Last Sunday, I was invited to join a party of historical society folk from Waikato and West Auckland, visting the Waitakere Tramline near Swanson.
The tramline is part of the Watercare facilities there, leading to Waitakere Dam, and was constructed in 1905. Today, it's part of the Waitakere Tramline Society.
First, you see the filter station ...
Then a pleasant walk up a bush-clad walk (this is the tarsealed bit at the beginning. Most is just metal) ...
... past ancient rocks ...
.... until you see the entrance to Georges Tunnel, the first of two on the tramline. No photography allowed in the tunnel because at the far end there's glow-worms (first ones I've seen since a trip as a nipper to Waitomo.)
The Harvey Stewart Flyer emerges. Built in 1976 by Alert Engineering and Waitakere Tramline Society members, is was so-christened in honour of Harvey Stewart, a friend of the club and train buff. Powered by a 2.5 hp Kawasaki 4 stroke petrol engine originally, it has been re-powered twice (up to 2005) and as at that date had a 16hp Kubota diesel engine, according to their guide book.
And if you click the video, you'll hear what it sounds like.
The carriages are small, because of the size of the tunnels, and very, very cramped if you have long legs. I've still got sore thighs from holding my feet as far away from the outer edge as I possibly could.
The Society apparently want to get a two-foot guage Model-T loco (below) up and running on the line (these photos, as with the two at the top of the post, from their display room). It's not original to the line to the dam, but the Society have loaned it to the Victoria Battery Society at Waihi until 2005, and are not looking for knowledgeablr people to recondition it for the Waitakeres.
Our guide who welcomed us to "Jurassic Park" on the other side of George's Tunnel.
Once you're out of the bush and tunnels -- there are spectular views, like this: Waitakere Falls.
I climbed the stairs to the top of the dam. Far, far more scary coming down, especially with my phobia! Still, feel the fear, and be a lunatic anyway, I always say ...
The views, though were worth it.
So -- a small excursion, on a small train, but through beautiful scenery. Well worth a visit.