The great thing about New Zealand's Scenic rail service is the open air viewing carriages at the rear of the train. Since the government announced it would be shutting the Coastal Pacific passenger service from Christchurch to Picton for the winter, the Missus and I thought we should jump aboard in case some further decision was made to close it to the public for good.
In the coffee cart I spoke to a 90 year Christchurch woman who regularly made the trip to see friends up north, she said she loved it. "It's a chance to relax, soak up the scenery and let the world wash off." I guess she should know, she had her share of misfortune in the big quakes; three cracked ribs in the first and concussion in the February disaster. "Still I'm alive, I survived the depression too. Christchurch is home but I love getting away from it sometimes."
Autumn but already it felt like winter. A blue black, drizzling dawn reluctantly grew light as the Lokey roared into gear and we rolled out of the Shakey City. The day wore on, the temperature dropped, the onshore gathered steam driving the rain hard and horizontal through the open portals.
The intermittent track views that follow were made from the centre windows of the rear carriage.