Steve W has his own Flickr photo stream over here. Steve has been railfanning a good many years and has an interest in “Ghost” railways, just like I do. Steve has been to many of the closed down lines around the country and is sharing many photos of these areas with us on his Flickr account. Steve seems to have an inexhaustible amount of time to have driven around New Zealand taking all these pictures and sharing them with us. I admire Steve for doing this because I know I will never get around to it myself. The pictures fill in a lot of stuff that can be seen from Google Earth pretty well so they add a dimension to the many explorations I have done on the satellite coverage. I hope Steve keeps taking these photos for a long time to come because I know they add a big dimension to my enjoyment of this hobby when I know that there will never be enough time or money for me to do the same.
Now, here are a couple of token rail-focused photographs taken just this evening:
The scene is the Lyttelton rail tunnel entrance (extreme left here). You can see that a retaining wall in the background is being rebuilt. I can’t remember exactly when this collapsed but it could be as much as 2 years ago. Just in the last couple of weeks the work of reconstructing the wall has begun. I hope it is going to be done in the original stone but I guess we will just have to wait and see. I’m not enough of an expert to know whether there was any threat at any time to rail operations or the tunnel itself.
This picture was taken from the roadway above and it shows how the footpath and safety railings have collapsed above this retaining wall. It is worth noting a historical aspect to this perspective. Towards the left hand side of the picture is about where the Lyttelton signalbox used to sit. The box has been relocated near the old railway station for preservation, although complete this is not the actual location it was last used in, instead its last location when it was still in use was near the tunnel mouth as noted above (and may have been between the two rail tracks that you can see in this picture). I think that David Lorimer of Heathcote, a long time railways employee of the area and a stalwart these days of the Ferrymead Railway along with his wife Alison, was probably the last signalman stationed at Lyttelton when the box closed in the late 1980s or so. He was also the stationmaster at Heathcote for a number of years and still lives nearby. David and Alison lost their only son Andrew almost a year ago, presumed drowned in the Grey River (as his body was never found).