Sunday, 8 March 2015

Trouble on the Track: book review

Trouble on the Track

Book review by Trevor Agnew


Trouble on the Track (2013) Jane Buxton, ill. Lynnley Driver, Clerestory Press, Christchurch NZ, 32 pages, paperback.   ISBN  978 0 9922517 0 3

I’m Locomotive 428. I carry timber, coal and freight.”

This story, told in verse follows the career of a railway engine, No 428. The story begins as 428’s career seems to have ended in disaster. Her driver Jack is unable to avoid a collision with a hostile bull. The bull survives, but 428 is badly damaged, and her work is taken over by scornful new diesel locomotives.

You’re just a worn-out rattle-trap.
They’re going to cut you up for scrap.”

Rusting and forgotten, 428 is rescued by volunteers from the Weka Pass Railway and towed up the line to Glenmark Station, north of Christchurch. There she is dismantled and her parts are “straightened, welded, forged and mended.” In a happy conclusion, 428 is renewed and ready to run on the Weka Pass line.

Her old driver, Jack Tate, is delighted to be re-united with his old engine.

Jack now drives the tourist train
through Weka Pass and back again.”

Jane Buxton’s cheerful tale brings personality to the steam engine, and Lynnley Driver’s vigorous colour illustrations capture the ups-and-downs of 428’s unusual progress to her present status as a beloved Canterbury icon.

Details of the Weka Pass railway and its timetable are at

 Trevor Agnew


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