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 usable railway has reached Te Akeake which is a rail platform approximately halfway between Kawakawa and Opua. It was originally built c1988 as the only passing loop on a single track for trains coming from each direction. Our trains now run a rail service between Kawakawa and this station to transport cyclists over a 3km gap for the Twin Coast Cycleway.
The Bay of Islands Vintage Railway Trust gained funding to re-pile Long Bridge, and was awarded $5.6m from the Provincial Growth Fund in 2020 to restore the heritage rail line, purchase Gabriel’s new boiler, improve other rail assets, including rolling stock, and to fund the restoration of the SS Minerva, a 1910 ocean-going steam vessel , which is part of the overall plan – to run in the Bay of Islands and connect activities, history and cycleways.