30128's former resting place for the last few years.
I ran 535 down to Palmy yesterday with 5108, 7226 and 5051 on the front. As I drifted down the arrival road and into the yard, I noticed that long time stop block ornament 30128 had been plucked from the weeds "out the back" and was otherwise missing...
As I was walked past the depot I spotted 30128 inside, being prepared for towing to Hutt and eventual rebuilding.!!
I dont think the old chook has turned a wheel in years.
Once was a flyover...
And in other news...
After berthing 535 and cutting the locos off, we ran down to the south end of the yard. I had assumed we were going to head over to the loco arrival roads at the south end and then back over the flyover into the depot, but to my surprise, the loco arrival roads and the flyover have been lifted!!
I had been told that it was to happen, but didnt expect it to happen so quick.
The shunt signal still standing gaurd.
The way it used to look...
and the way it is now, 1 month after the above photo was taken...
We now have to run back up the yard to the north end and zig zag our way back and forth into the loco depot.
As far as I can understand though, there are plans afoot to build a connection from the south end to the loco depot skirting around the ct site somewhere.
I think they intend to bulldoze the old flyover and clean up the land around the old freight center as I think there is something new being built on the land...
Also a quick update on developments at Open Country's loadout site,,,
Slab has been finished and all rail now in place.
Curiously the overgrown "mainline" west of OC's site has been cleared and out of the weeds has emerged an origonal set of points. Amazingly the siding rails are still there too, buried beneith a foot of rubbish / weeds / dirt...
Apparently they intend to run the shunt all the way down here with a DC...
Firstly, I must thank Ev for providing some intellectual stimulus for you all while I have been missing for the last two weeks.
When I am not driving trains I can often be found found moonlighting as a roadie come lighting technician at rock concerts, gigs and events around the region. Its something I have been doing for many years and if it paid any better I would seriously be considering a career change.
Tiki Tane on stage.
My mission for last week was to provide the background lighting for WOMAD and light up the WHOLE of Brooklands Park in New Plymouth. There were 6 stages running during WOMAD, one of which I got to operate for the three nights of performances. In all I managed to work 89 1/2 hours in 7 days and lost 2 1/2 kg's just from the million miles of walking, working, sweating and everything else that goes with setting up something this big.
Some of the background lighting I designed / installed.
Another small part of the park I had to light.
But onto the trains....
Yesterday 5051 failed miserably on us at Whareroa and left me without a lead loco for 545, so we had to make a mad dash to Stratford to turn 5166 on the turntable.
And a first for Steel Ribbons, we have video footage of our return run to Whareroa, taken by an old school mate (thanks Nathan!) who chased us back.
We came back to Whareroa, picked up the disgraced 5051, and the tanks for 545, and I headed south into the wild blue yonder.
Turns out that because 545 was now uber late, a Palmy LE was dispatched into the same yonder and I got a crew change down the road at Kai Iwi, which sorta dashed any hopes of getting some pics at Palmy, or a progress report on the Castlecliff line. That said, I am down in Palmy everyday for the later half of next week running 545 so I should be able to get something then.
(More from Ev while Drew is away WOMADing)
Ever since I went Norwest on "The Longest Day", I've noticed a weird phenomenon that further study has only proven....and it may shock you.
Virtually all of the Palmerston North staff I talked to (and have, since then) don't refer to EF's at all...to them, they are "30's".
So where did the "EF" moniker come from? I can remember reading about it in the "Rails" mag when they first arrived (The sentence went something along the lines of "...and if they had class letters they would be EF") and they are definitely down as EF's in Amicus.
I can only think that all of the Palmy staff have been with them since Day 1 when they still were "30's", and its just what they are used to. I'd be interested to know if Te Rapa are the same?
Personally, I still think of them as 30's....In my own strange little way, enthusiasts who call them "EF's" come across as trying to hard, or trying to prove how much (or little) they know....
Any comments? What do you call them??
Scratching through the photos in the wee hours this morning I realised I have not shared my efforts foaming along the NIMT during the annual Pokaka Cultural Convention at the 333km peg....
I wanted to get some photos of EF's doing there thing, as its one area of trains in NZ that I have not paid much attention to over the years.
First up is a photo of 30249 hauling the northbound Overlander service across the mighty Makatote viaduct.
And a closer view of the loco, recently repainted in current company colours.
And same train a little further up the line....
Later on in the day, much later on, a group of us headed down the road to check out this vantage point.
I am blessed to have a good quality camera, and with the marevals of modern technology (and a silly high iso setting) a northbound EF hauled freight broke the high country silence.
Sunday morning finds this southbound freight passing through Ohakune in the early morning sun.
On the south side of the Makatote this time we catch 30094 on the north bound Overlander.
After much hilarity, bush bashing and tree climbing, three of us found this perch from atop a mound to catch the southbound Overlander again on the south side of the Makatote.
We then caught wind of a Silver Fern excursion coming down to National Park, and I was rather pleased to find RM18 in unmolested form sitting on the platform.
The Right Hon. Dave 'Simmo' Simpson at the helm.
(Working Title: "Sleep Deprivation as a form of torture")
More of Ev's Excellent Adventures!
With Drews impending departure from the ranks of KiwiRail, I decided I had better try and make the most of my chances to go for a ride with him before he was given the Golden Handshake and the Silver Kick up the Bum. The roster that showed the most promise with the milkies winding down was train 535, due to leave Whareroa at 1330 aiming in the general direction of Palmy. Discussions then revolved around how to get there and whether it would be possible to catch a service up in the morning.
Well, yes it was, came the answer....but the only one that was even close to being helpful was train 526 to New Plymouth. Departure time from Palmy? 0330. <GULP>
So to cut a long story short, Friday the 4th found me stealing out of the house in Lower Hutt at 0100 (!) to be at Palmy by 0300. Somebody seriously needs to consult their clinical psycologist on this one....After checking in with Palmerston Nth operations at Milson, I retired to the picnic table outside to watch the action.
For those who have seen Palmerston Nth yard during the day and thought it was quiet, you really have to see it in the early hours of the morning. The place was ALIVE. Trains were arriving and departing to all points of the compass. In fact, some outbound trains such as 622 (to Napier) are taken out to the next station to cross their inbound counterpart (in this case 629) so it relieves yard congestion.
I tracked down my driver Ken Jenkins who had just bought in 629. He informed me we were light engine to Marton where we would pickup tonnage left for us by 227. So without further ado, we grabbed 7239 and 4438 and headed north, crossing an inbound freight with two 30's on it at Rangitawa.
After picking up the tonnage with the help of Vic the Roving Shunter, we grabbed our first warrant for the morning from TCO Julie Dwyer and headed east on the MNPL.
Ken was pleasant company as we headed west, finally finding daylight around Waitotara in time for the crew change at Waverley. The new driver was Rod McGee, Drew's Team Leader. Again, lots of conversation about the job and the company and a long discussion over the recent earthquake. We pulled in to Whareroa around 0800 to find my taxi awaiting (Hilux Surf) for the trip back to Drews place and a sleep.
I had contemplated staying with 526, but it may have been good that I didnt....this was further down the line at Inglewood! Ironically its the only photo I have of the train....and it was from a news website!
After a good sleep and fried lunch (sorry for conspiring to ruin the diet, Drew!) we headed back to work to find what would be on 535. Rod was still assembling the train when we arrived with 5448/5068 on point with 4231 along for the ride. After Drew attended to some paperwork, we grabbed a warrant and headed for the hills with 10 UK's and 22 empty OM's trailing behind us.
We had a quick stop at Easttown (Wanganui) to get a new warrant through to Marton, and I took the chance to get out and get some photos of the "old chook" on the back. With the future being a bit uncertain for the DC's, you have to wonder how much longer 4231 has....mind you, she looks like she may have earned a rest...
The rest of the trip went swimmingly, despite running yellows for a while around Rangitawa following 201 (The Overlander). After parking up in Pamy yard at 1700 it was time to grab the car and head south again, finally arriving home at 1930.
So! The end of a long day. I worked out I had gotten 3 hours sleep in the last 40 by the time I got home that evening, and there was still a few hours to go before I could finally turn in.
Highlight of the trip (sorry Drew!) was meeting Ken and Rod and talking shop with them. I'm always intrigued by the passion that everyone shows for the company and how much they care for its future!
Was it worth it? Stupid question...