Some of the shenanigans that happened on the Invercargill to Tokanui railway line are recorded in a book which will be launched in October.
The book, The Seaward Bush Branch Line , has been written by Invercargill railway enthusiast Alex Glennie.
There had been a “humongous” response to a story in The Ensign last year asking for information for the project, Mr Glennie said.
“It’s come from all over the country,” he said.
It had taken him two years to write the book, which was now being printed.
“The book is printed in full colour.”
For Mr Glennie, the most memorable story from the book was about the time the last train left Tokanui in 1966.
A day trip to Tokanui and back from Invercargill was planned to mark the occasion.
There were some people who thought the train should stay in Tokanui, so they greased the track to stop it travelling up the incline out of the town back to Invercargill.
Mr Glennie knew about that incident but in the course of his research found that two other attempts to stop the train further up the line were made, in which one person put grease on the track.
“There was another individual who was pouring oil on the line and there is actually a photograph of it in the book.”
In the days of prohibition in Invercargill, people would load alcohol on to trains from hotels outside Invercargill.
“Some of that grog would be put in a wagon the railways never knew was attached to the train so it would be carted out towards Tokanui, but every station along the line, particularly on a Friday night, they would offload supplies.
“The only trouble with that was they had to drink it all so the empties [bottles] could be picked up and taken back to Invercargill Saturday morning.”
It was not uncommon for the train to stop during the journey between Tokanui and Invercargill.
“The train crew were off in the paddocks picking mushrooms or picking blackberries.”
During the whitebait season there was a lot of maintenance done on the railway line around Titiroa
“Instead of working they were fishing for whitebait,” Mr Glennie said.
The proceeds of the book and copyright would go to the Toi Tois Tokanui Lions Club.
Everyone was welcome to attend the launch; those interested were asked to advise the club by October 1.