OK, so Monday bought about one of those "once in a lifetime" events....
As far as I know, until now it has NEVER snowed here.
I fell out of bed at 0520 and stumbled out into the hallway on auto pilot when a very strange glow caught my eye through the window of front door...
I shuffled up to the door and pressed my face to the window.
Thinking "somethings not right here" I opened the front door and nearly fell over.... GOOD GRIEF ITS SNOWING!!!
And not just a little bit of snow, but great piles of the white fluffy stuff!
So after running like a little kid in a lolly store around taking photos I had to scrape the snow of my car, and then gingerly made my way to work.

There was only a small amount of snow on the ground at Whareroa, but even so, it was still snow!
I gathered up my things and headed south in the company car to go and find 526, which ultimately I would pick up at Waitotara. Even there is was trying to snow and once it started to get light, I noticed that all the hills inland two or three km's away were pure white with snow! wow! 
Snow in Normanby!
After a brief shunt at Whareroa I headed north and it wasnt long before I found snow along the right of way....
526 at Te Roti.
Train control informed me that 52 shunt had not been able to get proceed indications on the signals at Te Roti junction (where the Kapuni branch leaves the MNPL) and that I would have to stop outside the junction and hand wind the points back to normal before I could continue...

Wrapped up like Michelin Man I left the warm haven of my cab and ventured forth into the now heavily falling snow.
The snow had packed in quite hard on the ground by now and instead of  walking along normally loose and wobbly ballast I instead found myself walking on a veritable carpet akin to walking down my hallway. 
No worries with a tail wind and my hood up, I was thinking to myself "this isnt so bad...." 
Te Roti junction looking North.
After a wee while I arrived at the junction and completed my hand winding mission, replaced the crank handle in the bottom of the box and started to make my way back to my train.
Te Roti junction looking south, the MNPL on the left, the Kapuni branch on the right.
I was now walking into a headwind and high speed flakes of snow were pelting my face. In about a nanosecond the gloss faded out of this adventure. As I buffeted my way back along the track I realised just how far I had walked, and my train now seemed to be a very long way away....
After what seemed to be an eternity I was once again re united with the warm sanctuary of my cab and began to thaw out...
With permission granted from train control I headed north, into heavier snow. 
Heading north through Eltham.
Ngaere straight.
Coming into Stratford.
I couldnt believe the way things looked at Stratford, this big white field lay before me with a few black lines running through it. For the briefiest of moments I felt like I was somewhere in North America LOL...
I cant believe it!
The staff at Stratford were equally bemused with the quantity of snow, and a few moments were spent taking photos before we went up and did the shunt.
Soon enough I was heading north again, and up to the highest point on the line.
Heavy snow leaving Stratford.
Midhurst was just a white-out.
I took my time and just cruised up to Midhurst, which was completely white, and  then a little further north to the highest point on the line at Waipuku...

An bizarrely in just a few short km's downhill at Tariki I popped out into sunshine and there was not a flake of snow to be seen.....
Most definitely a day to remember.....
7/29/2011 01:13:32 pm

"Most definitely a day to remember....."

Nice one Andrew! Fantastic photos and reporting on a kind of historic day really.

8/6/2011 08:24:21 am

Did you have to adjust your driving for the snow? Any problems on the grades?


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