New Zealand Railroads

Discussion in 'The Real Thing- International' started by Bob Collins, Jan 31, 2003.

  1. Bob Collins

    Bob Collins Active Member

    Just curious if I might use this thread to smoke out anyone from New Zealand who frequents the Gauge. I'm headed off in that direction in a few months and would like to talk a bit about getting around there using the railroads.


  2. Woodie

    Woodie Active Member

    Not having much luck I see, Bob. There was a NZ guy a while ago. B. O'Brien was his handle. Dunno what happened to him. Ain't seen him for ages.

    Anyway, One train I know of in NZ in the Alipne on in the South Island.

    Try here for some info. Good luck. :)
  3. Bob Collins

    Bob Collins Active Member

    Hi Woodie and thanks for your reply.

    We have decided to basically bypass the north island and fly on from Auckland to Christchurch. That will save tweo days of train travel, although I'd love to see as much from the train as possible. We have such limited time we need to use it to the best advantage.

    We are planning to ride the Trans Alpine train from Christchurch to the west coast and return which, if the weather cooperates at all is suppose to be a beautiful trip. Going in May is, of course, the rainy time, but we'll just have to pay our money and take our chances.

    I began reading "The Fatal Shore" last night. It came highly recommended as something I should read before coming to OZ. We'll see :D :D

    Received our train tickets for our Melbourne to Sydney trip yesterday. Car 3 if that means anything to you. Think I told you I got the tickets for 50% off for ordering so far in advance.

    And thanks again.

  4. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah


    Bob: there's a nice little museum in Timaru, NZ, called "Pleasant Point". Not just trains, but they have a couple of steamers. Haven't been there, but used to write to a fellow who was involved. Check for websites.
  5. Bob Collins

    Bob Collins Active Member

    Thanks David. You bet I'll check it out.

  6. triman

    triman Member

    Been away for a while. Unfortunately work gets in the way of the important things in life.
    There's a steam excursion train running up the Taieri (spelling) Gorge from Dunedin. Could be worth a web search. There used to be a regular passenger service from the ferry terminal at Picton to Christchurch as well. Probably still running, but the train from Christchurch to Invercargill, way down south, has, I think, been pulled.
    Last time I checked most of NZ rail is controlled by a US company, possibly Wisconsin Central or Genessee and Wyoming. They've also got a presence in Oz.
    The Trans-Alpine is well worth the trip. Spectacular scenery and all that tourist stuff. Enjoy!!
  7. Bob Collins

    Bob Collins Active Member

    Thanks triman.

    We are planning to take the Trans Alpine Express while we are in the Christchurch area. Have decided to fly from Auckland to Christchurch because we are so short on time in country. Only 8 days and as much as I love trains I don't wish to spend three whole days riding them.

    We have our tickets to ride from Melbourne to Sydney while we are touring in Australia. Fly from Sydney to Cairns, then to Brisbane and then home. Will be in OZ not quite 3 weeks.


  8. interurban

    interurban Active Member

  9. Leo Maxim

    Leo Maxim New Member

    Hi Bob I m a Kiwi member of the group, this is my first posting as I am a new member but I thought your cause was near to my heart.

    The New Zealand railways system is unique in that it has items of stock and locomotives from all kinds of areas,including the US, Japan, Hungary, England and some home grown kiwi ones that pride themshelves in the kiwi flair of
    " well bugger me Bruce, Im sure we can knock the bastard off". The track is 3 foot 6 and a half gauge and lays in a topography similar to Japan, which also shares the same gauge of tracks as New Zealand (the bullet lines being the broader exception) This is the gauge that the British recommended to both countries.

    The NZ government sold to an American guy from Wisconson who over acouple of decades has stripped nearly every passager service in the country and concentrated on freight, consisting mainly of coal, timber and food production.
    This is unfortunate because for those that have been to NZ and those having seen Lord of The Rings will realise that it is one of, if not the most, scenic country on Earth. As New Zealands largest earner of revenue, Tourism brings many travellers from abroad, the largest groups from countries such as Japan Britain Sweden and The US. It seems that many of these tourists seek out travel by rail and are confused to find that although the lines appear on maps that they can not be used for passenger transfer by themselves. The present stats comparing rail use by passengers and rail use for freight are at total oppersites between the US and Japan.

    The jornery over the southern alps is often listed in the top 10 journeys by train. There have even been a hobbit or two spotted over the years using this line as this is near several locations from Peter Jacksons Lord of the Rings films. Its a great trip with the longest tunnel in NZ

    My favourite line in New Zealand is a present day steam line.

    The line is the Kingston Flyer line. And for $20 bucks and a smile you will be able to drive the loco as I did several years ago. The line is near Queenstown in the South Island which is a world famous Ski resort in winter.
    The line runs through wonderful scenery.
    I think the loco is a Wa or Wb but dont hold me to that, possibly 4 6 2 configuration similar shape to a Baldwin that I saw on a Rio Grande Model.

    The specialist scale in NZed is called Sn3.5 which is 1/64 scale on standard width HO track
    I saw a copy of this train in this scale in Iron Horse Hobbies in Christchurch ready built in lost wax casting and brass for approx $300 US and it was fully weathered

    Anyway one place I do suggest you try is Ferrymead in CHCHurch as it is a steam and early desiel musuem

    I hope you have a wonderful trip to my old hunting ground Bob. It gets wet, dry cold and hot at the drop of a hat in NZ so take a jacket and the suncreen
    Jan to April beat time to go.
    Anyway if there are other points needed or any other kiwi members out there reading this join in.

    Kia Kaha ( Maori for BE BRAVE BE STRONG)

    Regards Leo Maxim:)

    PS I model German 1970s N and Japan across the board from pre WW1 up to tyhe latest bullets in N also.
  10. Matthyro

    Matthyro Will always be re-membered

    Welcome to the Gauge Leo. That is very interesting info you have provided. Thanks
  11. Bob Collins

    Bob Collins Active Member

    Good Day Leo;

    What fun to get your message because I was in NZ exactly 2 years ago right now. According to my log we were preparing to leave Queenstown for Christchurch and on to Melbourne on the 19th.

    We had a wonderful time in Kiwi Country. Landed in Auckland early in the morning and took a flight to Christchurch almost within the hour. As I recall we were in Christchurch by 10 AM.

    We stayed at the Elm Tree B&B for several nights while checking out that area. We then took the Tranz Alpine Express to Greymouth where we rented a car. Spent that night near the Franz Joseph Glacier which we hiked up to the following morning. Then off to Queenstown where we stayed at the Coronet View B&B. Flew over and back to Milford Sound in a 7 passenger Cessna. Everything about that trip was absolutely spectacular. We did Arrowtown, which turned out to be fun. went to the original bungie jumping place (no I did not!!) and then drove back to Christchurch.

    Flew out of Christchurch to Melbourne after touring the Antarctic Exhibit at the airport. Needles to say, I'd go back in a minute and I think we will most like plan to, probably in 2007.

    I see you also list Dorset as home. When we were in England and were at Avebury, I suddenly realized how close we were to Dorset, which is where one branch of my family came from on his journey to America in 1629. John Minor hailed from Chew Magna, Dorset. We will somehow make it back to England as well, maybe even in 2006 and I will get to Chew Magna.

    Thanks for your post, it brings back lots and lots of really great memories

    Bob Collins

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