At least 116 railway windmills were built and only two remain
Windmills were used by Railways primarily to supply water for steam locomotives, but also for railway housing water supply and for bridge fire-fighting. Usually the windmills had a standard main sail diameter of 14 or 16 feet (m), although there were smaller sizes.
They were built with wooden fans and vanes, unlike most other New Zealand-built windmills, which were all metal. The design of railway windmills was based closely on a small version of an American model.
At least 116 railway windmills were built, and only two remain: at Willowbank in Southland, owned by the New Zealand Historic Places Trust; and at Belgrove, Nelson, owned by the Department of Conservation.