All aboard the Turbo Express
Rugby fans were able to get on board with members of the Manawatu Turbos on the weekend, on board a train, that is.
A newly-painted carriage for the Esplanade Scenic Railway in Palmerston North was unveiled yesterday, resplendent in the green and white of the Turbos.
The honour of taking the first ride on the carriage had been won through a More FM competition by 7-year-old Jessica Gullery.
She shared the trip yesterday with her parents Michele Gullery and Peter Ottaway, friend Aiden Simons, 7, TurboMan, and Manawatu Turbos players Antonio Kirikiri, Nick Rogan, Hamish Northcott and James Oliver.
With the inaugural ride completed the players, and the train, were mobbed by children at the Esplanade.
Esplanade Scenic Railway Society vice-president Grant Taylor said the decision to repaint one of the train's carriages green was part of a move to partner with more Manawatu organisations.
The paint job was completed pro bono by Rick Hall from Alro Truck Smash Repairs.
"I asked him about sponsorship and he ended up offering to paint the carriage for free," Taylor told The Tribune.
Hall said it was a relatively straightforward job when compared to some of the work his company undertook.
The train at the Esplanade is well patronised. An estimated 33,000 passengers climbed on board in 2012, last year more than 42,000 passengers were recorded.
The Esplanade Scenic Railway is open every day in the school holidays, weather permitting, from 12.30pm until 3.30pm.
The volunteer-run railway is attempting to raise $450,000 for a new workshop and station complex.
The Turbos start their ITM Cup campaign away against Northland on August 17. Their first home game is against Auckland on August 24.