So the taxi driver told us as we left Christchurch at 7-30am, that not only had the earthquake killed 185 people but that over 7,000 houses had been declared uninhabitable and the government, after the insurance company went bust, had bought them up and the area was going to be just nothing. Quite an impact on the city, considering he was always told at school when he was a lad,that the earthquakes if they did happen would happen in Wellington.
He also concluded that the train station was SO far out of town it must have been built by a taxi driver! The train was full: around 400 souls divided into two halves. Two observation cars, two buffets, so one guard type person looking after 200 bodies each.
The journey took some four hours, with a running commentary provided on headsets. The sights and scenery just became more and more dramatic, words just no longer seemed adequate to describe what we were seeing.
The journey started off as a fairly low cloud sort of day but developed into sunshine by the time we crossed over the mountains. There was a 6km tunnel and so much information was imparted on the commentary that a lot if facts and figures passed me by. One interesting point was that many of the miners who came to mine the coal, in those very early pioneer days, came from Yorkshire. They campaigned and went on strike for a half hour lunch break instead of a fifteen minute one! Well, you hardly have time to put the tobacco in yer pipe during 15 minutes, do you?
We then picked up a hire car in Greymouth at the station, had lunch and then motored on to Franz Jospeh. The pictures of the view from the Motel you have already seen. But the one ‘bridge’ that we crossed that stuck in the mind was the one that was not only a ‘one lane bridge’ but also had a railway line down the middle if it.
Thanks for reading. Now to post the excitement that became Tuesday! M & M