All aboard … It’s not every day you get the opportunity to clip your ticket onboard a 1915 steam-powered train. However Thursday 26th January, was a lucky day for over 200 Horowhenua children and their families who traveled to Shannon and back.

For most, it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience and memorable for all the sights and sounds associated with a coal-powered steam train, the rhythmic clacking of the tracks, the iconic hooting sound of the driver’s whistle, and for the hiss of steam she lets off when she stops.

And the stop… was one not to be missed! In Shannon, the train was welcomed by the whiff of a good old sizzling BBQ. Young kiwi kids never turn down a favourite sausie’n bread and today was no exception. RRT were thrilled to be included in the day and show their support to young people by serving over 250 meals.

The rare opportunity came initially through an idea from Te Takeretanga o kura-hau-po staff, and then some goodwill from KiwiRail and Steam Incorporated, who are based near the tracks in Paekakariki.

Librarian Pam Coleman said she put forward the idea as a way of engaging children with the library in an effort to improve reading and literacy rates, and Shannon library was also part of the focus too.

Librarian Pam Coleman onboard the ride.

“So many kids’ books and songs are about trains. People love trains and write stories and sing about trains,” she said.

“New Zealand’s poor literacy rates highlight how important stories are so if we can foster that love of reading we can get them visiting the library … the passion behind it was to give people that experience and link it to stories about trains.”

RRT continues to focus its support towards education initiatives for children from low-socio economic backgrounds. When this opportunity came up, the Levin RRT banded together to bring a little joy into the life of children.

We look forward to helping out more in the future.

Related Articles

Community | Compassion | Support

Help us make a difference

Contribute through monthly or one-off donations and support the Rapid Relief Team’s work across New Zealand