Wednesday, 3 June 2015


The Rimutaka Rail Trail is a walking and cycling track running between Maymorn near Upper Hutt and Cross Creek near Featherston. It follows 25 kilometres of the original route of the Wairarapa Railway Line over the Rimutaka Ranges, including the world-famous Rimutaka Incline. The line from Kaitoke to Summit opened in 1877 and the following year the famous Incline was opened from Summit to Cross Creek with 1 in 15 gradient. Six Fell locomotives worked the Incline for 77 years until the current Rimutaka Tunnel was opened in 1955.

This is what I call my "local" rail trail as I am a Wairarapa girl, although I have not lived there for many years. It is in fact just a section of the larger Rimutaka Cycle Trail. Stage one starts in Petone and follows the Hutt River Trail all the way to the head of the Hutt Valley. This part I have cycled many times, a couple of times with my Dad. It is 35 km long and is a Grade 2 (Easy) trail.

So this trip will cover Stage 2 which heads into Tunnel Gully Reserve - once the main railway line between Wellington and the Wairarapa established in 1878. My plan is to catch the train from Masterton to Maymorn Station and start from there. This Rail Trail section is 25 km long and a Grade 2-3 (Easy to Intermediate). Apparently it should take about 3 - 4 hours to bike up to Summit and down to Cross Creek. Sounds good to me!

Rimutaka Rail Trail Stage 2 - Maymorn to Cross Creek

To start with I went to Torpedo7 and bought a portable bike pump in case I got a flat tyre. I think it's time I was prepared for this eventuality. I did my research and decided on the Lezyne Micro Floor Drive HV. It's a small aluminium floor pump so is very light. It will be no problem carrying it in my day pack. It is also compatible with both Presta and Schrader valves which is perfect because my two bikes have difference valve-types. Also I will be borrowing a bike on this trip so I don't know what valve-type I will end up with.
Lezyne Micro Floor Drive HV

I'm really looking forward to this trip, being my "local" and the Incline having such an interesting history. Both my parents traversed the Rimutaka Incline as children back in the day, pulled by the old Fell Engines and secured by brake vans. And my sisters and I used to play on the last remaining Fell Engine H-199 when she was the main attraction at the local Featherston playground from 1958. Falling into disrepair over the years, she was restored in 1989 and is now pride of place in the Fell Locomotive Museum in Featherston. I have not seen her for many-a-year - not since she was fully restored so I will be making a special visit to see my old playmate once more :)

Fell Engine H-199 as I remember her in the playground

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