If you haven’t noticed there’s been a bit of an interesting (and sometimes ugly) debate about the Rimutaka Incline Railway group who want to destroy the Rimutaka Rail Trail for cyclists and their upcoming proposal to the GWRC Cultural and Social Wellbeing Committee. I’ve written about their proposal before. Here is what the Cycling Advocates Network thinks. For the Dom Post’s coverage, and for AKT’s. The comments on all are interesting, and you can see I’ve engaged them, got attacked personally, and I’m not conceding that their idea has any merit.
I’m not going to go over the same points again here. But I encourage everyone who loves the Rimutaka Rail Trail to click on the CAN’s link above and write an email to at least the GWRC’s Fran Wilde and Nigel Wilson and possibly other members of the committee. Tell them how fantastic it is as a rail trail and that you’d love to keep on having the opportunity to ride it.
Instead here at Wellington Regional Cycleways I’m not above mockery. (As you can see – mocking PRT enthusiasts, TranzMetro’s bus replacements, rubbish transport planning and eco-gnomic mismanagement). The kookier the idea the more deserving of mockery, so here in the spirit of the Rimutaka Incline Railway Group’s Steam Trains over the Rimutaka Rail Trail is their next project:
Rimutaka Incline Railway Group proposes reinstating steam train to Manhattan’s High Line
Before New York built its subways it used to have elevated railway lines. The new-fangled electric subway trains made the steam locos obsolete. Near Nome, Alaska around the change from the 19th to 20th centuries gold was discovered and in 1902 the Council City and Solomon River Railway was formed to service the goldfields. Construction proceeded from 1903 til 1906. They bought some excess locos from New York and shipped them to Nome. The railway never turned a profit and went bankrupt in 1907. The engines were left where they were and today they are still there slowly sinking into the tundra. The Nome Chamber of Commerce has trademarked the site The Last Train to Nowhere, so I won’t use the phrase here. But I went to Council City (population 37) and it is hardly nowhere.
Photo by me
The High Line wasn’t one of the original elevated lines, but was built in the 1930s to raise the trains above 10th Avenue traffic. It was in use until 1980.
Then it was derelict and partially demolished. Between 2006 and this year they opened sections of the high line as public space for pedestrians, something in short supply in that part of Manhattan and it has become a bit of a poster boy for urban renewal.
The Rimutaka Incline Railway Group, never missing a great opportunity, is proposing to reinstate a tourist steam train service on the High Line banishing pedestrians to the sidewalk of 10th Avenue below. Pedestrians knowing who is Boss are calling it a 10th Avenue Freezeout. They estimate that all 300 million Americans will want to ride it in its first year of service.
Next the Rimutaka Incline Railway Group, in its never-ending search for rail technology excellence, has found the last trains to nowhere sinking into the tundra by the shores of Norton Sound. They did stop in Nome long enough to propose to the Iditarod committee to replace the iconic dog sled race with a steam train, and then they realised that the rusting locomotives didn’t fit into the overhead lockers of their Alaska Airlines flight, so presently they are kind of at an impasse.
I believe they plan to approach the Carterton District Council asking the council to stump up the $320 million dollars to refloat the Titanic so they can ship the locomotives from Nome to Wellington on a this-time, ice-free voyage. Then they’ll strap the locos to the top of a Runcimans bus and come home up the SH2 to a deserved hero’s welcome in Upper Hutt.
And the irony is those Alaskan rust buckets with musk oxen for neighbours are in finer nick than anything the Rimutaka Incline Railway group has access to.
OK who want’s to see a musk oxen?
photo by me
Musk oxen, like cyclists on a rail trail, are a bit of an endangered species.