I lay there for a moment lying in limbo between the real and sureal.....
"hmm..." I thought to myself "there it is again..."
"Oh, I know that noise".... "its the phone.... the phone is ringing...."
Through one blurry eye I try and read the time on my clock..... 4:45am....
I fall out of bed and shuffle in my best zombie fashion out to the lounge and pick up the phone..
"bro, your late for work!"
"no im not... its my day off"
"yes you are, ops just rang looking for you....."
"whatever!?? (im getting a bit grumpy and puzzled)
"Nah... just joking!"
(laughter from down the phone)
Its my charming mate in rosters......
"What do you want??"
"Come to work please bro, starting at 6(am)???"
(the cheek of it!! lol)
Hmmmm christmas is coming... bills to pay....
"Awesome, thank you bro.... taxi is on its way - go to stratford and take Rob with you to New Plymouth...."
And that is how my day started today!
DC4507 will be our companion for the next 10 hours or so.
The track gang were milling about sorting out the welded rail wagons, preparing the machines and unchaining the rail.
Following a brief chat with the head ganger, a brake test and a long conversation with train control (we had to speak slowly so she could understand our intentions) we got lights out of the yard and trundled round the corner to our first discharge point.
Each crane needs its own operator, and as a standard rake of EWR consists of 6 wagons, 6 lackeys are required to operate all the cranes to get one length of welded rail off the wagon.
This procedure is conducted in operatic fashion by the head ganger, as each man needs to liift, luff and drop at the same time.
Once the rail is on the ground, the grabs are undone off the rail and the process repeats.
So in orderly fashion, two lengths of rail would be off loaded, we would move forward one train length, and another two more lengths would be dropped off.... and so on and so forth. Once we reached Henwood Road, the gang bailed off, tied down the remaining rails and told us to meet them at Manutahi, where we would be dropping off some more.........
Manutahi!!!! Good grief - this was going to be a long day!
After checking the gang was clear, we got the ok and headed out to Lepperton, where we would have to wait for 526.
We watched with amusement as a big crane lifted the ungainly looking machine onto a truck for transport back to Palmerston North for repairs.
The bloke who travels around the country with this particular machine was quite eager to give it away, putting on the hard sell, saying it really would make a fantastic mooring or boat anchor.....
We watched the disgraced tamper drive off into the sunrise before we too headed south after the arrival of 526 - next stop, Manutahi.
(via stratford and whareroa).
We rolled through Manutahi and discharged the last of the new rail around the curves before setting back to the north side of Manutahi where the gang wanted to pick up all the extra lengths of rail lying there.
Once the train was positioned we had nothing to do but sit back and watch and wait as the symphony of the cranes was conducted many times over.
A perfect chance to take a walk, grab a couple of shots and have a nosey at the surroundings.
They wanted us to run the train back to Stratford, but due to all the delays today, that just wasnt gonna happen.