OK, so its been frikkin AGES since I last posted here!! 

Its amazing who actually reads my dribbles, and it was only when my boss (!!) asked when I was next going to update my blog that I thought I better give it a tickle lol.

So, where have I been you may ask? 

Well there has been a lot going on in the background with family life over the last 2 months that has consumed a lot of time and energy, and I have also been slutting my way around the Book of Faces sharing my photos there...
*GASP* I hear you say! "TRAITOR" (or worse!!??) but there is some absolute GOLD coming out of the woodwork on such pages as 

New Zealand Locomotives, ( https://www.facebook.com/groups/NewZealandLocomotives/ ) 

or the New Zealand Railway Historical Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/462104553878704/ ).

Not only have these pages provided an instant medium for sharing photos, but also allowed a lot of old railways staff to interact and provide almost instant feedback on photos and comments.....

So, does this mean the death of blogs and websites as we know it? I dont think it so, at least not here. 
Yes, I have not posted here while I been off "seeing the world" but I have found that Facebook can be too public, and very impersonal. You get a LOT of know-all's who quite happily will had their $10.00 worth, commenting and judging on anything and everything as they see fit, which can be quite detrimental and lead to splitting of factions and so on.

So, back to Steel Ribbons.....
PictureDL heading west on the Kapuni branch.
I guess the big news of recent times round here has been the inevitable introduction of the DL class to the region. 
On the 4th of June DL 9129 came through on a clearance run light loco, that encompassed the full length of the MNPL right out to the port in New Plymouth, and also included a romp out to the very end of the Kapuni branch.

The company intends on running milk trains this coming season with DL's, and have been progressively putting the process in motion, first with the clearance run and then with some upcoming test trains to be done on the westmere.

Staff training has also started to happen, with the Team Leader, his off sider and a couple of the union blokes now "converted, the rest of us will follow in mid July.

To me this is the death bell ringing, the beginning of the end for all other mainline locos in the region. 
Soon enough all we will see is DL's, the DC's slated to be retired, the DFT's to be sold and the DXB's banished to the South Island.....

Palmer Road. Kapuni Branch.
Kapuni branch.
With the planned mass extinction of the locomotives we have known for long now written on the wall, I have been making an effort to photograph just about EVERYTHING before the borg-like Chinese clones take over. 
I have been fortunate in recent weeks that almost all of my trains have had DC's on the front, providing some sort of foamery swan song if you will as they run out their last miles. 
Yes, I guess it all sounds a bit tragic and dramatic, but I figure someone has to register the fact we are at the end of a era as far as railroading goes, and soon all our trains will be hauled by identical machines and railfanning (at least in the North Island) will become pretty repetitive.....

So to the photos....
(theres lots - you have been warned! Lol)

521 near Te Roti.
537 at Whareroa one gloomy day.
A couple of screamers, my power for 537.
Dark as sin, in the hole at Greatford with time to kill, I plopped the camera on the ground, chose a few settings and lit the loco with the torch on my phone.... worked out alright.
529 at Whareroa.
Smart Road.
Turning the DC at Stratford to run 582 to New Plymouth.
Palmer Road.
526 arriving at Stratford while the shunt waits for the LPG wagons..
Ballast train at Patea.
526 arriving at Stratford while the shunt waits.
Fresh from Hutt...
Rail grinder arriving at Whareroa.
The modern jigger? Signal maintainers velocipede, complete with GPS, radio and flashing light :-)
As best I can see, there is probably only about 5 or 6 weeks left before we see DL's on everything up this way, and as such I am going to continue on my mission to photograph as much as I can before then - I reckon I will be pleased I did in 10 years time when the only place to see a DC or a DBR will be in a museum...

Untill next time.

William R
6/22/2013 10:46:27 am

I must say I enjoy reading steel ribbons to Metallica...

Gah, way to rub it in! Chances are these will be classes of my childhood - probably long gone before I've made my way that high up the ladder (getting a foot on the bottom rung was hard enough). Still, keep it up!

6/22/2013 06:08:37 pm

Love the photos!

BTW whats 582? What time does it leave Stratford and arrive in NP?
Also, are 529/3 pretty on-time with departure from NP?

Might come photograph ya this week :)

Duncan M
6/22/2013 07:40:54 pm

Awesome to see it back!
Has been missed.


6/23/2013 08:43:50 am

Great to see you back posting. I was starting to get worried there for a while.

6/28/2013 06:25:42 pm

You've done it again Andrew. And as always worth waiting for. Yet another absolutely brilliant post. And future-historical photos to keep us drooling for a long long time.

That shot of the rail grinder arriving at Whareroa with the two pilots sitting in the cockpit instantly reminded me of one of those de-foresting machines or somesuch from the Thunderbirds series lol!

That DL looks weird and way out of place out in the 'Naki !

And again again, thank you so much for taking and sharing these photos. I'm always saying it. You said it, ". . .I reckon I will be pleased I did in 10 years time when the only place to see a DC or a DBR will be in a museum..."

And the New Zealand Railway Historical Group you mention, is a mind boggling collection of old photos and stories and proves the point. Some contributors are kicking themselves for not recording more at the time.


Colin Boyd
6/29/2013 09:41:08 pm

Welcome back Andrew,Great photo's.Please keep them coming while there still around.
Cheers Colin.

Steve m
6/30/2013 09:06:43 am

Good stuff Andrew.
Love the 'personal touch' this blog has over the sometimes constant 'debate' on the FB groups.


7/1/2013 12:23:45 pm

Nice to this back. Photos outstanding as always and much better in the larger size here than what the bookFace lets you have

7/4/2013 07:17:28 pm

Sometimes FB peoples have actually uploaded bigger versions. On FB click on an image, and it will pop into a viewer type page, then if the image can be bigger, hover mouse over the top-right of the picture and a small double-ended arrow with popup "enter fullscreen" - click! Some images are even bigger so while in fullscreen, right-click save as and open it in your favourite picture viewer to view actual size, zoom in, etc. Escape gets you out of full screen.


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