Wes and Tom at our table seat at the beginning of our TranzAlpine train trip.
We were close to the train's cafe, Snacks on Tracks.
The most interesting part of the trip is about an hour into it, when you pass through the Waimakariri River Gorge. 
Another picture of the Waimakariri.
Then, the train takes you through a dry mountainous region...
More mountains...
...until you get to Arthur's Pass, which is about the halfway point of the trip.
The mountains behind Arthur's Pass.
Wes and Tom in front of the train at Arthur's Pass.
Arthur's Pass is at the east end of the Otira Tunnel, which is about 5 miles long and took 15 years and cost 10 lives to build.
From the exit to the Otira Tunnel, you follow the path of the Grey River until you get to the west coast of New Zealand's South Island.
When you exit the Otira tunnel, the vegetation is completely different from the east side of the tunnel. Dry mountains on the east side, rainforest on the west side.
The trip ends at Greymouth, a dreary little town of about 10,000 located at the mouth of the Grey River.
"Your Word Is Law" in Greymouth.
On the return journey, we sat across from three charming Japanese women: Masaki, who was teaching Japanese in New Zealand, her mother's friend Taiko, and her mother Setsuko.
They were lots of fun to talk to. By the end of the trip, they had given us Japanese names: here are Satsuma, Toshi, and Hideki.