A call for a commuter train service is now growing louder in the City of Christchurch, Tane Apanui, has been pushing for a service known as Dash Rail Lite for the City.
If you look internationally, or even domestically here in New Zealand, rail features as the main form of public transport, yet Christchurch doesn't have any commuter rail services. In fact I read an article just recently about the last train on the (Rangiora - Christchurch line) the last train to travel that route did so some 41 years ago. The last real commuter train service for Christchurch was the Steamer Express which went to Lyttelton, to meet the Lyttelton - Wellington ferry, which ceased in September 1976.
The track make up of existing Infrastructure means a coverage of most places is very close. And even with the Tracks down Moorhouse Ave, are also fairly close to the CBD. Once the CBD is rebuilt it would be likely the Free Shuttle service would be reinstated, again making most of the City able to be covered by the Train.
Since the Earthquakes areas such as Rolleston, and Rangiora have boomed, this has meant a large amount of congestion on the roads. Busses are affected by the same congestion as cars, but a Train moves fairly freely throughout. This is one of the reasons why Trains are so reliable, and as such trusted by many.
Dash Rail, have a Pledge Me account and are looking for people to pledge money to the cause. Of course, you won't go empty handed by placing a pledge. There is some great options for pledges, and if the pledge doesn't reach the target you have lost nothing.
According to the Pledge Me site, there are 3 lines which look likely to be targeted, which will cover a great amount of Christchurch. One would be Darfield - City via Rolleston, Addington. Another would be City Waipara via Amberly, Rangiora, Kaiapoi, Papanui, And the City to Lyttleton via Woolston and Heathcote.
This sort of service would be of course the first of its kind in New Zealand, a Community Owned rail service. Would be owned by Cantabrians and won't be sold to foreign entities.
According to the Pledge Me site, there are 2 options, and they are pushing for the lite version. The two options are as follows:
1: Dash rail lite: $1.8m will run a functional budget service using older style 'legacy' platforms and only peak services.
2: Dash rail : $7m with modern platforms, facilities and some off peak services on more modern rolling stock.
It's something that could be a great benefit, and push people to public transport again, there are amazing benefits of train services. Trains generally stick more to the schedule than the Buses as buses rely on traffic, road works, etc. But a train doesn't deal with any of that. Traffic is becoming a problem in Christchurch, and the spreading out of the city is really calling out for something to be done now rather than later.
I have lived in Christchurch and spent alot of time there, similarly the same in Auckland, and used the trains in Auckland too. Which I found alot better value for money than the bus, more entertaining for the kids too.
We wish the Dash Rail team all the best of luck with their endeavours, and we hope if you like the service too you could make a pledge to the Pledge Me page. You can view the entire Pledge Me page HERE.
Or you can view the Pledge below.
Published by D Blair, Hamilton