it goes right through the New Zealand Alps, along gorges, through tunnels, over huge bridges. It's one of the best scenic train rides in the world.
The train consist of fairly new, home-built equipment. The train had several coaches that had big windows and roof skylights, a cafe car, an open air sightseeing car and a baggage car. It was pulled by a pair of 2300 hp locomotives (with a US pedigree) on 3' 6" "Cape Gauge" track, the standard for New Zealand.
|In the station. Unfortunately, camera doesn't have pole filter!|
|Inside. Monitors track train's route and alert you to audio commentary|
We didn't have the greatest weather, but we still had a great ride. All along the way, there is audio commentary available on headphones to tell you what you are seeing, how the railroad was built and the history of the area.
After rolling along the flat leaving Christchurch, the train headed into the hill along the Wiamakariri River.
|Lots of company in the sightseer car|
|Heading up hill.|
|The railroad runs along the canyon wall|
|One of many tunnels on the route|
|The cloud ceiling was disappointing, but there was plenty to see under the clouds.|
|Still following the Wiamakariri|
|Top of the grade|
|Four locomotives tie onto the rear to help with braking in the summit tunnel.|
|Departing. Across the river and into the tunnel.|
|Down hill after the summit|
|Rolling along valley floor|
|The route is ringed by the New Zealand Alps. |
They were clearly visible going down the west slope as the clouds lifted
|New Zealand is covered with pastureland.|
Clouds notwithstanding, this was a top notch train ride over the roof of the New Zealand Alps.
Next up, Franz Josef and Fox Valley glaciers.