Riding the rails to Whangamomona

20170227_141113Last week we did a day trip with Forgotten World Adventures using golf carts converted to run on the disused rail line from Okahukura (near Taumaranui in the North Island of New Zealand) to Whangamomona.

This rail line was closed in 2010; which seems a shame as it took more than 30 years to build in the early 20th century and includes 24 tunnels and 91 bridges. However, Ian Balme saw an opportunity and negotiated a lease with KiwiRail and started the business in 2012. There are high maintenance costs – especially clearing the line after each winter, which helps explain why the rides aren’t particularly cheap. But with lunch and morning and afternoon teas provided and a return ride, we thought it was worth it.

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This area used to support forestry, coal mining and farming; now it’s mainly just farming and not many people. The road linking Taumaranui with Stratford in Taranaki has been dubbed the ‘Forgotten World Highway’; which is where the business takes its name from.

Here is a small selection of photos. Every former railway station seemed to have a rusting vehicle!

As well as 24 tunnels and 91 bridges, some embankments were built – this was one way they did it…

And why the “Republic” of Whangamomona?

There were sign boards at most of our stopping places. While the railway was being built there was a brick making business. This explains what the brick maker did after the railway was finished.

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The former Tokirimu Post Office claims to have been the smallest in New Zealand. But last year we saw that claim made in Central Otago! Looking at the photos, I think Chatto Creek, Central Otago, may win.

 

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