Trains visiting precinct preferred option

SHARE

Oamaru Whitestone Civic Trust chairman Peter Garvan says he would prefer to explore ways of attracting trains to the precinct rather than have the railway station moved to Friendly Bay.

The issue has arisen following the sale of the category 2 Heritage NZ listing Oamaru Railway Station. The Oamaru Whitestone Civic Trust is now taking action against the buyer.

However, several ideas have been discussed, which include moving the railway station to Friendly Bay, a propsect Mr Garvan does not favour.

He said moving the railway station would take a lot of work and could be costly.

“Any alteration would require Heritage NZ consent, which would not be a formality. It is likely any resource consent would involve a full public notification and likely significant opposition,” he said.

“The Waitaki District Council would have to consent to the railway station being sited on its land at Friendly Bay. The cost of feasibility reports, conservation reports and building reports would be considerable. The physical cost of shifting, according to two local builders, would be in the $750,000-$1 million range which would make the project prohibitive.”

Mr Garvan said one way of getting the railway station used again would be for more trains to visit and stop in the Victorian Precinct. He feels this would be much easier to achieve than relocating the building.

“I would like to look at the feasibility of attracting trains to the precinct. The issue of the future of a railway overhead bridge has recently been in the media. The Oamaru Whitestone Civic Trust would be very interested in seeing trains come directly into the precinct and we would happily work with Oamaru Steam and Rail on any feasibility study.”

Oamaru Creek Bridge 160 is the bridge which separates the precinct from the train station and has been out of action since the 90s.

The future of the bridge could determine whether or not trains visit the precinct, as there is a turntable available for the trains to use.

By BRAYDEN LINDSAY