Plans for Gorge rail walk are on track

Plans for the 20th charity walk along the Manawatu Gorge's railway line are on track, with tickets now on sale.

The Track and Tunnel Walk is an annual Woodville Lions Club-organised fundraiser for Arohanui Hospice.

It's the only occasion in the country where people are able to walk along a piece of New Zealand's railway network that's still in use.

Lions club spokesman Clive Boyden said the event attracted participants from across the lower North Island and from as far north as Auckland.

"We get people coming from far and wide . . . it's a really well-known event now," Mr Boydon said.

It is restricted to 1500 people with walkers bussed from Ashhurst to the walk's start 8km away, by rail, at the Woodville end of the Manawatu Gorge. "We find that's a nice, comfortable number, we only have a six-hour window," Mr Boydon said.

Over the years an estimated 20,000 people have taken part in the walk with many returning multiple times. About $262,000 has been raised for charity during the life of the event.

"The tunnels are a huge attraction," Mr Boydon said.

"One is 600m long and has a bend in the middle, it's as dark as a coalmine, you need a strong torch in there."

Tickets for the May 4 event are available from information centres in Woodville and Palmerston North.

Manawatu Standard