I can remember a number of years ago when the steam locomotive Passchendaele made a special trip from its base north of Wellington down the line to end its trip at the Wellington Railway Station. I was on the platform with a friend who convinced me to join the crowd to see it close up. I still remember the awesome sight of the huge engine slowly approach the end of the platform with a hiss as the giant steel wheels came to a stop. Its gleaming black body emitted jets of steam from the cylinder and around the piston and coupling rods. Black smoke rose from the stack to fill the air with the smell of burning coal. The bulk of the engine was actually quite frightening and the noises it made only added to the fearsome presence of this manmade monster. In fact, there were two small boys near me who screamed in fear as the engine hissed and squealed to a stop. They were quite terrified by this alien beast that had arrived with so much fuss. read more