Northern News : March 16th 2011
11 NORTHERN NEWS, MARCH 16, 2011 NEWS Railway workers: James Hine, left, and Tawhero Mangu helped repair the flood-damaged railway. Photos: JOHNSON DAVIS Back on track Community effort: People loaned diggers. Repaired: A completed section of the repaired railway. Awesome force: Floodwaters buckled sections of railway track. CYCLONE WILMA DESTROYED THE RAILWAY BUT VOLUNTEERS GOT IT RUNNING AGAIN Cyclone Wilma did her best to ruin the resto- ration of the Bay of Islands Vintage Rail- way. But she couldn t destroy the spirit of those determined to have the railway back in action as soon as poss- ible. Flooding caused by the cyclone in January created washouts and left debris on the rail- way line between Kawakawa and Opua. Now the railway is open again, thanks to five weeks of damage repair work by railway trust volunteers and Community Max workers. Trust chairman Frank Leadley says reopening the railway has involved a massive effort from dedicated people. We could not have achieved what we have without the support and encouragement of the community, particularly in the absence overseas of our operations man- ager Mike Bradshaw. Graham Winter- bourn s leadership supported by the trust s Community Max team and people including Dennis Hewitt, Mike Ngakoti, Dave Mowatt and Malcolm Barn- father have worked a minor miracle, he says. Added to their endeavours has been the generosity of people such as Dave Owens, Ken Shepherd, Stan Morley and Steve Taylor who have assisted with materials, time and equipment or offered their diggers and trucks to help out. The trust is also grateful to Rotary for donating $2000 and the Whangaroa-Bay of Islands Community Board for a $3000 grant. Smaller donations from people at the Kerikeri Retirement Village and from Whangarei have also been most welcome and indicate that people are really keen to see us up and running again, he says. The trust was pleased to get safety approval to reopen the railway on March 4 and resumed train services the next day. We are well down financially from lost rev- enue and the costs of restoration, so we needed to start operat- ing again as soon as possible. He hopes the public will continue to support the railway. The train service from Kawakawa to Taumarere and return is now running every weekend at 10.45am, noon, 1.15pm and 2.30pm. Railway's fun day It's fun and a great way to promote your school, business or group while supporting the Bay of Islands Vintage Railway Trust. That is the trust's open invitation to communities of the Far North as it gears up for its annual Puff and Pull Carnival in Kawakawa on May 22. Trust chairman Frank Leadley says the carnival, which is organised by Bay of Islands Rotary and other community groups, is a fantastic event that includes a range of activities. ''The signature event is school and community teams competing to pull the steam engine Gabriel up and down the main street of Kawakawa.'' He asks community groups, businesses and organisations to put in a team. ''You need 20 people who are reasonably fit.'' Phone Frank Leadley on 402 7650 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
March 9th 2011
March 23rd 2011