At the end of the earth: After being a tourist in New Zealand with the good woman for the past few weeks, I finally get a trainspotting day pass and have to drive 300km north in cloud before finally stumbling upon a few miles of blue sky. Lucky; as the scanner tells me I only have a couple of minutes to find a spot to catch the southbound Tranz Coastal along this spectacular section of coastline near Kaikoura. To my pleasant surprise, the train is headed up by the first 'KiwiRail' painted loco - my first sighting of the new colour scheme and it looks quite striking. This loco and four DXs (two in each of NZ's main islands) carry variations of this scheme, but at the time the picture was taken, DX 5454 was already out and about, running around in what would become the 'final' KiwiRail livery with a vertical rather than horizontal red-gray colour separation and larger branding. Still think I prefer this old one... I chase the train south as the high cloud returns and the day ends with me completing a 600km round trip for three and a half pictures. Still, I'm not complaining!
Trains on 3' 6" (1.067m) track from Whangarei to Bluff with virtually heritage rebuilt EMD and GE locomotives still the mainstay power. The network was privatized in 1990's and operated by Toll until 2008 when state owned KiwiRail was established.