21 Jan 2013

Dunedin-Oamaru train trip may be revived

2:44 pm on 21 January 2013

A Dunedin train company says fully-booked test trips to Oamaru show the line could have the potential to be turned into a daily operation.

A second sold-out trip of about 90 passengers was run by the Taieri Gorge Railway on Sunday in a railcar leased from KiwiRail.

Passengers board the train bound for Oamaru.

Passengers board the train bound for Oamaru. Photo: RNZ

No passenger service has run on the main trunk line south of Christchurch since the Southerner was shut down more than a decade ago.

The train was welcomed into the North Otago town by dozens of people including mayor Alex Familton and some dressed in Victorian costumes.

Taieri Gorge Railway's operations manager Grant Craig says the trips so far have shown the train's potential and his ultimate goal is to build the service to a daily run.

Tourism Waitaki marketing manager Megan Howell says it would welcome even regular once a month trips because they would bring people to Oamaru who would not normally drive there.

"The whole community sees the importance of the train coming and making sure that our visitors are welcomed on that train when they arrive. It is important to the town, every visitor is important to us and we want to make them feel like they're having a great time."

Ms Howell says the train is bringing visitors who would not normally drive to Oamaru.