Frankton Thunder Steam Express

Step onboard our lovingly restored heritage coaches, hauled by steam locomotive Ww 644. Settle into your seats to enjoy this short trip under Hamilton City, over the Waikato River, and out to Ruakura and return - perfect for all the family!

Jump on board with the Glenbrook Vintage Railway - Bringing steam locomotive Ww 644 back to the Waikato! 
Ww 644 - Built at Dunedin's Hillside Workshops in 1915 was comprehensively overhauled between 2018 and 2022 by the team of volunteers and staff at the Glenbrook Vintage Railway's Pukeoware Workshops.
So hop on board as we step back in time – to how rail travel used to be – and experience steam on the main line.

Frankton Thunder Steam Express | Hamilton-Frankton to Ruakura and Return

Join us for this short little STEAM rail adventure to Ruakura and return. 

Departing Frankton station, our steam locomotive will guide us through the Hamilton Tunnel (the site of NZs first underground railway station!), before dramatically exiting the tunnel and onto the Claudelands River bridge, crossing over the mighty Waikato. From here, our mighty little engine will work hard as it lifts the train through Hamilton's eastern suburbs and out towards the new developments surrounding Ruakura. Arriving into Ruakura, our steam locomotive will jump from one end of the train to the other before hauling us back to Frankton station. 

All done and dusted in little under an hour, what a great addition for the family or keen enthusiast following your visit to the Frankton Thunder event. 

Looking for a longer journey? Check out the River Steam Rover


Ex Hamilton (Frankton)

Seat (ages 2+) $20



Train 1
Hamilton (Frankton)dep.8.55am
Ruakura (stay onboard)arr.9.15am
Ruakura (stay onboard)dep.9.35am
Hamilton (Frankton)arr.9.50am


Train 2
Hamilton (Frankton)dep.10.00am
Ruakura (stay onboard)arr.10.25am
Ruakura (stay onboard)dep.10.45am
Hamilton (Frankton)arr.11.00am


Train 3
Hamilton (Frankton)dep.11.10am
Ruakura (stay onboard)arr.11.35am
Ruakura (stay onboard)dep.11.55am
Hamilton (Frankton)arr.12.10pm


Train 4
Hamilton (Frankton)dep.12.40pm
Ruakura (stay onboard)arr.1.00pm
Ruakura (stay onboard)dep.1.20pm
Hamilton (Frankton)arr.1.35pm


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Seating Information

We aim to seat passengers from the same booking together. You will be allocated at least one window seat for bookings of 2 or more (subject to availability). Where possible, seats will be turned to face the direction of travel (pairs and singles) or to face each other (groups). If you are traveling with people on a different booking or have another specific request then please email us as soon as possible at [email protected] and we will try and accommodate your request the best we can. Your allocated seat and carriage details will be on your boarding pass which will be emailed to you at least 2-3 days before your departure date.

Onboard Information

  • Smoking or the consumption of Alcohol (not served by your train crew) is prohibited anywhere onboard our trains, including on any viewing platform, this includes the use or charging of e-cigarettes.
  • Due to the heritage nature of our carriages there is limited accessibility for people traveling with Wheelchairs. Please contact us in advance to discuss your requirements.
  • Animals apart from seeing and hearing guide dogs may not travel onboard our trains.
  • Only the named passengers on your booking will be allocated seats. One child under 2 may sit on each adult's knee. Children under 2 seated in the manner do not require a ticket.
  • There are toilets onboard our train which can be used throughout the journey.
  • Cold food or drink may be brought and consumed onboard the train provided that this does not disturb our passengers and that you take all rubbish and food scraps with you.

Refund Information

  • Refunds of fares paid, net of any payments made by GVR from those fares, requested and received by GVR up to and including fourteen clear days before the commencement of the trip or tour will be made without deduction other than a $30 administration charge per person booked. However no administration charge will apply where refunds arise as a consequence of the trip or tour being fully booked, cancelled prior to commencing, or postponed to a later date and the refund application is received within four days of the original trip or tour date.
  • No refunds will be given in the event of breakdown en route or unavailability of the advertised means of conveyance.
  • No refunds will be made if after departure, for whatever reason, passengers do not utilise the included trip or tour arrangements. Travel insurance may provide some degree of relief in limited cases.
  • No refunds of fares paid or any other form on recompense will be given as a result of any person missing any aircraft, train, bus or ferry in connection with this trip or tour for whatever reason.
  • No refunds will be given for cancellations unless the request is notified in writing to the GVR at least fourteen clear days before commencement of the trip or tour. Each such cancellation will be subject to the $30 administration charge per person booked.

Check out Full Terms and Conditions.

Book now for The Frankton Thunder Steam Express - Sunday 10th of March 2024

Your ticket includes return train travel between Hamilton and Ruakura.