Thursday, January 24, 2013

On Holiday III

Well, a bit late, but being back at work will do that to you.

Final site visited on our trip down south was another out of the way preservation effort. Well, not quite technically correct as its on state highway one, but its in Ashburton. Not a top ten tourist destination by any stretch of the imagination.

Anyhoo, The Plains railway has been on the preservation map for quite a long time (over 40 years). It is located on the first 3 km of the now closed mount Somers branch. They have a small range of preserved locomotives, but its an interesting selection.

One thing it shares in common with the Pleasant Point railway is the the presentation of the grounds.

'Simply magic'
The station building originally came from Cust in North Canterbury.
No steam locos in operation today, but just as interesting was the Vulcan Railcar on that day. An extremely useful item for a smaller preservation site to have as theres not the problems associated with maintaining a steam loco and a couple of carriages.Also good for the less than optimal track.

 After a ride (well, you have to don't you) I spotted a sign stating that tours would be given of the loco shed. Asking at the counter, I was told 'Oh, just wander round the back, there's a group working in there today'.

Off round the back, and here we are.

K88 is probably the most famous preserved locomotive in New Zealand, so I don't have to say anything else. There was some work being done on the brakes by 2 youngish chaps.  Ja 1260 lurks in the background. Laird Druff regaled me with tales of hitching a cab ride from Hampden to Oamaru on a trip home to Timaru one night, and hitting 70 miles an hour . On the twisty section south of Oamaru this would have been something. Anywhere this would have been something. I wish there was some way to substantiate the story's I've heard of the speedo needle hard against the block past 90 on the Canterbury plains. The Ja required a boiler washout.

A64. Another ideal sized loco for a small preservation railway. It made me think about an NZ120 model again. Unfortunately she is out of commission awaiting a new 10 year boiler ticket.

Here's another picture of the Vulcan heading down the row of pines towards the hills.

 As a final shot, here are two for the future. K 94 and F 150 await their turn for restoration to running order. The cab and tanks for the F are also on site.

'If I won Lotto...'
So, another small set up well worth a visit. Most surprising is that admission is free and there is a small charge for the train ride. All rather silly really.


beaka said...

haven't been to any of the preservation sites down south.mind you i have only been to a couple up north. Love that A64 and the colour really suits it.K88 is my favourite NZR loco. It is a cousin, i guess of the colourful American locos of the same era. I remember getting a yellow American style loco with a battery pack and controller attached by cord to it, when i was about 8yrs old. Lost track of the batteries i went through, and i think my dad eventually cut some wires, so it stopped operating and i lost interest.

Anonymous said...

motorcycling along the southern route from the catlins towards Invercargill a couple of years ago I screeched to a halt on spying what I assuned was K88 parked up on a siding beside the road, but it didnt have the ornate wood cab, so perhaps it was another one? I was in awe of how they could rebuild it from the bits pulled from the river.


Rab said...

K 92.
As I commented, I do prefer it to K88. I wonder if its still there?

Anonymous said...

Not sure it was Cust, I thought it was Winslow or something. The Cust station went to Waipara and was partly demolished up there with the rest taken by the Weka Pass Railway.

woodsworks said...

A chap who grew up around Christchurch has told me of racing the Ja-hauled expresses across the plains south of Chch while riding his much-modified motorbike. He says he timed his bike over a measured mile, finding it was good for 84 mph if he lay flat on the fuel tank. Being very proud of his bike, he was surprised to find that the expresses would sometimes gradually overtake him, which is proof enough in my book that the Ja's could reach 90mph. A question: the NZGR-fitted speedo in Ja1250 only went up to 75mph, so were there other models which went up to 90?