This part time, 12 - 18 month programme, contains five separate five-day block courses held at Shantytown, Greymouth. There is generally two to three months between each block course. You will gain 40 credits including 10 elective credits. This hands-on programme has been designed to prepare you with the skills to enter the heritage rail and steam industries. Graduates also have the potential to move into rail transport, steam plant or engineering.

  • Level:
  • Credit Value:
  • Awards:
    Tai Poutini Polytechnic Certificate
  • Location:
  • Method of Study:
    Block courses
  • Start Date:
    Multiple intakes per year
  • Dates:
    Please enquire
  • $1,039

  • Domestic Breakdown
  •   Tuition Fee:
  •   Course Cost:
  •   NZQA Fee:
  • International Fee (2018):

    Full fee breakdown click here

Core Elements

Topics based on unit standards are broken down into modules for easier understanding:

Module 1 - Introduction to steam and preparation for operation

  • Introduction to steam
  • Introduction to steam driven vehicle boilers
  • Rail safety & inspections
  • Safety fittings
  • Preparing for operation

Module 2 - Maintenance, repair and operation of steam driven vehicles

  • Water, corrosion and washouts
  • Maintain and repair
  • Lubrication
  • Layup procedures

Module 3 - Records and documentation & elective strands (A) Rail or (B) Road

  • Records and documentation
  • Braking
  • Drive and manoeuvre a steam driven rail vehicle or drive and manoeuvre a steam driven road vehicle


Assessment is at the completion of each block course with written assessments, by site based “workplace” verification and at the completion of training manual and final hands-on assessment.


This programme is based at Shantytown, Greymouth. Transport is available each day to and from Shantytown. Students will meet each morning at the Greymouth campus.   

Your Tutor

Ian Tibbles has a passionate interest in the railway and has over 47 years experience in the industry.

Further Study Paths

  • Traction Engine mudule
  • Tai Poutini Polytechnic Certificate in Engineering
  • National Certificates in Mechanical Engineering

Career Opportunities

  • Boiler Operator
  • Driving a steam driven rail vehicle
  • Driving a steam driven road vehicle

Entry Criteria

Applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Successfully achieved NCEA Level 1 (or equivalent).
  • Be 16 years of age or over.
  • Applicants for whom English is a second language must meet IELTS (or equivalent) Level 5.5.

Special Notes

  • Special entry may be granted where evidence exists that the applicant can successfully complete the programme. Please contact the Polytechnic for details.
  • Some courses within this programme require specific levels of physical ability.


This is a Safety Sensitive Programme