Rail fun on hold

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By KRIS DANDO

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.’’

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