|Posted by Darrin Wilkinson on June 20, 2015 at 10:25 AM|
Blenheim Riverside Railway were hosts of the 2015 Federation of Rail Organisations of New Zealand (FRONZ) conference, over this Queen's Birthday weekend.
The Blenheim Riverside Railway Society has been given the thumbs up by KiwiRail for their work extending the railway line to Omaka.
The society was presented with the KiwiRail infrastructure award from the national rail operator at the Federation of Rail Organisations of New Zealand national conference, held in Blenheim over the weekend.
Society president John Orchard said it was awarded to them for building the 900 metre branch line from their base at Brayshaw Park to the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre.
It was also the third time they had won the award, which had only been handed out on nine separate occasions, he said.
"We are really pleased to have won it again. We won it in 2006 for the reinforced concrete sleepers we are replacing our wooden sleepers with, and we also won it in 2011 for the scaled down replica of the Picton station at Brayshaw Park."
The award came with $2000 in prize money, which would be used to buy new equipment for the society, Orchard said.
The new branch line was officially opened in March and marked the first South Island branch line to open this century.One of the society's youngest members Scott McIntyre was also recognised at the conference for his efforts, taking the Aon young achiever of the year award.
The accolade recognised railway organisation members under the age of 25 and came with $1000 in prize money.
"Scott's been a member since he was 8-years-old. He would do simple jobs at first but as he's grown up he has become an important part of the society. He has developed a reputation for having a very sharp eye at spotting things that need work," Orchard said.
The conference was based at the Clubs of Marlborough, in Blenheim, and was the first time in more than a decade that it had been held in Marlborough. It was hosted in Picton about 12 years ago, he said.
Feedback from delegates was extremely positive. "They said it was the best conference to date under the current organisation team. People were very complimentary of the Clubs of Marlborough as a venue, the accommodation in town and the friendliness of the town in general," Orchard said.
As part of the conference, about 75 delegates visited Brayshaw Park, the aviation heritage centre, the Edwin Fox Maritime Museum in Picton and rode the riverside railway.
"They were extremely impressed with what Marlborough had to offer them."
Source - Marlborough Express. - Photo credits - Marlborough Express and FRONZ