New Zealand is in the grips of a 'dry'. So far only the Northland region has been officially declared as having a drought, but many regions are getting close if they aren't already there. While East Otago is in better shape than many other regions, the lack of rain is starting to have an effect... just ask a local farmer.
With a rare day off from work, I decided to head out and catch some of Kiwi Rails finest working their way through the dry East Otago landscape.
A short trip down from my place and I was ready to snap 922 Dunedin - Middleton freight as it approached the Goodwood Road crossing just south of Palmerston.
DXC 5356 and DFT 7036 approach Palmerston light engines. 27/02/2013.
After watching the two locomotives rumble past, I headed up the Palmerston yard to watch 5356 and 7036 pick up five empty 'goldies' for the trip north to Christchurch.
DXC 5356 and DFT 7036 couple up to some empty 'goldies' in the Palmerston yard.
Once again heading north I stopped at a spot I use from time to time to catch short trains in front of the local landmark. Behind 922 is Puketapu hill. The monument seen at the very top is a cairn dedicated to the prominent early Otago politician Sir John McKenzie. As you can see its starting to get dry in East Otago.
922 cruises north beneath a dry Puketapu.
The LE in charge of 922 wasn't wasting any time and it wasn't until Shag Point when I managed to get past him. Continuing north I decided to try a new spot at the old Katiki station site. The spot isn't the greatest but I really like the concrete over bridge which carries state highway one across the main south line. Pity about the camper van in the background.
922 rumbles beneath the overbridge at Katiki.
By the time I got onto state highway one and managed to get around the camper van 922 was through Hillgrove and climbing up to Hampton. With only some hit or miss spots near by I decided to continue onto Herbert, one of favourite railway locations in New Zealand. I didn't have to wait long before 922 appeared and I was able to get my last shot of the day.
DXC 5356 and DFT 7036 provide plenty of power for 922 as they race past the home signal and loop points at the south end of Herbert station.
Some shots from my normal chasing area and one from a little north. Not a bad way to spend a sunny Wednesday afternoon.
And that's about it.