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.
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.
Shunt completed and I am on my way..... south.... and south I went!!!
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.
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!
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...
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....
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.
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.
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....