Date: 16 February 2012
A wide, gentle sweep of the Rimutaka Rail Trail
The recently completed track upgrade of the Rimutaka Rail Trail has added width to the narrowest section of track which now provides users comfort and safety on a truly multi-use track.
The 18 km Rimutaka Rail Trail is popular with walkers, dog-walkers, and mountain bikers. To cater for the wide variety of users, a three kilometre section of the track and bridges between the car park and Cross Creek were widened to allow two parties to pass each other safely. The steepest sections have been re-graded and the entire track has been resurfaced by C. Tait Limited.
"We have had some very good feed back from the public already" said Craig Harrison, project manager for Department of Conservation (DOC) in the Wairarapa. "It is not only a bonus for those walking or cycling the entire Rimutaka Incline but will be great for locals looking for a family friendly adventure to a historic site. A one hour walk or half hour bike trip to Cross Creek for a picnic then home the same way is going to be a popular option."
The track follows an historic rail route that was established in 1878 to carry passengers from Upper Hutt to Featherston. The innovative Fell mountain railway system was used to pull trains up the steep slope of the Rimutaka Incline. It operated until the Rimutaka rail tunnel opened in 1955.
There are plenty of photo opportunities along the trail, and a viewing platform located between the Summit and Siberia Tunnels offers a panoramic view of the old Fell engine route coming up from Cross Creek to the Summit. Restored railway bridges and historic tunnels are also a feature.
The Rimutaka Rail Trail is now jointly managed by DOC and the Greater Wellington Regional Council, and can be accessed via Rimutaka Forest Park from Featherston or Pakuratahi Forest from Upper Hutt.