DFT 7077 and DC 4726 cruise round the curves at Tumai with 922 Dunedin - Middleton freight. 19/04/10.
The 'Beard' era of the early 2000's is seen by railfans as a bad chapter in the history of New Zealands railways.
Tranz Rail management cut maintenance on locomotives, wagons and infrastructure. Private sidings were out, unit trains were in and any piece of rolling stock that was deemed surplus including most of the remaining 4 wheel wagons were scrapped. Short sighted decisions by management helped the bottom line for a while but eventually brought New Zealand's rail network to its knees. The timely buy out of Tranz Rail by Toll Holdings saved rail from total collapse.
A common theme of the 'Beard' era was the number of trains running with empty wagons. Not a good look. So when I saw 922 Dunedin - Middleton freight today, I thought I had gone back in time to the bad ole days especially with DFT 7077 and DC 4726 both in the 'bumble bee' livery that was also introduced during the 'Beard' era.922 Dunedin - Middleton freight passes through Katiki. 19/04/10.
Luckily 922 picked up a few empty goldies at Palmerston. The gold containers may be empty but its better than the empty decks behind them.
Not too sure why 922 had so many empty decks, maybe the derailment between Balclutha and Clinton had something to do with it...