The 2010 Steam and Cinders Convention was held at Nelson. After a relatively smooth crossing on the Kaitaki, we arrived around 2 pm on a beautiful warm afternoon. We unloaded DG760 and Carriage 787 plus the 3 ride-on carriages, and checked out the track, which looked pretty as a picture. Off for a test drive, and as it was a non-public day, we were free to play without fare-paying passengers.
View a Photo Album of images of Convention 2010 on Flickr.
Wednesday was the first public day and it dawned fine and warm. There was a concert in the park next door, so plenty of people were around. Dale did several rounds of the track, and at 1 pm the Grand Parade began, with all available locos out on the track. The public kept arriving to admire the locos, steam traction engines, model boats and other static displays in the clubrooms. In the evening there was a shunting competition which attracted plenty of interest, and was won by the Hamilton club.
Another fine day in Nelson, with all locos fired up and ready for action by 10 am. Dale went off on the Ladies Bus Trip while Mike and Gerard Moat drove DG760 for the day, except when Mike attended the MEANZ AGM after lunch.
Friday's weather started off with a brisk but not too cold southerly breeze. All the steamers were out on the track by mid morning and more people and their locos arrived during the day. The track opened at 10 am for the public, and was soon busy with departing locos from the station filled with passengers. Late afternoon was the double-header with 71 people hauled by 2 Alaska locos from Christchurch. What a sight!
Friday was also the night run and all locos were out on the track after dinner for drivers and families to have fun. Any members of the public who happened to be around got free rides. DG760 took 93 people on the night run.
Saturday dawned overcast but the cloud soon cleared to a brilliantly fine day. The horrible wind from the previous day had gone, and though the temperature was down a few degrees, it was a welcome relief not to be sweltering.
All the locos - steam engines, models and displays - were out for public inspection and enjoyment. The steamers got out on the track around 10 am and chugged around all day, carrying lots of happy passengers. DG760 only operated for a couple of hours then went off to let the steamers take over. Mike manned the station points for a while while Dale went off to the Nelson markets on Saturday morning.
The 3 course Convention Dinner began at 6.30 pm on Saturday night in the marquee, along with speeches and prizegiving, and a happy birthday singalong.
Fine, calm, warm - again! Looking promising for a great day's running. Then an ominous dark cloud appeared on the horizon to the south, and at 11.15 am the wind changed. However the cloud dissipated and the forecast for rain the morning never eventuated.
The crowds were out early and in force, and we did lots of runs before lunch with full loads of happy passengers enjoying the sights and sounds of the Nelson track.
Following lunch a group of us took a visit to Founders Park, the Nelson Heritage Park, and rode the Hunslett.
At precisely 3 pm, after a few spots of rain and another wind change, the rain arrived. We raced back to the track just in time to cover up our loco and carriages as everyone was scrambling to come in off the track, drop their fires and load up before the heavens opened. People rushed around helping each other or taking shelter in the marquee or under the nearest tree to watch the proceedings if they were not needed, especially the ladies! That was the end of the day's running as the heavens did finally open and those still outside got a real drenching. It was a shame the weather packed it in so soon, as everyone was having a whale of a time, but the public soon disappeared and the track took on a very sodden desolate look. The Convention was over! It was just a matter of getting packed up and outta there!
During the convention we had covered 69 kilometres with DG760 and taken over 300 passengers.
Thanks to the Nelson club for running a wonderful, friendly, enjoyable Convention.
Nelson to Christchurch via Murchison. Lovely scenery, misty ranges, giant waterfalls, swollen rivers, spectacular views (see photos below). Nice lunch in Murchison.
Rode the Christchurch Trams and looked around the city centre. Went for a ride up the Gondola too!
Although it was overcast, it was pleasant unloading and setting up all the visiting locos for a day's private running at McLeans Island, home of the Christchurch Live Steamers Club. The club put on lunch for the visitors and helped unload and reload, and man the various points around the track for forward and reverse running, as well as providing passengers. Even the girls had a go on some of the locos!
The track was a 900 metre circular track set out in pine trees, taking ten minutes to go around from the station. There were various exhibits and artefacts on display in the grounds, including one tunnel, one viaduct and a couple of bridges. Distance covered: 13.77 km
Photo 1 below shows Mike out on the track, and Photo 2 shows Sarah having her first loco drive, watched over by her boyfriend Warren Dawe!
This is the home of Canterbury Model Engineers, and is a very picturesque flat track decorated by flowering rose gardens, towering poplar trees and a playground. There was a raised and ground level track. From the station, you head out into the poplar stand, over a bridge and around the perimeter of the domain, over a boardwalk and after a big loop, back into the poplars and around to the station. It takes about 10 minutes to go around the track.
The club put on fish and chips for the visitors and there were nine visiting locos during the day. After lunch the weather turned nasty as a southerly bore down on Christchurch. Despite the initial light misty rain, it soon became unbearable with cold driving rain, so we packed up at 3 pm and headed off. Thanks for having us!
Christchurch to Blenheim. Nice trip along the coast and through the vineyards into Blenheim.
Although the Blenheim track was not operational, the visitors had a play anyway. Club members were on hand to assist and show us around, as some were there doing track maintenance. This is a very picturesque track with plenty of photo opportunities. We were even visited by a reporter from the local newspaper for a story and shots. Grant, Lyle and Chris got their locos out, but Mike kept DG 760 locked up for the day!
Home James! Just a ferry trip from Picton to Wellington. Rough in the strait, hit a few big waves, but not too bad, except for the kid who puked in the middle of the restaurant right after the second big wave!