The Eye of the Fish

Leviathan
February 23, 2019

Travel by Train

As you may have noticed, I’ve been a bit quiet lately. Yes, busy at work and that sort of thing, but I have also managed to have a wee bit of quiet time too. I’ve been travelling around, and for once, not in the drivers seat. Yes indeedy, I am the Passenger. And I ride and I ride.
plains
I’ve been driving since the day I turned 15, which is what you did way back then – get your license as soon as legally possible. I learned in Mum’s Morris Minor, which later became My Morris Minor, and of course it was the coolest thing imaginable. Dad had a Ford Falcon, which we went on summer holidays in, but for the most part I was driving the Morrie Thousand, frequently changing gear to make the most of the tiny engine.
cows
My point is: my view has always been forward. Now, however, in my dotage, I had this opportunity to be a passenger, in a train, and look sideways instead of out the front. So much nicer. Peaceful. Relaxing. No stress. No emails. No wifi. No work. No thing. Enforced quiet time. The view, ever changing, foreground blurring, the background staying the same. Like living in a watercolour, muted plays of light on the hillside, sun shafting through breaks in the cloud. Quite pleasant really. And the tracks go “Ga-dunk, Ga-dunk”. And repeat.
traintrip
Normal transmission will be resumed shortly.

THC
23 - 02 - 19

Totally tripping man, totally tripping….

starkive
23 - 02 - 19

Alas for the Silver Star!

Sliding out of the old Auckland station and across Orakei Basin at sunset. Stretched out in the sleeping compartment with the blind up through the night and into Wellington by breakfast. And hardly a fibre of asbestos to show for it.

starkive
23 - 02 - 19

The Silver Star was taken out of service in the late 70s for a bit of a do-up and the workers discovered it was lined with blue asbestos. It never went back on the tracks and was eventually sold – lining and all I assume – to Malaysia or somewhere with a narrow gauge rail system.

You could get a single sleeper compartment AKL – WLG for the same price as the student stand-by airfare.

starkive
23 - 02 - 19

A bit of a wiki about the ultimate fate of the Silver Star reveals it ended up hereā€¦

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastern_and_Oriental_Express

Utterly Agatha!

Betterbee
25 - 02 - 19

Not all the Silver Star cars ended up in south-east Asia – look at 106 Tararu Rd, Thames on Google Maps or Streetview and you can see four of them just sitting just sitting there.

And for those who liked the romance of sleeping cars, those on The Northerner outlived the Silver Star by 20 years or so.

starkive
26 - 02 - 19

I promise I am not a trainspotter, but one more thing I remember about the Silver Star was the effect of NZ’s narrow gauge on cabin layout. Instead of the familiar long corridor down one side, it had to zig zag, creating triangular compartments on alternating sides. Consequently there were port and starboard cabin options.

Seamonkey Madness
26 - 02 - 19

Betterbee, those carriages look so depressing, just sitting there waiting to rot (figuratively, being stainless steel, not literally!).

Do you know if there are any plans for them, other than for the asbestos to slowly fritter away to the childcare centre next door?

Leviathan
26 - 02 - 19

starkive – “I promise I am not a trainspotter” – but you are, really, aren’t you? I’ve seen you in your anorak of fire…