Crane Numbering:

The problem of how cranes were numbered has occupied a good chunk of my research time as it's important to know which crane any new details which come to light actually belong to. I have not been able to locate any documentation for the period prior to 1892, so the PWD and early NZGR period remain a mystery, as to a large extent so do what cranes were operated in those periods. Nor have I been able to find any documentation for the systems of numbering used prior to 1979. But for the period April 1, 1892 to March 31, 1947 we are fortunate to have the Loco 63 Rolling stock ledgers (No7: Apr 1, 1892-Mar 31, 1900, No 14: Apr 1, 1900-Mar 31, 1906, and No 18: Apr 1, 1906 - Mar 31, 1947) which are held by the NZR&LS archive at Ava. From these it is possible to gain a probable picture of how the numbering worked

The entries in the 1892 Loco.63 rolling stock ledger show a set of existing numbers carried over from an earlier ledger. Summarising from the various entries in Rolling Stock ledger No7 allows us to see that the hand-crane numbers are allocated in blocks by section (apparently in a similar fashion to to the system for locomotives described by W.G. Lloyd). Cranes were arranged by capacity within these number blocks. Interestingly the ex-broad gauge cranes are numbered separately, which may reflect a previous numbering scheme. From 1900, new hand-cranes were added at the end of the sequence. A look at the number of cranes per section may reflect the amount of ongoing construction in each section. The five ton cranes were the standard breakdown crane for much of the period leading up to the time of the list. See Table 1 below for the former broad-gauge cranes, and Table 2 for the other sequence.

Steam cranes were numbered on a separate scheme, which appears to be based on boiler number, so some numbers overlapped. Some boiler numbers were re-used, but not till post 1909. There is also the complication of cranes being converted. Cranes converted from hand to steam seem to have taken their new boiler number. Cranes converted from steam to hand seem to have retained the former boiler number as crane number. However, No.281 was converted to 5-ton steam in 1912 and numbered No.75 (a re-use), and reconverted to hand in 1923 becoming No.292. Hand cranes No.s 253-258 were renumbered in 1931, removing confusion with the 1925 additions to the steam crane sequence. Subsequent steam crane purchases re-used numbers in the 199-227 range. The use of boiler numbers for steam cranes seems to have continued through to 1979, with other sequences being altered to allow for expansion of the numbers available. See Table 3 below for the sequence.

The whole numbering scheme was reorganised in 1909, giving all rail cranes a unique identity. Steam cranes retained their existing numbers, and the hand-cranes were reorganised into a new sequence starting at No.252. A sequence for pneumatic coaling cranes was added about 1922 started at No.293. In 1931 further renumbering saw No.s 253-258 changing to No.s 246 to 251 to avoid further number overlaps as steam cranes purchased in 1924 and 1925 took these numbers. See Table 4 for this sequence.

An anomaly has been found in the pneumatic crane sequence. The 1922 pneumatic crane sequence commences at No.293. However, the Bush Tramway Club have a 5-ton hand crane with evidence of also being numbered No.293. It is possible this is a later number, or a label indicating something else.

The first diesel cranes acquired in 1943 and 1950 were numbered in the steam crane sequence (No.197 and No.198). For the third crane in 1953, a number in the mobile crane series (No.407) was allocated. 198 was later renumbered to 350 which is in the pneumatic crane sequence. For the diesel crane purchases in the 1960s, a new sequence was established with blocks allocated within the 500s for the various capacity cranes.

In 1979 the numbering was again changed, with the introduction of the TMS system. All the surviving cranes which were to be operated on mainline running were included in the TMS sequence. The numbers to be used (which appear to be based on capacity, position in the class, and a check digit) were specified in a memo on file 76/345 dated 23 July 1979. E refers to non-revenue stock, L appears to indicate lift and S steam. A memo on file 27/592 of Sep 27, 1979 noted that some cranes (like 142, 350, 407) did not need TMS numbers as they operated on isolated track. The 4-ton diesel workshop cranes were then added to the sequence in a memo dated 15 Nov, 1982. It is not clear when or if 5-ton steam crane 256 was allocated a TMS number, but it has been associated with TMS ELS 506. See Table 5 for this sequence.


Table 1: NZGR Cranes as at 1892 - Former-Broad gauge hand cranes.

No.Description Section
66-ton hand Hurunui-Bluff
72-ton hand Hurunui-Bluff
85-ton hand Hurunui-Bluff

(Note: two 1-ton hand cranes were written off 1893, but the ledgers unfortunately do not show their numbers)


Table 2: NZGR Cranes as at 1892 - Hand cranes with subsequent additions.

No.Description SectionNotes
15-ton handHurunui-Bluff
25-ton handHurunui-Bluff
35-ton handHurunui-Bluff
45-ton handHurunui-Bluff
53-ton handHurunui-Bluff
62-ton handPicton
75-ton handPicton
82-ton handNelson
95-ton handNelson
102-ton hand Westport 1899, wharf crane, not previously shown
115-ton handWestport
125-ton handGreymouth
135-ton handGreymouth
142-ton handWellington
152-ton handWellington
162-ton handWellington
175-ton handWellington
182-ton handTaranaki-Napier
192-ton handTaranaki-Napier
202-ton handTaranaki-Napier
215-ton handTaranaki-Napier
225-ton handTaranaki-Napier
235-ton handTaranaki-Napier
242-ton handTaranaki-Napier
255-ton handTaranaki-Napier
265-ton handTaranaki-Napier
272-ton handAuckland
282-ton handAuckland
292-ton handAuckland
305-ton handAuckland
315-ton handAuckland
325-ton handAuckland
Additions from 1900
335-ton handGreymouth1900, taken with Midland Rly
3410-ton handWestland1901 new
3510-ton handHurunui-Bluff1902 new
3610-ton handHurunui-Bluff1901 new
372-ton handHurunui-Bluff1903 Not previously shown
403-ton handNelsonex steam?



Table 3: NZGR Cranes as at 1892 - Steam cranes with subsequent additions from 1898.

No.Description SectionNotes
13-ton steamHurunui-Bluff
23-ton steamHurunui-Bluff
32-ton steamHurunui-Bluff
41 1/2-ton steamHurunui-Bluff
51 1/2-ton steamHurunui-Bluff
61 1/2-ton steamHurunui-Bluff
71 1/2-ton steamHurunui-Bluff
82-ton steamHurunui-Bluff
91 1/2--ton steamHurunui-Bluff
101 1/2--ton steamHurunui-Bluff
115-ton steamHurunui-Bluff
12Hoisting EngineHurunui-Bluff
133-ton steamHurunui-Bluff
14
153-ton steamHurunui-Bluff
162-ton steamHurunui-Bluff
172-ton steamHurunui-Bluff
182-ton steamHurunui-Bluff
192-ton steamHurunui-Bluff
20Hoisting EngineHurunui-Bluff
363-ton steamHurunui-Bluff
422-ton steamGreymouth
432-ton steamGreymouth
4712-ton steamGreymouth
4912-ton steamWestport
503-ton steamWestport
512-ton steamWestport
581-ton steamTaranaki-Napier?
702-ton steamAuckland
712-ton steamAuckland
722-ton steamAuckland
73
743-ton steamKawakawa
753-ton steamKawakawa
763-ton steamKawakawa
773-ton steamWhangarei
783-ton steamWhangarei
793-ton steamWhangarei
823-ton steamHurunui-Bluff
83Hoisting EngineHurunui-Bluff
Additions from 1898
6020-ton steamWestport1900 new
937-ton steamWhangarei1898 new
947-ton steamHurunui-Bluff1899 new
997-ton steamHurunui-Bluff1901 new
1007-ton steamWhangarei1901 new
1017-ton steamAuckland1902 new
1027-ton steamHurunui-Bluff1902 new
1037-ton steamWgtn-Napier-NP1902 new
1205-ton steamWgtn-Napier-NP1905 new
1215-ton steamWestland1905 new
12215-ton steamWestport1905 new



Table 4: NZGR Cranes as at 1909 - Full sequence. Subsequent changes and former identities are noted

No.Description SectionNotes
13 ton steamHurunui-Bluff
23 ton steamHurunui-Bluff
32 ton steamHurunui-Bluff
61.5 ton steamHurunui-Bluffreclassed 2-ton 1893
82 ton steamHurunui-Bluff
115 ton steamHurunui-Bluffaltered to 3-ton 1911
133 ton steamHurunui-Bluff
153 ton steamHurunui-Bluff
162 ton steamHurunui-Bluff
172 ton steamHurunui-Bluffaltered to 1.5-ton 1909
182 ton steamHurunui-Bluff
192 ton steamWgtn-Napier-NPtransferred from Hurunui-Bluff 1905
363 ton steamHurunui-Bluff
403 ton steamWgtn-Napier-NPtransferred from Nelson 1906
422 ton steamWgtn-Napier-NPaltered to 1.5-ton 1903, transferred from Greymouth 1905
432 ton steamNelsonaltered to 1.5 ton 1903, transferred from Westland 1906
4712 ton steamWestland
4912 ton steamWestport
503 ton steam Westport
512 ton steamWestport
6020 ton steamWestportwharf crane
702 ton steamHurunui-Bluff
712 ton steamHurunui-Blufftransferred from Whangarei 1900
722 ton steamHurunui-Blufftransferred from Auckland 1900
743 ton steamHurunui-Blufftransferred from Kawakawa1900
753 ton steamWgtn-Napier-NPtransferred from Kawakawa1906
763 ton steamKawakawa
773 ton steamWgtn-Napier-NPtransferred from Whangarei 1898, transferred from Auckland 1899, transferred from Hurunui-Bluff 1906
783 ton steamWgtn-Napier-NPtransferred from Whangarei 1901
823 ton steamHurunui-Bluff
855 ton steamWgtn-Napier-NPtransferred from Westland 1907, originally 10 ton hand crane No.34, converted to 5 ton steam 1908
937 ton steamWhangarei
947 ton steamHurunui-Bluff
997 ton steamHurunui-Bluffreclassed as 5ton 1909
1005 ton steamWhangareireclassed as 7ton 1903
1017 ton steamAuckland
1027 ton steamHurunui-Bluff
1037 ton steamWgtn-Napier-NP
1205 ton steamWgtn-Napier-NP
1215 ton steamWestland
12215 ton steamWestport
1297 ton steamWestland
1367 ton steamWhangareitransferred from Auckland 1909
1377 ton steamWgtn-Napier-NP
1387 ton steamWgtn-Napier-NP
1397 ton steamHurunui-Bluff
1407 ton steamWgtn-Napier-NPtransferred from Hurunui-Bluff 1907
1415 ton steamHurunui-Bluff
1425 ton steamHurunui-Bluff
14320 ton steamWestport Wharf
1495 ton steamHurunui-Bluffreclassed as 7ton 1908
1505 ton steamHurunui-Bluffreclassed as 7ton 1908, Addington shops
1515 ton steamWgtn-Napier-NPreclassed as 7ton 1908, Hutt shops
1525 ton steamAucklandreclassed as 7ton 1908, Otahuhu shops
1557.5 ton steamHurunui-Bluff
1567 ton steamWgtn-Napier-NP
1577 ton steamWgtn-Napier-NP
16820 ton steamWestportwharf crane
25210 ton handWgtn-Napier-NPhanded over by WMR 1909
25310 ton handWgtn-Napier-NPhanded over by WMR 1909, 1892, to No.246 1931
2542 ton handAucklandex-No.27, to No.247 in 1931
2552 ton handAucklandex-No.28, to No.248 in 1931
2562 ton handAucklandex-No.29, to No.249 in 1931
2575 ton handAucklandex-No.30, to No.250 in 1931
2585 ton handAucklandex-No.31, to No.251 in 1931
2595 ton handAucklandex-No.32
2602 ton handWgtn-Napier-NPex-No.14
2612 ton handWgtn-Napier-NPex-No.15, made fixed 1909
2622 ton handWgtn-Napier-NPex-No.16, made fixed 1909
2632 ton handWgtn-Napier-NPex-No.18
2642 ton handWgtn-Napier-NPex-No.19
2652 ton handWgtn-Napier-NPex-No.20
2662 ton handWgtn-Napier-NPex-No.24
2675 ton handWgtn-Napier-NPex-No.17
2685 ton handWgtn-Napier-NPex-No.21
2695 ton handWgtn-Napier-NPex-No.22
2705 ton handWgtn-Napier-NPex-No.23
2715 ton handWgtn-Napier-NPex-No.25
2725 ton handWgtn-Napier-NPex-No.26
2733 ton handHurunui-Bluffex-No.5
2742 ton handHurunui-Bluffex-No.7, originally broad gauge, reclassed 3ton 1893
2755 ton handHurunui-Bluffex-No.1
2765 ton handHurunui-Bluffex-No.2
2775 ton handHurunui-Bluffex-No.3
2785 ton handHurunui-Bluffex-No.4
2797 ton handHurunui-Bluffex-No.6,ex-originally broad gauge, reclassed 6ton 1893
28010 ton handHurunui-Bluffex-No.35
28110 ton handHurunui-Bluffex-No.36
2822 ton handPictonex-No.6
2835 ton handPictonex-No.7
2842 ton handNelsonex-No.8
2855 ton handNelsonex-No.9
2862 ton handWestportex-No.10
2875 ton handWestportex-No.11
2882 ton handGreymouthex-No.12
2892 ton handGreymouthex-No.37
2905 ton handGreymouthex-No.13
2915 ton handGreymouthex-No.33, taken with Midland Railway in 1900



Table 4: NZR Cranes as at 1979 - TMS sequence with later additions

TMS No.Description PreviouslyNotes
EL 4174 ton diesel crane35027/592 of 3 Nov, 1982
EL 4234 ton diesel crane40727/592 of 3 Nov, 1982
ELS 5065 ton steam crane???? to be confirmed - possibly 256 which was derated
to 5-ton but supposedly out of service from 1979,
or 120 which as a works crane would have been a late
addition to TMS
ELS 100210 ton steam crane22376/345 of 23 July, 1979
ELS 101510 ton steam crane22676/345 of 23 July, 1979
ELS 102810 ton steam crane22476/345 of 23 July, 1979
ELS 103010 ton steam crane22776/345 of 23 July, 1979
ELS 104310 ton steam crane22576/345 of 23 July, 1979
EL 100710 ton diesel crane19776/345 of 23 July, 1979
EL 101310 ton diesel crane511
EL 103610 ton diesel crane512
EL 150815 ton diesel crane55076/345 of 23 July, 1979
EL 151415 ton diesel crane55176/345 of 23 July, 1979
EL 152015 ton diesel crane55276/345 of 23 July, 1979
EL 153715 ton diesel crane55376/345 of 23 July, 1979
ELS 159915 ton steam crane12476/345 of 23 July, 1979
EL 400440 ton diesel crane50076/345 of 23 July, 1979
ELS 400740 ton steam crane20076/345 of 23 July, 1979
ELS 402240 ton steam crane20176/345 of 23 July, 1979
ELS 403540 ton steam crane19976/345 of 23 July, 1979
ELS 404840 ton steam crane20276/345 of 23 July, 1979
EL 600260 tonne diesel craneEL 6002
EL 601960 tonne diesel craneEL 6019