Kapiti mini trains get the shunt

01:43, Jan 31 2009
LITTLE ENGINE THAT CAN'T: Kapiti's Miniature Railway has been shut down by the Labour Department.

Rail buffs vow it is not the end of the line for the Kapiti Miniature Railway, which was was shut down in the middle of a busy holiday weekend.

The tourist attraction has brought people to Raumati Gardens for 30 years and between 300 and 400 people visit it every Sunday.

President Lawrie Duffield said about half a dozen children and adults had boarded one of the miniature engines for a ride around the gardens on Anzac Day when a Labour Department inspector said he was closing the attraction down "indefinitely" because the club had not paid its registration under the Fairground and Amusement Devices Regulation Act.

"We were totally shocked. It came out of the blue. We are old fellas, we are just gutted to be treated like this," Mr Duffield said.

The closure of the railway comes after three years of negotiations between miniature railways clubs and the Labour Department.

The railways want to regulate themselves and Mr Duffield had believed negotiations were progressing well. "The act was not written with miniature railways in mind ... It is a hobby, not a business enterprise," club member Graeme Brown said.


Kapiti Mayor Jenny Rowan has organised a meeting this morning of affected parties.

A Labour Department spokesman said the railway was not registered.

"Amusements are required to be registered and, as part of that, they have to be able to prove it can be operated safely."


The Dominion Post