This evening I'm doing another review. this time its a bit different as its the 3rd railway magazine produced in this country, the Railway Observer which is the official voice of the New Zealand Railway and Locomotive Society. I picked this up in the local magazine shop while looking in vain to see if the latest Railfan was out. What caught my eye was the 6 pages of previously unpublished pictures of the Rimutaka incline. I sidled up to the counter, passed over my money and asked for a plain brown bag. The price was $11.20.
Now before we start here i have many happy memories of reading this magazine in the early and mid 80's back when the Observer was a source of information both historical and up to date.
So, what does we get for our shiny coin. In this issue, there is also an 8 page article on Vulcan railcars, which in the main focuses on their engines (Licenced by Vulcan from some Danish outfit), their shipping out to new Zealand (it was the second railcar which was lost when its ship was torpedoed; there's the answer to a railway quiz question right there), and a short (very) history of their service here. There is a plan and also a picture of the motor bogie without the lid on, which is quite instructive. There is a short article on the wellington electrification upgrade (photos of men in High vis gear doing stuff), the Rimutaka pictures, 8 pages on the early construction of the Otago central line, and an update on the restoration of Ab 608. Finally there's a couple of pages of short notes and a few letters to the editor and some bok/DVD reviews. The articles are quite 'dry' and don't seem to convey as much information as similar text in the Railfan, and there are not quite as many good photo's either.
So, final verdict? Its sort of a Railfan lite, but it is only a couple of dollars cheaper. It has not really changed content wise since the 1980's apart from moving from A5 to A4 format. Its not something I would purchase unless it had something I really wanted.
(The views expressed in this review are those of the proprietor of this blog, who has put his tin hat on to await the invertible incoming flames)