Fire ban sees switch of Art Deco train


The Geon Art Deco Weekend train excursions are all go, although the "go" will be in the form of a historic diesel engine rather than the usual steam variety.

Art Deco Trust events manager Peter Mooney said they had hoped some rain may have eased the total fire, but Mother Nature had not "come to the party" and it was decided yesterday to bring the diesel in to keep the excursions "on track".

The steam train would not have met total fire ban regulations.

Mr Mooney said the excursions would still very much have the touch of the era, as the carriages had been fully restored in keeping with the historic time.

"With people in their Art Deco finest, all the fun and enjoyment of vintage train travel will still be there," he said.

Using the diesel loco is expected to alter timings on some of the excursions.

Thursday, February 14 - Arrive in Style

Possible changes: This will depart Paekakariki at the scheduled time and is expected to run on time until Dannevirke. With no need to replenish water and coal, the train could now leave Dannevirke as much as 30 minutes early and would run early all the way to Napier. This may also be subject to crossings with other freight trains all happening as planned.

Friday, February 15 - Gorge Explorer

Possible changes: This will depart on time and would run much to schedule as far as Ashhurst. However, turnaround time and refuelling time in Ashhurst (as well as on the return journey) will be much shorter, so this could run as much as one hour early on the homeward-bound leg, arriving in Napier one hour earlier. Again, subject to crossings with other freight trains all happening as planned.

Saturday, February 16 - Pea, Pie and Pud Run

Possible changes: This will depart on time, but with the diesel loco able to travel faster than the steam loco on the outward journey, the train will arrive in Otane 30 minutes earlier than planned and will arrive back in Hastings/Napier 30 minutes ahead of the schedule.

Sunday, February 17 - Central Sojourn

Possible changes: The combination of travelling speed, refuelling and turnaround times will get this excursion back to Napier about two hours earlier than planned. It will depart Napier outbound and Waipukurau, return at the scheduled times, but can be expected to reach Napier just after 4pm - almost 2 hours earlier than scheduled.

All other excursions are expected to run to the original published schedule.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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