The run goes more or less due west across the Canterbury Plain which is really the Canterbury Wedge, rising from 6 metres above sea level to 300 or so at Springfield where the mountains are really close.
The train has around a dozen carriages, nicely air-conditioned and double-glazed and an open-air observation car, where this river bed pic came from. It was freaking freezing and I could only stand it for around ten minutes. This is th reason for all the reflections.
The high point of the trip is the tiny station at Arthur’s Pass, named for Arthur Dobson, who discovered it, by his brother George, who surveyed others and decided Arthur’s pass was the best!
737 metres is around 2400 feet, the surrounding mountains range up to 2300 metres/~8000 feet. The track depends for its existence on the coal truck in the background. If it wasn’t for coal, the line would have closed years ago.
On the run down the west side of the divide there are places like this lake front where land sections start around 450000 NZD (~ USD 300000) on which you can build your dream home (and, as it turns out, be without cellphone coverage, broadcast radio, mains drainage and all those good things) but the views are spectacular, as is annual rainfall measured in feet rather than inches.
While setting up these pics, I came across some from the Baltimore series and this one sort of fits the theme here: Millar ‘reflecting’ Youk’s batting stance:
He did a pretty good job, including the high right hand and the bum wiggles. Please, Theo, find something for Millar to do on the Sox staff.