Taumarunui rail cart tours out of action after landslip

Source: 1News

Parts of Taumarunui's popular tourist rail cart line have been cut off to visitors after a large landslip, but its owner hopes it'll be open again in the coming months.

Forgotten World Adventures operates tours of forgotten townships, country farms, and native bush in converted golf carts on abandoned railway tracks.

But tours had to be suspended last month after heavy rain and a large landslip moved around 50,000 cubic metres of land.

Manager Kara Matheson told Breakfast that around 100m of track was affected by the slip - leaving parts of it "like a roller coaster".

"What it's done is actually push a lot of debris, a lot of soil material, up under the track," the tour operator said. "It's almost like a roller coaster ride now. It's lifted the track about four metres into the air, broken it and buried some of it."

She said the tour operator was hopeful that repairs could be finished by the time spring came around. Matheson said a fix was dependent on also fixing a damaged road near the rail track.

"The positive thing is it's happened in our off-season. So we've got maybe eight-to-10 weeks to try and get a bit of a fix in here," she said.

"We'd probably have quite a few locals out here with wheelbarrows, diggers, and whatnot - fixing it pretty quick."

Matheson said either way there would eventually be rail cart tours running again on undamaged portions of rail line regardless of the fate of the damaged track.

"We've got 134 kilometres of abandoned railway line that we operate on - so 100m out of action. We'll work around it somehow."

The tour operator manager said the business and the rail attraction was a boon to the local economy.

"We've got at least about 3000 bookings between October to December and then it doubles basically in the summer months," Matheson said.

"It's a big economic benefit to the region… people stay in town, they buy coffees, they go to the petrol station - we don't want to lose that to the region."