Friday, September 21, 2012

Famine to Feast

Its good being a shift worker. While most of the country is at work, I can get out and enjoy the beautiful spring time sun that is bathing East Otago at the moment. 
Friday's are always a good day to chase. Not only can I snap some shots of my usual targets, 922 Dunedin - Middleton freight and  923 Middleton - Dunedin freight but Taieri Gorge's Seasider return passenger service between Dunedin and Palmerston also makes an appearance. 

We began our trip with the aim of catching 922 at Waitati, but railfan luck was alive and well with a chance sighting of the Seasider in the distance. We had plenty of time to get to Merton and snap DJ 3228 and its five car train as it came to a halt with a red on the main departure signal . A few minutes later the signal flicked to green and with a blast on the horn the Seasider continued on its trip to Palmerston.

Tairei Gorge Railway's northbound Seasider passes through Merton on the main behind DJ 3228. Great to see a DJ on the main south line. Not sure about the square windows though. 21/9/12.

After catching the Seasider, we continued on to Waitati, anxiously hoping we would get there before the arrival of 922. Shouldn't have worried. We had plenty of time. 922 duly arrived behind a grubby DXC 5370 and slightly less grubby DFT 7092.

922 was a long train of empty container flats. Kiwi Rail and Port Otago have just begun operating new container services between Dunedin and Timaru. Hopefully they'll be loaded on their return journey.

DXC 5397 and DFT 7092 lead 922 Dunedin - Middleton freight through Waitati. 21/9/12. 

Anybody who has chased north of Dunedin will know how hard it is to chase between Warrington and Seacliff. The road is windy, hilly and fairly narrow with a few railway crossings thrown in for extra fun. Just when you think you've managed to get ahead of your target you get caught at a crossing. A grin and a wave from the LE just add's salt to the wound. 
Eventually we got ahead of 922 and after skidding to a halt in a cloud of dust, I managed to get a shot I've been hoping to get for a while. Hope to bring you a few more shots of this station as part of a station profile in the future.

922 crawls past Seacliff station. 21/9/12.

I also got a  'dirty' away shot of DFT 7092.

Second loco DFT 7092 assisting DXC 5379 at Seacliff. 21/9/12.

With some shots of 922 on the SD card it was relaxed drive to Merton and a short wait before 922 arrived on the loop and came to a stop.

922 holding the loop at Merton. 21/9/12.

Close up of DXC 5379. Working on the coal route (Christchurch - West Coast) hasn't done these loco's any favours. 21/9/12.

Not long after we found out the reason for 922's delay. DJ 3228, long hood leading, cruised into Merton with the Dunedin bound Seasider.

DJ 3228 cruises into Merton with the Seasider. 21/9/12.

After 922's departure we headed to Palmerston. Arriving in plenty of time we grabbed an icecream at McGregors before getting a shot of DXC 5379 and DFT 7092 shunting the gold siding.

DXC 5379 and DFT 7092 on the gold siding at Palmerston. 21/9/12.

With time running out we also managed to get southbound 923 Middleton - Dunedin freight as it headed out of Palmerston. 

DFT 7023 and DC 4421 head southbound on the MSL on 923. 21/9/12.

All in all not a bad days chasing.

One thing that surprised me was that out of the four locomotives I saw working on freight services today, none were painted in the yellow, red and grey Kiwi Rail livery. Maybe the Kiwi Rail liveries arn't as dominant as I thought.

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