The Rimutaka Incline Railway operated from 1878 until 1955, connecting Wellington and the Wairarapa. Special locomotives known as Fell engines were needed to haul trains up the steepest grade in the country. In 1955, a tunnel superseded the Rimutaka Incline, the tracks were torn up, and the former railway route was converted into a path for walking and cycling. The track runs for about 16 km (10 mi) from Kaitoke, just north of Upper Hutt, to a parking area just beyond
Cross Creek near Featherston on the Wairarapa side. It takes about five hours to walk the length. The track passes through two old tunnels, several bridges, and some wild countryside. The track is mostly compacted gravel, but it can get muddy in bad weather. Beware of high winds on the Wairarapa side; a train was once blown off the tracks here!
The only remaining Fell engine is now on display at the Fell Locomotive Museum in the Wairarapa.
Valley Shuttles. To arrange transport at both ends of the track, contact Fred Roberts of Valley Shuttles. 04/973–8150; 027/248–1745 cell.
Upper Hutt, New Zealand