Tuesday, 16 September 2014
A rail journey
When my son let us know they were coming over for a holiday he said he would love to give his wife some sort of a surprise, a trip somewhere special or horse riding perhaps. We arranged horse riding for them but he decided that maybe he should warn her about that and we'd all try to think of something else.
And then my daughter rang and she said she had found half price tickets on the Taieri Gorge Railway. Yippee. We got the vouchers and headed into town and booked our seats. We didn't tell them where were going, just told them not to arrange anything for that day, so it was a surprise for both of them.
On the day we headed in to our beautiful railway station and boarded the train. We had a choice of heritage carriage or observation carriage, we opted for the heritage seeing as we were able to move around if we wanted to get photo's. These carriages date from 1912 - 1923 and are done out in wood panelling and have open platforms at each end. Comfortable, authentic and fun.
A friend of ours was on the train as a guard so he sat down for a few minutes to have a chat. He hadn't seen our son for a few years and they enjoyed having a bit of a catch up. Then he was away to do his commentary.
Anyway once out of the city the train turns inland and heads west and into the hills. For a start we travelled through farmland, sheep, alpaca, horse studs (racing) and cows.
Then it was into more rugged country with deep ravines and rivers on one side and high hills on the other.
There were 12 tunnels in all and 19 bridges or viaducts to be crossed on the way.
We passed one hotel and several workers houses that are now only used as holiday places or getaways for fishermen. Sue, the dog, is a statue in honour of the working dogs in the area. Can you see the bath down by the river in the picture of the house below? You might have to blow the picture up a bit. (It's the smallest white thing in the trees).
The two green bins are very posh longdrops (toilets), the red shed is the hotel.
During the summer tourist season the train normally runs through to Middlemarch where it turns around for the return journey. We only went as far as Pukerangi but that was still a four hour return trip. We got off here for a bit of a wander while the engines changed ends so we could begin the return journey. (Pukerangi is a Maori word meaning Hill of god).
I didn't wander too far though as I'm always worried that the train will leave without me. I'm a bit wimpy that way.
Then it was all aboard...
...and we headed back the way we had come.
We all enjoyed our day out on the train and it was a good way for them to start their holiday. Our son hadn't been on the train before either so it was all new for him as well as his wife, and it was great to be able to do something neither of them expected.
Have a great week.