Sunday, August 30, 2015

More coal

Following on from the last post, I've been sent some scanned photos from a family holiday to Westport many years ago. In those days health and safety was rather more lax and so we were able to walk up the miners track, taking a detour to Middle Brake (past a "go no further" type sign if memory serves). These photos offer a window back 25 years or so when the remnants of our country's industrial history were just left to decay.

First up, looking up the hill from Conns creak, with the yard crane on the edge of shot to the right. Note the spectacular day which is quite common on the west coast, at least while I've been on holiday there.

Then on to Middle brake, the junction between the lower and upper incline. This photo is of the winding house with the remains of the pistons which were used to control the rate of descent of the loaded wagons. The wire hauling ropes had just been left on site, obviously because they were not worth much. I think that's me in green on the left with Mum on the right. obviously buy the time we had walked up the hill for an hour it was not quite such a sparkling day.

littering the bush along the incline were the remains of runaway wagons that had been left were they fell as it was not worth the effort to recover them.

And who is that dashing young man in red?

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Coal time

 (With the news of the last week with the seemingly impending demise of solid energy due to the usual combination of mismanagement, incompetence and greed, we step back to look at happier times on the coast. How we can trust people to run this country when they can't even remember where they live escapes me)

I've always had an interest in West coast coal operations, and what red blooded steam nut wouldn't. all those locos which lasted far longer in an isolated area with towering lush scenery and old ramshackle buildings.

There were 2 coal ports on the west coast, Greymouth and Westport. In this post we will have a look at the Westport station and wharves.
First up an overlook of the whole area courtesy of the 4th ed Tramway atlas.

Coal came down from Deniston, Stockton and Seddonville in long rakes of Q hoppers, hauled by a collection of Wb and later Ww locos. The section (untill it was conected in 1943) had a very small number of other wagons but 90% of the rolling stock were Q wagons.

First up the station from 1912. Even for a seemingly remote station its quite big (I suppose there had to be somewhere to put all those wagons). I was interested to see the separation of the wharfs. The goods wharf is on the right, and the lines leading up to the coal staiths, which I think lasted till the early 1920's.

 From the national library collection. More of a promenade than a coal facility.

 From the next section we see the other end of the coal staiths and the second coal loading wharf.
 The track layout is not overly complex compared to the other end of the yard.

And from the even stranger files.....

It appears that the coal wharfs were a prime destination for the well healed.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Hello again.

 Not dead just..... not.....

My it has been a long break hasn't it. I have just really not been in the mood to put finger to keyboard. Maybe I've just run out of things to say.......

 Anyway, just to report I'm still alive, there have been no family crises etc.
Also, the MMW crew will be at the Masterton model railway show this weekend. I'lll be there on Sunday with the track making fired up, just in a slightly larger scale.

And just to add a picture, heres something that wandered through the inbox a while ago (thanks to Michael Kilsby).