Rail service possible next year
A rail passenger service between Dunedin and Timaru could be up and running next year.
Timaru tourism staff are in discussions about a service following the Taieri Gorge Silver Fern railcar's first trial run between Dunedin and Oamaru last Sunday.
A second trip next month may determine the fate of regular passenger services between Dunedin and Oamaru.
More than 70 people boarded the train for the return trip to Oamaru last Sunday, which included an excursion to Palmerston and back, which attracted close to 80 passengers.
Only 45 tickets had been sold until a late booking surge on the day with 94 seats available.
Taieri Gorge Railway was approached by Tourism Waitaki about the venture several months ago and now Timaru is keen to jump on board.
Aoraki Development tourism manager Katerina Tiscenko says she is in discussions with Taieri Gorge Railway about an extended service to Timaru.
"They have advised me that the tester service went well, with good capacity and a great response from the passengers trialing the service.
"What we need to do is sit down and look at the options and the feasibility; the numbers and timing with any such service are important.
"They are interested and so are we."
Louise Burnside, of Taieri Gorge Railway, said a service between Dunedin and Timaru could be up and running next year.
"We're talking about it, nothing has been planned yet but it is a possibility."
The Timaru Herald