One of the down-sides of working as a “Temp” is that Jenny can be put off work with very little notice. Not much time to plan anything, and of course no work means no pay. However, on Tuesday she decided to “ride the rails” and have a day out in the Capital City, Wellington.
There was a ten trip ticket tucked away in her wallet with two clips left on it. So why not take the train for a change, instead of the bus? This ticket was almost an antique. It had previously belonged to Robin when he worked in Wellington many years ago and must have been over 12 years old, if not more!!
There are none of those super fast trains here in New Zealand like they have overseas. The trip from Upper Hutt to Wellington takes 50 minutes. The train passes first through suburbia, then reaches the foreshore. From here the flat land narrows to a thin ribbon and is hemmed in by towering hills on one side and Wellington Harbour on the other. A quick trip through the rail yards and there we are, Wellington City.
Wellington Railway Station was completed in 1937 and is registered as a Category 1 Historic Place. It was designed in Neo-Georgian style with eight columns at the imposing entrance. It is New Zealand’s busiest railway station in terms of the numbers of services and passenger numbers.
It was some time since Jenny had travelled in by train and she noticed many changes inside the station. Gone were the kiosk that sold snacks, newspapers, sweets and drinks, the florist, and the hot dog stand. The concourse has been renovated and is now clear, light and airy. There is a Metro Supermarket tucked tidily away in one corner which serves the needs of travellers.
Both Jenny and Robin worked in Wellington for many years. In their youth they travelled on rackety old carriages known as “bone shakers” pulled by diesel engines. These had hard wooden seats and gas lights. Even further back, Jenny can remember waiting on the station as a child and excitedly watching the steam engine arrive puffing smoke. Travelling by electric units now seem a bit tame!!