Monday, 1 April 2013

North to Auckland and Whangerei Falls

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The Northerner

After ten days or so sojourn in Wellington with Jo on Friday April 2nd 1993 I took the "Northerner" night train from Wellington to Auckland. The weather in Wellington had been cold so I'd decided to go as far north as possible and ride back down to Wellington.

The train had no sleeping compartments but I was warm enough on the sheepskin covered reclining seats. I see nothing all night apart from strange stops in the middle of nowhere. Eventually the dawn breaks as we head into Auckland. At the station I photograph a steam engine on it's way out on an excursion. An hour later I'm on a bus going even further north to Whangerei. This is a three hour trip on a busy road through the isthmus to Northland. After all that travelling it is raining. Fortunately it's only a five mile ride to the camp-ground at Whangerei Falls. I stay, alone, in the bunk room, and manage a walk to the falls in the late afternoon.

Things have changed in Auckland since I was there. The Northerner service was stopped in 2004 and the Auckland Station I used has since been closed too - though a new one has been built close by.

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That steam train I saw was called the Cannonball Express for that excursion. In fact it is KA942 built in New Zealand in 1940 and in mainline use until 1966. She was restored in 1991 and again in 2001. She is still running. Here are a couple of videos: near Dunedin, and here and here.

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