As detailed earlier, the engineering heritage and intrinsic fabric present in the former railway route is critically important to the railway project, and every effort will be made to rebuild the railway so that it exhibits the appropriate heritage character.
The original route will be used wherever practicable, and the few deviations required will be built to the same alignment specifications as the original. The tunnels are in remarkably good condition, and appear to require only minor drainage works and repointing in order to be returned to railway service. Most of the railway bridges between Kaitoke and Summit have already had significant restorative and replication work done, and additional work will most likely concentrate on the Pakuratahi Truss bridge. Between Maymorn and Kaitoke two bridges require full assessment to determine the nature and scope of work required. It is important to retain of key features of these bridges – and concealed methods of underpinning, strengthening or supporting the structures will be employed should they be necessary.
Intrinsic fabric removed from the structures will be assessed for retention and display to provide additional interpretation.
The heritage railway will see the return to service of many steam and diesel-electric locomotives and railcars of types that were used on the route. This will present a similar “look and feel” in the heritage railway to the old operation.
Additionally, authentic water vats have been sourced for station areas, and original designs of station buildings and structures will form the basis of the new buildings. A heritage station design has been prepared for the Maymorn station, which provides a link to other similar designs produced by Sir George Troup in the Wellington region.