Friday was a public holiday here in New Zealand (Waitangi Day) and I took a ride up the old Taeri Gorge railway line on a jigger. For those of you not familiar with a jigger it is a small rail-cart, with a motor attached, designed for ferrying work-men up and down a rail-line. Certain obvious features are missing from these devices: real seating, sides, any sort of seat-belt or safety device, or for that matter effective brakes. All this is what makes it fun, that and the tall viaducts.
The track itself is a scenic one (it's usual use is for tourists) and it mostly travels above the Taeri River through a fifty kilometer long gorge. At the end of the gorge it heads out into rolling hills covered in rocky outcrops (for those of you who think of New Zealand geography in terms of The Lord of the Rings: like where Aragorn meets Eomer for the first time). Finally it descends into the town of Middlemarch that can be accurately described as sleepy. Strangely enough all of this is still within the Dunedin city limits, but that is just an historical accident and no reflection of its use by humans.
None of the five jiggers used were particularly reliable. In fact the trip was partly designed as a shake-down for them. None-the-less the trip was fun and I learnt how to drive one. They are curious devices, nominally they have the same controls as a car (sans steering wheel) but they are as awkwardly arranged as humaney possible and used in completely the opposite way to how one would normally drive a car. Your primary speed control is the clutch. The throttle is mostly wide open and the less said about the brakes the better.
The nearest anyone came to killing themselves was on the way home when one of the jiggers decided to come loose in the trailer. Stopping a car when you have half a tonne of steel rolling freely about the back is "interesting".