The end of the line for the Glenbrook Vintage Railway should be further off than it is now, Franklin Local Board says.
The tourist attraction’s leaders want to extend the line from its Victoria Avenue Station end to Waiuku’s nearby Tamakae Reserve.
That would require Auckland Council leases to cover the tracks over Lions Lake to Kitchener Rd as a first stage, and then on across Centennial Park.
Seven bridge spans have been acquired from KiwiRail and drawings have been prepared ahead of a consent application, with those costs supported from a board grant.
Piling has been estimated at $625,000 and there are already plans being drawn for a reserve terminus.
Waiuku subdivision representative Sharlene Druyven says few realise how significant a contributor to the area’s economy the railway is.
“Thousands of people visit the area, bringing their tourist dollars. But the line ends short of the town and having it terminate at the reserve would be a major boost.”
Auckland Council staff are investigating title along the east of the Tamakae Reserve so a lease can proceed. Without one, GVR can’t secure funding.
In the meantime, Waiuku Museum has moved the position of its proposed maritime museum closer to the harbour, allowing more room for the railway.
GVR extended its line from its Fernleigh terminus 1.5 km from Waiuku to Victoria Avenue in 2010, financing it largely through the efforts of Railway Enthusiasts Society members - GVR’s parent body.
“Rail enthusiasts have paid their fair share and since Franklin will benefit, perhaps funding should come from community sources,” Druyven says.
“The ongoing costs of bringing visitors to Waiuku will also be met by the group, which already spends a lot in the community via its own purchases of goods and services.”
Board chair Andy Baker says the current terminus was only ever meant to be temporary. “It can’t stay there indefinitely, but we can’t see it go backwards and have to retreat back to Fernleigh.
“That would deprive Waiuku of the passengers who visit now. Progressing the extension would eliminate that and the way forward is probably to seek funding on a wide basis.”
Waiuku board representative Matthew Murphy says Glenbrook is important to the board’s heritage and tourism focus.
“The cost of the extension depends on a lot of factors but let’s acknowledge how much has already been done on a voluntary basis. We could be looking at millions but it’s an investment that would bring benefits to Waiuku and the wider area.”
A partnership with Ngāti Te Ata saw thousands visit to ride Taiki the tank engine to mark Matariki, GVR general manager Tim Kerwin saying the Taiki idea quickly grew.
"We bring about 30,000 people into the township annually, so I think there's a lot of synergies around what we are doing here."