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Dedicated volunteers .. Weka Pass Railway volunteers, from left, Peter Gibson, Mike Ball, Warren Jenkin and Owen Sanders. PHOTOS: SUPPLIED

The Covid-19 pandemic has failed to quell the enthusiasm of Weka Pass Railway volunteers.

They are tackling an ambitious building project to aid in the maintenance of the railway’s rolling stock.

It is one of the most significant undertakings of the Weka Pass Railway in recent decades, and will culminate in a 52-metre carriage maintenance depot and storage shed.

The shed, currently being built, will make it easier to work on projects, as well as provide valuable storage to preserve the lovingly restored carriages.

Careful work … Volunteer Warren Jenkin works on a door, part of ongoing work on Weka Pass Railway’s rolling stock. Photo: Supplied

The building will mean the volunteer carriage restoration teams will have a specialised area in which to work.

It will also mean the railway’s fleet of 50-foot carriages, guards vans and service wagons will be able to be worked on separately, freeing up space in the main workshop, which is better suited for the mechanical engineering team.

A small woodshop in the main workshop will also be able to be replaced by a machine shop and workbench, increasing the productivity of both volunteer groups, who work “together but separately” to achieve the society’s common goals.

Matthew Morison, the railway’s marketing manager, says at present the capacity of the heritage train is capped at 113 passengers, with three carriages in action.

“The more carriages we can restore, the more people can experience the joys of a heritage train ride, and the more the local economy will benefit,” he says.

“When people think of the Weka Pass Railway, they may just think of our 1909 steam engine, or maybe our heritage diesels. However, they may spend most of their visit riding in our equally important 1930s carriages.”

The Weka Pass Railway has set up a Givealittle campaign to help fit-out the shed with a water supply, drainage, electrical supply, internal wiring, lighting and fire detection.

Mr Morison says the sooner the funds can be raised for these vital parts of the project, the sooner it can be completed

To support the railway or obtain an overview of the project, visit wekapassrailway.co.nz.

Additional information is available at facebook.com/wekapassrailway or givealittle.co.nz/cause/weka-pass-railway-shed-fit-out-campaign.