Thursday, January 17, 2013

Can we chase it? Why not!

I was outside throwing a rugby ball with my son when we heard a loud horn from down in town. "I think its a train. Can we chase it?" I have a very persuasive son and we were soon on the road heading south. 
We caught up with 923 Middleton - Dunedin freight at the Wairunga track warrant control sign and managed to get ahead of it to grab a very average landscape shot.

A poor attempt at a landscape shot. DXC 5520 and DCP 4755 lead a well loaded 923 Middleton - Dunedin freight south of Flag Swamp. 17/01/13.

We hit the road again and leap frogged 923. I made a snap decision to try a spot above the former Waikouaiti station site and just made it to grab this shot out the car window. The original shot was pretty poor but digital photography is a fantastic thing. With some trimming it didn't come out too bad.

923 cruises through the former Waikouaiti station site. 17/01/13.

Continuing south we found 923 holding the main at Merton and decided to keep heading south to Seacliff. This is a pretty gutsy decision because the Main South Line disappears from view for long periods. It isn't hard to pass a train along this section of line without even knowing it.
Arriving at Seacliff we waited with fingers crossed for northbound 922 Dunedin - Middleton freight. 

A very tired Seacliff station. No longer in use. 17/01/13.

The gamble paid off when we heard the crossing bells activate to the south of Seacliff and it wasn't long before 922 appeared with DFT 7036 and DXC 5425 in the lead.

DFT 7036 and DXC 5425 with a short train of containers heads north on 922 Dunedin - Middleton freight through Seacliff. 17/01/13.

I grabbed a going away shot of 922 as it passed through the disused Seacliff yard. I have heard of trains crossing here but have never seen a crossing here myself. After the northern loop points were removed due to damage from a recent derailment, the crossing loop became unusable. Hopefully the loop will be reinstated but in all probability the loop and dead end siding will be removed.

Same train heading away. I took this photo just to show the Seacliff yard. The north points have been disconnected after a derailment. I'm standing on the gravel stop at the end of the dead end siding. 17/01/13. 

Hitting the road again but this time heading north we passed 922 as it snaked its way around the many tight curves between Seacliff and Merton. Above Karitane I grabbed another shot of 922 as it began its descent to Merton and its crossing and crew change with 923.

922 Dunedin - Middleton freight on the Main South Line above Karitane. 17/01/13.

We stopped at Merton for a short time before getting on the road again to get a shot of 922 at Tumai but we didn't stand a chance. The Timaru driver wasn't wasting anytime in heading home. With no empty 'goldies' to pick up at Palmerston, it was a battle to stay ahead of the fast moving 922. Somehow I managed to get ahead of 922 and got this very rushed shot at one of my favourite spots. 

922 cruises along the East Otago coast between Shag Point (I kid you not) and Katiki. 17/01/13. 

I decided to continue north and try a spot just outside of Hampton. A wrong turn and a rapidly approaching 922 put paid to any more chasing. On the bright side we were able to stop at the fine fare store at Hampton for an ice cream. For any railfans chasing in the North / East Otago area. Stop here! The ice cream is good and the scoops are enormous. You won't be disappointed. 

And that's about it...

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