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Published: April 5th 2010
This Way Please
Where the finger points, we shall follow!
What do you do when the sun is shining, the weather is warm but you're not feeling up to doing anything too strenuous? You head to Waiuku and ride the Glenbrook Steam Railway of course!
It's been a glorious Easter weekend and not wanting to waste the sunshine before heading back to work again, we took a little drive down to Glenbrook where a bunch of volunteer train enthusiasts run rides on their lovingly restored steam locomotives. Having both been a little poorly lately, it seemed an ideal way to enjoy being outdoors without having to exert ourselves for once. The trains only run on selected days such as public holidays and for short blocks during summer so we were lucky to have picked such a great day for it.
The drive south-west took around 30 minutes and we arrived in plenty of time for the 1.30pm departure. We bought our return tickets to Waiuku for $14 each and then ambled around the little train station that was remarkably reminiscent of the pretty station in Wymondham back in the UK where Glynn and I used to live. There were old railway buildings and bits of rusty track and pipes
It's like stepping back into the 1950s :-)
and all manner of railway-type stuff lying around giving it that extra bit of authenticity.
I chatted to one of the volunteers who had been helping out as a platform attendant for 10 years. He suggested we could get off in Waiuku and take a tour of the town for an hour or so and then catch the next train back to Glenbrook. It seemed like a great idea until he pointed out that all the shops would be shut seeing as it was Easter Monday. Bummer.
When the train pulled in to the station, we opted for seats in one of the open sided carriages and enjoyed the sensation of the wind in our hair as we started our journey. Along the route, there were some nice views across the open farmland although I was disappointed that none of the cows waved back at me. Every so often we slowed for road crossing points and would see families that had pulled up in their cars to watch and wave as we passed. Naturally I waved back, unlike the cows.
Arriving in Waiuku, we considered the volunteers' suggestion of disembarking and having a wander around Waiuku but
For $1 each, you could ride the hand jigger train where you pump along manulally or pay $4 like these lazy tourists here to ride the motorised jigger!
we could see the town's main street in the distance and it looked pretty dead. Instead of getting off, we switched sides in our carriage to see the view from the other side on the way back. En route, we stopped at a railway works building where other volunteers were busy renovating a couple of other impressive looking engines. There was a mass exodus of people heading towards the giant shed so we went the other way to take a closer look at the enormous jet black steam engine that was pulling our convoy. The wheels alone were almost the same height as me and even Glynn looked tiny standing next to it!
Before everyone re-boarded the train for the final leg, Glynn suggested we sit in the open-top carriage just behind the locomotive. This seemed like a great idea until we got moving again and were smothered in a near constant stream of billowing black smoke and droplets of condensed steam. We didn't really mind though as that's the fun of travelling by steam train but I imagine it can't have been fun for people way back when this was the only mode of transport for long journeys.
Glynn reckons they must have mispelt the station's name.
Pulling in to Glenbrook station, we treated ourselves to an ice cream before waving off the next train-load of passengers and making our way home. It was a nice way to spend a sunny afternoon. I officially love trains!
For more info, here's the link to the Glenbrook Railway website: http://www.railfan.org.nz
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