Well, its been a week of getting out of bed at 3am, and now its Friday afternoon I am just a bit cross eyed lol (probably to be expected.)
They say that no two days are ever the same with the railways, and true to form this week has provided a variety of things to keep me busy.

I have managed to snap a few shots this week, so below there is a fairly unimaginative photo "round up" of proceedings.
526 in the loop at Waitotara.
Monday : 
I got to work and ended up helping the Stratford shunter shunt 520. It was a huge 890m long and along with the 27 wagons we had to reduce, we also had to wrangle a DC out of 520's consist, and then down to the other end of the yard to put on the front of 543. As the DC (4398) was facing south, we just slapped it on the nut of 543 and I set sail. I ran 543 down to Waitotara and got on to 526, with its now rostered gaggle of 3 DC's. Todays train had 4507, 4191 and 4225. After the initial burst of mayhem the day turned into a fairly easy and straight forward morning, I ended up getting off at Stratford. Day done.

4191 in the middle of the 526 consist.
543 at Easttown (Wanganui)
Tuesday: Tuesday started much like Monday - chaos trying to shunt a huge 520 and get the DC out of the consist and onto 543. Why? Cos that what "Loco Control" have decreed must happen. 520 Comes up with one big loco and two DC's, one coming off at Whareroa with a "return to sender" (543) and the other comes off at Stratford to run 52 Shunt. 
Shunt completed and I am on my way..... south.... and south I went!!!

More trackwork netted this sweet shot while waiting for gangs to clear!
Auckland DC's 4565 and 4260 pass by on the Wanganui shunt.
526 at Marton.
In fact I went so far south I ended up in Marton to get a VERY late 526. 
Not that I am one to complain, but this train was big, long and an utter PIG to drive! One of the hazards of being blessed with a herd of worn out DC's is the fact that very few of them actually have working dynamic brakes, and today, NONE of my locos had working dynamic brakes. Not too much of a drama between Marton and Wanganui, but makes running the roller coaster between Wanganui and Waitotara hard work, especially when the "destress" gang is working 2/3 of the way down the Waitotara bank, they have the track held together with the bare minimum of fastenings and they want you to tiptoe over their work site at 10km/h!!! (OMG!!) Certainly tested the skills a tad there easing a 700m, 900t monster over that sans the help of dynamics!!!
All that aside,  the romance of running trains "old school" style with a trio of naturally aspirated 12 cylinder 645's certainly brings out the best of a bad situation... lol. 
I didnt get back to Whareroa untill after midday, where I was relieved. Day done.

542 at Whareroa
Wednesday: Wednesday was probably the closest thing to a "normal" day on day shift, and I spent my hours puddling around the yard (after running 543 and coming back on 526) contemplating the future and thinking of ways to change the world and save the planet, create world peace etc.
For a change, 542 only had 12 oms, which were shepherded by a nice shiney bright pair of DFT's. I have not seen 7132 since its release into service from overhaul, and I must admit, her half life rebuild has dramatically improved cab comfort and reduced vibrations. Fabulous!

mmmm shiney!
"funny new points boards"
Thursday: Another mission south with 543, and returning on 526. 

These funny new points boards have been popping up all over the place like the mushrooms in my lawn! There is one at each end of Waverly identifying the points they stand beside, and one has been erected at Hawera too alongside the last remaining mainline point there, even though the "loop" points have been removed cutting off access to the siding...

talking of loops...
Talking of loops... the new loop at Manutahi is all but finished now. The gangs have packed up and gone home, and new station boards have been erected on the outer extremities. The union had done a big haka drawing a line in the sand demanding that the loop be properly automated like the others on the line, with points motors and indicators and such, but the evidence clearly suggests that the demands have fallen on deaf ears. 
It will be interesting to see what procedures will be put in place for the crossing of trains here - should a milky actually fit in the loop in question....
Thursdays 545 ready to go...
Snot Rockets!
And just to throw everything left field somewhat, 542 rocks up with a pair of snot rockets on the front - with a coal motor four stroke to boot!! Wow! 
Getting one green loco on a train is a rare thing round here these days, let alone two! 
5431 has had some work done to the radiator fan and drive, and is on loan to the milk circuit while she proves her reliability and suitability to head back to the coal route.
4500 horsepower ready to pounce baby....
Friday: A swap with my offsider saw me run 526 through to New Plymouth today.
The usual gaggle of old chooks strapped to the front did a sterling job of keeping track speed, but not so flash slowing down. No drama though as the grades between Whareroa and New Plymouth are far less severe than those due south.

Down at the deepot
And the bush whacker has recently laid waste to the huge lineside gorse reserve on the strip of land between the yard and the fertiliser siding, now allowing unhindered views into their plant....
And that was my week..... fun and games on the job!
I will finish off with the below picture of a couple of old US wagons, stored "out the back", "out of sight out of mind" slowly rusting away, their usefullness all but done....


The end of the line.
11/4/2011 05:13:48 am

Great post and maybe a record for longest post to boot.
Point boards must be the in thing at the moment. Had a few pop up around North Otago as well.


11/4/2011 06:55:49 am

I agree with Mike, a superb post. Encore!

11/4/2011 06:08:52 pm

these posts are getting to be just as long as the trains you are driving

William R
11/5/2011 08:24:38 am

Mmmmm need to get out there & get catch some of those triple 645's... tasty!


Your comment will be posted after it is approved.

Leave a Reply.