Rail fun on hold
Delayed repair works has meant a lost summer for the Waitangirua Lions Club and its train at Aotea Lagoon, and recent vandalism has further derailed the group’s fundraising efforts.
It could be two months before the family attraction is running again.
The diminutive train, which began circling the lagoon in 1978, required a major overhaul and was carted away by Kenepuru Engineers Ltd in August for $20,000 worth of repairs.
‘‘The only part of the train that didn’t need an upgrade was the engine,’’ Lions committee member Keith Nicoll said. ‘‘The guys at Kenepuru have done a fantastic job and it’s going to be fine for many years now.’’
The train was expected to be operating for summer but Porirua City Council repairs and maintenance to sleepers, bridges and the tunnel around the lagoon’s train track have taken longer than anticipated, council manager Karyn Stillwell said.
‘‘We need to reinforce the steel girders on the bridge over the duck pond and are waiting on engineering plans for this work.’’
She is hopeful the work will be finished in March. Mr Nicoll said they would love to be up and running before Easter, because the train is their sole source of fundraising.
‘‘It’s been sad that we haven’t been able to put any money towards charity, but that’s the way it goes. We collect over $20,000 a year from the train rides.’’
To frustrate members further, their kiosk was damaged over Wellington Anniversary weekend. Mr Nicholls said,
‘‘One of the bolts on the board [covering the window] held so they didn’t get in, but it’s going to be $200 or more to fix it. There are no valuables or goodies or ice-cream in there so it would have been a wasted effort if they did get in.’’