For all of everything that New Zealand has, a great train service is not one of them.
They seem to have enough track laid everywhere but they have stopped most trains running due to cost.
There is a train that runs from Auckland to Wellington but it only runs every other day, it goes down to Wellington on Monday back up to Auckland on Tuesday and then repeats until Saturday, when it ends back in Auckland ready for Monday morning. Not exactly your most efficient service, nor popular one obviously. It does also take 10-11 hours each way!
It does pass through Hamilton but you would never know it. It is called the Northern Explorer and for all its slowness and lack of service I do still want to take the boys on it as it passes through some gorgeous scenery of New Zealand on its way from the top to the bottom of the North Island. They have just rehashed the timetable and that is why it now runs even less than before, however I have a feeling that one day it will cease to run altogether and I hope to have taken the boys on it for the experience more than anything before it stops.
We have a few tracks that are used for cargo trains but again you are lucky if you happen to see them, however I do manage to hear them....they have a train that passes through Hamilton at about 11pm and again at 4am. When laid in bed at night reading I can hear the train go through as it is so quiet, same with 4am if I happen to be awake.
So you can imagine finding a train to picture was going to be slightly tough unless I went for a model train or a picture. I so didn't want to end up taking a picture of my sons' Thomas the Tank Engine set either
I was thinking that I may end up cheating and just show you lots of pictures of empty track and tell you that sadly we missed the train, but things took a turn for the better.....
Whilst away we did manage to see the pleasure train that runs between Waihi and Waikino in the Bay of Plenty. It is a train that has been made over by some enthusiasts and runs on weekends for a 25 minute trip from Waihi to Waikino and then back again.
I managed to get a picture but we were a) driving past in the car and even though Steve managed to slow a little it was lucky that I got the picture when I did and b) it was raining just a tad, like it had been since early hours of the morning and continued until Monday afternoon!
So there I had it, an actual train which is a very rare find in New Zealand.
Although whilst driving away at the weekend we passed a sign for an upcoming train track and there was a perfect train picture on the sign. I told the family that on the way home on Sunday we needed to stop and picture it for the hunt.
So even though we managed to get a picture of the real train an hour before hand on the drive home, we still stopped so I could get a picture of the sign....
Here's hoping your train picture was easier to find than mine?