The Keep Dunedin Rail Rolling campaign has welcomed today’s announcement by Dunedin Mayor Aaron Hawkins that tourist trains will be running in Dunedin this summer.
The Trains not Planes promotion will run from 20 December to 31 March 2021 with services to Hindon and Waitati, using assets of the mothballed Dunedin Railways Limited.
The services will be managed by Dunedin Venues Management Limited.
The announcement comes after the mothballing of DRL earlier this year at the cost of 50 jobs and the loss what has been called one of the world’s great little rail journeys.
Keep Dunedin Rail Rolling spokesperson Dave Kearns says the temporary trial of local tourist services over the summer to Hindon and Waitati made perfect sense.
“The sooner regular services are put back in place, the greater the chance of re-attracting skilled staff and holding on to the iconic status and high profile of the service.”
He said it was important that a proper rail-focussed company was re-established as soon as possible to ensure the correct focus and organisational skills were available.
Mr Kearns says the City Council should still include staff and union representation on the reference group considering the future of DRL.
“The problem we see is people who presided over the closure of DRL are still involved at a high level, whereas the workforce who have a detailed down to earth knowledge of this asset have been excluded.”
Mr Kearns encouraged all local people to use the service and to promote it through word of mouth to friends and relatives elsewhere in New Zealand.