So finally today we fired up Suzi truck and headed out of Porirua. It’s been six weeks since we pulled in. Six weeks has been a long time away from our mobile home. So now we’re back Suzi. Re-learning a few things. Remembering a few things. Heading up the highway….
More precisely, we headed down the highway from Porirua – towards Wellington. And hung a left at the harbour and headed north up the Hutt Valley. The weather forecast was for winds later in the day, but the morning was lovely and calm. Quite a contrast with last time we got blown about coming over the Rimutakas – when with hindsight we shouldn’t have been on the road. We stopped at the top of the Rimutakas and admired the finished road improvements on the Hutt Valley side. Then headed on down the other side to the Wairarapa. First town was Featherstone and a cafe and a coffee. Then we went off and found the Fell Railway museum – which I’ve always wanted to see.
The Fell Railway was a great bit of daring engineering in about the 1870s that got a railway line over the hills from Wellington. The descent on the Wairarapa from the Summit at 1100 feet above sea level was at a gradient of 1 in 15. They had a third middle rail line which the locos gripped with a second engine. There were six little engines that could. And the six little engines did all the work shuttling big trains up and down that one section until about 1955 when they completed a bigger and longer tunnel under the whole hill and bypassed the Fell railway. They sent 5 of the engines off to be scrapped and put the other one out to pasture in a local playground.
It was rescued and resuscitated eventually and is now the centrepiece of the museum at Featherstone. The museum has a great little old film of the railway in the 1940s. And lots of lovely old photos. By the time we’d see enough the rain had set in and we set off a few kilometres up the road to Greytown and a parkover place we’d stayed at before – not far off the main street and a good place to park in the rain.
It didn’t take long to get set up and settled down and after late lunch snoozed out. I guess we’ve got a bit of resting up to catch up.