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Travel by Steam Express

With the limited ownership of cars and the shocking road conditions the most popular travel between the West Coast and Christchurch from the 1920ís to 1960ís was by steam express. Unfortunately this saw the demise of the coaching days in 1922 but was a boom time for travel by steam.

Somehow we seemed to have more time to spare in those days with the train leaving Hokitika about 10 am and arriving in Christchurch about 5.30 pm after a very relaxing days travel.

There was morning tea at Stillwater where it met the steam train from Westport, lunch at Otira while the steam trains were changed for electric to climb 1,200 feet through the 5 miles of Otira Tunnel to Arthurís Pass to change trains again at Arthurís Pass.

Moving then on the downhill run to Springfield where yes there was time for afternoon tea. Remember the big heavy railway cups and those slabs of delicious fruit cake or slightly dry sandwiches. Perhaps one day the Midland Rail Trust may recapture some of this era.

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