About us

Heritage Railway Project

The Rimutaka Incline Railway Heritage Trust aims to reinstate and operate a world-class heritage railway between Wellington and the Wairarapa. The Railway will be a unique tourist attraction for Wellington and New Zealand, and a major contributor to the regional economy.


Iain Palmer — Chairperson

Hugh McCracken — Deputy Chairperson and General Manager

Hugh McCracken
Phone: 021 701 551 (International: +64 21 701 551).

M.Sc. (Physical Geography), Victoria University of Wellington.

Clark Simmonds — Secretary and Trustee

Experience: past Chairman of the Otago Excursion Train Trust, and past Chairman of Ocean Beach Railway, Dunedin. Currently responsible for marketing and sales management of companies operating in New Zealand and Australia.

Interests: railway management and how they feature in tourism markets.

Barry Timms — Treasurer and Trustee

Barry Timms

Former Upper Hutt City Councillor, Business Consultant.

Ray Hampton — Trustee

On 8 August 2003 the Rimutaka Incline Railway Heritage Trust was incorporated as a Charitable Trust, the culmination of months of planning and consultation by the Steering Committee. The Trust formally came into existence on 16 July 2003. This represented another important milestone in the project to reinstate the Rimutaka Incline Railway.

The Rimutaka Incline Railway Heritage Trust was registered with the Charities Commission as a charitable entity under the Charities Act 2005 on 27 February 2007, Registration number: CC10029.


The Trust has the following objectives:

  1. To plan, fund, reinstate and operate a tourist heritage railway on former railway route between Upper Hutt and Featherston, and any other directly or indirectly connected railway;
  2. Acquire by agreement, lease or purchase such lands as are required to allow the reinstatement of the former railway route between Upper Hutt and Featherston and any other such lands as will further the objectives of the Trust;
  3. Acquire by agreement, lease or purchase such items of railway rolling stock, tools and material to facilitate the construction and operation of the tourist heritage railway;
  4. Raise funds for and facilitate the conservation and protection of the former railway route and heritage structures and features thereon;
  5. To plan, fund and construct appropriate buildings, structures, infrastructure and facilities to facilitate the construction and operation of the tourist heritage railway;
  6. To arrange interpretative displays for the public, to promote knowledge and education of heritage railways, and in particular the Rimutaka Incline Railway, the historic factors that led to its creation and raise awareness of the personalities involved;
  7. Facilitate research, discussion, education and interchange of information on topics related to the Rimutaka Incline Railway and environs.

Steering Committee Origins

The project originated at a ceremony that was held at Summit in July 2002. Two events were being celebrated: Historic Places Trust registration of the railway formation between Kaitoke and Cross Creek; and the Rail Heritage Trust of New Zealand award for restoration of two bridges on the route. Bob Stott, Editor of Rails magazine, commented that the formation was like 'a well-tended grave' and suggested that a railway of some shape or form ought to be reinstated.

The Wellington Regional Council's Landcare Committee invited rail heritage groups to explore how a tourist heritage railway might be reinstated on the historic Rimutaka Incline railway formation. In August 2002 the Rimutaka Incline Railway Steering Committee was formed to coordinate the project, drawing members from established rail heritage groups and the Upper Hutt City Council.

Annual Reports

The following annual reports and accounts are available: