Passengers disembark from the Taieri Gorge Railway's Silver
Fern railcar at Oamaru Railway Station on Sunday. Photo by
Passenger trains could start running regularly between
Dunedin and Oamaru, but only if a second trial trip can repeat
the success of the Taieri Gorge Railway's Silver Fern railcar's
first trial run to Oamaru on Sunday.
A regular passenger service has not run between the two
centres since 2002, but 75 people climbed on board for the
return trip to Oamaru on Sunday, which included an excursion
from Oamaru to Palmerston and back, attracting 79 commuters.
Taieri Gorge Railway chief executive Murray Bond said the
trip had been "highly successful", but a second test would be
required before the company could consider a regular service.
Mr Bond said for the route to be commercially viable the
train would have to be at least 80% full, and although it was
between 80% to 85% full at the weekend, a second test would
show if there was a regular demand.
"This was a good start to its foundation trip," he said.
"Yesterday [Sunday] was very successful and we will consider
doing it again, subject to customer demand."
He had already fielded calls from people wanting to know when
the train would run again, and added he was "confident" there
would be a continued demand.
The railway would also consider expanding its regional routes
to include Balclutha, if there was a similar demand for the
service elsewhere in the region, he said.