After working 14 days straight right through Christmas and New years, I managed to grease a couple of days off after my 3 day rostered break. So without being asked twice I shot the gap and went down to the South Island for a little R&R.

Whilst passing through Wanganui on the way down, I took a quick tiki-tour out along the Castlecliff branch, in case there was something moving, but the rails were dull, and there were an empty rake of wagons parked right at the end of the branch so I bumbled back out to the main road, headed onto the river bridge and headed south.
But, I just happened to look left when passing over the railway line to look down the yard and spotted a pair of locos about to head down the branch.
A longer look a bit further along and I saw one of the locos was DBR 1267!! Holy Moly!. 
Following a rather spirited dash across the river bridge, round the south end round about and back over said bridge I managed to (legally) get down the branch before the locos did. Imagine my surprise when I saw that BOTH of the Wellington DBR's were on the shunt!! WOW!
Picture
"The Twins" heading down to the CastleCliff Branch with Open Country's powder plant in the background.
I followed the locos down to the sidings at Molten Metals, where the shunt coupled up to the empty wagons, and pulled them up to the loading point where a bloody huge reach stacker proceeded to pick up loaded containers off the ground and place them on the wagons.
Sadly time did not permit me to wait for them to head back to Wanganui, as I had a ferry to catch in Wellington.
The journey south to the Capital was uneventfull, and due to track work, no trains were running on the NIMT anywhere in the greater Wellington area.
Book in, boarding pass in hand, I had about 45 minutes up my sleeve, so I took a short stroll from the ferry terminal to a near by road bridge for a spot of foaming.
There is always lots to see here, and I spent some time watching the yard shunt making up a train. In the background was a DSG waiting to go to Hutt, the only operational rail crane, the bulldozer which pulls the Concrete Sleeper Layer (under motorway) and also some brand new Matangi units still encased in bubble wrap.
The shunt paused beneath me for a few moments, and the first wagon was carrying one of the railways new 48 foot curtain side containers.
Not long later a blue set of 1930's vintage English Electric EMU's headed up the Johnsonville line, followed promptly by a Ganz set on the Hutt line, and then another pair of EE units coming down the J'ville line....
Also among all this tram car nirvana, a Masterton train blew past... I really must go for a ride on them one day.
Pretty good value for money if you ask me a whole bunch of trains within 30 minutes - not a bad spot to watch trains at all. Not a good spot for taking photos now though as all the new overhead structures really have cluttered the scene something fierce. There looks to be a few good vantage points at other nearby locations but I will have to spend a day or two in the Capital on a nutting mission to sus them out.
Time was apon me, my ferry rolled in, I got on and that was that! Sad to say I had neither the time or the need to go nutting on the mainland while I was there, I was far too busy fishing / kayaking / hunting / farming.... maybe next time :-)

AH
SteveF
1/13/2012 02:13:36 am

Our Twins! Is that where they are hiding now? And hope you enjoyed your time down our way in amongst the overhead! Nice innit? Almost European-esque. Yes Wellington yard seems forever busy these days (check out the Aotea streaming webcam sometime) and looks absolutely magnificent from the motorway as you head south, with all its new facilities in place. Cracking shots as usual Andrew!

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AH
1/13/2012 02:13:57 pm

Thanks Steve,
Yes the electrification does give a very European flavor to it, especially down town there. I think the new Matangi's add to it all as well - to me they look like the would be just as at home in Hungary or Italy as they are here.
AH

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Ev
1/13/2012 03:15:19 pm

Rumour has it the twins were caught on the wrong side of the Xmas/New Year Block of Line.....although why they didnt just bring them back down the Yrapa is beyond me. Having said that, there was no pressing need to get them back as they werent needed as bankers....so in Palmy they stayed, running shunts to Wanganui, Longburn and milk shuttles to Oringi.

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BP
1/15/2012 02:09:30 am

More a case of no trains on the NIMT, so no banking needed.
By using the twins out of Palmy it helps to spread the DCs a little further. It's not that unusual to get mainline power (DXB/DFT) on the Oringi milk shunts at times when DCs are in short supply.

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