It’s full steam ahead for Aotea Lagoon’s miniature train

Published: Tue 17 Oct 2017 09:54 AM
News release
17 October 2017
It’s full steam ahead for Aotea Lagoon’s miniature train
Full steam ahead - Porirua City Council Project Manager Philip Royle and Lions Club of Aotea Lagoon member and train driver Kevin Wright prepare for the reopening of the miniature train service.
The popular miniature train at Aotea Lagoon in Porirua is back on track.
You’ll be able to hop on board this Labour Weekend, as the Lions Club of Aotea Railway celebrates the opening with free rides on Sundayand Monday (22-23 October).
“We’re really thrilled to be back,” says engine driver and Lions club member Kevin Wright. ”A big thanks to the Council for all the work they’ve done with us to repair and upgrade the track so we can start running the train again.”
Council Project Manager Philip Royle says the service stopped running in 2015 mainly because of rust and decay affecting the track.
Since then:
• 90 metres of track has been replaced using track sourced by the Lions
• a new bridge has been built over the duck pond
• about 50 sleepers have been replaced
• drainage has been improved under parts of the track
• a build-up of silt has been cleared from under the track
• safety fencing has been put up in several sections
• new doors (featuring a mural) have been put on the tunnel.
The 832m track runs around the park from a small station at the southern end of the lagoon. The loop takes about five minutes on the train.
“This is a fantastic attraction for children and their families, so we’re really pleased we’ve been able to help get the service back on track,” says Mr Royle.
While the track repairs have been done, the Lions have been spending the weekends doing maintenance and tidying up the engine and carriages so they’re ready for action.
The Aotea Lagoon miniature train service has been running since 1979, in fact Mr Wright remembers taking his own children and became involved, as a driver and maintenance volunteer, when his grandchildren were young.
“I joined as a volunteer 17 years ago and I’ve been down there every Sunday since…I love it. I absolutely love it. It’s the kids; their laughter and satisfaction, the screams in the tunnel. It’s a million dollars to the young ones.”
“There’s been so much interest in getting the trains running again. I’ve already got three party bookings for December,” says Mr Wright.
The miniature train will run 1pm to 4pm on Sunday and Monday of Labour Weekend with all rides free. After that it will run at the same time every Sunday all year round (weather permitting) with rides costing $2.50 (children aged three and under are free).

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