Weka Pass Railway
The railway operates on the first and third Sundays of each month (every Sunday in January) plus on the Mondays of Easter, Queens birthday, and Labour day weekends. Departures from Glenmark, which is about 40 minutes north of Christchurch, at 11.30am and 2pm.
See also the website www.wekapassrailway.co.nz
The story of the Weka Pass Railway starts in 1881 when the railway north of Christchurch to Waikari was being completed. The railway was originally the main line, being completed to Culverden in 1885 and to its eventual terminus at Waiau in 1919.
When the decision to route the main line to Picton via the coastal route, the inland line became a typical rural branch line. Following a meeting of interested people in August 1982, the fledgling Weka Pass Railway (WPR) came into being, and a first committee was elected. The WPR was able to purchase the line from NZR. It was also able to secure a long-term lease on a 1909-steam loco A428, which would need restoration, including major boiler work.
A major milestone happened in Dec 1983, when WPR took delivery of its first rolling stock, including A428, 2 withdrawn DG class 750HP diesel loco’s DG770 and DG791, 4x 50ft carriages ex Dunedin suburban trains, and some freight wagons. Other milestones in the development of the railway include the participation in the filming of Hanlon, the Minnie Deans story (1984), and refurbishing the operational track to allow the railway to run to Waikari (1991-1999), and the railway officially opened Sept 11th 1999.