. (Marked Tare 19.15.3 LIFT H 3.52 Piped Only). 2 Plates on balance box - not readable. Attached to dilapidated looking low wagon. Wagons K480 and K 415 to rear.
2081Craven 40 ton steam crane - rear 3/4 view
2193(234-3)Craven 40 ton steam crane lifting carriage by end. View mostly of crane - carriage end visible to right.
2194(237-5)Craven 40 ton steam crane lifting bogie carriage by end in yard - seen from left rear of carriage. Crane is on track adjacent to the carriage. Bogie is missing from lifted end of carriage. Carriage appears to be marked (in paint/chalk) 'No rake' at end facing camera.
2195(237-4)Craven 40 ton steam crane lifting carriage by end - as per 2194.
2201(238-3)Craven 40 ton lift steam crane No.200 with crane runner 200A and support wagon in yard. Front 3/4 view.
2224Pneumatic coaling crane - 4 wheel, no buffer. Profile left side. Crane no possibly 361 (middle digit unclear). Carriage is marked N or H 2.29. Plate on forward carriage - not readable. 4 buckets and coal pile, with wagon to rear. Background is flat open country. (Helensville?)
2352(263-1)Cowans Sheldon 10 ton lift steam crane - profile of superstructure and carriage. Makers plate on forward superstructure - not readable.
2353(263-2)Cowans Sheldon 10 ton lift steam crane with UB bogie crane runner (No not visible) and support wagon to rear in yard. Front 3/4 view.
2354(263-3)Cowans Sheldon 10 ton lift steam crane with bogie crane runner (No not visible, appears marked EU on rear). Rear 3/4 view.
2355(263-4)Support bogie wagon EU 1906. Profile right side in relation to attached crane). Marked Gross Tare 12-13-2, LIFT N 8.31 W.B. N 7.53. Plate reads 'Distributed load 16 tons'.
2357(263-6)Support bogie wagon EU 1906 (marked N 7.53 above identity) with two huts (one round roof, one angled) and a tank between, and 4 wheel wagon with hut (marked WW229). Attached to Cowans Sheldon 10 ton steam crane.
2358(263-7)Cowans Sheldon 10 ton lift steam crane - front 3/4 view. Runner EU 1905 attached, and support wagon attached to rear (EU 190? visible)
2466(492-4)Craven 40 ton lift steam crane with jib up - UB 1376 loaded with rail sets. Workman sitting on sets on wagon. Front 3/4 view.
In conversation with Mr Downey, he indicated that the following sequence of prints were taken at Waimauku during the installation of a set of points, during which Crane 223 was used to shunt ballast wagons.
2717Cowans Sheldon 10 ton lift steam crane No.223 - jib up with chains attached to lift hook. Rear 3/4 view, seen in yard.
2718Cowans Sheldon 10 ton lift steam crane No.223 - jib up with chains attached to lift hook
2719Cowans Sheldon 10 ton lift steam crane No.223 - jib up with chains attached to lift hook. Support wagon attached to rear. Front 3/4 view from slightly above.
2720Cowans Sheldon 10 ton lift steam crane - jib up with chains attached to lift hook. Viewed in yard from almost front on. Support wagon just visible to rear. Hut/ shelter to side of tracks marked 525 or 625.
2721Cowans Sheldon 10 ton lift steam crane No.223 - jib up with chains attached to lift hook. Rear 3/4 view in yard. Crane marked to rear of cab with paint or chalk - 'Waimauku'.
2722Cowans Sheldon 10 ton lift steam crane No.223 with support wagon in yard. Steam raised and jib partially up. Front 3/4 view. Drivers assistant (dressed in shorts with socks and sandals) is passing behind crane (disconnecting support wagon?). Support wagon carries 2 huts and bunker or tank
2723Cowans Sheldon 10 ton lift steam crane No.223 with driver in cab and assistant (?) standing at door. Crane is travelling free. Note carriage marked 223. Plates by handbrake marked off and on. Background - houses, building with flagpole, and pine trees.
2731Cowans Sheldon 10 ton lift steam crane No.223 jib up carrying chains on hook, appears to be travelling - hopper wagon in tow? marked 'Waimauku' on lip in paint or chalk. Side view. Stacked sets and plates in foreground.
2821Craven 40 ton steam crane on blocks lifting unidentified vehicle (In conversation Mr Downey suggests possibly a dismantled Ruston yard crane) onto flatbed bogie wagon (front marked UB44??) 3/4 view - various observers present.
3061Steam coaling crane (Priestman Grab) at Auckland (two copies in file). Profile left side while working - jib and grab up. Appears marked 213, Two men on line clearing coal? One appears well dressed, including white shirt.
3189Stothert & Pitt (1906) steam crane . View of right side, slightly from rear. Plate on carriage reads 'Stothert & Pitt Ltd Bath 1906 England'. Small plate visible on superstructure above jib foot - unreadable. (see note at end of 3502). Various handwritten notes on back of print - list of crane drawing numbers.
3190(7894)Stothert & Pitt (1906) steam crane . Front 3/4 view from right side. (see note at end of 3502). Various handwritten notes on back of print - list of crane drawing numbers.
3192Cowans Sheldon 7 ton Lift steam crane with bogie runner EU 1890 (crane identified from runner marking 'To be attached Crane 255') Front 3/4 view of right hand side. Runner is marked Tare 17.8.8? Date above tare 36. At side front P1256 above P1256. Lift and WB obscured. EN above buffer. Has toolbox at front. Support wagon partially visible at rear of crane - flat bogie wagon with hut and bunker.
3210Pneumatic Coaling crane marked 345 on carriage, with Wagon L17744 adjacent. View of right side from slightly to the rear. 1 rung missing on crane and one appears loose. 3 buckets on pile with one on hook. Location - Moyes & Groves Ltd Engineers Supplies visible across road in bkgnd. In conversation Mr Downey noted this firm was in the Strand, Parnell - indicating the Auckland loco depot.
3267Jib head (marked Rapier) sitting on crane runners E 2095 and E 2096. For Ransomes & Rapier 15 ton steam crane No.124. E 2095 (marked N 2.47, tare not readable) carries spare bogie, blocking timber and other equipment. E 2096 has frame (sliding section on top to carry jib) and toolbox.
3268Ransomes & Rapier 15 ton lift steam crane No.124 at rest in yard. Rear 3/4, left hand side. Flatbed wagon just visible to rear of crane, appears to carry bunker.
In conversation Mr Downey indicated that the following sequence of prints relating to out of service hand cranes was probably taken at the Otahuhu workshops.
34575 ton Hand Crane No.268 - derelict with no jib or balance box (in scrapyard? - sequence with 3458-3461)
34585 ton Hand Crane No.268 - derelict with no jib or balance box. (as above).
34595 ton 6 wheel Hand Crane No.268 - derelict with no jib or balance box. Superstructure marked with word 'Service'. Tare 12.19(?).2. Cross (or X) painted on superstructure and headstock.
34602 ton Hand Crane No.?? - derelict. Plate on balance box 'To lift 2 tons'. Four wheel? Curved jib with tie rods.
3461Crane carriage - derelict (two copies in file). Appears to be 4 wheel. No superstructure.
34646 wheel Hand Crane - derelict/ stored. Appears complete. 3/4 view from right in relation to carriage, with superstructure swung in profile. Marked 'Piped'. (sequence with 3465-3467)
3465Ransomes & Rapier 5 ton hand crane - superstructure from slightly to rear. Plate on rear of balance box reads 'Ransomes & Rapier, London'. Two plates on side of box - not readable.
3466Ransomes & Rapier 5 ton hand crane - carriage in profile. Axle box covers marked in circle around 'C' with 'New Zealand Railways 190?'
3467Hand crane mechanism 5 ton hand crane no.259 . Marked Tare 12.16.0
3502Stothert & Pitt (1906) steam crane. Front 3/4 view from left side of carriage and mechanism. Plate at base of jib 'Jib to be in line with rails when travelling and crane not to be slewed ? locked off' Plate has been broken question mark. Crane has bent headstock. Box wagon to rear E 1779 possibly attached. Mr Downey noted in conversation that he believed this crane (136) was used in the Whangarei car and wagon shop for lifting boxes off P wagons. The wagons were used to carry limestone chips and required frequent maintenance.
11735mm contact sheet undated showing 31 frames of general and detail pictures of Cowans Sheldon 7 ton lift steam crane No.256 and associated wagons crane runner EA 3183 and support wagon E 3866 (latter carries hut, water tank, and coal bunker and is marked 'Whangarei'). Top two lines on Makers plate can be read - works no 4425.
11835mm contact sheet dated Dec 1972 showing 13 frames of details of Pneumatic coaling crane No.338. (Helensville?) Jib carries plate indicating 1 ton capacity.
Film 118Single print (from above 35mm contact sheet?) dated Dec 1972. Pneumatic coaling crane.
119/7Side of cranes with jibs lifting diesel loco from gully. Railway shed with Tr shunter and L wagon in background. Marked on reverse "Da 1418 being lifted back onto the tracks by 2 40 ton steam cranes Parnell Diesel Depot 16-8-61". Blocking and outriggers on crane visible. Nearer jib has 'A' marked on jib head beside 'Craven' plate.
--Colour picture of 6 wheel hand crane carriage (number obscured - possibly No.283, Ransomes & Rapier 5 ton). Marked Tare 11 1 1/4 1 11900kg (as in above prints)
The following five un-numbered prints appear to be from a set and to show the same crane - 238 appears to be a mis-paint. In conversation with Mr Downey he indicates these pictures probably date from after the crane's arrival at MoTaT.
--5 ton hand crane and runner marked No.238 Profile from right in relation to jib. Superstructure marked V 7'73 Tare 11 11 1/4 1 11900kg 238 piped only. Balance block marked Maximum load 5 tons. Carriage marked V 7'73.
--5 ton hand crane and runner marked No.283. Rear 3/4 view from left. Marked as above apart from crane No.
--5 ton hand crane - 6 wheeler No.238, with 4 wheel crane runner N76 Rear 3/4 view from right. Two plates visible on rear of balance block, but not readable.
--5 ton hand crane - 6 wheeler No.283 with 4 wheel crane runner N76. Front 3/4 from right
--5 ton hand crane - 6 wheeler No.233 with 4 wheel crane runner N76 Front 3/4 from left. N76 marked as runner for crane 283. Tare 3.0.2 V 7'73. Carries plate - Distributed load 0.7? tons.

2) Set of photographic prints (or photostats) of working drawings: - includes:

In conversation Mr Downey noted that during the period in the 1950s when he was photographing cranes he had a number of contacts in the Auckland District Mechanical Engineers office through whom he was able to borrow drawings overnight, which he then photographed for modelling purposes.

3) Filed together



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