Waitakere tramlines to reopen

JAMES IRELAND
Last updated 05:00 30/11/2012
Waitakere tramline
JAMES IRELAND / Fairfax Media

AT LAST: Jim Eyre of Waitakere Tramline Society is getting ready for reopening.

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For the past year the tramlines through the Waitakere Ranges have sat unused.

But from next Sunday the tracks will reopen and the public will once more be able to experience the spectacular views over the ranges.

The tramline was closed after a washout left six metres of track dangling mid-air and it has taken until now for 198 tonnes of reinforcing material to be built into the side of the hill.

Waitakere Tramline Society member Jim Eyre said reopening the track had been a long and difficult job.

"Fixing the slip was a huge job. By the time we got the plans sorted it was the end of June and the gap had widened to 12m due to ongoing erosion.

"We removed the track and its scaffolding before excavating 30 cubic metres of soil and 27 cubic metres of rock to create a horizontal ledge. A reinforced concrete slab was poured on it to create the base for a retaining wall.

"We also had a freak accident when a rimu tree just toppled over and crushed a car in the parking lot. It was pretty lucky no-one got hurt."

The tramline was completed in 1907 as a way to bring materials from the Swanson train station up to the construction site of the dam.

Today the tram's journey starts at a 700m long tunnel then continues through 1.8km of bush up to the dam, past the 107m Waitakere Falls.

The tram will run four trips every Sunday. Go to waitakeretramline.org.nz

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- Fairfax Media

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