Interest in rail needs testing: mayor

Aaron Hawkins
Aaron Hawkins
There  is an appetite for a commuter train trial in Dunedin — but whether people would actually use the service needs to be tested, Dunedin Mayor Aaron Hawkins says.

Mr Hawkins took to social media yesterday to bolster efforts by the "Keep Dunedin Rail Rolling" campaign to push for the continuation of rail services in the city.

"There is no shortage of interest," he told the Otago Daily Times yesterday.

"The question is whether that interest translates into people using the service. You can only find that out by people offering the service to the degree the infrastructure currently allows — that’s really the opportunity here to give people the chance to use it. If it’s something that has uptake, then it’s worth exploring further."

"We would have to work with the [Otago] Regional Council because they still have governance of the public transport and any service — regularly scheduled public transport service — has to be registered with the regional council."

At a Dunedin City Council annual plan hearings session last week, Rail & Maritime Transport Union branch secretary Dave Kearns pushed for a six-week trial of commuter trains between Mosgiel and Dunedin to save jobs and keep Dunedin Railways infrastructure usable.

He pitched an approximately $250,000 trial of three services a day: one each at peak morning and afternoon times, and another in the middle of the day.

Mr Hawkins’s Facebook post said he would bring a resolution to the council’s planning and environment committee meeting on Thursday asking for support for a continued future for rail in Dunedin and the Keep Dunedin Rail Rolling campaign; and a report in time for annual plan deliberations, costing a feasibility study for a commuter rail pilot using Dunedin Railways Ltd assets, in time to be of use for the regional public transport plan, and that looks at funding options to offset the costs.


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Sure give it a try- but with no ORC/DCC subsidy so special interests pay the full cost. There is no reason why rate payers need to pay for another ego project. All non-core/essential services should be user-pays.

Can some please call Rachel Hunter and get her advice on what we should do.
She has experience with people that would rather play with their train set than deal with reality.
On second thoughts, we should just follow her example and divorce the boy.

Hey now Leave Rod out of this, every man/woman is entitled to his/her hobby.......

There is something about the photo of Mr. Hawkins that tells me something is wrong, something is not right. Almost a smirk, and please forgive me, an arrogant smile on his face and ODT uses this image every time there's an article about Hawkins.
Is there a photo of him doing some actual work, showing genuine interest? Where is the PR person looking after this man's campaign for goodness sake!

This could be excellent as long as the timing is right - I assume they'd look at when the buses have the highest usage and base the timetable on that - that's where the need is. Pricing would have to assume a similar pricing structure to existing options to be competitive, and that would have to assume the same subsidy that ORC provides for the bus. If the patonage is there and at that cost it's economic - including weighting for environmental, road use reduction, and long term asset usage - then it could be a winner.

Followed by untold whiners.

Easiest way to see if there is any interest, take forward bookings paid a month in advance.

Then check against wages, fuel, repairs, rail lease, new station and carparks at Abbotsford, new station and carparks at Green Island, same at Caversham and Mosgiel.

I think then we would find out like the extreme waste of our cash reserves ORC ran up supplying buses through Abbotsford with the odd very odd passenger on board during Covid - 19.

Time to lift the line to Middlemarch and complete a beautiful cycle track from Clyde to Dunedin Railway Station.

If you're all for lifting the line from Dunedin to Middlemarch, i'm guessing you've never actually been on the Taieri Gorge train before. Unless you have, and you hate trains. Otherwise, i can't see why you'd suggest that.

Hate trains, bikes, diesels. So did Mama. Only petrol driven internal combustion here. The others know little of technology. They just don't like the Mayor.

Passenger Diesel trains are no better than cars. An efficient car generates about 100 grams of CO2 per kilometre, that works out about 70 grams per passenger on average. It's only when you get onto the electric trains, such as the Pendolino, which is down to 50 grams of CO2 per passenger, that cars just can't compete. Then there is the air pollution, it has been proven as a passenger in a railcar you are exposed to up to 9 times the levels of black carbon and other air pollutants than standing next to busy city street! Then there is the money, not just for running the trains but also for all the upgrades in infrastructure that will be needed. The environment and economic benefits just do not add up.

3 minutes calculation makes this a project a non starter. Victoria AU has diesel trains running in 3 car and 6 car sets. Each car has a nominal loading of 83 people.
For public transport to be a usable thing you need departures ideally at 10 minute departures or at worst 20 minute departures.
Lets assume 3 car set trains running at 20 minute intervals between Mosgiel and town. From 6:30 am to 8:50am then 4pm to 6:20.
That is 8 departures each way for the peak offering ~ 2000 rides each peak.
You would need at least 2, probably 3 sets of trains to get a 20 minute departure time.
There is a single track from Mosgiel to town with limited passing loops.

So, About 9 to 15 mill for rolling stock, hire of drivers, ticket sellers and conductors, or 10 mill or so for a auto ticketing system. Another 5-10 mill for extra passing loops for local and freight trains.
And the need to find 1500 or so souls to ride the beasts EVERY day.

A bit of a joke idea really - still better than another 28-30 mil for the bike track to Pt Chalmers though.

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