Friday, November 2, 2007

The Tranz Alpine Journey

Back in 1978, as President of Comex Singapore, an adventure travel club with more than 600 members in Singapore, I had organised and led our 1st European Expedition using the Eurail Pass mainly. It was a month long train journey that covered most of Europe, including the remote region of the Arctic Circle plus another 2 weeks of adventure in the UK. That was, for me and those with me,
an unforgettable journey of a lifetime, a dream spectacularly fulfilled.
But this Tranz Alpine train journey would top all that. It was that good! It surpassed all my previous train journeys for the sheer splendour and panoramic views D2 and I had experienced. Nothing in my previous experience had come close, except perhaps, our train journey on the Taieri Gorge Railway, South Island, NZ in 2005. But details on that will come much later on this site.
The advance booking for this was done by D4 while we were still in Singapore. The cost was $ 82 in NZ currency for a single ticket from Greymouth to Christchurch, a journey of 223.8 km long and takes about 4 and 1/2 hours in all.
After we had a simple lunch in the town centre, we headed for the Greymouth Train station by about 2.00 pm. We collected our tickets and our luggage was checked into the Baggage Carriage. We had 3 pieces of luggage. We proceeded to our assigned seats which were very comfortable. All in the carriage were excited and animated fellow travellers from various parts of the world. There was a couple who ran a poultry farm in the North Island and that was their 1st trip to the South! Amazing! And they weren't that young. I asked them for their honest opinion ...the beauty of the North, where they came from, versus the South. Without any hesitation their joint answer...."the South wins handsdown !".

[Hey you southerners....Maree, Nic, Karl,Judy,Margaret,Finnigan, Adrian and all....You owe me more than a beer huh, when we next meet ! ]
The photos
showed us at Arthur's Pass, where all passengers were allowed to get off the train, shoot pictures, have snowfights, do whatever until the whistle blows for re-boarding.

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