Titirangi Storyteller

Telling tales from around the world

Posts Tagged ‘trains

Random steam train encounter

with one comment

There was a time when I was amazed at how, when I had just discovered something amazing – it seemed like the universe just kept delivering it to me in an abundance of synchronicity… A little older, a little wiser I’ve come to suspect that all these amazing, wonderful things are happening around us all the time, and we’re just not paying attention. Of course I still believe in miracles and pure magic – but most of the random synchronicitous events could have been planned out if we’d made the effort.

I admit that, despite my developing passion for steam trains, I had no idea the 1275 was making an excursion from Auckland to Te Kuiti over the weekend. Fortunately, the universe delivered me to the train station at just the right time – though the train was 20 minutes, allowing me to plan and set up my shot…

Ham-Train-1Love the inerent Steampunk quality in these dials and knobs.

Ham-Train-2And the infinite variety of valves and pipes and bolts enveloped by steam.

Ham-Train-3But it’s just a short stop and soon it’s all aboard again.

Ham-Train-5 And we’re off for another adventure…  Ham-Train-6 copy

Written by Titirangi Storyteller

03/04/2014 at 11:22 pm

Steampunk Shootout!

leave a comment »

Secrets

with 4 comments

Written by Titirangi Storyteller

07/11/2013 at 11:18 am

Train bits go all steampunk

with 9 comments

I just love how these bits and pieces of the trains turned out. Something about them just cried out for maximum saturation and super sharpness. The response has not all been favourable – some folks really dislike this treatment. I really like it. Do you?Trains-workshopV2

This will be the boiler and firebox of a locomotive when it is fully restored, in the meantime, it’s really pretty

Trains-152Half of a coupling mechanism

Trains-tap

Trains-switch2

Trains-switch

A switch, with nothing to switch?

Trains-150This looks almost robotic. I admit it was mostly rust coloured and I hand coloured it. Just for fun. Hard to explain just how inspiring these photos are to me. I’ve booked another excursion out to Huntly for September. Hoping to have some models to shoot along with the trains next time.

Written by Titirangi Storyteller

12/07/2013 at 12:31 am

Trains

with 2 comments

Finally got to work more on the train photos. And discovered the essence of the steampunk thing. I’d never paid more than a passing bit of notice to it – just didn’t get it. Until I started working on these photos – the colour palette, the endless bits and pieces and detail, the drama. Suddenly it makes more sense… I have to say these photos are some of my favourites ever and working on them has been a real joy.

I’m planning on a return visit to the Bush Tramway Club in a couple of months – hopefully with some steampunk models in tow to do a bit of posing with the trains…

So here are some actual train shots (and one building – whatcha gonna do?) Some steampunk bits tomorrow…Trains-train

Trains-300

Trains-dining car

Trains-tower  Trains-27

Written by Titirangi Storyteller

10/07/2013 at 12:00 am

Train minutiae

leave a comment »

Spent the day out at the Bush Tramway Club in Huntly, an hour and a bit south of Auckland. Very impressive club restoring, preserving and having fun with old trains. Their website is a bit dated (the guy who built it is also a locomotive driver and the club secretary – with no time to redo…) but there is lots of good info here. http://www.bushtramwayclub.com/

These are some details I came across. I’ll post some pictures of actual trains when I finally get through all my photos – but I just love these bits and pieces.

Trains-loop

Trains-screws2

Trains-108

Trains-screws

Trains-screw

Written by Titirangi Storyteller

08/07/2013 at 10:09 am

Romantic train journey in China??? (pt 1)

with 5 comments

orientexpress1There’s a certain romance attached to train travel, an elegance associated with sleeper and dining cars. Think Some Like it Hot, or Murder on the Orient Express, or any of a dozen screwball comedies starring Cary Grant or Kathryn Hepburn. Though I’ve travelled extensively in Europe, the US and Asia, I’d never had the chance to experience it myself.

Until my trip to China. As part of the pre-arranged tour, we were to travel from Beijing to Xian on an overnight train – going ‘soft’ class all the way. I envisioned rich oriental furnishings, sumptuous delicacies served in the dining car and impeccable service from well-trained porters. I couldn’t wait!

We had a hectic final day in Beijing – the Great Wall, a rickshaw ride through a hutong (traditional high-density housing), followed by a visit to a local home and finally dinner. Our train was scheduled to leave at eight in the evening. During dinner our guide, Eric, told us there was going to be a change. As it was the start of the Golden Week (May 1st), one of two weeks a year, when most of the Chinese go on holiday. Over half a billion people on the move – and some official had forgotten to book something. Our train had been requisitioned by the government. The whole train. Eric had known this might happen the day before, but forgot to tell us since he had let the other passengers know during dinner, but we had gone out with a friend of a friend. We had packed the minimum we had previously been instructed – pyjamas and toiletries for overnight. Oh well, things happen. Our bags were already gone, so it was too late to grab a change of clothes.

After whiling the evening away in a hotel bar, the group headed for the Beijing train station. On the bus, we were each given a plastic grocery bag. Inside we found several packets of Chinese noodles, candy bars, tea bags, crackers and assorted other junk food. Eric advised that the food available on the train wasn’t very nice and probably not safe for us to eat. Uh oh.

beijingtrain-beijngstationThe bus dropped us off about a kilometre from the station. I did not take this photo, as we arrived about 11 at night. But it looked like half the city was in flight, refugees in a makeshift camp. The entire grounds were densely packed with people camping out, hoping to get a train out of town. We picked our way through thousands of families in sleeping bags, a week’s worth of travel gear stacked up around them, huddled together to keep safe and warm. We struggled to keep up, trying not to get separated from the group. Once inside, our guides navigated us through the teeming hordes (yes, hordes, and you have never seen such teeming!) With our tickets finally guaranteed, we made our way to the soft class lounge – standing room only – where we waited another hour. Our guide then informed us that the train we would be taking was not an express like the original train, so instead of a 12 hour trip, it would take 17 hours to reach Xian. Uh oh.

beijing-train-station-0As we approached the platform, my visions of rich upholstery and polished porters vanished. ‘Soft’ class meant we had inch-thick mattresses and would be joined in our compartment by only 2 other people. Fortunately, it was an Australian couple from our group. A French woman travelling solo with another group refused to bunk with three Chinese women and shrieked and wailed for what seemed like hours and finally slept on the floor in the narrow filthy corridor.

Our compartment was too small to call a cabin. The berths were barely two feet wide. The lowers were at a fine level, suitable for sitting. But the uppers were about six feet up and there was no ladder. You had to use rock-climbing techniques and scale the wall, fitting your feet into little ledges about 2 inches deep to get leverage. Since my husband has a bit of arthritis, he couldn’t climb up there, leaving it to me. I am not a small, spry woman – you would never take me for the rock climbing type. I couldn’t manage it on my own, not even with my husband pushing froxian-train-soft-classm behind. Alas, it required two men, profound humiliation and vows to never eat again to get me up there. No chance of a quick whizz in the middle of the night.

Once up I realised I had to lie flat. If I curled onto my side and the train came to a sudden stop, the tiny railing would surely break loose and I would roll off. Thank goodness I’m not taller.  At 5’6″ my head and feet touched the walls. Surely I could get to sleep. I was deeply exhausted… And tomorrow would bring more adventures – I was sure…

Stay tuned for part deux…

Written by Titirangi Storyteller

04/03/2009 at 11:14 pm

%d bloggers like this: