Passing through new housing development, DL 9204 climbs from Pokeno with train MP6 in tow. Further up the line at Papakura, the train would be halted by tornado damage at Wiri

On 6 April 2021, the Hamilton to Papakura commuter train, Te Huia, entered service for the first time. The service marks a return of commuter trains to the route after an absense of almost 20 years. DFB 7077 hauled the inaugural service from Frankton station in Hamilton to Papakura, followed by DFB 7295 on the second service. We follow the train in both directions, and go along for a ride on the refurbished carriages

An update to the Puhinui station interchange construction, with the superstructure of the new station building largely in place. Passing by during the work day are DL 9089 on train MP5, running opposing main, and DL 9642 and DC 4594 heading back from Wiri to Westfield light locomotive

Just before the rain appears, DL 9538 leads train MP2S out of Pukekohe as ADL 810 arrives. Following soon after is Wairarapa escapee DFB 7010 with train 200 as the rain comes down, then heading south is DL 9106 with train MP9. Although the Northern Explorer is running, train 200 is terminating at Otahuhu as the Eastern Line is using The Strand while Britomart is closed. Train 201 however, continues departing from The Strand. With maintenance day in the Waikato now on Sundays, train MP2S is scheduled to depart at the same time as the rest of the week, but now sits in Hamilton for around 10 hours before heading for Auckland, hence the train running just ahead of the Northern Explorer

Christmas lights return to the Glenbrook Vintage Railway for another year, with the station and train decorated in lights for the festive season. DBR 1295 and Ww 480 provided the power for the evenings, usually with an 8-car train

A rare sight in Auckland, DXC 5293 returns to Wellington dead on train 221 behind DL 9360 and DL 9187, seen here passing through Buckland. DXC 5293 had earlier led train 220 into Auckland, presumably after a traction motor change in Wellington. Heading the other way, DL 9573 leads train MP8 up the hill

The third locomotive to be sent north for export to Australia, DC 4692, headed north on train 220 behind DL 9469 and DL 9210, on its last run on New Zealand rails. Train 220 as well as train MP5 heading the other way are seen here through Paerata, where regional speed restrictions are still in force

The second carriage set for the Te Huia service arrived in Hamilton from Wellington behind DFB 7077 on 10 October 2020. Here we see the delivery run between Raurimu and Hamilton. One more set is due to come up, with a late decision made to refurbish one more carriage to provide a complete spare set

After an absence of over six months, the Northern Explorer returned to the rails the day after Auckland's return to Alert Level 1, on 8 October 2020. The train is seen here, with DFB 7173 in change, passing through Takaanini, and northbound as an empty service through Papakura the previous day. The Northern Explorer had been planned to return earlier, however Auckland's second lockdown delayed the relaunch

The first Te Huia set went on its first training run in October 2020, with DFB 7295 making a run from Hamilton to Otahuhu and return. The return trip is seen here passing through Buckland, with DFB 7295 on the usual end of the consist. As a bonus, archive footage of the driving car, SD 5893 (now SRV 5893) is included, with DC 4375 propelling the set out of Papakura towards Britomart

On its last run on New Zealand rails, DC 4444 hitches a ride on train 220 behind DL 9256, seen here passing through Pukekohe and Papakura. Trains MP5 and 138 (right behind 220) also make an appearance

The first carriage set for the new Te Huia service between Hamilton and Auckland was delivered on 5 September 2020, with DFB 7295 leading the empty service. The train, running as B04, is seen here through Otorohanga on the last leg of its journey to Hamilton

Trains through Paerata on the first weekend of Auckland's second round of Alert Level 3. This is also the last weekend before all trains through Auckland are limited to 40km/h because of poor track condition and urgent rail replacements. Here, we see ADLs 802 and 808 on full-speed shuttle services, and DL 9573 on train MP6, one of the few trains that runs during all alert levels

On a great day for Auckland's water supply, DFB 7322 and DFB 7023 crest the Whangarata Bank with a heavy train MP4 in tow. The metroport services are usually the domain of the DL class, though a number of DFB pairs have been running some services over the last few days

Two of the second batch of 15 AM class EMUs entered service during the last week. AM 810 and AM 836 have been running exclusively on the Onehunga Line since introduction, and are seen here running weekend services on the branch

As part of the North Auckland Line upgrade project, covering Swanson to Whangarei, a number of work trains have been operating over weekends from Westfield to a number of locations. Here, we see one such train, which spent the weekend offloading sleepers before returning to Westfield empty. DFB 7077 and DFB 7049 provided the power for this weekend's train, with only DFB 7077 in power on the trip home. As a bonus, DL 9072 and DCP 4790 are seen descending into Ellerslie with the port shunt, running via Newmarket instead of the usual route via Panmure due to track work on the North Island Main Trunk

After 7 weeks of COVID-19 lockdown, New Zealand was finally free to roam around again, including for railfanning. Here we see some freight trains during the first weekend of Alert Level 2

DBR 1254 was let out onto the mainline running solo for the first time on 16 February 2020, running the Thermal Explorer from Waiuku to Kinleith and return. After dropping off passengers at Tokoroa and Kinleith, the train made a short side trip from Tokoroa to Hinuera and return

Three trains through Pukekohe in the evening sunset - DL 9469 on train 345, ADL 809, and DBR 1254 leading DFB 7160 on A04. The carriages on A04 were heading to Westfield empty before being relocated to Whangarei the next day

For the first time since restoration, DBR 1254 was let out onto the mainline on a trip from Hamilton to Waharoa and return, during Auckland Anniversary weekend. Seen here is the empty service from Glenbrook to Hamilton, and the train heading out to Waharoa and back. DFB 7160 went along for the ride acting as insurance

Christmas lights at Glenbrook returned for 2019, with additional lights and more carriages operating. This year, DBR 1295 joined Ww 480 to run 8-car services over nine nights

After 13 months of hard work by GVR volunteers, DBR 1254 was unveiled to RES members and GVR volunteers on 29 September 2019. The locomotive was completely stripped down and overhauled, eventually turning out in a fresh Fruit Salad livery. DBR 1254 is intended for mainline running and is at present not far off receiving certification as a heritage vehicle

For the first time in several years, a train ran from Auckland to the Fieldays at Mystery Creek Events Centre. This train was organised by the Railway Enthusiasts Society and comprised of DFB 7213 hauling the Glenbrook Vintage Railway mainline fleet. The train ran to Te Awamutu to drop off Fieldays passengers, then to Te Kuiti with the remaining passengers to turn the locomotive

Newly overhauled Af 1182 had a trial run on 25 May, on a six-total train simulating a normal running day. DBR 1295 provided the power for the trial, with GVR staff acting as passengers. Af 1182 has been overhauled as a dining car, to be paired with the parlour car

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