Thursday, September 30, 2010
On our last day we travelled on the Waitakere Tramline Society's line. This also operates on a Watercare railway but is run by volunteers and dates to before the introduction of the 'Rainforest Express'. This was more enjoyable because it was more relaxed, the carriages were a little more open, and the scenery on the whole better, even though the line is shorter.
Following this trip we called in at MOTAT on our way to the airport. I knew it was to be the inauguration day for Wellington double decker tram 47 but additionally a huge range of trams was in operation (as was the train).
A number of 2ft gauge pipeline maintenance railways operate in the Waitakere Ranges, west of Auckland. Today we rode the 'Rainforest Express' that is operated by Watercare, the water supply authority. Very tourist-oriented, very professional, quite slick, and a little antiseptic. The loading gauge is very restricted because the line travels through small tunnels also occupied by water pipes.
At the station where you board, they have an Orenstein & Koppel construction locomotive.
The trip was very scenic but the onboard PA system was too loud for comfort!
They have a flash bogie diesel they say they built themselves in 2001.
We took the trip back to Auckland via the Bay of Plenty coast to call in at the goldfields town of Waihi.
Some mining tramway remains were on display in the town.
Across the gorge at Waikino are the ruins of the Victoria Battery with a 2ft gauge tourist line on site. Nearly everything was locked away – battery locomotives are used, but the line would be an interesting one to travel on.
Photographs cannot do any justice to the sounds and smells that are part of the Rotorua experience.
Boiling mud ponds are fascinating.
These geysers are in Rotorua itself.
After a fascinating day, I travelled up to Ngongotaha, just outside Rotorua, to visit the Rotorua Rail site. Here I found a wonderful vintage John Fowler and a quintessential New Zealand bush 'lokey' conversion.
This is part of half of one of the duplex Andrew Barclay locomotives that were supplied to bush tramways.
Heading down to the hydrothermal delights of Rotorua, called in at the Bush Tramway Club at Pukemiro Junction near Huntly.
This was probably the neatest preservation site I have ever visited and although no one was in attendance, it was open for the casual visitor to walk around, although obviously most of the equipment was locked away in sheds.
This is the unusual New Zealand combination of Climax and Heisler, built by A&G Price in 1923.
I can only describe Rotorua as one of the natural wonders of the world. This is one of the lakes in the Waimangu Valley, which dates from the explosion of Mt Tarawera in 1886.
Monday, September 20, 2010
A short interlude in Auckland for a choir trip is providing a good excuse for a short holiday.
The Museum of Transport and Technology is a quite impressive facility but it still bears the marks of having been started by a conglomeration of enthusiast groups. Now, with government funding, it looks to be on a sound footing but there still appears to be a need for a strategic focus to be more thoroughly applied.
The most notable aspect of the main site (MOTAT I) is a tram museum and some railway equipment is also preserved there statically. Unfortunately, a lot of the trams were not accessible but I suppose this is understandable for a weekday out of school holiday time.
This beautiful little Avonside 2-4-0T (1205 of 1877) was under repair with its rear axle out. It was first used on New Zealand Government Railways.
'Bertha' is a delightful Orenstein & Koppel 0-4-0T (1411 of 1904) but the sideways widening of its cab side sheets does not look too authentic.
It was imposssible to photograph the locomotive - ex NZR DSA 223, but the builder's plate is very nice.
- ▼ September (6)