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Easter Weekend

30 March-2 April 2018.



The Keirunga Park Railway has three tunnels. The longest tunnel in New Zealand is the Kaimai Tunnel in the North Island. It was opened on 12 September 1978 and is 8.850 kilometres.

Did you know?

Wab794: The Wab is a deriviation of the Ab, but was built as a tank locomotive. Putting the water tanks above the driving wheels gave greater adhesion for faster acceleration, ideal for the constant stopping and starting required on the Auckland and Wellington suburban services where they spent much of their working lives. Wab794, built in Dunedin in 1927, is owned by the New Zealand Railway and Locomotive Society but has been restored by the Feilding Steam.


Steam & Cinders 2018

Held in Nelson from 3-8 January, Steam & Cinders 2018 lived up to its name with plenty of steam, and big crowds who enjoyed the weather, the rides and the displays.

Keirunga members Mike and Dale just popped over from Wellington for a day on Sunday 7th January and enjoyed plenty of rides, lively banter and catching up with our train friends.

Here's a few of our favourite photos:

Next Convention

The Steam and Steel 2020 International Convention will be hosted by the Hamilton Model Engineers Inc from 9-13 January in Hamilton. For more information contact Dave Simpson, 2 KoheKohe Place, Pukete, Hamilton 3200, phone (07) 849 3697 or email

Labour Weekend 2017

The weather was fine, the birds were in song, the flowers were colourful, and Keirunga Park Railway looked a pretty picture all Labour Weekend.

Hordes of families visited the park for rides on the club and visiting locos, enjoy a picnic and play in the playground, and to watch the activities from the bank or the enclosure.

As usual, there were quite a few visiting locos from around the North Island and everyone had a whale of a time catching up, discussing their locos, figuring out what to build next, and generally enjoying each other's company.

The club put on a wonderful array of food for the club members and visitors, and the public enjoyed Mr Whippy, Coffee, and Lions caravan fare, as well as their own picnics.

We always love seeing the happy smiling faces of the kids as they ride around the track, choosing which loco to travel on next. It's a great family occasion for everyone, and a low cost activity fun day out.

Watch this 11.20 min compilation from the weekend on YouTube. And when the public have gone, the early evening club running tends to be a lot of fun with this YouTube video of some reverse running (by NZ Miniature Rail). Check out our Easter 2017 YouTube video too! Who knew riding the rails was this much fun!

Come to visit us on our normal club running days, and look out for our special events coming up over the next few months.

We'll see you again at Easter 2018.

From Paekak to Waipuk and back

Keirunga members Dale and Mike Hartle enjoyed a Steam Inc. day excursion from Paekakariki to Waipukurau and back recently.

JA 1271.

Hauled by JA 1271 and DA 1431, over 200 people boarded the train at Paekakariki for the day's outing. After stopping at various stations to pick up more passengers, we had a break at Palmerston North while the steam loco was watered. Then it was off to Woodville through the Manawatu Gorge. This was at a very slow pace so we could all see the damage caused by the slips in the gorge. It was weird seeing the road and no traffic, and we marvelled at the huge size of the slips which have caused the road to be closed.

At Woodville the JA was disconnected, and we continued under diesel to Waipukurau where buses were waiting to take us to the Pukeora Estate for a BBQ lunch.

Back on board and we headed back to Woodville to be hooked up to the JA again, and off home via the gorge. Heading down the Horowhenua just as the sun was setting behind Kapiti was magical with a soft golden light bathing the carriages. We arrived back at Paekakariki just on dark and right on time.

Thanks to Steam Inc. for a wonderful day out, and to Mike for my birthday shout!

Keirunga members enjoy Steam Train Sunday

Keirunga members Mike and Dale Hartle enjoyed Steam Train Sunday in May 2017 when they visited Brisbane to see the family. This trip went out near the airport and back through the industrial area.

Operated by The Workshops Rail Museum on the third Sunday of the month, the very popular steam train excursion takes a different route around the central Brisbane area on a one hour trip. Families enjoy the outing and the kids love seeing the steam train as it chugs in and out of the station. You can stand on the verandahs at each end and enjoy the views.

Easter 2016

While the weather wasn't too kind to us on Easter Friday and Saturday, clear cloudless blue skies greeted us on Easter Sunday and Monday, and the crowds turned out in force.

Visiting locos and drivers came from Kapiti, Petone, Tauranga, Cambridge, Manukau, New Plymouth, Palmerston North and Napier, and over 2,500 rides were enjoyed by the public.

Once again the catering team led by Val kept all the drivers, support staff and station teams well fed and watered, and the track preparation by the club members in the preceding weeks ensured there were no breakdowns or problems.

However, it wouldn't be a train meet if the last run of the day by DG760 didn't suffer a derailment, right in front of about 50 people on the station, a full load of passengers, a green light and being waved off by the stationmaster.

Here are some photos from the weekend:

Also have a look at our Flickr album with lots more photos.

Keirunga members check out new rail adventure

Mike and Dale Hartle visited Awakeri in the sunny Bay of Plenty, and discovered the new Awakeri Rail Adventures.

Mike and Dale - selfie at Awakeri.

From the comfort of a self-drive rail cart (actually a golf cart cleverly converted for rail), they spent a leisurely three hours on the Bush Walk and Snack Run, travelling over 19 km of track. The guided bush walk took in the Department of Conservation's White Pine Bush reserve which the Awakeri Rail Adventures operation is helping to fund and restore. Following a snack, the carts are turned around at the terminus of the run, and travel back up the line to the Awakeri Station.

Mike and Dale at Awakeri Rail Adventures.

Next time you are in the Bay of Plenty, check out the Awakeri Rail Adventures. The owner Paul is a former Kiwirail locomotive driver, so if you have an interest in trains, take a look at the display inside the station as well. Phone 0800 Keri Rail (5374 7245) for bookings. Location: State Highway 2, Awakeri, Bay of Plenty (See Google Map).

Double Thunder

On a gloomy day after a non-starter a month before, the crowds were waiting expectantly to board the Double Thunder AB608 and JA1271 with beautifully restored carriages. It was in the siding when we arrived at the Paekakariki Station, and went north then backed into the station. "All Aboard!" came the call and we scrambled on and found our seats.

We departed at just after 8 am. We had a couple of stops on the way, and to pick up a second crew at Otaki station. Up until then the JA was pulling the consist with the AB in passive steam. Then both locos pulled the consist out of Otaki and steamed up through the Forest Lakes bank. We arrived at Levin just as the rain began. However when we got to the first run-through, the rain held off while everyone climbed up the embankment to the overbridge. The train consist backed off and around the bend, and then full steam ahead. Cameras were clicking away and video cameras rolling.

View this video of two of the run-throughs (14MB mp4).

Back on board and we steamed on into Palmerston North for servicing and water before traversing the Manawatu Gorge and on to Woodville. At Ashhurst a brave few climbed on a bus and chased the train through the gorge, stopping occasionally to take photos. Once at Woodville, the locos were refuelled and watered and then run around the balloon loop. The AB608 was placed to head the consist back to Paekakariki. While all this was done the passengers were fed and watered with hot soup and BBQ sausages and pancakes.

We headed back through the Gorge and then another run through just before Ashhurst, and another water stop at Palmerston North. Our second driver crew departed at Otaki and the AB608 steamed back to Paekakariki arriving on schedule.

It was a totally enjoyable day's train-ing which may not be repeated for a while, as the AB608 is headed down south for some rail trips around the South Island.

Thanks to Steam Inc for a well organised and well run excursion.

See also a photos by Jack Still who followed Double Thunder by road (pdf).

(Article by Mike Hartle and Lyall Dawe)

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More News

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Keirunga DVD

DVD Cover.

Why not purchase your own personal copy of our Keirunga Park Railway DVD - 20 years of Keirunga Park Railway.

The 60 minute movie shows the operation of the various steam, diesel and electric locomotives at Keirunga, along with shots of the ride and the station area, as well as the building of Keirunga.

$25.00 NZ (overseas postage extra) will get you this DVD.

Please contact Warren Blackburn at email or phone (06) 876 5309.