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International Railroad Discussion > From the Before Time: New Zealand 2019 Taieri Gorge Edition


Date: 03/18/21 12:35
From the Before Time: New Zealand 2019 Taieri Gorge Edition
Author: NMlurker

Not as epic as the TranzAlpine, the Taieri Gorge Railway excursion is still a scenic and entertaining train ride. This train is based out of Dunedin on the southeastern coast of the South Island and operated by the Dunedin Railways. In 2019, there were two versions of itinerary. The standard route operated as far as Pukerangi and this is what I had the opportunity to ride. On more rare occasions, the train would operate all the way to the end of track at Middlemarch. Looking at the website today, the only offered itinerary goes to Hindon, which is only halfway through the gorge, and is called the Inlander. Dunedin Railways also offers a train trip northward [in season] on the main towards Christchurch as far as Waitati called the Seasider. The mainline from Christchurch to Invercargill is otherwise freight only since the Southerner passenger train was discontinued in 2002. When operating it made Invercargill the southernmost rail passenger station in the world.

Dunedin Railways uses a fleet of six very well-kept DJ-class, Mitsubishi-built, Bo-Bo-Bo locomotives in an early NZR-style blue with light blue cab and yellow ends and frame scheme. The complete lack of lettering is evidently prototypical. The route through the Taieri Gorge is full of tunnels, bridges, and sharp curves. Someone really wanted to have a railroad through that gorge and we are lucky it survives today.

Two days before my trip through the gorge, I wandered down to the Dunedin train station in the evening where most of the Dunedin Railway equipment is kept and took some night photos from the platform. Five of the six DJ-class locomotives were present. April 26, 2019.

1. DJ-class #1210 sits near the Dunedin train station. In the background is the Toitu Otago Settlers Museum.

2. This is the Taieri Gorge train behind DJ-class #1209 and #1240.

3. Similar in appearance but with better lighting, this is the Seasider equipment behind DJ-class #1221 and #1227.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/22/21 13:47 by NMlurker.








Date: 03/18/21 12:37
Re: From the Before Time: New Zealand 2019 Taieri Gorge Edition
Author: NMlurker

4. A final night shot of the Seasider train set from the rear with DJ-class #1210 and part of the Dunedin train station in the background.

On the day of my Taieri Gorge trip, Kiwi Rail was doing maintenance on the mainline between Dunedin and where the Taieri Gorge line branches off so we were bused to a grade crossing a mile or two down the branch. Photography from the train was a bit challenging due to the rocking and rolling and the ever-present danger of losing your spot in a vestibule when one wanted to switch sides of the train. The weather was cloudy but dry. April 28, 2019.

5. The Taieri Gorge train approaches Tunnel 2 behind DJ-class #1209 and #1240 with a seven-carriage consist plus one generator car. The outbound trip was approximately one and one half hours. We only spent 15 minutes in Pukerangi, which is little more than a siding. The return trip was one hour, 35 minutes.

6. One of the larger of the distinctive iron(?) bridges on the line.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 03/22/21 13:49 by NMlurker.








Date: 03/18/21 12:38
Re: From the Before Time: New Zealand 2019 Taieri Gorge Edition
Author: NMlurker

7. And now a curved greenish bridge with fancy stone abutments.

8. I think of this as a New Zealand thing - the shared railroad/road bridge. Most bridges seemed to have very sharp curves on either side of the bridge. That is Tunnel 6 in the background.

9. Crossing yet another bridge in yet another color.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/22/21 13:49 by NMlurker.








Date: 03/18/21 12:40
Re: From the Before Time: New Zealand 2019 Taieri Gorge Edition
Author: NMlurker

10. I don’t think there is a straight piece of rail in the gorge. Three-foot six-inch gauge.

11. This is my favorite shot of the DJ-class locomotives. They are entering the siding at Pukerangi to run around the train for the return trip. There appear to be some untreated ties (sleepers) awaiting installation in the background.

12. The modest ‘station’ at Pukerangi. If I remember correctly, there was a group of passengers in vintage clothing.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/22/21 13:50 by NMlurker.








Date: 03/18/21 12:41
Re: From the Before Time: New Zealand 2019 Taieri Gorge Edition
Author: NMlurker

13. How is every bridge a different color?

14. And crossing said bridge on the return trip.

15. This was the unloading spot with the front of the train just past the grade crossing. A very enjoyable day. If I could have changed one thing I would have run the train more slowly. Or perhaps ride the train again without focussing on photography, just enjoying the scenery.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/22/21 13:51 by NMlurker.








Date: 03/18/21 14:28
Re: From the Before Time: New Zealand 2019 Taeiri Gorge Edition
Author: tomstp

Very interesting and nice photos.



Date: 03/19/21 13:01
Re: From the Before Time: New Zealand 2019 Taeiri Gorge Edition
Author: Train29

I thought I read the train had been discontinued? So is this a new operator? Different lettering than when I was there 10 years ago.



Date: 03/20/21 14:19
Re: From the Before Time: New Zealand 2019 Taieri Gorge Edition
Author: NMlurker

Train29 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I thought I read the train had been discontinued?
> So is this a new operator? Different lettering
> than when I was there 10 years ago.

The Internet suggests that there was a re-branding from Taieri Gorge Railway to Dunedin Railways in 2014 to reflect that there were more routes than just the gorge train running out of Dunedin, including the Seasider and special tours to the south and northwest over the TranzAlpine line. There was no change in ownership. In May 2020, the Taieri Gorge trains were temporaily shutdown due to COVID-19, not because New Zealand had a bad outbreak but because 80% of the ridership was international travelers and that went to zero. From their website it appears that some service has resumed.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/22/21 13:52 by NMlurker.



Date: 03/20/21 22:51
Re: From the Before Time: New Zealand 2019 Taeiri Gorge Edition
Author: Ritzville

Very NICE series!

Larry



Date: 03/21/21 05:47
Re: From the Before Time: New Zealand 2019 Taeiri Gorge Edition
Author: pedrop

Very nice series from New Zealand. Keep it coming!

Pedro Rezende
Vespasiano, MG
https://youtube.com/c/minasgeraisrailways1



Date: 03/21/21 10:27
Re: From the Before Time: New Zealand 2019 Taeiri Gorge Edition
Author: gobbl3gook




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