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Published on : Thursday, May 14, 2015
Preparations are underway at Dargaville rail yard as a local tourism operator Port Dargaville Cruises Director John Hansen prepares to expand his activities later this year to run rail carts along the Dargaville branch line.
Mr Hansen has been working closely with KiwiRail since their only customer on the branch line made the decision to no longer use rail services late last year.
“The idea to run rail carts along the Branch Line came to us a few years ago after our customers said it was something they’d like to do,” Mr Hansen says. “KiwiRail has been very supportive about the whole project and has helped us throughout the process.”
“We hope to be able to take tourists up the river on our boat ‘Daisy’ one way to Tangowahine, from there they then can drive rail carts back along the branch line by the Northern Wairoa river and enjoy the views and nature close up.
KiwiRail National Manager – Property Investment and Revenue Andrew Robinson, says KiwiRail had been in discussions with Mr Hansen on and off for a few years and an agreement had now been reached that Mr Hanson could operate on the line providing he was able to meet the necessary safety requirements. “We’re excited about the possibility of rail enabled tourism venture along the line. Following the decision by our only customer to no longer use our services here, we worked with Mr Hansen so he could trial his venture. We’re pleased the line will put to use for something that will undoubtedly benefit the local community, and should an opportunity arise in the future for a viable rail freight service we have the option to re-establish it.
Mr Hansen is planning to start the service later this year and expects to employ 2-3 people, “We have been working closely with another similar set up – the Rotorua based Rail Cruising & Rail Biking Trips who have been really supportive as have the Council Commissioners, and the Northland Regional Council. “While it’s exciting times for us we’ve still got a bit of work ahead of us to get up and running. “Residents will see a lot of activity around the station area as we need to repair the facilities and establish a passenger area. Then we’ve also got to work on the track, put up safety signage and establish a rail operating license with NZ Transport Agency.” Another successful tourism operator is based in Taumarunui, where Forgotten World Adventures hires out rail carts to tourists wanting to explore the area on the local line which the company leases from KiwiRail.
Source:- Kiwi Rail