It’s been more than two years since Dunedin Railways went into hibernation, the world is changing and normality is returning.
With the local body election on October 8, we hope to see a council that is happy to see some of Dunedin’s tourist icons come back and the money and resources given to it to ensure that his future.
The return of the cruise ships has seen some train services being run for the passengers but not keeping all businesses and ships scheduled to Port Chalmers and this is due to of resources such as personnel and maintenance are not increased to meet the demand of an emerging market.
If you go to Middlemarch and visit the railway station you will see a graveyard of rubbish being stored there until a decision is made by the council about the future. The longer it is left there, the more difficult it is to return the roll to service, especially for popular wooden cars. Maintenance of the train between Hindon and Middlemarch has only the basic requirements made by repairing the track, adding to the cost of restoring the train and the train to the work status until Middlemarch.
You can’t fault the council for its decision to put the train into hibernation against the advice it got from the holding company and the Dunedin Railways board at the start of 2020, but further instructions should be given to the firm to confirm. resources are used to plan for the future of trains and railways to return.
The great wealth of his staff, who put in the walls to keep the work train, all on short contracts did not give them good for the future, but thanks to their commitment to the running of the railway. much to ensure its survival with a lack of workers, no firm direction in the future and a lack of funds.
Trains are special jobs that require trained personnel who know their job and the safety and skill requirements for track and rolling stock maintenance. A number have left for more sustainable work and better pay – and who can blame them? – but those skills they took were very difficult. Another major problem now is the lack of a repair and maintenance facility with the loss of the Dunedin locomotive rental facility, which makes it very difficult for workers to carry out repairs.
Dunedin Railways is not the only tourist train operating in New Zealand. Glenbrook Vintage Railway (like Dunedin Railways has its own branch line and operates on the KiwiRail network) and Steam Incorporated in Wellington are now successfully running journeys that are a different part of the world and are going with North Island train tours. and local services such as the commuter train from Auckland to Napier and on to New Plymouth and back to Auckland and the Mountain Thunder group tour using the North Island’s main 700 more. Both of these companies paid employees (and volunteers to fill vacant positions.) to schedule trains with Steam Incorporated currently preparing for ferry charters from Picton.
Yes, it can be understood that there is some caution leading up to the cruise season and we should not expect Dunedin Railways to go to pre-Covid operations for this first season, but the court should look at this time to the return of Dunedin Railways to meet the demand we know will return.
I believe that some of our councilors and councilors of council controlled organizations are very surprised by what the ratepayers think of their railways and they need to look at this when making efforts in the election. Make sure you are heard at public meetings before voting, and ask the question: where do you stand on Dunedin rail?
My guess from these is that the longer it takes, the harder it is and the more expensive it is. The chairman of the council is submitting a decision to the new council, which will be elected on the 8th of October, and I really hope that they will have the right information to make a decision. and motivation and enthusiasm to quickly decide on a way forward. Dunedin Railways and the historic Taieri Gorge Railway to Middlemarch.
Grant Craig is a member of the Otago Excursion Train Trust.