Once a thriving railway hub, Taumarunui now grapples with the eyesore of neglected carriages tarnishing its historical charm.

A town steeped in rich railway history. However, a shadow looms over this idyllic locale – a jarring reminder of neglect and decay: Auckland’s abandoned commuter train carriages.

The town, known for its love affair with trains, is facing an unexpected challenge. Once vibrant and bustling, the local rail yards now stand silent, overrun by deteriorating wagons, a stark contrast to the vibrant history they represent.

For decades, Taumarunui has been a haven for train enthusiasts. From iconic train statues to nostalgic tunes echoing through its streets, the town wears its railway heritage proudly.

Ivan Stevens, a passionate train enthusiast, shared, “The town was built around the railways. Everyone knows the song; it’s part of our history.”

The community has celebrated trains through museums and replica train lines, aiming to attract tourists and preserve the spirit of a bygone era.

A Town’s Frustration

However, amidst the celebration of its railway legacy, Taumarunui grapples with an unfortunate problem: the eyesore of discarded KiwiRail carriages. Locals, deeply invested in their community’s aesthetics, express dismay at the deteriorating carriages spoiling their efforts to beautify the town.

Taumarunui resident Robin Gram voiced his concerns.

“It’s disheartening to see these neglected carriages amidst our community’s efforts to beautify the town. They spoil the beauty we’re striving for.”

Taumarunui Mayor Weston Kirton expressed concern over the extensive damage caused by the abandoned carriages, stretching nearly a kilometre and tarnishing the town’s scenic views.

Kirton shared plans to revitalise the space, aiming to transform it into a thriving transport hub to bolster the local economy.

In a statement, KiwiRail mentioned plans to address the situation by selling some carriages by January and rearranging others for safety.

“The carriages in question arrived at the Taumarunui yard in 2016. At the time of arrival all carriages were owned by Auckland Transport, since then KiwiRail have purchased 29 of them.

“KiwiRail have plans to dispose of 21 of the 29 carriages we own in the Taumarunui railyard in late January.

“The carriages will be rearranged within the yard this month to provide a safe working area.”

Residents like Robin Gram see potential in repurposing the carriages for various needs, from housing to innovative projects, emphasising the opportunity these abandoned assets present.