A new section of tram track and a revamped vehicular crossing in Kāpiti's Queen Elizabeth Park has solved two problems.

The first problem involved vehicles, often heavy duty, using the northern State Highway 1 area as an entrance or exit to the park.

It was an issue especially from a safety perspective because the entrance/exit was next to a 100km/h expressway.

So an area inside the safer haven of the Mackays Crossing area of the park was identified as a better option for vehicles to use.


But the area needed a major transformation including a revamp to part of Wellington Tramway Museum's tram tracks as well as a makeover of a vehicle crossing over it.

Since lockdown, 18 members from the society clocked more than 800 volunteer hours refurbishing 55m of track.

Upgraded track. Photo / David Haxton
Upgraded track. Photo / David Haxton

It was painstaking work involving removing the old tracks, selecting robust replacement ones which had been stored onsite for 50 years, laying stone cover, sorting out sleepers, fastenings, nuts and bolts, joints and more.

And the track work meant a second issue could be addressed.

"Where the crossing was, was a low point in the track, and a low point in the road, so it became a drain," society president Steve Porter said.

"And it was always wet, always breaking up.

"We've come up about 250mm, which doesn't sound much, but it's enough for the drainage to go away from the track rather than into it."

The regional council has raised the crossing using concrete and created a wider area over 16m which makes it easier for large vehicles to navigate.

Improved rail crossing. Photo / David Haxton
Improved rail crossing. Photo / David Haxton

A new bridge, close by, over a stream has been created by the regional council, improving access for vehicles too.

Wellington Tramway Museum has operated in the park since 1965.

It has a museum featuring old trams, a team of engineers who restore old trams, and tram drivers who operate from Mackays Crossing to the beach line.

Tram rides for the public are each Saturday and Sunday 11am to 4.30pm.

Prices are $12 adult (all day ticket), child $6, family $30.