Last week I travelled to Greymouth on KiwiRail’s superb TranzAlpine.  Aboard were the Crusaders rugby team players en-route for a three-day promotional tour of the West Coast and for their pre-season match against the Highlanders on Friday evening (February 3.  The rugby superstars have made a hit assisting with earthquake recovery in Christchurch.)  At Springfield several players, including Richie McCaw got off for a leg-stretch.  They were confronted by the entire Springfield School of about 30 excited pupils boarding the train.  Richie was soon engaged in signing autographs for the children who could not believe their luck.  I lost track of the Crusaders at Greymouth train station but they subsequently joined the Highlanders to visit the Pike River Memorial Rose Garden and continued on to the game.  The Crusaders had a convincing win of 47 to 19.  I returned to Christchurch with the train, enjoying the journey amongst the mountains and, as always, impressed by the excellence of the Tranz Scenic staff.  The TranzAlpine will be re-equipped with new carriages during this year making it a world-class train – the very best.