Sitting here at a desk in an office in a building in the middle of Long Island, I'm supposed to be working - but instead I'm posting a picture on RP and missing my homeland of New Zealand. Once or twice a year I get back for a visit and inevitably spend a few days snapping trains on the 'Midland Line' between Christchurch and the west coast of the South Island. The weather is often awful, but something keeps drawing me back to this short stretch or railway. Coal trains rumbling through swamp and native bush; the TranzAlpine passenger train soaring across spindly viaducts, freight trains tiptoeing over stony riverbeds; all set against a picture perfect backdrop of snowy mountain peaks. The scenery! The majesty! This place that I’m drawn to... The essence of the west coast bottled up in a photo, is here in the remnants of a native forest beside the dark waters of the Arnold River. On a perfect mid-winter midmorning, DFT 7199 and DC 4761 bring the Tranz westward between Moana and Kotuku.
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.