A few pics from rail can be found at
MOTAT 1 at Auckland was a bit disappointing, with most of the stock moved to MOTAT 2, and only open occasionally on selected Saturdays. Mind you, the aviation display at MOTAT 2 was certainly worth the visit, and only helped to encourage an interest in things in the air... The dual gauge tramline was interesting. This is because Wellington trams were 4' gauge, and the rest, like us, 4' 8.5"
The TranzAlpine, as always, proved to be enjoyable, and having done the trip 3 times now, knowledge on where to take photos, and stake your position on the viewing deck helps. The train was a modest consist. On leaving Christchurch on the TranzCoastal, I noted that the Alpine was made up to a 15 consist with 3 DCs. Very impressive.
The Coastal was a good trip up to Picton. I know the scenery is spectacular, but very similar to that which I grew up with in Tasmania. It was hard to get on the viewing deck due to a primary school excursion occupying the penultimate carriage...treading on munchkins can be messy. Coming back, I was in old stock with pressure vents. Being behind the DX was no fun. The fumes for over 5 hours was very hard to take.
The Overlander was a joy. Although the trip was in inclement weather, making viewing of volcanos and the like difficult, the train was certainly worth the 12 hours on it. Two major stops- Palmerston North, where the DC was changed to a 30 class electric. One of the fellow passengers, from Canada, had a cab pass. His pics and comments were worth while. Another stop, 8 hours later, was at Hamilton, where the 30 class was changed for a DC.
Coming into Auckland, a disappointing occurrence. The train was hit by a projectile. The impact moved the carriage sideways, and a window was shattered. Glass slithers unfortunately went into a girl's eyes. Talking with Frank, the train manager on the Northerner the next night, investigation by police was able to rule out a bullet, but they strongly suspected the train was shot at. Like Melbourne, there is a spate of rocks being projected at the Northerner and Overlander. The police were not ruling out some sort of assisted projection for the rock at our carriage. Our speed was about 80 km/h on impact.
Coming back to Wellington on the Northerner was an experience. After the previous day on the Overlander was fun, but in a short consist of two carriages. This was a train of 8. Getting out of Britomart Station complex, a very impressive, modern terminal opened recently, was undertaken by the train manager, Frank, sitting in the observation car, and calling the signals as we reversed back onto a wye. Once at a certain point, the driver was given permission to proceed to Hamilton.
Constantly, the train management, both Frank and the crew change at National Park insisted that people stay in their seats if they were getting off at points other than Wellington. This enabled them to be woken 10 minutes prior. Of course, this didn't happen. The louts in the observation cars, with their blonde bimbos, all going to Palmerston North, almost missed their station, and were abusive to the staff for not waking them. The retort from the manager was great. To one of the blonde bimbos, she said "You give blondes a bad name, and as a blonde of some standing, I'm not going to listen to you. Go on, get off!"
The same manager also told us that "I would tell you about the features of Wellington, but as it is so foggy, and we can't see anything, that would be a waste of time. I assure, Wellington is there, and for those continuing on the InterIslander service, the Arahura does know how to dock in bad weather. May I suggest to people staying on in Wellington some alternate indoor activities..."
The staff on all trains were very good. The return journey to Christchurch on the Coastal I have already mentioned. Not a bad 10 days, but as I said, not that I went there for trains!