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Open Invitation To Celebrate Rail Trail's 25th Anniversary


18 October 2012

An Open Invitation To Celebrate Rail Trail's 25th Anniversary

Greater Wellington and the Department of Conservation are celebrating the Rimutaka Rail Trail's 25th anniversary with an open invitation to walk the trail on 3 November with Governor-General Lt Gen Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae.

Participants will walk the gently graded 10km trail from Kaitoke, and gather at 12.30pm for speeches and cake at Summit - a former railway settlement. Participants can then walk back to Kaitoke or continue 7km down to Cross Creek in Wairarapa.

Greater Wellington's Parks Manager Amanda Cox says this event is a unique opportunity for people to walk the entire trail to Cross Creek without having to organise their own transport back to Kaitoke. "For only $6, you can catch a shuttle from Cross Creek back to your car. But I must emphasise that it's essential to book and confirm your seat before 3 November, which you can easily do by phoning or emailing us."

The trail was first opened in 1987 by the then Governor-General, the late Sir Paul Reeves. Twenty-five years later and the trail remains hugely popular with 36,000 visitors a year who are drawn to the rail heritage and family-friendly trail, with the old railway formation accommodating walkers, runners and cyclists.

Greater Wellington Chair Fran Wilde says the Rimutaka Rail Trail is not only a regional, but a national treasure. "Here we have a former mountain railway that includes the steepest section of railway line ever built in New Zealand and wonderful examples of rail heritage, from 19th century tunnels and bridges through to locomotive remnants at Summit."

Chair Wilde says that Greater Wellington, the Department of Conservation, Upper Hutt City Council and the Fell Locomotive Museum have worked hard to ensure that people can enjoy the trail.

"I'm delighted that we can celebrate this popular trail with Sir Jerry Mateparae replicating the walk of the late Sir Paul Reeves a quarter of a century ago. The anniversary promises to be a very special occasion so please do come along and enjoy the trail, whether you're a regular visitor or it's your first time."

When: Saturday 3 November. Start the walk anytime between 8am-9am
Where: Pakuratahi Forest, Incline Road, Upper Hutt (off SH2). Parking at the Kart Sport Wellington Raceway
What to bring: Lunch, water, sturdy shoes, a jacket, sunhat and torch (for the tunnels)
Transport: Shuttles will run from Cross Creek back to Kaitoke from 2pm. Cost $6 per person. Seats are limited so booking is essential: 04 830 4041 or bookings@gw.got.nz

Click for big version.

The late Sir Paul Reeves at the opening of the Rimutaka Rail Trail on 1 November 1987, with a replica New Zealand Railways Kaitoke-Cross Creek tablet, which was carried along the trail in a cane sling. The former Assistant General Manager of New Zealand Railways Euan McQueen is on the left, and will be attending the rail trail's 25th anniversary celebration.

Tablets were used on single track sections of railway to prevent collisions. A train could only occupy a particular section of the track when the engine driver was carrying that section's authorised tablet. Sir Jerry Mateparae will replicate Sir Paul Reeves' walk, carrying the tablet in a cane sling along the trail.

Click for big version.

The replica New Zealand Railways Kaitoke-Cross Creek tablet, which Sir Jerry Mateparae will carry at the Rimutaka Rail Trail's 25th anniversary on 3 November.


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