The Dunedin City Council needs to use innovative thinking to keep Dunedin Railways rolling, including the iconic tourist attraction of the Taieri Gorge Railway.
The Dunedin Railways Limited (DRL) Board of Directors have recommended closing the railway to the Dunedin City Council, blaming falling revenues due to the COVID19 pandemic.
Workers at DRL have put forward a proposal to reinvigorate the company, retaining the iconic Taieri Gorge Railway and saving up to 70 jobs.
DRL is 100% owned by Dunedin City Holdings Limited, the business arm of the Dunedin City Council.
The DRL Board of Directors had recommended closing the railway to the Dunedin City Council, blaming falling revenues due to the COVID19 pandemic.
Dunedin City Councillors have voted to mothball the railway instead, they have not been given the correct information about how this would work.
The DRL plan is meaningless as it is so lacking in detail.
There are a number of opportunities for rail services that have been ignored.
Options include the reconfiguration of the business away from the cruise ship market to the domestic market.
There is potential for staff and rolling stock to provide commuter services to local destinations such as Mosgiel and Port Chalmers, as well as the establishment of long distance passenger services between Dunedin and other cities on the main south line.
Other possibilities include the sale or transfer of ownership of the Wingatui to Middlemarch line to KiwiRail, with DRL to operate like other heritage rail concerns and pay a fee for track access whilst refocusing their business.
The Keep Dunedin Rail Rolling campaign is calling for genuine engagement by DRL management with staff and their union to investigate alternative options for the future.