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Taieri Gorge Railway growth of up to 25 percent

Media release - April 20, 2005

Taieri Gorge Railway announces annual growth of up to 25 percent

One of New Zealand’s most popular tourist train operators Taieri Gorge Railway today announced annual growth of up to 25 percent.

Taieri Gorge Railway has had another record season and is planning increased trips next year, the train company said.

The tourist company said its net income in the last financial year was $2.7 million, up from $1.8 million in 2000. Total assets grew to almost $2 million.

The Taieri Gorge journey features spectacular sights, tunnels carved by hand more than 100 years ago and majestic wrought-iron viaducts in the rugged mountain gorges through to Central Otago schist, desert landscapes and blue lakes.

They mainly operate between Pukerangi (a coach ride from Queenstown) and Dunedin.

``Some train experts have considered one of the world’s great train journeys,’’ Taieri rail spokeswoman Barbara Reid said today.

``We are told by overseas experts who travel the great railways of the world as have one of the best journeys in the world. They say where else in the world can you experience such diverse and ever-changing landscapes on one trip.’’

The Otago Excursion Train Trust began operating train trips in April 1978. During winter they make seven trips a week.

``However, over summer we are running at least 14 a week. Averaged out over the year and including charters etc we are running 11 trips a week,’’ Ms Reid said.

``That is 513 Taieri daily tourist train trips and 60 charters a year. We are talking a total of 451,264km a year.

``We carry 60,000 passengers annually. Pukerangi (west of Dunedin) is our main destination. This is a four hour return trip and is popular as many tourists are looking for a half day return trip.’’

Taieri Gorge Railway (TGR) also visit Middlemarch which is about 20km further down the line from Pukerangi and is the end of the railway line.

TGR is owned by Dunedin City Holdings Limited (DCHL) (72 percent) and the Otago Excursion Train Trust who own 28 percent of the company.

Ms Reid said TGR was making a small profit each year.

``No tourist railway in the world makes a 'real' profit and must rely on grants to survive. We do not receive any subsidies. But we make a small profit each year and our growth is up to 25 percent.’’

TGR owns their own rolling stock made up of five locomotives, 18 passenger cars and two service wagons. They also own one work locomotive used for track weed spraying etc.

Ends

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