Christchurch to Lyttelton suburban Ec electric locomotive undergoing maintenance in the Addington Workshops: Picturing Canterbury

Christchurch to Lyttelton suburban Ec electric locomotive undergoing maintenance in the Addington Workshops. File Reference CCL PhotoCD 11, IMG0054.

Christchurch to Lyttelton suburban Ec electric locomotive undergoing maintenance in the Addington Workshops [ca. 1960].

Built between 1879-1880, the Addington railway workshops replaced an earlier railway workshop (the first in New Zealand) and continued to operate until December 1990. The New Zealand EC class locomotive was designed by English Electric in 1928 to serve the electrification of the line between Lyttelton and Christchurch. They were decommissioned in 1970.

Do you have any photographs of the Addington workshops or the EC class locomotive? If so, feel free to contribute to our collection.

Kete Christchurch is a collection of photographs and stories about Christchurch and Canterbury, past and present. Anyone can join and contribute.

Christchurch To Lyttelton Suburban Ec Electric Locomotive Undergoing Maintenance In The Addington Workshops

Train crash: Picturing Canterbury

Train crash. Kete Christchurch. PH14-197. Entry in the 2014 Christchurch City Libraries Photo Hunt by Jan Orr. CC-BY-NC-SA-3.0 NZ.

Train crash. Date unknown.

Kete Christchurch is a collection of photographs and stories about Christchurch & Canterbury, past and present. Anyone can join and contribute.

Do you have any further information about this photo? If so, please share it with us by leaving a comment.

Train mad weekend this weekend

This long weekend is huge for train and history fans with the celebration of 150 years of rail in New Zealand in Christchurch.

Rail heritage groups from around Canterbury have joined forces to celebrate the 150th birthday of New Zealand’s railways. The effort is headed by the Canterbury Railway Society, who are based at Ferrymead Heritage Park in Christchurch.

The celebration will centre around a three day exposition of displays and operation of vintage railway equipment over Labour Day Weekend at Ferrymead Heritage Park, the site of New Zealand’s first public railway.

The three day weekend will give people a chance to see and ride preserved and restored rail equipment dating back to the late 1800s including a trip through the Lyttelton Rail Tunnel to Lyttelton!

Railway resources in the library;

For me the highlight is the Silver Fern railcar’s appearance. I am booked to go on it and can’t wait!

Last train to paradise: journeys from the golden age of New Zealand railways – New Zealand e-book month

The Auckland-Opua Express once carried passengers to the Bay of Islands, the Onehunga Boat Train used to be part of the main route between Auckland and Wellington, and the Rotorua Limited enabled tourists and the well-to-do to take the waters in Rotorua. Later trains like the Silver Star and Northerner – even the Kaimai, Geyserland and Bay Expresses, withdrawn in 2001 – had a distinctive character too.

Almost everyone in the first half of the 20th century travelled by train – including royalty. In 1869 the first royal train journey from Lyttelton to Christchurch carried the Duke of Edinburgh; the first fully-fledged royal train carrying the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall (the future King George V and Queen Mary) plied the route of the Rotorua Limited and the South Island Express; in 1920 the Prince of Wales traversed the country by train with Lord Louis Mountbatten. In 1927 the Duke and Duchess of York (the future King George VI and Queen Elizabeth) travelled more than 1700 miles by royal train. Other distinguished visitors whose stories are told in the book include the English comedian J.L.Toole and his company (1890), Australian poet Will Lawson, singers Dame Nellie Melba, Dame Clara Butt, Irish tenor John McCormack and Russian bass Feodor Chaliapin, Polish pianist Ignace Paderewski, ‘March King’ John Philip Sousa and his band, ballerina Anna Pavlova, the 17-year-old violinist Yehudi Menuhin, writers Rudyard Kipling, Zane Grey and George Bernard Shaw, and actors Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh.

Last Train to Paradise describes the halcyon days of New Zealand rail, some of which the author was fortunate enough to experience personally. The ‘name’ trains and journeys cover a considerable period of New Zealand’s history, from the late 1800s, through the ‘golden’ era of train travel (the first four decades of the 20th century), and conclude with the introduction of new services in the last half of the century.

The railway lines described in the book cover every part of the country – and some that have almost been erased from popular memory.

You can readLast train to paradise as an e-book from our Overdrive collection.

Last train to paradise is also available as a paper book.

Love – in all shapes and sizes

Cover of The Selected Works of T. S. SpivetEvery so often a list of new library titles or library recommended reads pops into my email box courtesy of the Libraries Email Newsletters. This is a fantastic feature which results in me placing a flurry of holds on what usually turn out to be great reads.  Currently I’m reading this one:

T.S. Spivet’s fans at the Smithsonian Institution consider him a cartography genius–in fact, they’ve awarded him a prestigious prize they’d like him to accept in person, complete with a keynote speech for the celebration. What they don’t know is that he’s only 12 years old. But he’s nevertheless determined to get from his parents’ Montana ranch to D.C., and so he hops a train to begin his crossing of America. Along the way this precocious boy muses on everything from his impending fame to the garbage found on city streets and comes across some equally wide-ranging travellers. Cleverly illustrated, annotated, and printed, this debut is one of a kind.

The Selected works of T.S, Spivet is a book with everything; a humorous coming-of-age novel featuring a child prodigy with definite leanings towards Aspergers, a mysterious family, trains, science, insects, adventure and within its margins delightful little maps, diagrams, anecdotes and explanations.  It also has a rather bizarre and enchanting website.

It’s a book I currently adore (and I haven’t finished it yet – the ending could be dreadful – don’t tell me!).  Yet, for 3 weeks the book languished on my bookshelf – un-opened and unappreciated. Why?  Well, because, it’s not the cover exactly… it’s the shape – it’s the wrong shape!  It has the shape and feel of a text-book – it has the squarish weight of a history text-book whose tedium has not yet  enabled passage beyond the Tudors and you remain trapped in a dreary struggle to remember the exact order of luckless royal wives.

Why should the shape of my reading material matter so much? But it does (and it’s a pain to lug around on the bus).  This – and the title – conjuring images of dull, 18th century poetry by someone you are probably supposed to have heard of but haven’t – must make it a booksellers nightmare.  Indeed, I saw a huge pile of them for sale in the remainders book shop.  Which is why Libraries’ Email Newsletters offer a brilliant way to discover the joys of the uglies you’d never choose to pick up in the library but could become your own true (book) loves.

P.S. What books have you reluctantly read – only to find a true gem?


What is it about trains (and other kinds of transport) that is so attractive to people? I struggle to see the appeal myself but I am fascinated by the voracious appetite in the publishing world for books on various forms of conveyance, with trains being an especially popular topic.

Three such new titles have just hit library shelves. My favourite would have to be Transit maps of the world. Yes, that’s right, a whole book about transit maps. Of course, most people would be familiar with the elegant design of the map for the London Underground but failing that, have you ever considered any other maps of this kind worthy of glossy colour photos and a potted history? Well someone has, and they’ve published it. In fact the book in question is actually a second revised and expanded edition. Extraordinary!

Train fanciers might also to be interested to know that Cade’s locomotive guide, the must-have publication for railway modellers is newly arrived and chocka-block with colour photos of trains (both real and model) as well as a mindboggling array of statistics and measurements, most of which I do not understand. I can’t for the life of me imagine what “tractive effort” is but I’m sure those in the know will find this information useful.

The illustrated encyclopaedia of extraordinary automobiles has a lot within its pages to hold the interest of car enthusiasts and non-enthusiasts alike. Grouped by decade the automobiles detailed run (or should that be drive) the gamut from the NASA lunar roving vehicle to Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, the Batmobile, James Bond’s Aston Martin DB5 and the “popemobile”. My favourites would have to be the sci-fi inspired concept cars of the fifties and sixties like the Ford Gyron. Very Jetsons.