Sunday, October 30, 2016

The big yellow cats

Tamper ETM 255 leads a track maintenance train through Katiki. 30/10/16.

For the last few days Kiwi Rail's South Island based track maintenance train has been working out of Palmerston. I've been meaning to get down to Palmerston Station and get a few shots but other commitments meant this didn't happen. 
Luckily I was up to see these beast's depart Palmerston for destinations north and grabbed a shot as it made its way along the East Otago coast line at Katiki. I was expecting an easy chase but these things move.

Normally its Kiwi Rail's big freights and world class passenger trains get all the attention, but without the track maintenance equipment and the hard working people that keep our rail network in good condition I wouldn't be able to see my favourite trains moving freight and passengers across Aotearoa. Good work team.

And thats about it.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Time for a chase

DXC 5379 and DCP 4761 climb away from the Waihemo Valley with a Dunedin - Middleton freight. 28/10/2016.

After finishing night shift and getting the kids to school, I had a few hours to spare. After doing some jobs around the house I heard the nearby rail crossing activate... What the hell, lets chase a train.

I got out the door and soon managed to grab my first shot as it climbed out of the Waihemo Valley towards Shag Point,so named after the bird and not the other thing. 

I then headed north to Hillgrove and the Moeraki railway crossing for my next shots. By this time there were a few showers coming through which definitely help the shots.

Through Hillgrove. 28/10/16.

Departing Hillgrove. 28/10/16.

With time starting to run short I decided to head up to Herbert for my last shots. Herbert is one of my favorite places on New Zealand's rail network so its always nice to get a few shots of trains passing through this location.

 Approaching Herbert. 28/10/16.

On the main at Herbert. 28/10/16.

It was time to head home. Getting back to Palmerston I decided to get a few shots of what's left of the gold ore infrastructure. 

The old gold ore storage shed.

Gold ore from Reefton was shipped down to Palmerston in wagon mounted bins. From here it was unloaded and transshipped to Oceania Golds Macraes Mine processing facility. With the Reefton mine shut down, wagons of gold ore no longer arrive in Palmerston. The gold ore storage shed is now used to store fire wood. The gold ore bins are now in storage near the old locomotive shed. 

Gold ore bins in storage.

Word has it that with recent increases in gold prices, Oceania Gold is looking at restarting production at Reefton. Hopefully this happens and we get to see long racks of wagons with gold ore bins back in Palmerston.

And that's about it.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Victoria - November 2015

Flinders Street Station. 21/11/2016.

After arriving at Southern Cross railway station I had two days to explore Melbourne. I had a few things on my list, visit the Melbourne Cricket Ground, spend some dollars at Train World and get to Stony Point.

First up was a trip to Stony Point, an outer south east suburb of Melbourne. I've been wanting to get there ever since I started searching Victorian Railways on the net. 
As I waited for an electric multiple unit to Frankston I managed to grab a shot of P14. P14 is one of 13 locomotives rebuilt from Victoria Railways first series of T class locomotives. P14 was originally T330 and re-entered service with Vlinein August 1985. While looking work weary it is still soldiering on on suburban passenger trains.

VLine P Class diesel locomotive P14 at Southern Cross Railway Station.

Shortly after I was on an EMU and making my way to Frankston. Arriving at Frankston I had to change over from the EMU onto a Sprinter diesel multiple unit to complete my trip to Stony Point. It wasn't long before the Sprinter arrived at the south end of Frankston and once cleared by the home signal approached the station

Sprinters 7008 and 7012 enter Frankston Station from the South.

With rain now falling we made our way through to Stony Point. The Sprinters were great. A little rougher riding and definitely noisier than Melbourne's EMU's but what a great passenger train. It wasn't long before our train arrived at Stony Point where I managed to grab a quick shot of the train.

Sprinter's 7012 and 7008 rest at Stony Point before starting its return trip to Frankston.

After about five minutes, we started the return journey back to Frankston. A change back onto an EMU and I was quickly making my way back to downtown Melbourne. 

Getting off at Richmond I was able to visit the Melbourne Cricket Ground and have a tour of this famous sports ground. The tour was fantastic and I was able to tick off another thing on my bucket list.

As I made my way back to Richmond station I heard some diesels coming from Flinders Street. I missed getting a head on shot of the leading T class diesels working a Metro works train but did manage to grab a going away shot and one of B76 following up on the rear of the train.

T Class diesels approach Richmond with a works train.

B76 trails the works train into Richmond.

What a great way to end my first day in Melbourne.

I was out early on my second day in Melbourne to try and get as much as I could done. First up was a short trip through to Flinders Station, possibly the most famous and definitely the most photographed railway station in Australia. Here I was able to grab a few shots of this fantastic building.

Flinders Street station board.

I also managed to grab a shot of VLocity DMU as it came into Flinders Street. These things look awesome. 

VLocity DMU slows to a stop at Flinders Street railway station.

From Flinders Street I headed north to Kensington. I've been interested in Kensington ever since I saw a photo of a train unloading grain at the flour mill there. Unfortunately there was no grain trains when I visited but I did get some shots of an EMU, the flour mill and Kensington railway station.

Comeng EMU heads towards through Kensington towards Melbourne.

Boarding another EMU I headed to North Brighton to visit Train World. Billed as the Australia's premier train shop I was stoked to actually get to this store and I was not disappointed. What an awesome store. This is the best model railway store I have ever visited. I spent a few hours looking around and even bought a few things. Hopefully I'll be in Melbourne early in 2017 and I'll definitely be paying Train World another visit. 

If you can't get to Melbourne you can check out Train Worlds website at 

After finishing up at Train World I wandered back to the North Brighton railway station where I managed to grab a shot of another EMU, my last train shot in Melbourne.

Comeg EMU arrives at North Brighton on the Sandringham Line.

That was the end of my rail related adventures in Melbourne and that's about it.

Monday, February 8, 2016

New South Wales - November 2015

Canberra Railway Station. 19/11/2015.

After finishing up some work in Canberra I was able to take a few days off before heading back to NZ. I started my rail fan holiday at the Canberra Railway Station. After checking in I was able to have a wander around the platform. 

Canberra station fueling point.

The Canberra station yard is pretty basic with only three tracks and a fueling point for he diesel multiple units that use this station. 

The Explorer DMU waiting for its 06:50 am departure to Sydney. 19/11/2015.

I also grabbed a few photos of the Explorer diesel multiple unit that was my ride to Goulburn. The unit was looking a little worn on the inside but was clean and comfortable and the staff were really helpful and friendly. 

The run from Canberra to Goulburn was a great trip with plenty to see. What really surprised me was how well the remaining stations on the line were maintained and the amount of old rail infrastructure remains. In NZ any old infrastructure seems to disappear pretty quickly but travelling through the ACT and into NSW there was a lot to keep a foamer interested.

It didn't seem to take too long before we arrived in Goulburn and I left the Explorer to continue its trip to Sydney. 

Sydney bound Pacific National intermodal freight with two NR locomotives at the business end. 19/11/2016.

Not long after the Explorer departed Goulburn a Pacific National intermodal freight made its way through the station. With time on my hands I was able to explore the Goulburn station and have a good look around.

Goulburn Railway Station

Goulburn railway station information board.

Goulburn is a well known railway town in Australia and you can really feel the history of the place. I would have loved to have visited this place in the 1970's and 80's to see class 422, 44 and 48 diesel locomotives at work.

With a communications fault at Moss Vale my ride to Melbourne was delayed an hour. The station staff at Goulburn were great and kept everybody waiting for the XPT updated. In fact I take my hat of the all the NSW trains staff. The stations looked great and the staff were friendly and helpful. Good work!

We were informed the XPT was not far away and I was able to set up on the pedestrian over bridge to grab a shot of the train as it approached Goulburn station.

The XPT arriving at Goulburn. 19/11/2015.

Racing down the over bridge I was able to clamber on and find my seat. Shortly the XPT was winding up, passing the workshop at Goulburn and the junction with the line to Canberra. 

As we headed south to Melbourne I was surprised by the Main South Line. I was expecting a fairly flat run but there were plenty of curves and grades. The XPT, a cousin of the British Rail HST seemed to take it in its stride. We passed through a number of stations. Gunning, Yass Junction, Harden, Cootamundra, Junee and Wagga Wagga, The Rock and Albury. All interesting in their own right.

Shortly after leaving Albury we crossed the border into Victoria. 

As we made our way through the outer suburbs of Melbourne there was a bang and we quickly ground to a halt. Train staff were walking up and down the train. We were soon informed that some young children had placed something on the tracks. Once the all clear was given we continued our run through the Melbourne suburbs. 

We were soon approaching Southern Cross station, the end of the XPT's run from Sydney to Melbourne. After hopping off and collecting my bag I was making my way through Southern Cross and seeing for the first time N class and P class diesels. Locomotives I've read about, seen pictures of and you tubed were here in the flesh. I wanted to stick around but I was absolutely knackered and it was time to find my hotel.

And that's about it. The Victoria part of my break away will be coming shortly.

Saturday, January 2, 2016


Pacific National intermodal freight cruises through Goulburn. 19/11/15.

2016! Already! 

Hope everybody had a great Christmas and a good start to the new year.

I can't believe how fast the last year has passed by. Unfortunately rail fanning took a back seat to family and work in 2015. The rail fanning highlight for me last year was a trip from Canberra to Melbourne using a combination of an Explorer DMU and the XPT plus a few days exploring Melbourne's suburban network. A post on my travels through New South Wales and Victoria will be coming shortly.

Until then take care and enjoy the start of 2016.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Shot for the day

DXB 5080 leads 923 Middleton - Dunedin freight through Ravensbourne. 24/09/15.

With the bosses away this week I managed to sneak away from the office early today and grab this shot of 923 as it neared its destination of Dunedin.

And thats about it.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Otautau's Grain Transfer Facility

Otautau grain transfer facility.

On a recent work trip to Southland I made a little detour through the small Southland town of Otautau. Otautau is a station on the Ohai branch line. The reason I wanted to go through this town was to get some shots of a structure I've been hoping to have a look at for a long time, the Otautau grain transfer facility.

I don't know why but I really like grain facilities. It could be from my youth in Marton that had a number of grain silos and the malting plant or my time in the midwest in the states where every town had an elevator and grain silos.

Either way I just think they look good and this one especially sticks out. While I don't have the space at the moment this is one grain facility that I will build a model of in the future.

So without further ado here are some shots of the Otautau grain facility.

The grain facility hasn't been used for awhile and is starting to look rundown. Looking at the siding leading to the silos it hasn't been used to transfer grain from truck to train for a very, very long time. Would love to see a photo of a wagon being loaded here. 
From a modeling point of view this would look really good with a few V/line VHGF wheat hoppers being loaded.

And thats about it.