NZ Trains 2008


F51T2131 elevation 17 feb 2008.JPG
Just before sunrise on the 17th of Feb 2008, DX 5333, DCs 4876 and 4473 head train 739 through Elevation. Who said the 2am ferry was a stupid idea then...
F51T2137 kaik coast 17 feb 2008.JPG
The same train heading toward Kaikoura under cloudy skies
F51T2167 oaro 17 feb 2008.JPG
And then the sun came out... 734 catches me by surprise by crawling into Oaro earlier than I had calculated forcing a shady-side pic or nothing. Thanks to a series of loco failures, only the DQ was running, but the driver stopped here and managed to get the black DC started up for the run into Kaikoura 
F51T2172 north of kaik 17 feb 2008.JPG
North of Kaikoura. DX 5460+4628+4450+6376
F51T2175 nice quad near pines.JPG
Approaching Pines. This picture finessed by Master Picture Editor DLA Turner (unbeknownst to him I was watching and taking notes)
F51T2179 iron gate stream 17 feb 2008.JPG
5327 and 6347on a G train wraps up a nice few hours of trainspotting
F51T2191 staircase 19 feb 2008.JPG
On the 19th of Feb, I tag along with track inspector Bruce Lord as an official visitor on the run up to Arthur's Pass. Fabulous way to see the country. Here at Staircase, we are overtaken by a heavily laden TranzAlpine. That train has come a long way in the last 20 years... 
F51T2218 Cragieburn 19 Feb 2008 Bruce Lord.JPG
Crossing a coalie at Cragieburn with the old Midland Railway Co chair rail in the foreground
F51T2276 Makikihi 30 March 08.JPG
Night time experiments at the seldom snapped Makikihi bridge. This was a rare case of too many locos...
F51T2280 burkes 3 31 08 port shunt.JPG
Y20 port shunt runs in from Port Chalmers on 31 March 08 behind 'Otago' liveried DSG 3251
F51T2282 burkes 3 31 08.JPG
And then finally 930 shows up at Burkes. 31 March 08
F51T2285-2 cass pass.JPG
Meanwhile up at Cass, the Tranzalpine scoots past the scenery on Sunday 6 April
IMG_2797 cass .JPG
It's only a model. Cass a few minutes earlier
F51T2310-2 apr 7 2008 832 dobson2.JPG
Whiteface 5172 leads 832 ex-Rapahoe through Dobson the next day
F51T2314-2 two reds 7 apr 09 grey river2.JPG
Surprise!  Good Lord, it has been more than 20 years since the last official red repaint so what are the chances of seeing a matching pair in 2008? 7April 08
IMG_2814 two reds 7 apr 09 omoto.JPG
Yummy. A nice long train train 827 approaches Greymouth
F51T2319 dbr 1213 hoki shunt X6 7 apr 2008.JPG
Shortly afterwards,  the empty containers are ferried down to Hokitika on X6 shunt. Love those rickety old bridges

F51T2321 dbr 1213 hoki shunt X6 7 apr 2008.JPG

F51T2334 stillwater night2 copy.JPG
Later in the evening,  the loads from Hoki plus local Greymouth traffic head east on 828. Amazingly clear night sky here at Stillwater - I don't think I've ever seen as many stars - including four shooters and a slow moving satellite
IMG_2825 omoto mk4.JPG
Faded 5172 on 832 again near Omoto. Note to self, I pity the fool who attempts a vertical here...
F51T2337-2 mkx.JPG
Next morning 845 is at Te Kinga
F51T2340 841 moana 2.JPG
Hey, that's not our train... Crossing 832 at Moana

F51T2343-2 moana 841.JPG

F51T2345 803 moana 8 april 08 .JPG
The passenger barely squeezes into the chosen 135mm viewport. Out to the left, fancy new lake houses have ripped up the landscape a little
F51T2353-2 847 8 april 08.JPG
845 continues northward towards Reefton. I love the spindly wooden bridges over on the coast, although many are being replaced - get your pics while you can!
F51T2355 847 waimang 8 april 08 2.JPG
Exploring at Waimangaroa
F51T2362 waimangaroa night.JPG
Where I hold a planning meeting with myself over a few ciders and the Best Burger In the World (from the stoners at the Blue Zephyr Takeaways in Granity) as to how to shoot 849, ending up with the stock Waimang bridge shot. I guess this and the reds at night on the Stillwater bridge were the two shots I wanted to get on this trip. Mission accomplished. Must dull down that star one day.
F51T2372 reefton 9 april.JPG
829 arrives at Reefton - 9 April 2008
F51T2374 tawhai.JPG
And then returns as 826. The funny little hoppers are loaded with heavy gold-laced ore headed for McRaes near Palmerston. This is an awful shot and I do apologise. When mucking around, don't forget to put the shutter speed back up when the train is coming. 125th of a second through the super-sharp135mm = speedblur, even on the stiff grade leading to the Tawhai tunnel
IMG_2828 stillwater 844 mk2.JPG
844 negotiates the curves into Stillwater
F51T2384 tranz 803 april 10 2008.JPG
The Tranz at the Kiwi overbridge. The return service left the DX at Greymouth - I think it had died. Would it hurt to give the passenger engines a lick of paint... After 20 years, the blue engines grew on me this trip. Hardly beats a good fruit salad though...
F51T2389-extracted copy.JPG
That night, I have an official cab pass to go train riding. Here, driver Mike Kilsby gets ready with 826's paperwork in the cab of DC 4421 at Stillwater while awaiting clearance from Train Controller Dave Green in Wellington to get underway. Next stop: the Phoenix Meat siding at Kokiri to swap out some wagons with the assistance of the Greymouth-based shunter
F51T2405 from the DC.JPG
View from the DC. I couldn't believe it has been 12 years since I've ridden in a NZ loco on the main line and this time I paid a lot more attention to what was going on, gaining a greater appreciation for the skill of drivers who can take into account the weather and train makeup and then use grades and curve friction ('knowing the road')  to set things up so they hit slow curves and speed restrictions right on the nose from miles out without having to rely on brakes
F51T2416 826x841at Rotomanu 10 April 2008.JPG
Crossing 841 at Rotomanu with almost enough little-flashpower
F51T2422 DX5448 cab train 841 10 april 2008 rotomanu w points.JPG
The view from DX 5448 at the pointy end of empty coalie 841 at Rotomanu as Mike walks back after setting the points 
F51T2428 846 Otira.JPG
After a short hop on 841 back to Kotuku, we change over to bring loaded coal train 846 up the grade to Otira behind two 3300hp DXs which just romped up the grade. I'd love to say I was hanging off the front like a madman for the whole trip to get this pic, but this was actually taken at Otira after we had stopped and then had to inch forward a metre or two to clear the block.
F51T2432 train 846 at Otira 10 april 2008.JPG
841 waits for 835 at Otira
F51T2436 835 Kokiri.JPG
835 heads away from Kotuku after we had commandeered the car for the return to Greymouth
F51T2441-kokiri april 11 copy.JPG
Next day at Kotuku and the reds have been separated already. April 11
Empties bound for Reefton at Stillwater
And further up the line
IMG_2839-extracted copy.JPG
803 - three strikes and that shot is out. Maybe next time.
F51T2444 803 Brunner april 11 08.JPG
The Tranz skirts the Grey River near Brunner - 11 April
F51T2447 tiny one rocky creek april 11 08.JPG
Later that afternoon, a tiny train with Hoki containers threads around powerpoles near Rocky Creek, where Ontrack is replacing the bridge
F51T2448-aikens wee train apr 11 08 mk2.JPG
And near Aitkens
F51T2449 otira 849 apr 11 08.JPG
849 at Otira
F51T2465 near aitkens 844 11 april 08 mk 3.JPG
Bit of a disastrous day this was...
F51T2480 803 kokiri 12 april 08.JPG
Next day sees 803 near Kotuku
IMG_2846-extracted copy.JPG
Bottoming out. 849 drops off the steep 1 in 33 grade and into the Otira yard - Sat April 12 2008
F51T2482 rocky creek 844 april 12 08 mk2.JPG
One of my favourite shots of this trip - 849 at Rocky Creek. April 12 2008
F51T2492 804 cass april 12 08 emerg stop at cottages.JPG
As the Mini cools her heels, 804 plods up through Cass. A few hundred metres up the track, the train goes into emergency to avoid a ute that fails to stop on the crossing near the fisherman's cottages. The train crew comment that there was a guy painting one of the cottages naked on the way over, so it is possible that a drink or two has been taken...


Non-trainy holiday snaps