Back on the rails

By Roger Childs

 We’ve only had two problems in over 35 years. No problem with children, they always listen to you. Laurie Bason, Spokesman for the Kapiti Miniature Railway

Riding high after illegal notice of closure

 The locomotives are now running again at Raumati Beach’s popular Marine Gardens. My wife and I have just returned from having a ride on the Kapiti Miniature Railway.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe followed the instructions to the letter

  • keep your feet on the running boards
  • don’t lean out
  • don’t stand up
  • no alcohol on the train.


It’s an experience we can thoroughly recommend to people of all ages.

The Kapiti Miniature Railway was closed down on 23 December 2013 on highly dubious grounds by the recently established WorkSafe New Zealand. (See Chris Turver’s story Miniature Railway Shuts)

 Twenty days later, which has included the crucial Christmas – New Year period, the railway now has the green light. On a good day the popular attraction takes in $700-$800 for charities and good causes, according to spokesman for the railway, Laurie Bason.

So the closure has meant both disappointment for kids and families, and less money going back into the community.

An unwarranted ban

 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWorkSafe New Zealand closed the railway down on the basis of a report claiming it was unsafe. They didn’t show the report to the organisers until two days later.

This is out of line with the consultation statement on their website, which says Whether you‘re a representative from a large company, a self-employed contractor or an interested member of the public, your opinions count.

In an incident in September, only the second in over 35 years, a woman was leaning out and fell from the train. The WorkSafe report wrongly claimed that the woman’s family had fallen off.

President, Rex Pennell, says that work has been done in line with the WorkSafe report recommendations, to make the railway even safer. These were checked today.

Fortunately for kids and their families, it’s now full steam ahead. (See Alan Tristram’s story Kapiti Trains Chuffed)

Working for the community

The Kapiti Miniature Railway is a great example of positive local enterprise. It

  • OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAprovides a cheap, fun ride for kids and adults in the attractive Marine Gardens setting (See photo above.)
  • is run by local volunteers who love what they are doing
  • raises money for charities like the Cancer Society and good causes such as supporting fund raising at local schools.

The railway operates on Sundays between 1.00 and 4.00 in the afternoon, but also at holiday times. Private runs can be booked. Children under 3 are free and for others it’s only $1.50 a trip, 6 for $8.00 or 12 for $15.

The railway organizers are delighted to be back in business. (The photo above shows three of the enthusiastic train drivers: left to  right Rex Pennell, Laurie Bason and Lawrie Duffield)

In response to the suggestion that they were greatly relieved, Laurie Bason replied you can say that again!

 (Photos by Pam Childs)

For more information on the Kapiti Miniature Railway go to