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If We Can Buy a Beach, We Can Buy a Commuter Rail Service

If We Can Buy a Beach, We Can Buy a Commuter Rail Service

A Pledge Me Campaign is underway to get a North-West train commuter service on track.

Called DASH, the project has been spearheaded by local man Tane Apanui who presented to the Christchurch City Council in 2015 and has continued to campaign for a service from North Canterbury, through Papanui and into the city.

Mr Apanui launched the Pledge Me crowdfunding page a week ago with a goal of fundraising $1.8m. https://www.pledgeme.co.nz/projects/5045-dash-rail-canterbury-commuter-trains

At a meeting of the Greater Christchurch Public Transport Joint Committee Meeting on Wednesday 15 March at Environment Canterbury (ECAN), Mr Apanui was encouraged by a decision that he work with ECAN to flesh out and firm up his feasibility documents on which he has been working for more than three years, and report back to the committee in a couple of months.

“I am passionate about good public transport and I love a challenge,” he says. “I also know my stuff when it comes to trains and business. We have railway lines already there running from the north into the city, through key activity centres and past a number of large schools. We can’t keep putting vehicles on the roads, including buses and expecting congestion to reduce especially when you look at the growth expected in Christchurch and Canterbury in the next 20-30 years.”

Apanui wanted to test the figures in the mid 2014 report that Aurecon prepared for Ecan https://ecan.govt.nz/document/download/?uri=2908097 and that is what he did.

“Some of the costs seemed high and that is what I have found when I looked more closely at options and costs,” he says. “Just the cost of one engine, for example, that was shown in the report as costing $1.5m is in fact now available for $15,000.”

Apanui says the success of a commuter rail network will depend on how much people – commuters, school students and others – embrace it.

“I am hearing great excitement about this. Potentially free Wi-Fi, coffee at train stations, park and ride, cycle and ride; there are so many good things to get excited about,” he says.


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