New Zealand trip report

Started by triumph, February 05, 2018, 12:51:43 PM

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Report on transport aspects of trip to New Zealand. Trip involved a few days in Wellington (N Island), Marahau and Nelson (both S Island) mostly using rental cars to tour about. Scope - Wellington only; and area roughly bounded by Picton, Blenheim, Murchison, and Takaka in N end of South Island.

10/1/18 Singapore  Air Flt 291 direct Canberra-Wellington. Flight time (take off to landing) 2hr 49min. Interesting landing, as it was in low overcast, drizzly cloud almost to touchdown which, as befits Wellington's short runway was firmly positive with much reverse thrust then applied. 9V-SQN, Boeing 777-212ER, MSN 33,373, 2xRR Trent 892 engines, 1st flight 3/8/'04.

11/1/18 Bus 4225 (Alexander Dennis Enviro 200, bodied by Kiwi/ADL, Go Wellington) Rte 1 Island Bay shops to Wellington Railway Station. Noted only bus ridden with audio next stop announcements operating. Also noted many more major stops with next bus electronic display panels.

Train 8.21am Wellington to Masterton, return dept 10.44am. 91km each way. Gauge 3ft 6in. A 'proper' train, locomotive diesel electric DFB 7307 with 6 airconditioned carriages including SEG340, a composite sitting, crew, luggage and train domestic power supply. One carriage also was arranged to accommodate disability transport. The Co-Co engine was built by General Motors Diesel and entered service Oct 1979 as DF1664. It was later renumbered DF1633 and featured in a 1981 film "Goodbye Pork Pie" (ummmm), later again it was upgraded to DFT now producing 1800kw and finally fitted with a Brightstar engine management system and recoded to its present number. A feature of this route is the Rimutaka tunnel, 8.798km long, built 1955, to replace the route over the range using the 'Fell' traction augmentation system. At the time it was New Zealand's longest rail tunnel, supplanting the Otira tunnel, which when built 1922, 8.5km, was the 7th longest in world and longest in the British Commonwealth (on the Tansalpine route). In turn, it was supplanted by the Kaimai tunnel, 1978, 8.879km (on the route to Tauranga). By comparison, Australia's longest (urban undergrounds not considered) traditional tunnel is the Woy Woy, near that town in NSW, at a mere 1.79km built in 1888.

Bus 761 (MAN 11.190, body by Designline, Go Wellington) Rte 1 Wellington Railway Station to stop near Te Papa Museum.

12/1/18 Bus 771 (details as for 761), Rte 1 Island Bay shops to Cable Car stop in City.

Cable car 1 on the funicular to the top station in the Botanical Gardens. 612m long, 120m height gain, opened 1902. There is a cable car museum here too.

13/1/18 Bus 4246 (details as for 4225) Rte 1 City to Island Bay shops.

14/1/18 Zealandia Wildlife Sanctuary shuttle minibus (Toyota) to Cable Car.

Cable car 1 to City.

Bus 4231 (details as for 4225) Rte 1 City to Island Bay shops.

15/1/18 Cook Strait Interislander Service ferry MV Kaitaki for 9am dept to Picton on the S Island. About 3hr voyage,  Fine, calm, clear(!) weather. Trivia - Picton is about same latitude as Wellington, despite being in the S Island. Kaitaki, the biggest of the 3 ferries operated by Interislander, was built by Van der Gessen de Nord, Rotterdam and in service 1995 under name Isle of Innisfree for Irish Ferries. After name and operator changes it came to Interislander in 2005 and was named Kaitaki in 2007. Tonnage 22,365 and dead weight is 5,794 tonnes. In comparison, the Bass Strait 'Spirit of Tasmania 1 & 2' are fractionally larger but much faster.

16/1/18 "Vista 2" a small catamaran style vessel operated by Wlson's. Kaiteriteri west along the Tasman National Park coast to Totaranui and return. A near 5hr scenic trip with numerous calls to beaches enroute to pick up and set down trampers (NZ version of hikers), campers, etc.. Method at beach is to run bow first up to the beach and connect to the beach by an extendable gangway from the bow. Caution is necessary on a falling tide to not linger.

Tourist highlights Marahau and Nelson - the above trip, Riwaka Resurgance (a river emerges from the ground), Takaka Hill road, Nelson Lakes, way out in the Marlborough Sounds the very twisty scenic drive to remote French Pass, World of Wearable Art and adjacent excellent car museum in Nelson.

26/1/18 Cook Strait ferry DEV (Diesel Electric Vessel) Aratere,  Picton - Wellington in lowering overcast. Mid morning departure after drive from Nelson. Aratere is now the only Interislander fitted for carriage of trains, and wagons were noted being shunted on and off. Aratere was built by Astillero Barreras of Spain for Interislander 1998-1999 with tonnage 12,596 Gross Tonnes (marine tonnage types are a can of worms) and is now 17,816 GT! This increase came about in 2011 when the ship underwent an extensive refit which included a new bow and stern, and cutting in half to insert a 30m length extension - some surgery that. (The remaining vessel in the fleet is the MS Kaiarahi, slightly smaller than the Kaitaki).

Electric train consisting of 2 power/trailer pairs from Wellington dept 3.25pm to Melling, and dept 3.49pm on return. Melling is a 3km single line branch from Petone, the remnant of the original Wairarapa Line before it was re-routed. Pairs were FP/FT 5062 and 4470. Known as 'Matangi' class the down end pair (ridden) 5062 were built in Korea by Hyundai Rotem/Mitsui, 1600VDC with AC traction motors, in service Sept 2015.

Airport Flyer coach bus Wellington City stop near Intercontinental Hotel to Airport. Fleet number not obtained. Airport Flyer are buses with specially fitted coach style interior.

Singapore Air Flt 292 Wellington to Canberra. Same aircraft. In-flight time 2hrs 58min for a 40min early arrival. The contrast of touching down smoothly with little reverse thrust on Canberra's longer runway was significant.

A great trip.


Re NZ Trip Report

Should have mentioned Wellington trolley buses. Had hopes earlier on, but they ceased operation at the end of last October. Some overhead structure remains still to be removed, but enough has gone to make re-instatement a lost cause.


Still unsorted, etc in camera, but mainly of non-transport and, I now realise, no buses, but some of trains. It is actually quite frustrating to photograph the Interislander ship you are about to travel on due to wharf arrangements and access limitations. The same applies to the aircraft.