New Zealand rail engineering firm closes after nearly 150 years – 100 workers lose their jobs


ONE of New Zealand’s few rail engineering firms closed suddenly in late July.

A & G Price Ltd, in Thames, south-east of Auckland, built a number of steam locomotives and small diesel shunters for New Zealand Railways (NZR) and industrial users.

Preserved Price-built ‘V’ class bush loco, based on the American Heisler design (Price 148/1943), at the McLeans Island site of the Canterbury Steam Preservation Society, near Christchurch. On the left is Price-built diesel (150/1944), constructed for the New Zealand Airforce at the nearby RNZAF Weedons base. ROBERT SWEET

The company was put into liquidation with around 100 people losing their jobs.

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The firm was founded in 1868 and had diversified into non-railway activities since the 1960s following the decline in railway business.

It was one of the few places preservationists in New Zealand could obtain specialist castings.

There are six A & G Price-built ex-NZR steam locos preserved in New Zealand representative of each class of steam locomotive built by the company for NZR: (two A class, 1 Ab class, 1 Bb class, 1 Wab class and one Wf class).

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Six of the bush tramway steam locos built by Price are also preserved, including the last steam locomotive built by Price, the ‘V’ class from 1943, based on the American Heisler design.

A number of the A & G Price-built ex-NZR Tr class diesel shunting locomotives are also preserved, along with small diesels built for industrial customers.

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