Train enthusiast David Sims captured the dying days of steam trains in this 1968 National Film Unit short. It features arresting images of a Kb class locomotive billowing steam as it tackles the Southern Alps, en route from Canterbury to the West Coast. Kb Country was released in Kiwi cinemas in January 1968, just months before the steam locomotives working the Midland Line were replaced by diesel-electrics. Sims earned his directing stripes with the film. As he writes in this background piece, making it involved a mixture of snow, joy and at least two moments of complete terror.
In any trolley man’s life, the natural instinct is to avoid being in a tunnel when there's a train in the offing ... very soon after we plunged into the next tunnel — ominously numbered 13 — it became clear that Kb 970 was catching up with us.– David Sims, in his background piece on making Kb Country