We started off having a look at the Waiqele branch before going to the mill offices. We soon came across Clyde number 20 delivering empties with an all too common problem. The line was blocked because a loaded cane truck had overbalanced .
At the Waiqele Sector Depot we found railcar number 2 ready to go “just as soon as the line has been cleared”. It had been summoned to do a job east of the mill. From what we observed most of the working day must have gone by the time it got there.
We visited the office and were advised to come back later so we then followed a train down the Batinikama branch near the mill, hauled by Clyde number 8, also delivering empties. Guess what? Two capsized trucks blocking the way where they had been “left by the night shift”. We witnessed a demonstration of how to remove a wayward truck from the track to clear the line.
We also witnessed a proud farmer showing off his beasts.
After clearing the line, number 8 went on to the terminus where it demonstrated how to shunt the trucks off the line where there is no tractor to help you.
After that back to the mill where we met the Chief Engineer and were shown around the loco shed by foreman David Simmons. His great grandfather had worked on the locos when the mill opened.
|Not David but one of his offsiders|
Most of the derelict locos have been scrapped. I’m not sure why they have kept this.
We then headed east to see more action and on approaching a siding with two locomotives, the car expired on a small bridge. We had to push it off the bridge and call the rental company. I wiled away the hours by walking up to Vuo Cutting, "Kanaka Cutting" which has been widened in recent years.
On arrival of the rescue party we were told, “Don’t worry; it’s only a minor problem” and after some lengthy period were persuaded to go for a siesta while it was fixed. At 4pm we had a walk down to the mill where we found that the weighbridge shunter, Baldwin number 5 had failed.
By 7.30pm we managed to establish that the car would not be ready for tomorrow so we hired another vehicle for the day from a rival compay.
Should I wish for better luck tomorrow?