The aim of the Bay of Islands Vintage Railway Trust has always been to run a fully restored regular service between Kawakawa and Opua.
Over the past few years the volunteers of the trust have achieved a great deal. Only a few years ago, because every bridge still needed to be re-surveyed, it meant that initially trains only ran from the station through Kawakawa to the first bridge out of town.
Over the years thousands of hours of work has been carried out so that each bridge could be certified for use and the track brought up to running standard. Today the railway has reached Taumarere and we will shortly realise our next major goal of restoring the famous ‘Long Bridge’ into use. This will allow our trains to run a rail service between Kawakawa and Opua, including the transport of cyclists as a unique dimension for the Coast To Coast Cycleway.
As a “win win” interim measure the railway trust has leased the track between Long Bridge and Opua to the Far North District Council for them to develop all aspects of the track required for cycling which includes decking and rails on Long bridge, clearing the 80 metre-long tunnel, restoring Bridge number 12 and developing the track for cyclists. All this work was completed and in use by Christmas 2013.
Meanwhile, the Bay of Islands Vintage Railway Trust has gained funding and has re-piled Long Bridge, is about to replace the required sleepers, and are planning the build of a new station complex with a cafe and visitors centre at Opua.
Here is the most recent Concept Plan: click here for pdf version: BOIVRT Opua Concept Plan