International Visitors at Keirunga
On Saturday 12 January 2008, Keirunga Park Railway hosted a group of international visitors from South Australia, New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia and Victoria, as well as the United Kingdom, Canada, United States and Malta. The image below shows the touring party gathered before dinner.
They were part of a group in New Zealand for the 2008 Live Steamers Convention held in Manukau, Auckland, and visiting public and private miniature railway tracks in the North Island after the convention.
Robert Hutt from Castledare in Perth, Australia, said Keirunga was "unbelievable, there's nothing in Australia close to this". He was impressed with how much had been achieved since the track had been established and the warmth of the welcome of Keirunga members to the visiting group.
Fred Springer from Southwestern Live Steamers in Texas, USA, was attending his 6th New Zealand convention, having first come here in 1994. He thought he was in "train heaven" and that Keirunga was "an outstanding railway to visit". Fred has a private railway of 7-1/2" and 4¾" around his property in a small town located an hour north of Austin, Texas.
Glen Christoffersen from Golden Gate Live Steamers in the USA has been to every New Zealand Convention since 1992 (that's 9!) He said Keirunga was his "favourite track in New Zealand" and just so you all know, Glen has visited 14 tracks here so far. Glen owns a steam traction engine and started building a "Crab" based on an early Baltimore and Ohio engine in 1978, and it's still not finished yet!
John Wakefield, Vice President of the AALS from Adelaide, was "astounded at the construction of the Keirunga track, the way it was built and the hard work that had gone into building one of the most scenic railways" he had ever visited. He said he had had "a fantastic day and the hospitality was out of this world!" John has built four locomotives so far: a 5" Cariboo 2-8-0, a South African Rail Road 16E 4-6-2, a SARR 7¼" 2-10-4, and is currently building a 2' gauge 2-6-4 Hunslet.
Hugh Elsol, Secretary of the AALS from QSMEE in Warner, Brisbane, said he had had a "most relaxing and enjoyable day of live steaming - everyone was extremely friendly and ensured the touring party had a lovely time." Hugh has built two steam locomotives, a GE tram in 5" gauge for his wife Janet, and a 3½" gauge LNRR Jumbo named "Hardwicke".
The image below shows the touring party with the members of Havelock North Live Steamers Club.
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