Off-the-rails engine, carriage turn heads
Motorists may have done a double take at the sight of a train engine and carriage sitting on the side of State Highway 6 in Belgrove this morning.
The electric two-car train bought by the Claus family off Trade Me, with a $29,990 last-minute bid last month, arrived on the back of two trucks early this morning. The 38-tonne engine and 24-tonne carriage were lifted from the KiwiRail yard in Lower Hutt by cranes yesterday, driven to an Interislander ferry and brought over the Cook Strait last night.
The Claus family bought the train to put on a Railway Reserve section on their property south of Nelson, which they have been busy preparing for its arrival.
Train enthusiast Eric Hawkins, who was at the property this morning, said he remembered coming down the line when he was about 5 years old.
"I remember coming down in the cab of the locomotive, coming through the cutting and around the corner. I was hanging on like grim death," he said.
Mr Hawkins' wife, Robynne, said it would be great to see a train sitting on the original line.
Hans Claus, a mechanic by trade, was this morning using a small digger to clear some extra space to manoeuvre the engine and carriage, formerly owned by Metlink, into place on about 50 metres of track.
His wife, Anja Claus, said one of the carriages had acquired a lot of extra graffiti since she saw it in Wellington two months ago.
Mrs Claus said the train had a good sailing on the ferry, but it was slow going from Picton to Nelson - especially around any roundabouts.
Her sleep-deprived husband got home about 5am, after having only slept a little bit on the ferry.
"He has been really busy in the last two months. It has been really full-on. Hans has mostly done it all by himself. It's a tremendous effort. He's quite a handyman."
Mrs Claus said the family was planning to eventually turn the train into accommodation.
"The biggest thing is to just get it here - and then we'll think about other stuff."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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