The Keirunga Park Railway is the club track of Keirunga Park Railway Incorporated, 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. The Keirunga Park Railway is operated by a dedicated group of members on a voluntary basis.
Building the Track
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.
The track 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 line winds around the hillside and along the steep slopes of a deep picturesque valley. Yard 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.
The line is fully signalled with automatic three-aspect colour light signals, with two-position semaphores controlling the Keirunga Park Station area. The main line turnouts, together with the station semaphore signals, are fully interlocked and electrically controlled from the Keirunga Park Station signal box using a 1930’s era Westinghouse Style "L" miniature lever frame donated to the club by New Zealand Railways.
The Club owns and operates a variety of locomotives during every running weekend. Club members also 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 the Easter and Labour Open Weekends, over a dozen visiting locos are also on display and providing rides.