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Hi ,
On 7th /8th August 1908,the first train to travel the length of New Zealand's North Island Main Trunk Line left Wellington for Auckland ,three months before the line was officialy completed and officially opened- after 23 years of backbreaking effort in some of the country's toughest terrain.The engineers skimped on ballasting , put through deviations,hacked at cutting sides , filled in embankments to get this train through . It must have looked like my unfinished trainset !!!!!!!
The reason for this train which was known as the "Parliament Special"was to take a large party of officials and politicians from the Capital to meet the United States Navy's Great White Fleet which was visiting Auckland.
Almost 700 kilometres long this journey took more than 20 hours ----- about the same as it does today !!!

Regards , Tony.
 

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QUOTE Almost 700 kilometres long

I never realised the north island was as large as that. Must be a result of the "over size" bias one gets in the higher latitudes from flat map projections.

David
 

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Yes this "special steam hauled" train is taking a while to go from Wellington to Auckland but it is literally stopping at every station along the way.

Normal train time is about 12 hours, but the scenery is magnificent. You can drive it in 9 hours and fly it in 1 hour.

Still one of the original coaches from the 1908 train is in the 2008 train. Heavily refurbished and now with electric heaters.

Now if we could get all the politicos on a train, and send them off to Europe, that would be progress!

John

Are political comments like that allowed?
 

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Yes it was a great achievement, I think it is a disaster that the passenger railways in NZ have been totally neglected and left for dead, the scenery that they go through is magnificent. What a thrill it would be to be able to get a train from Whangarei to Auckland instead of having to drive on the atrocious SH1 it used to be possible many years ago. I went on a special from Whangarei to Dargaville some years ago and the train had to travel at 10 kmh for 30 kms because the track was so bad, anyway nothing is going to change I think it is so sad.
 

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QUOTE (john woodall @ 9 Aug 2008, 05:52) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Yes this "special steam hauled" train is taking a while to go from Wellington to Auckland but it is literally stopping at every station along the way.

Normal train time is about 12 hours, but the scenery is magnificent. You can drive it in 9 hours and fly it in 1 hour.

Still one of the original coaches from the 1908 train is in the 2008 train. Heavily refurbished and now with electric heaters.

Now if we could get all the politicos on a train, and send them off to Europe, that would be progress!

John

Are political comments like that allowed?

***You are a relaxed driver John - my fastest drive time Central Wellington to Auckland city centre has been about 6-1/2 hours, including a stop at Taupo for lunch...
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I did the "Limited" run train trip as a youngster when we arrived in NZ in 1958 and disembarked in Wellington ex UK - but were on the way to Auckland.

Only 5 then but I remember the tedium of the trip well... Cold, Overnight in less than lovely seats without reclining backs, no onboard refreshments of any kind, 13-1/2 hours and actually very few stops - Taihape was memorable for its bitter cold, heavy railway tea cups and concrete pastry on the meat pies.

I'd like to do it again though, in daylight - it does go through some lovely country.

Richard
 

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QUOTE (john woodall @ 11 Aug 2008, 18:04) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Richard try driving it with a 3 and 6 year old.

Any excuse to stop and let them out the car is needed.

Thats why I fly!

John

Just loves the "Are we there yet" comment

***Next time I'm over I'll take my time, visit you and make it a 2 day trip North to AK, using the extra time to drop in on any hobby shops between Wellington and Auckland - because there are certainly no longer any of value in Auckland at all as far as I can see!

I'll have to get a list from you in preparation... there used to be a couple of good shops in Wellington, an excellent 2nd hand shop in Petone, a good retailer in Upper Hutt, Levin, PNorth etc...... I wonder if they still exist?

Richard
 
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