Little train back on track
The miniature train is once again circling the Aotea Lagoon and small passengers and their parents could not be happier.
Keith Nicoll and Kevin Wright of Waitangirua Lions Club cannot stop smiling, either.
When Kapi-Mana News caught up with Mr Nicoll in January, he was waiting for repairs to the train and tracks, and the kiosk beside the lagoon had been vandalised.
Five months on and the train had had ‘‘ the biggest overhaul of its life’’, Mr Wright said.
Porirua City Council has completed repairs to the track and tunnel, as well as the bridge over the duck pond.
‘‘ They have replaced rotten sleepers, reinforced the steel girders on the bridge and removed loose stones on the tunnel portals, which were a safety concern,’’ Mr Nicoll said.
Both men are full of praise for everyone who helped – Porirua City Council; Kenepuru Engineers, which repaired the train; and the Corrections Department, which assisted with labour for the track repairs.
Jethro Mullens, Porirua council’s technical assets assistant, said he enjoyed overseeing the repair work.
‘‘We placed boards on to the repaired tunnel and have left it blank for the Lions club to paint what they like on it. I look forward to seeing what they do.’’
The last hurdle was a Certificate of Registration of an Amusement Device from the Department of Labour, which has also arrived.
The refurbished train had a ‘‘surprise’’ test run on Sunday, June 23, and anyone who happened to be at the lagoon was offered a free ride.
There were plenty of takers and the Lions club estimated there were about 200 passengers.
Curious pre- schoolers gravitated towards the train and 3-year-old Charlie Hobbs got to pose as an engine driver.
Charlie’s mother, Michaela Hobbs, said she was pleased to see the train running again.
‘‘We will be here often,’’ she said.
The Lions club has been running the train rides at the lagoon since 1978 and has collected about $20,000 for charity each year.
‘‘We missed the summer season this year, which was a shame, but we are optimistic about the next few months,’’ Mr Nicoll said.
On board: Charlie Hobbs, 3, takes control while his mother, Michaela, and sister, Elsa, 17 months,
wait to board.