The International Steam Pages

Once upon a time, long ago,
A West Coast Weekend, Labour Weekend, Part 1
(20th - 22nd October) 1984 

Wilson Lythgoe has been circulating friends with some steam pictures taken some time back and with his permission and encouragement they are reproduced on these pages and will be added to from time to time. Click here for the index.

When I was over in New Zealand last year I queried mine host as to whether the New Zealand Railway & Locomotive Society still held their AGM during Labour Weekend. Having relinquished my membership thirty years ago I was unaware that it's now held prior to the long weekend. Many years ago though the AGM was a Labour Weekend fixture, held in different towns and cities throughout the country, and always combined with a number of excursions.

I'd had little to do with the New Zealand railfan scene for a number of years but when I learnt the 1984 AGM would be held in Greymouth I decided to test the waters and see if I could enjoy this brave new world of diesel railfanning. (It turned out I could but not enough to make a habit of it.)

The weekend activities started at Christchurch with four carriages attached to the Greymouth express for the run over the Midland Line. The train then continued south to Hokitika before returning to Greymouth. During a photostop Dj3672 is seen approaching the combined road and rail bridge over the Arahura River.

Next day Dj3597 headed the train to Westport and back. It was typical West Coast weather with low cloud and rain although the sun did make a fleeting appearance near Westport. 

The third and final day started with a run to Rewanui. Dj3597 was again doing the honours seen here passing through Camp.

The highlight of the trip was the climb up the Incline to Rewanui and, if I remember correctly, this was one of the last passenger trains on the line. (How's my memory holding.....can anyone give more detail?) 

The weather started showing signs of improvement on the downhill run.....well the rain had stopped and that's always a positive sign.

Once back in Greymouth it was time for the final train of the weekend back to Christchurch. The clouds started to clear, the sun came out and all was well with the world but those photos can wait for another time..... 

Rob Dickinson