Dad had a lifelong interest in steam locomotives and it was a hobby that incorporated the whole family. He had his own model railway in the garden and ran his trains at home and on other model tracks. The whole family were encouraged to participate.
Holidays were spent searching out the ever diminishing steam railways or visiting preserved lines.
It somehow became embedded in us so that wherever we went we too would look out for any railways and report back with suitable photographs. I can see that this will be a habit that may continue and was something I certainly found myself doing in New Zealand, a country that he did not wish to visit due to its lack of steam!
There were signs in the small town of Kawakawa in the Far North for Gabriel the Steam Engine which travels down the main street. Alas there was no sign of it when we stopped there and it seems we were too late for a cuppa in th station cafe too! We were still novice travellers at that stage. We soon discovered that most cafes closed around 3.30! Don't they know that the proper time for a cup of tea is 4 O Clock?!
Our second attempt was on South Island as we passed through a small town called Kingston, south of Queenstown. Signs to the Kingston Flyer Steam train had us deviating from our route again. This time we found a very derelict station and it was the very chatty toilet attendant in the local loos that told us that it had been closed for several years.
We had also encountered some interesting combinations of rail and road. We were a little perplexed when crossing a bridge in Hokitika to find that we shared it with the railway.
Followed by two roundabouts where the railway crossed over the centre. This required the farmer to drive round twice while I took a photo!
The part of our holiday I would however have been most keen to share with dad would have been our visit to Dunedin. It was pouring with rain as we pulled into the station car park to see the remarkably ornate railway station. Outside photos were therefore kept to a minimum.
This bluestone building was built between 1903 and 1906 and has a spectacular tiled entrance hall. The light was not good but I will try to give you a flavour of its style.
The individual detail was remarkable. In particular, the ticket office
The mosaic floor.
Then the stained glass window.
Next door to the station was the Otago Settlers museum which was unfortunately closed for the day. We could see through the glass a steam engine of quite some note. A double ended engine. I have obtained this photo from the Internet due to the appalling wether conditions for photography.
I would certainly have had quite a bit to report back to him.