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Nattrass Rail Tractors Ltd. Wellington developed by Howard Nattrass, a car sales man and inventor.

In November 1924 Nattrass was granted patent # 53442 for his rail tractors and a company, Rail Tractors Ltd was registered as a private company.The Fordson farm tractor engine and transmission was adopted as the power source which demonstrated a basic engineering precision, apparently simple, yet with a high degree of technical excellence. The Nattrass was a simple, lightweight machine, available at an affordable price which allowed the sawmillers to expand their operations into areas previously inaccessible with horse teams.

As a prolific inventor Nattrass held a number of patents additional to the rail tractor, including an electric car jack, a rotating viewing screen for ships, and a rotary car engine, he was also well respected in motor racing circles in the Auckland area.

The Rail Tractors provide evidence of the use of the “new” 20th century internal combustion tractors for use in situation often at the extreme limit of railway technology. A purely functional design, evolved from backblocks' ingenuity innovative design, construction, craftsmanship and use of materials. The Nattrass tractor at Shantytown is possibly the only complete survivor.

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Our Location

Shantytown is located at 316 Rutherglen Road, Paroa - just 10Km south of Greymouth on the West Coast of the South Island. 
Map and directions

Freephone: 0800  742 689