About Keirunga Park
Building the track
The Keirunga Park Railway is the club track of the Havelock North Live Steamers and Associates, an incorporated society formed in 1985 by a group of enthusiasts who realised that a ground-level multi-gauge track in Hawke's Bay would be an asset to those involved in the hobby of model engineering.
After investigating various possible sites in the area, negotiations with the local Council resulted in permission being granted for the club to use the parkland adjacent to Keirunga Gardens.
Following extensive surveying of the hilly site, an acceptable route for the railway was finalised and construction began on 2 August 1986. Five and a half years and over 26,000 man-hours later, Mr Harry Romanes OBE, patron of the society and Chairman of the Hawke's Bay Regional Council, opened the railway on 18 April 1992.
Description of the Track
The track is 846 metres (just over half a mile) long and caters for 5" and 7.25" gauges. Traversing the hilly topography of the park demands a ruling gradient of 1 in 100 uphill and 1 in 50 downhill. The ruling curve radius is 43 feet.
Two crossing loops are provided and a diversion is possible at the first of these to provide a "shortcut" back to Keirunga Park station. The single track main line crosses four high viaducts - a curved wooden trestle, a steel arch and two concrete structures, as well as passing through three tunnels. The view constantly changes as the line winds around the hillside and along the steep slopes of a deep picturesque valley.
The photo above shows a diagram of the track layout.
Facilities include a hoist for lifting locomotives to track level, a 12-foot turntable and traverser, elevated steaming bays serviced with 12-volt and mains power, compressed air and softened water with communication and water points at all loops.
The line is fully signalled with automatic three-aspect colour light signals, with two-position semaphores controlling the Keirunga Park Station area. All turnouts are to the design of Henry Holder of Camforth, UK, and, together with the semaphore signals, are controlled electrically by a Westinghouse Style "L" miniature lever frame donated by NZ Railways in the signal box at Keirunga Park (as seen in the photo below). Keirunga has the largest number of "Holder Points" in the world.
Club members own and run a variety of steam, diesel/petrol and electric locomotives. Various locos can be seen on the track during club running days. During Easter and Labour Open Weekends, over a dozen visiting locos are also on display and providing rides.
Keirunga Park Railway celebrated its 20th Anniversary at Easter 2012. Several of the founding members and two widows were present at the Anniversary Dinner on Easter Sunday evening, along with about 60 club members, visitors and their families. After the dinner, we previewed the new DVD which is now for sale. John Romanes also prepared a booklet outlining the full history of the railway. Download and print the Story of the Building of the Keirunga Park Railway.
We have compiled a photo gallery of images provided by John Romanes, showing the building of the Keirunga Park Railway, with before and after photos. Each photo is captioned. View Photo Gallery.