$2.5 million per year just to avoid making an inevitable decision?
It is my unpopular duty to let Dunedin people know how far gone options are for the Middlemarch track. Can anybody suggest where the first $20 million might come from for the deferred line maintenance before we start rebuilding carriages and finding new customers?
Taieri Gorge Railways is now much less viable, as even in the good times of mostly cruise-ship passengers it failed to address necessary track maintenance accumulating at around $1.5 million every year for more than the last decade.
The dreamworld DCC is currently throwing $2.5 million per year at a hopeless mothballing operation because they don’t want to make the unpopular necessary business decision to accept that the Middlemarch track with 37 bridges is beyond anybody’s ability to repair.
Worse, the hope that this line could be made safe for cyclists is also impossibly expensive for capital works and ongoing maintenance. Who is going to pay to safely pave and fence 37 bridges and then repair those bridges with no significant financial return?
New safety requirements for carriages now also require side-impact resistance strengthening, making the reuse of older carriages unaffordable as well.
Storage costs, and mothball maintenance at $2.5 million annually is unsustainable whether better times come or not.