In New Zealand a number of railway reinstatements have been successfully achieved, including:
Denniston Incline, Department of Conservation – the former skip-road portion past Top Brake is being rebuilt, with trains operating through to former mine tunnels.
Glenbrook Vintage Railway – 4km of the route from Pukeoware to Waiuku in South Auckland has been rebuilt on abandoned railway formation and the last kilometre on completely new formation – opened in 2010.
Rotorua branch – the line from Putaruru to Rotorua has been rebuilt from derelict condition, where long stretches of line had been stripped of sleepers and rail and vegetation majorly overgrowing the route. Establishing with tourist self-drive “rail cruisers” by the Rotorua Ngongotaha Rail Trust, with plans for the return of freight and passenger rail services in the medium term.
West Coast Wilderness Railway – Tasmania.
35km line from Queenstown to Regatta Point, including a steep section of Abt rack system cog railway. A committed group of local people campaigned for the restoration of the Abt Railway as an iconic heritage tourist attraction. The proposal was met with Federal Government support, and reconstruction began in the late 1990’s, the railway reopening in December 2002.
Operated by Federal Hotels, the tourist operation is one of the key attractions in Tasmania, supplementing the scenic Gordon River Cruises and other sights in the World Heritage Wilderness area around Strahan. Fares range from $119 - $336 for a return journey.
Welsh Highland Railway – Wales.
40km line from Caenarfon to Porrthmadog, passing through scenic Beddgelert and Aberglaslyn Pass. Reinstatement of historic 2-foot gauge railway, opened in 1923 and closed in 1943.
The line was rebuilt by the Festiniog Railway Company after years of planning and negotiation – with some complicated legal arrangements to work through.
The line was reopened in four phases, commencing from Caernarfon to Dinas in 1997, the final section to Porthmadog opening in 2011. Railway lines, sleepers and garratt steam locomotives were imported from South Africa for the line, with new carriages built.
Civil engineering of the new line was undertaken by local contractors, with volunteers rebuilding the railway line itself. Whilst the investment in the line was substantial, a recent study undertaken on the railway indicates that the benefit to the local economy has exceeded the grant expenditure from the Millenium Commission and the European Regional Development Fund, and at least 350 local jobs have resulted from the reinstated railway in addition to the railway’s employees.
Lynton and Barnstaple Railway – Devon, UK.
The Lynton & Barnstaple Railway is being rebuilt in stages in North Devon, UK. The original 2-foot gauge Lynton & Barnstaple Railway opened between the two towns in 1898 and closed in 1935.
The Lynton & Barnstaple Railway Association have purchased two stations on the former route at Chelfham and Woody Bay and opened 1.4km of the line towards Parracombe in 2004. One replica locomotive has been built and two more are currently being constructed.
A major 13km expansion of the line to is under way that will see trains operate from Lynton through Woody Bay to the Westlandpound reseervoir. The scheme is predicted to generate well over twice its expected construction cost in benefits to the local economy. “Given the continuing support of the public, landowners and local authorities it is possible that the entire railway between Lynton & Barnstaple could one day be reopened, with the potential of becoming one of the most famous heritage railways in the world”.