After an enforced rest due to the Covid-19 lockdown, the Bay of Islands Vintage Railway is now ready to resume its journeys.

The original wooden tramway was built in 1864 to transport coal in tubs pulled by horses, but were succeeded by the first steam engine in the North Island, which began running on January 28, 1871.

The railway's iconic steam engine Gabriel was still in enforced limbo while its boiler was replaced, but Frank Leadley said the "mighty" diesel engines were primed and ready to take up the challenge of transporting passengers from the heritage railway station in Kawakawa to the original destination of those horse-drawn tubs at Taumarere.

The railway was ready to play its part in the campaign aimed at encouraging New Zealanders to see and experience their own country, he added, and would begin running again this Queen's Birthday weekend, departing Kawakawa on Saturday, Sunday and Monday at 10.45am, 12 noon, 1.15pm and 2.30pm. Excursions could also be booked on (021) 171-2697. Current Covid 19 arrangements would be in place.

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"At only $20 per adult, $18 for a Gold Card holder, $5 for school-age children, free for children under school age, or $45 for a family (two adults and up to three children), this is the best value for money in the Bay of Islands," Frank said, "and with a fascinating commentary, and a great station café to add to the experience, what better way could there be to enjoy the Bay of Islands for visitors and residents alike?"