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City workers and children from the northern coast clambered aboard a train to get to Dunedin, where work or school awaited.
The $4000 Waitati-Dunedin charter was organised by rail advocate group Get the Train.
The each-way fare cost $5, which was subsidised by local community board and charitable trust grants.
"We usually charter a train into Dunedin on Walk to Work Day and Car Free Day," Get the Train spokeswoman Danielle Cameron, of Purakaunui, said.
"We had about 170 people on board. It would have been even more, except for the snow and rain."
The workers and the pupils from Port Chalmers, Warrington, Waitati and Purakanui schools received a warm welcome from mayoral candidates at the Dunedin Railway Station.
The welcome was organised by Enviroschools Otago to highlight efforts towards more sustainable living, Dunedin City Council Enviroschools assistant regional co-ordinator Jinty MacTavish said.
"Enviroschools are always looking for an opportunity to get involved in the big global picture," she said.
"The Enviroschools programme is about a whole-school approach to sustainability and encouraging schools towards a more sustainable model.
"Catching a train to school on Car Free Day is a good example of that."
The commuter train left Dunedin last night at 5.30 for the return trip to Waitati.