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.
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.
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...'|