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!
"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 :-)