Rimutaka Rail Trail threatened

Protecting the Rimutaka Trail

Greater Wellington has recently received an application from the Rimutaka Incline Railway Heritage Trust for permission to reinstate the railway line.

We need to front up on 23 Nov and 15 Dec at GW. Who can come?
Please email fran.wilde@gw.govt.nz and murray.kennedy@gw.govt.nz with your views.

Points you might want to make:
- with 80,000 visitors a year, the Rimutaka Trail is the most popular in the region.
- it's considered the best ride in the region for beginners and families
- it's a convenient and attractive link for cyclists to the Wairarapa. The alternative is SH2.
- "Classic New Zealand Mountain Bike Rides" rate the ride with 4 stars - "mountain biking paradise"
- we are concerned that the proposed new walkway would go around or over the tunnels.
- It's hard to imagine how any new walkway would be as good as the existing trail. A major feature of the Rimutaka Trail is that it follows the historic railway line, on a comfortable gradient.
- we've got nothing against vintage trains, but question whether a regional park is the best location

If you have biked or walked the trail, please say how you enjoyed it.

Patrick Morgan
Project Manager
CAN - Cycling Advocates Network
Tel 04-210-4967 Mob 027-563-4733, skype patrick.morgan.can
PO Box 25-424, Wellington www.can.org.nz
More people on bikes, more often

Application to occupy historic Rimutaka Railway formation (Maymorn to

Greater Wellington has recently received an application from the Rimutaka Incline Railway
Heritage Trust for permission to reinstate the railway line and operate a railway service on part of
the Rimutaka Railway formation. The application covers the GW-owned land from the forest
boundary at Maymorn through to Summit.

You may be interested in attending Greater Wellington's Social and Cultural Wellbeing Committee
meeting on 23 November when there may be a brief discussion about the proposal. The Council is
expected to make a decision on the proposal at its meeting on 15 December.

If you would like to
speak at the start of either meeting as part of Public Participation you are welcome to do so. It
would be appreciated if you contacted Francis Ryan (francis.ryan@gw.govt.nz) the day before the
meeting if you wish to speak. Alternatively, you can write to me with any comments you would like
the Council to consider.

Yours sincerely
Murray Kennedy
General Manager, Development Group
DD: 04 3817791
PO Box 11646
Wellington 6142
142 Wakefield St
New Zealand
T 04 384 5708
F 04 384 1826


additional points:

  • the trusts plan talks about a walkway, not a cycleway, alongside the rail line
  • the walkway climbs around tunnels and cuttings, introducing climbs into a route that is attractive because of its steady gradient.
  • the current proposal is to rebuild the Maymorn  to Summit section, which was a conventional rail line, unlike the Wairarapa side, which used the unique Fell Railway system. It seems a pity to compromise an excellent walking and cycling trail in order to rebuild a conventional rail line.

Our submission is available.

At the public participation section of the GWRC Social and Cultural Ctte today I presented our submission.

The public participation section started off with a presentation by the Rimutaka Incline Heritage Trust, and was followed by about seven presenters, none in favour of the proposal. Fran Wilde mentioned that there had been a large number of email submissions (thanks folks!)

  • Tom Halliburton of the Hutt Cycling Network talked about how vital the trail was as a cycle touring link, and a place for less confident cyclists.
  • The Fell Railway Museum want the Rail Trail preserved as a historic site, and see the best way of doing this as keeping it as a cycling/walking trail.
  • Robin Ward of Rotary/Hutt River Trail was concerned that the proposal would deny the public free access, and that the proposed walking track would be longer and involve more climbing; the popular Tane's track would be cut off from the picnic area by the rail line.
  • Nessa Lynch of Wellington Trails Alliance pointed out that as one of the most popular easy tracks for children and beginners, it was a way to get people into obesity preventing exercise.
  • Rob Stone of DOC spoke of the value of the trail.
  • David Perks of Wellington Tourism was careful not to oppose the proposal, but said that we had to be careful not to destroy a facility that was creating great economic benefits, dwelling at length on plans for the Wellington Wairarapa cycle trail.

Next step is for the proposal to go to the full council on 15 December. Watch this space!