New Zealand–based tour operator, Forgotten World Adventures, has taken an old abandoned rail line, and turned it from a rusting eyesore, into a profitable business. They invite folks to drive “rail carts” along the old Stratford to Okahukura Railway Line, which was originally built between 1901 and 1933, and runs parallel to the Forgotten World Highway. The “rail carts”, however, aren’t gold gilded dining cars from the glorious era of rail travel, they’re souped-up golf carts, imported from the U.S. (Georgia, to be exact). You can’t steer them, but can stop and go with the pedals.
And, their excursions aren’t just an extended carnival ride. It’s a two-day “Ultimate Odyssey”, which runs the nearly 90-mile line, with a break for an overnight stay at the Whangamomona Hotel. The trip features dozens of bridges, 28 hand-dug tunnels, two viaducts, and a very high chance of seeing a lot of goats. The ride is guaranteed to be leisurely, because with the pedal to the medal, the carts only go about 12 miles per hour.
Given the millions of miles of abandoned rail lines that currently run all over North America, this idea seems as if it’s the perfect affordable way to create local jobs, increase tourism, reconnect communities and allow people to re-live a piece of the past. For more information about Forgotten World Adventures, visit their website at www.forgottenworldadventures.co.nz