Amongst the projects that missed out on the National Cycleway funding is the Dunedin Tunnels Trail, linking Mosgiel to Dunedin. It’s another one of those projects where it’s a real pity it missed out on funding as it would appeal as a tourist ride and as a commuter cycleway. For the 7000 odd people in Mosgiel riding a bike to Dunedin, dealing with the hills and the motorway is a big ask. But the route through the two old railway tunnels, called the Caversham Tunnel and the Chain Hills Tunnel, linking Dunedin to Wingatui and hence to Mosgiel and the whole Taieri Plains, would get rid of all those obstacles. I knicked this picture from the Caversham Tunnel website, a site promoting the route. The picture is of the Caversham Tunnel. It is 865 metres long, so it’d be a nice long ride through.
There are also plans to extend a cycleway along the north side of Otago Harbour to Port Chalmers. Have a look at this great news story from the Otago Daily Times, and you have to look at the second photo on it to see just the best submission on any cycleway ever.
Whilst I’m beating the drum for Dunedin, did you know that Dunedin once had a whole lot of cable trams and did you know suburban rail services operated from Dunedin to Port Chalmers until 1979 and to Mosgiel until 1982?
So how about linking the cycleways and having a Port Chalmers to Mosgiel through cycleway, and extending it out to the airport? And reviving suburban rail services in Dunedin over the same route, with a new 2km single track spur into the airport? It’s an international airport, that gets about 15-20 arrivals and departures each day. A single train that just goes back and forth stopping at old and new intermediate stations between Port Chalmers and the Airport wouldn’t give all that frequent service, but have it so it can take bikes.
The cycleways and the train service would be smart ways to reuse existing infrastructure, and both would enable car-free or car-lite lives in that part of Otago.