The Great Railway Outing


My earliest, although somewhat vague, memory is when my buddy Gary Karton and I went for an unapproved outing to the Palmerston North Railway Station at about the age of four. The station in those days occupied a vast tract of ground near the centre of town between Main and Church Streets. To get there from Clausen Street where we lived involved crossing three main thoroughfares, Featherston, Cuba  and Main Streets, and walking perhaps three kilometres – not bad for a couple of four-year-olds. We had climbed up on to the pedestrian over-bridge which crossed above the railway yards and afforded a magnificent vista of the fascinating activities in all parts of the facility. Unfortunately, with all locomotive activity in that era being steam-powered, it was not long before Gary had a faceful of smoke and ashes from the gorgeous iron-horses below. This set him off crying and wanting to go home.

In the meantime, Mum had discovered that I (and, later on, Gary) was missing, and became somewhat frantic as to my whereabouts. She rode her bike all around the neighbourhood, and then enlisted the aid of one of the older boys from Clausen Street to join the search. Someone suggested, fancifully she thought, that we may have headed for the railway station. Having no other clear leads to follow, she and her search-assistant set off in that direction. We were located having set out again for home, one elated at the adventure, and one in tears!

I have no recollection, perhaps fortunate, of any negative consequences from the great adventure!

- Jeff Law -