Well,

things are very tricky for we kids who had the misfortune of being young while these trains were normal everyday.

This video although has some of it, none of it as part of the mind of the Girl in Lyttleton, except she was JUST LIKE the girls who used to work the refreshment rooms spaced ever 50 miles-or-so, so that engines could be watered or changed...

The scectacle of working hard upgrade was spectactular, in evening light watching an old 1915 loco dragging a large more modern one, me nine carriages back seeing the flash of the firebox on the coal-fired older engine as they dragged 16 heavy passenger cars towards the REALLY serious 22-mile climb from there/ these restored ones are are towing their own water and fuel , and it ain't quite the same, and also, in the old days, the driver used to let the engines really fly, hardly any visible exhaust, and with a stopwatch counting wheelbeats in 34 sec = with 42ft rail / 12 was getting fast, 14 was great, you could begin to see carriages rock and roll and at 15 nobody believed you because luggaga had fallen from the overhead racks... and a worried guard was up and down the aisle saying , "he's mad" under his breath.

The guard may have known that my snoozing father had been responsible for setting timetables...

All was resolved when one WW2 'nutter' threw a rod at maybe 65-70+mph with the heavy stopping overnigher and without a blink had used the tools on the engine at 5am with two expresses about 40 minutes behind, calmly unbolted the destroyed motion on one side and using the grade got the engine running on one cylinder to the next large station 15 miles away, and we just had pulled in there a younger fresher train, "The Limited", came through Marton, 115 milees from Wellington, whiistled a couple of 'pops' as it passed our defunct engine, and still dead on time left a feather of steam exhaust...

Mick Balfour never did get the hang of going slow. The Desert Groups in WW2 or something.... but he lasted until 1966 at least... I have film of him, silent, alas, with only a very short clip taken from the rear of the train at speed... but it's on CD now.

I think he knew me, without ever acknowledging it when he came into Pamly with 14 on in the last days
and Palmerston north was a water stop and 10 minutes refreshments but I think being midsummer there was a delay with refreshments and I took three or four four photos on my nearly new Regular Sprinty B 35mm and with no exhaust they looked a bit boring, until he got the green and had that engine accelerating with such force that even I was amazed. 30mph by the time the last carriage left the platform, which is phenomenal with one engine 4 axles driiving and 450 tons behind, *and* many passengers carrying tea or ham sandwiches ...
Poor Mick, if I had full video in hi-res of that event, women would weep, ... I think they left him on to demonstrate things to younger driver; he used to drive 4-8-4s in excactly the same way I was a very fast motorbike rider; approach, read, finger over brakes, full on under brakes at the limit damn the 2nd class; feather full regulato, and yank on valve-regulator towards 40% ., throttle touched looking back no obvious drama , engine rocking but already under power, slightly ahead of the next corner, airbrakes on, the engine surging a touch of air, and roll into this next reverse curve.

And bank through the last tunnel, already in the airless roaring choking dark you pull the regulator around and she is getting very farst now, back to 30% the fireman seems OK with me and he says something to me, there was the soft land with speed restriction, he put more fire on, he could see I still had the regulator steady and just notched-off
air-brakes and hell, he did get the train down to 40mph... but with regulator so high I looked at him we or he stamped on the sander pedal lips curled with pleasure,, a foggy pre-dawn, and with air still in lap a and engine roariing got a green at Ohangaiti, mostly straight througn Moera... the intial speed with the train, the old man left it at 40% until the engine was a bit riough; he went back to only 25% still accelerating, only a few miles left to Marton.
Where back on time a few passengers took refreshments.
Then he took it quiet to Palmy. I think he was tired.
He let the fireman have a go through Halcombe, but took over again for a stop at Fielding.

He might have been a bit tired...

The below link says nothing about the subteties


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=clQ6RwsMGUM&NR=1