With some spare time and nice weather I decided to get out and try and catch my normal targets 922 and / or 923. The fuel gauge wasn't looking to good so I headed down to the local garage to fill up. Getting out of the car I could hear a loud idling noise and it definitely coming from the garage. WIth gas in the tank I headed over to the Palmerston yard and found DFT 7199 and 7049 idling on the middle siding. The middle siding doesn't get much use apart from Taieri Gorge Railway DJ's running around the 'seasider' passenger trains and as a staging point for the tamper gang when they are working in the area. Seeing two mainline loco's on the middle siding is pretty rare.
With the loco's looking pretty in the sun I snapped a few shots.
Roster shot of DFT 7199 at Palmerston. 10/07/2013.
After the DFT's had coupled up to the empty 'goldies' I headed north to try and catch 923 as it made its way south to Dunedin. I set myself up at one of my favourite spots just to the north of Bushey TWC loop and grabbed a nice shot of DXC 5500 with a good sized 923.
DXC 5500 leads 923 Middleton - Dunedin freight into Bushey. With a decent load on the drawgear DXC 5500 has a good workout ahead of it as it grinds its way over the grades into Dunedin.
I was expecting 922 and 923 to cross at Bushey but the DXC just kept on going. Heading back into town I quickly caught up with a slowing 923. Parking up I was able to catch the Dunedin and Timaru LE's swap services so they could head back home. On this part of the Main South Line, the locomotive crews normally change over at Merton or sometimes a Bushey. In over five years of following the action on this part of the MSL I have never seen a crew change in Palmerston. Luckily I was able to grab a few shots of this very rare event.
The locomotive engineers from 922 and 923 change over at Palmerston. This is the first time in over five years of living here that I've seen this happen.
I headed north again to a spot just north of the Stour St crossing to grab a shot of 922 departing Palmerston.
DFT 7199 and 7049 with a train of empty 'goldies' cross the recently upgraded Stour St railway crossing.
Up close and personal shot of DFT 7199.
I expected a fairly normal chase today but it was anything but normal. Not sure why the DFT's were in town so early or why the crew change was carried out in Palmerston. My best guess was that with a lot of work being carried out on the MSL between Waitati and Sawyers Bay, the morning service 937 dropped off its 'goldies' at Palmerston and then the loco's parked up at Palmerston for a few hours before coupling up to the now empty 'goldies' and then heading north as 922. With 937 being cancelled south of Palmerston and 922 starting at Palmerston, the gangers had a good chunk of daylight to work on the slips and areas of subsidence that are still causing trouble on the MSL.
Until next time stay safe and keep chasing.