By Mike Adams
212 pages, black and white and colour photographs, cartoons, drawings and card covers. A4 portrait.
Mike Adams was born in Nelson and the train that ran from Nelson to Glenhope ran past the front of his parent’s home. The W F locomotive would be working hard as the train was preparing to climb Jenkins Hill on its journey south. Mike, from a very early age, became fascinated with rail, steam and the country beyond Jenkins Hill – hence the title of the book.
Mike wanted to be an engine driver and applied to join NZR in Nelson, but was told in 1955 that the Railways were not taking on new staff in Nelson. If he wanted to make a career on the footplate he would have to go to Christchurch. This is what he did. He started as a cleaner and progressed to fireman, and later driver, and this book follows Mike’s life on the NZR from 1956 to 1976.
The bulk of his time was spent at Linwood with stints at Kaikōura and Dunedin. Mike kept a daily diary and so, 50 years later, is able to recall what he did every day. There were special events, like the NZR centenary in 1963, and involvement with Royal Trains. There is a wide range of photographs of Mike at work as well as old letters and notices. He also recalls those who he worked with at Linwood, and each person’s attributes.
As well as working with steam and the NZR, Mike’s non-work activities included volunteering at Ferrymead Railway, restoring vintage steam locomotives and driving traction engines. Steam is in Mike’s blood and reading the book demonstrates that.
This book is full of great yarns and good people stories!