Cor... its a bit dusty in here innit?? *cough* *cough*....
Hmm... you know, this is the first time I have opened Steel Ribbons in many many moons.
Today I thought I would just check to see if:
A: Steel Ribbons still exists,
B: I can still log on, and
C: People still come for a nosey.... 
And bugger me - yes, its still online, yes I can still log on, and yes, Steel Ribbons still gets lots of hits. 
In fact, yesterday there were 296 visits... shucks... you folk have nothing better to do??!! :-) 

So I still get asked, quite regularly... "when are you going to update Steel Ribbons?" and the usual answer is "oh - never", but guess what.... I am here and updating, nearly 4 years (OMG!) since the last post.

4 years! Geez, where do I start?? 
A brief overview of the last 4 years... hmmm well, its been a fair old wild roller coaster ride, I can tell you!
Sitting here trying to think of ways to summarise the last 4 years and the one word that keeps going round and round in my head is "crap".... tbh there has not been a lot of good things for railways in the Naki recently and its all a bit depressing...

Some key events:
We stop working the Kapuni Branch..
We stop hauling containers to Port Taranaki...
We loose the fertiliser traffic to New Plymouth...
The Fertiliser siding closes, and is lifted....
Stratford depot closes...
Whareroa and Stratford depots merged in a shitty illegal move that sees 4 drivers and 3 shunt staff made redundandt...
We say goodbye to our long time lovely office lady Jenny....
We loose 1/2 of our milk trains when Paihiatua powder plant opens..
We loose another 1/4 of our milk trains...
Half our track gang is made redundant and we loose half of their equipment / trucks etc...
Fonterra reduce their product production....
We have the shortest milk train season EVER... (Nov - Dec)
Kapuni branch is officially closed...
There is no operational need for any train to stop at Stratford any more....
We still have DL's.... and they are buying more... (meh!)

So as you can see... its all very poo!!

Some positives:
I still have a job....
We still have DXB's and DC's pass through on a daily basis
The container terminal in New Plymouth has been sold, upgraded and about to begin a new life as an inland port (which may mean more tonnage)...
Nova Energy has doubled its LPG taffic by rail...

But thats it - not much to crow about..

And the foaming??
Well, a 30 year habit is pretty hard to break isnt it! Yes, I still "foam", but to a fair lesser degree than in previous years. 
The DL's, while improved, are still just ugly in all respects and I can safely say that there is NOTHING about a DL that excites me... maybe because I am now "old school"?? 20 years on the job and having spent the most of it in DX's, DC's and DFT's, the new borg -like take over of Chinese rolling stock leaves me feeling numb and dissapointed, and certainly do not inspire any photographic interest. 

I have put a bunch of images online at Flikr probably covering the last 4 years since I stopped blogging.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/31393554@N05/

I have also become a bit of a fan of the instant interactive-ness of Facebook, and you can find my images float past on the NZ Rail Geography fb page.

But my foamergraphs of local content are few and far between these days - same trains, same locos, same locations - you guys have seen it all before. 
I do intend to get some more stuff along the NIMT though, especially after the company announced they will be retiring the main trunk electrification and the Class 30's in 2 years time. Get em while you can!!

So, I shall shuffle off and leave you with a couple of recent snaps, and the prospect that Steel Ribbons my yet still have life left in it - if only short gasps :-) 

​AH
William R
1/14/2017 12:35:46 pm

Never left my bookmarks toolbar ;)

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jc
1/18/2017 08:52:12 am

Still great reading and photos

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