After travelling through the Wairarapa towns of Carterton and Featherston, we soon entered the 8.8km Rimutaka Tunnel. A member of Steam Incorporated had been through all the carriages selling raffle tickets to help raise funds for the $30,000 needed to fit fire suppressors to their own DA diesel loco. This job will be completed early next year, and then it will no longer be necessary to hire out one of Kiwi Rail locos on future trips. Once through the tunnel and the train stopped at Maymorn Station for a photo op. It was interesting to find that once through the tunnel and on the Hutt Valley side of the Rimutakas the weather was quite fine with not a drop of rain to be seen.
It was rather like our old working days of our train commute Upper Hutt to Wellington, arriving to scenes of Wellington Harbour. For quite some years we both worked in Wellington and travelled in and out by rail.
Our train pulled into Platform No 9 at Wellington Station, and the two locos needed to be taken off the front of the train, which was now the back, shunted the short distance and hooked up again. These plans were foiled when a electric train expectantly arrived at Platform No 8. After a bit of patient waiting, the train went on it’s way, and the shunting of the locos could get underway.
All the seats in our carriage were flipped over so that we continued our journey facing the front. Then we were on our way again, through Tawa Tunnels No1 and No2, stopping at Paekakariki to let some of the passengers off the train. Then through the familiar settlements of Te Horo, Manakau and Ohau. Although we have travelled this route by road many times, it is quite a different perspective looking at the view out of the carriage windows. The train arrived back at Levin at 6.50pm, right on time, we were told. What a great day, 360kms of rail travel, interesting commentaries, and good company. What could be better.