Governor-General leads 25-year anniversary walk

ROSEMARY MCLENNAN
Last updated 09:50 07/11/2012
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ELIZABETH KING
ONWARD AND UPWARD: Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae, wearing a sling holding a replica of the railways tablet which gave a train authority to be on the one-track line between Kaitoke and Cross Creek, leads the official party on the Rimutaka Rail Trail near Summit with Graeme Jupp, president of the Fell Locomotive Museum in Featherston.

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The Queen's representative had a taste of the weather railway workers battled for more than 70 years when he led an anniversary walk of the Rimutaka Rail Trail on Saturday.

More than 180 people took part in the walk.

The rail trail was opened 25 years ago on the railway formation from Kaitoke to Summit and down to Cross Creek on the Rimutaka Incline with its famous Fell engines.

Governor-General Sir Jerry and Lady Mateparae retraced the walk made 25 years ago by then-Governor-General Sir Paul and Lady Reeves on November 1, 1987.

As at the opening, there were refreshments for all, including a cake cutting, at a wet and windy Summit before the walk down the steep incline to Cross Creek and waiting buses for the return trip to Upper Hutt or a walk back to Kaitoke.

The vice-regal couple were collected from Summit by their driver who had come in over the logging track off the Rimutaka Hill Rd.

The rail trail remains popular with walkers, runners and cyclists who number about 36,000 every year.

Wellington Regional Council chairwoman Fran Wilde has described the route as a national treasure that includes the steepest section of railway line ever built in New Zealand and examples of rail heritage that include tunnels, bridges and remains of old locomotives on display at Summit.

Those who took part in the walk included Ms Wilde, regional councillor Nigel Wilson, South Wairarapa mayor Adrienne Staples, Department of Conservation Wellington Hawke's Bay acting conservator Ben Reddiex, Rail Heritage Trust of New Zealand chairman Euan McQueen, a former assistant general manager of the New Zealand Railways, who attended the 1987 opening.

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- Wairarapa News

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