Kāpiti Coast steam train aims to help revitalise regional Wellington

The Kāpiti Coast was in for a rare treat on Saturday night, with residents able to take a trip on a heritage steam train from Paraparaumu to Ōtaki.

It's the first time in over a year that steam trains have been on Wellington's tracks.

The initiative was organised by local Kāpiti groups to help bring life and business back into regional New Zealand.

It's aimed to revitalise regional Wellington, where businesses have been doing it tough, organiser Sarah Ferguson says.

"It's getting everyone involved, and it takes that 'love local' message everyone's getting a step further," she says.

The train will bring 1500 people to Ōtaki from all over the region to boost local tourism and encourage Kiwis to support small businesses.

It helped increase local tourism on Saturday night, with the train arriving just in time for Ōtaki's bustling night market which features Kiwi-made goods.

"There's a vibe here. We came here six weeks ago when we got invited to [it] and somehow the market has brought together artisan producers, vegetable growers, people that just do cool things," Batch10 Spirits director Brent Robertson says.

Ōtaki yard manager Matthew Innes says events such as the steam train rides help make Ōtaki a destination rather than a pit stop, with people coming all the way from New Plymouth to visit.

"People are going to stop off, spend some money and support the local businesses in the town."

With Saturday night's success, organisers could be looking to make the train rides a regular attraction.