Thursday 25th August 2013.
After finishing the night shift I had some time to kill before the family got to town so I thought I'd head out and see what I could find. Thursday morning was beautiful and I was lucky to catch one of Holcim's cement ships making its way up Otago harbour. Its not a train but I couldn't resist.
The Milburn Carrier II passes close to shore as it makes its way up the Otago harbour channel after departing the Dunedin wharves.
From my posse I could see a headlight in the distance and after a fairly long wait the DSG with its port train finally passed by. Not being able to cross the track I had to do the best I could with what I had and grabbed a shot from the wrong side. Luckily the clouds had rolled which helped with the sun.
DSG 3170 with a Port Chalmers shunt crosses a causeway just south of Sawyers Bay as it returns to Dunedin.
With the clock ticking I had to put the camera away and head back to town.
Friday 26th August 2013.
With a day off and some time to kill I decided to head out and chase the usual suspects, 922 and 923. I managed to catch up with 923 Middleton - Dunedin freight just outside Waikouaiti. 922 wasn't messing around. The double DXC's made light work of its train of containers.
DXC's 5039 and 5293 approach Waikouaiti with 923 Middleton - Dunedin freight.
With a few sunday drivers and 50 km speed limit through Waikouaiti to contend with, 923 was approaching Merton by the time we caught up with it. Slowing to a stop on the main for a crew change I was able to grab a shot of 5039 and 5293 before heading to my next spot. Most of the locomotives in Kiwirail livery have a vertical separation between the red and grey. The early repaints had a horizontal separation. To get two loco's in this early version of the Kiwirail livery was a good catch. I still think Kiwirail should have kept going with this version.
DXC's 5039 and 5293 hold the main at Merton.
Before long DFT's 7049 and 7023 could be seen heading down the grade into Merton. Using a safe spot that normally nets good results I was able to grab a shot of 922 Dunedin - Middleton freight. I was pretty happy to catch the DFT's in action. The word going around railfan circles is that a number of DFT loco's will be written off as more and more of the Chinese built DL locomotives come on line in the North Island and DXB locomotives transfer south.
DFT's 7049 and DFT 7023 round the curve into Merton with 922 Dunedin - Middleton freight.
Once the LE's had changed over, 922 continued its trip north. I quick shot at the northern end of the Merton loop and it was time to head north.
922 makes its way slowly up the loop at Merton.
The work carried out around the area by the track gangs must be paying off because I had trouble keeping up with 922 as it made its way north through East Otago. I wanted a shot of 922 cresting the Tumai grade but the two DFT's were making light work of their train and I had to settle for a shot from the wrong side. Shot taken it was time to head north again.
922 crests the Tumai bank.
Playing it safe was the order of the day and I choose a tried and true spot for my next shot.
With horn blasting and ditch lights flashing 922 approaches Palmerston.
With 922 picking up empty 'goldies' at Palmerston I had chance to fuel up the car. Chasing trains isn't a cheap hobby anymore! With time to spare I headed to my final spot of the day just north of the Shag river bridge. With the sun stuck behind cloud I was able to get a nice shot of the DFT's with Mt Pukutapu in the background.
Now with empty 'goldies' 922 continues its trip north in the shadows.
On Monday I begin my new role at work. I'm looking forward to working Monday to Friday with no more night shifts. While it will be nice to spend my nights at home, the opportunities to get out and chase trains will be fairly limited. Hopefully I will still be able to bring you the sights of Kiwirail in action as they continue to haul freight through Otago.