Stop the Train! I Want to Get On! by Graham Hutchins (Exisle, RRP $50):
As a boy in the railway town of Te Kuiti, Graham Hutchins spent many hours watching the trains thundering through the town, fascinated by the machines.
There’s something special about train travel and train enthusiasts then to be quite passionate about their love of the rails. Hutchins was hooked from an early age, going on a night train journey to the big smoke of Auckland by himself at just 10 years old.
That was the catalyst for Hutchins: he was smitten and from then on travelled by rail as much as he could.
Stop the Train! I Want To Get On describes journeys throughout New Zealand, on passenger trains, railcars, freight trains and work trains. The routes include the Southerner to Invercargill – I used to regularly hop on the Southerner for weekends in Dunedin during my much younger and slightly wilder youth – the Central Otago line, the Gisborne Railcar, a mixed train through rural Taranaki, a worker’s train from Greymouth on the Rewanui Incline, the Endeavour to Hawke’s Bay and the Silver Fern Railcar.
Many of those services no longer exist but Hutchins still has fond and vivid memories of them all.
I thought this would be a book specifically of interest to “train geeks” but have to say, I really enjoyed it for its combination of travelogue and nostalgia.