Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

One hour’s sleep.


Aaron gave my bleary self a lift to the station, and it was time for another goodbye.

Although I had booked a train ticket on The Overlander back up north to Auckland from Wellington station, I had decided to pick it up from Porirua, which was much nearer to Aaron's house. When I boarded the train and spoke to the guard however, she said that they hadn't been going to stop at Porirua, because no-one had booked to board at that station. The only reason that they had stopped there was to pick up another driver, who happened to be the guy that I had been chatting to on the platform!

The train had cost more than the bus, and would take about 3 hours longer, because it's aimed at tourists who want to enjoy the scenery. Like so much of New Zealand's rail network, it nearly closed last year due to lack of numbers. At the back was a relaxed panoramic lounge-like area, where I quickly sat down to read the paper and enjoy the wrap-around views, until the same guard told me to move so that everyone could have a go. Oh dear, I was quickly becoming her problem-passenger.

So I moved to a regular seat nearby, and a few minutes later the lounge-area was fairly deserted, so I moved back. After all, she could hardly complain that I was preventing other passengers from sitting there, when most of the other comfy seats in that area were empty.

Sure enough, when she returned, she sat down too and we had quite a pleasant chat about anything but. She even wound up helpfully taking my photo!

The real views were outside though…

At one point we passed an old man excitedly waving a red flag at us, as apparently he comes out of his house twice a day purely to wave at everyone on the train. The guard said over the tannoy that she didn’t know why he did this, but I think he’s just excited that the train is still running.

There were a few stops for meals, most notably at Hamilton, where I have for many years believed there to be a train station, but have never been able to prove it. Today I firmly set foot on its platform!

The final hour or so back to Auckland were marred by a few passengers who were utterly incapable of coping with the presence of a few happy children on their train. While the kids’ parents were off in another carriage, one old lady decided to start telling them off for being ‘noisy’ and disturbing ‘all’ the other passengers. In an extremely rare moment, I actually stood up and told her off for including me in her personal problem. I really had to wonder just how miserable she had made herself in her lifetime, if she hadn’t even been able to make room for some laughing children.

I moved to another carriage to get away from her – something she could easily have done herself, and wondered if I was now guilty of the same intolerance that I’d just judged her of. A while later the kids’ mother thanked me for defending them.

The approach into Auckland at nighttime was interesting. It was a bit like being on an unfamiliar line somewhere on the Underground. We trundled past more and more buildings until we eventually pulled-into Auckland’s Britomart station, where I was now becoming quite plodding.

Here I had one very special assignment to complete though. I had promised Dave that I would get some shots of The Overlander train for him to work from when drawing his forthcoming comicbook, set in Auckland. With a little bit of experience at writing comics, I racked my brains to think which angles would probably work well in frames. It was also a good chance to take some photos of the station that I’ve been meaning to get for years anyway.

It had only been four days, but for me it had all been a much-needed holiday. And now, like the tracks, I’d reached the end.

Day #1 of 4 here.
Day #2 of 4 here.
Day #3 of 4 here.


4 comment(s):

At 3:25 am, Blogger KlownKrusty said...

I don't understand why you took reference photos of the Overgrounder for Dave. Couldn't he have just looked on your blog?

Waitaminute, you took these pictures FOR HIM didn't you? You're recycling material for your blog.


At 3:49 am, Blogger Steve Goble said...

(ahem) At least I am not recycling my own act.

Are you still showing The Best Of Krusty?

At 8:02 am, Blogger KlownKrusty said...

Hey-hey-hey, that Best of Krusty is all valid material, I'll have you know. Okay, so the producers drove a dumper truck of money to my house and asked me to run it. A dumper truck! I'm not made of stone!

Besides, thousands of kids love the Best of Krusty.

Okay, hundreds.

Okay, dozens.

Eurgh, tough blogging crowd! I need a lie down.

At 3:57 pm, Blogger I AM With You said...

Fun, Steve! Enjoy the pics. Finally picking up on replying to my contacts, Hope you can enjoy the new stuff on my page. Keep up the good work of documenting life, It is fun for us caught over here in the US to see around the world!! AM


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