Future of railway service on the line

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The train service to Middlemarch should keep running for many reasons, a gallery manager says.

O Tawhiri Gallery manager Jo Robertson, of Middlemarch, said the proposal to stop the service needed to be considered from the view of preserving and honouring the cultural heritage of the area.

“We need to think creatively to acknowledge and nurture the future of Middlemarch as it is part of the greater city of Dunedin.”

Historically, the trains functioned as a way to connect people and communities, Ms Robertson said.

“Railway workers spent their life’s blood on those lines to establish those connections. Now ceasing the train line from Pukerangi to Middlemarch as a mere business cutback for Dunedin Railways would likely make those workers turn in their graves.”

She had taken the train as a mode of transportation to and from Dunedin more than a 100 times in the past 15 years.

“Throughout those years, I have observed little investment back into the maintenance of the track line.

“Originally the ride from Pukerangi to Middlemarch only took 10 minutes when the track was good. Now it takes around 30 minutes due to the state of the track,” she said.

“I have no doubt that the train line from Dunedin to Middlemarch will one day be one of the most attractive, low-carbon modes of transportation in New Zealand.

“The train line will become even more precious and Middlemarch will be seen as a haven and destination.”