GO IN THE RAIN, GO IN THE SUN, GO IN THE STORM
Marlborough Flyer Steam Train & KiwiRail Trains
Garden View Cottages is placed in a unique location. We overlook the railway line but there aren’t many trains at all, we have no road noise and no close neighbours. So, it is 99.9% of the time very quiet! The train and in particular the Marlborough Flyer Steam Train is very impressive to watch go past.
The Marlborough Flyer Locomotive is the Historic World War 1 Memorial Locomotive Ab608 Passchendaele (1915) Heritage Steam Journey. Built in 1915, a major rebuild of the locomotive was completed by Steam Incorporated in 2014.
During the steam era the Ab-class was the largest type of locomotive operating on the Picton -Blenheim Route. Elevation station or “the Elevation” was a simple shelter shed, built when the railroad was built in November 1875. Its platform is still visible, the shelter shed is long gone, having been pulled out in October 1968. The remaining building at the bottom is an equipment shed.
The climb from Picton to the elevation is a problematic 1 in 37 Slope, the fourth steepest rail in New Zealand. The climb to elevation occasionally needed two engines, especially in the early days when steam engines were smaller and less powerful. Often in those days the passengers would hop off the train, walk up the hill and wait for the train to arrive. In winter, with ice on the rails the engine would often not make it up the hill and would coast back down for a second try.
For the first 20 years the trip to Blenheim took 90 minutes, an average speed of just 32km/h. In 1970 the trip time was down to 30 minutes. Even in the 1950’s it was still an hour-long trip.
The Marlborough Flyer runs from October to April and departs from the Picton Railway Station which is conveniently located across the road from the Picton i-site. For information on times and costs contact them on www.marlboroughflyer.co.nz .
KiwiRail Coastal Pacific Train runs from Christchurch to Picton daily from late September to late April. It arrives in Picton at 1.15pm and departs for Christchurch at 2.15pm.