WHAT!!!?? Three posts in one week... unheard of!! Carefull son, you may burst something!
528 was cancelled again yesterday and I duly arrived at Smart Road in good time, so rather than sit in the office twiddling my thumbs waiting for my train to be made up, I jumped on the shunt and went for a ride with them down to the port. The wagons they were retrieving were for my train so why not eh?
I must admit I was a bit like a kid in a candy store! I have not been down to the port in a very long time and it was a real thrill to see it all again. Pre 911 one could wander willy nilly through most of the port, around most of the wharf area and "round the back" on the seaward side of the power station. The place was chocka full of interesting things to see, including large numbers of seals. There was also some very very old parts and you could see old railway tracks beside an old rubbish furnace on what looked like an equally old former jetty / wharf thing.
We used to camp regularly at Belt Road motor camp, and if I wasnt wandering around the Morely street loco depot, I could be found wandering around the port. Heavy industry has always fascinated me, and to see so much of it in the form of trains, ships, cranes, trucks, power station and all the other things found at a port was just heaven for a young lad. During my time at boarding school in New Plymouth I would bike down to the port after school to escape the rigors of calculus, geometry and shakespear. There was nothing like sitting on the breakwater ackmons absorbing the sounds and smells of the ocean pounding the land, the industrial noise of a busy port and if I were lucky, a train shunting the yard.
Sadly in these high security terrorist times, the port is now ringed by a big arse security fence, with all areas off limits to the public, just in case someone slips a bomb into a container that may end up in the USA....
So back to my ride.. we ran down to the siding at Moturoa coolstores light engine, pulled some wagons out, and down into the port yard to run around them, before heading back to Smart Road. Like I said, I was quite excited about the excursion which is off the normal beaten path for me, so my OCD kicked in and I snapped a bunch of photos...
The second man watches the line intently as we head to the port.
The weather was crap - Lord knows why I didnt do this on monday when it was sunny...
Looking back to the wagons we will pick up.
Having entered the siding from the port end we wander back to get the wagons.
The containers are loaded on the ground by the coolstores and then lifted up onto the wagons here via swing lifter.
The rake is checked and inspected before pulling...
And then we head out to the port. The old sidings at the coolstores can be seen, left over from the days when they used to load the containers on wagons here.
We drop down into the port yard. There is a big automated gate that crosses the line here, opened by port security staff. The power station chimney rises into the clouds in the distance.
Down in the port yard. The track curving away to the right leads to Blyde Wharf where they load and unload containers. The rest of the yard is just used for storage / running around.
Concrete silos in the background were once served by UBC wagons here. The black tanks in foreground are old UC tank wagons converted into inter-modal bitumen containers. We used to rail these to Greymouth and Penrose...
DSC 2530 in the early 90's shunting Blyde Wharf.
The track leading off into the distance once lead to the urea unloading facility. CAU wagons full of urea were pushed up into the building and discharged into a big hopper that would feed conveyors to load ships. The area is now all log storage (none by rail!!) and I believe the old urea store has been flattened to make way for coal storage bought up the coast by barge.
DSC 2257 pulling wagons out of the urea store in the early 90's. The green and black crane looking thing in the background was used to load ships.
Did I mention it had been raining??
having bought the wagons into the yard, we run around the rake, our RCO trying to stay anonymous! :)
Another test of the brakes and we are off...
Crawling up the hill searching for a good spot to find radio coverage to get a light....
"Clear proceed" (or "green up" in the old money) and we head back to smart road.
Coursing along the coast downtown New Plymouth. The pole center frame is the "wind wand". I really shoulda done this on a sunny day.
Back at smart road, my power for 529 on the right.
All in all a sweet wee trip and a neat blat down memory lane...