Current Progress

10/02/2017 The Trust today announced it has a conditional agreement to purchase the property gaining access to the disused Chain Hills rail tunnel which connects Abbotsford to Wingatui.

25/01/2015 Chain Hills open to public viewing Sunday afternoon.  Thanks to the landowners for allowing access, and Otago Racing Club for allowing use of the Wingatui Raceway for parking.  Full details on Facebook here. 

19/01/2015 Call to arms! Our first Working Bee will be held this Sunday 25 January 2015.  Please see here for details and let us know if you can assist.  All help very much appreciated. 

11/10/2014 Exciting times! Work has begun on clearing the mud and debris from the cutting on the eastern side of the Chain Hills tunnel. Waihola Excavation has the contract for this work and it's great to see physical progress after so many years!  Photos on Facebook, and a Youtube clip of the work done so far.

03/10/2014 A walk-through of the Chain Hills tunnel from the eastern end was held, with Councillors and representatives from a number of interested organisations in attendance.  While there are issues of access, momentum is growing for this project.  Photos on the Facebook page.

10/10/2013 It's been quiet this year but slow progress has been happening. The Chain Hills tunnel had an additional reprot commissioned which identified areas of the tunnel wall that require work to repair.  The council Working Party has passed the current stage of the project to a newly-formed Project Control Group to continue activities on the ground.  The MBIE (formerly Dept. of Labour) has stated that neither tunnel would be considered a Confined Space. This is excellent news and removes a lot of barriers to entry and work within the tunnels.

04/10/2013 Thanks to a huge volunteer committment the existing website will be replaced in the near future with a more up-to-date site.

24/08/2012 A geo-tech survey of the old Chain Hills tunnel was recently done by Tonkin and Taylor staff.  A Youtube clip of some of the tunnel is available here: http://youtu.be/L6KYxTFoJ8o

16/07/2012 Atmospheric Report and Scheme Assessment report presented to Council Working party.
The month-long air quality monitoring report has returned a clean bill of health for the period monitored:  "Results for the monitoring period indicate no exceedence of NZ Workpace Exposure Standards for any of the gases monitored.  Levels of carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide are consistent with those found in an urban New Zealand environment.  Carbon monoxide levels are below National Air Quality Standards.  All gases fall within the required parameters for safe entry into a confined space as describe in AS/NZS 2865: 2001 Safe working in a confined space." ; "Trace levels (0.1ppm) of hydrogen sulphide were observed on an intermittent basis and are likely a result of venting from sewage lines or decomposition of organic matter in muddy areas."
[Emphasis added]

An engineering Scheme Assessment report was tabled, presenting possible options for utility protection, lighting, CCTV and gas monitoring, and track formation. The next stage is for an MOU to be established between the Trust and the DCC, then further design work and discussion of options.

28/03/2012 Workshop held.
A 1-day workshop was held by DCC staff, NZTA representatives, and Trust representatives to again look at what needs to be done to allow volunteer groups to start development work on the Caversham Tunnel cycleway. Nothing further has been resolved as yet.

26/01/2012 ...and on a lighter note
iD Fashion coverMary Smith, of Ali McD modelling agency, appears to float in this image, shot in front of the Caversham tunnel, which will be used for all iD Dunedin Fashion Week promotional material. It was created locally, drawing on the talent of Luke Johnston, of BrandAid, photographer Emily Hlavac-Green, hair and make-up artist Katy Parsons and fashion label Mild Red. Photo © Emily Hiavac-Green

20/12/2011
As part of identifying possible risks within the Caversham Tunnel a month-long monitoring of the atmosphere and windflow was recently conducted.  Unfortunately, there was a power failure of the gas analysis equipment after setup. The initial results do look promising, but a final report will be delayed until after the monitoring is repeated.

Summary
"The average wind speed through the tunnel is approximately 0.84m.s-1, which gives an average purge period of just under 18-minutes.  The entire air volume of the tunnel including any accumulated gases are purged every 18-minutes, on average.
The gas meter provided a reading consistent with fresh outdoor air during the entire first 23-hour monitoring period (beginning 14:27, 20 October).  This is what might be predicted based on the average air flow speed through the tunnel, and the resulting rate of gas purging.  Unfortunately, a power supply fault resulted in no further air quality results.
Overall, monitoring results have demonstrated that air quality can be expected to be consistently acceptable during the weather conditions experienced during the  October/November monitoring period, provided a catastrophic failure does not occur to the sewage pipe."

22/09/2011
While opening the old Caversham tunnel is Stage One, the Working Party is also looking ahead to the cycleway out to Wingatui. An option there is to follow the existing rail line between the two tunnels.  This is still subject to investigation and negotiation with Kiwirail. Councillor Jinty MacTavish recently went along the rail line with KiwiRail to look at the possibilities.  Here's a youtube clip of the trip.

01/09/2011
The Southern Cycleway Working Party has been investigating the issues involved with opening up the old Caversham tunnel as Stage One of a complete cycleway from Dunedin to Mosgiel. The main impediment at this stage is still the safety concerns expressed by Water&Waste Services (DCC) regarding the sewer pipes and other utilities currently within the tunnel.  Options include sealing the sewer manholes within the tunnel and installing gas sensors throughout the tunnel, or re-laying the pipes in a deeper trench.

13/05/2011
The Dunedin City Council has just decided to put $100,000 towards the development of a cycleway/walkway through the Caversham Tunnel in the 2011-12 Annual Plan. This is due to the many submissions by the public (THANK YOU!) as well as a lot of hard work and support by Councillors. This is EXCELLENT news and is a clear indication by Council that they support the project.

20/03/2011
Submissions on the 2011-12 Draft Annual Plan are now open.  Please take 5 minutes to let the Council know what you think and support opening up the tunnels.  Further details on the Submissions page.

17/01/11
A Working Party has been established to investigate the possibility of opening up the old Caversham tunnel for cyclists and pedestrians, and considering the option of opening up the Chain Hills tunnelto create a shared trail to Wingatui in the long term. The Working Party consists of Councillors, council staff, and representatives from the Dunedin Tunnels Trail Trust.

16/11/10
At a planning and environment committee meeting before the council meeting, Dunedin City Council councillors voted to go ahead with an investigation into opening the Caversham railway tunnel and developing a cycleway to Green Island and Mosgiel!  Brief mention and video clip on TV3

15/11/10
The Dunedin City Council are to consider the options presented in the Dunedin Feasibility Study at the Planning and Environment meeting today.  A good writeup is available in this ODT article

16/09/10
The Otago council elections are nearing, and most of the candidates took the time to respond to a series of questions on cycling and walking in Dunedin, including a specific question of the proposed Tunnels Trail (Q3).  Their responses are in this PDF document (updated).

25/08/10
The DCC Feasibility Study has been released and offers 4 options. Option A at $1.3 million does NOT use either tunnel. Option B at $3.3 million opens up Caversham Tunnel but uses the existing roads from there to Mosgiel. Option C at $7.7 million creates the full cycle trail from Caversham to WIngatui through both tunnels and along beside the existing rail line.  These are "Rolls Royce" specifications, with full lighting, ventilation systems and CCTV cameras in both tunnels; full lighting and asphalt surface along the whole length of the track.  There is also a note estimating $1.7m coming in from tourism per year from Option C, a payback within 5 years purely from tourism in addition to the benefits to the local community for recreation and commuting. Option D opens both tunnels but uses existing roads between them at $5.5 million.

23/04/10
A Feasibility Study is now to be carried on a Southern Cycleway between Dunedin and Mosgiel, with the two tunnels being considered as one possible option.  The report is expected to be completed by the end of June 2010.

12/04/10
Submissions have been made to the 2010 DCC Annual Plan regarding a Tunnels trail. We await the outcome.

05/08/09
We're now on Facebook. Please feel free to become a fan. 

01/07/09
The DCC are shortly to start a Feasibility Study of a Tunnels Trail from Caversham through to Wingatui.

18/05/09
Submissions have been made to both the DCC Annual Plan (LTCCP) and ORC Regional Transport Plan regarding a Tunnels trail. We await the outcome. Additionally, the news of the government's Cycleway initiative has been warmly welcomed!

02/03/09
A charitable trust: the Dunedin Tunnels Trail Trust is being set up with the intention of going into partnership with the DCC to promote a cycling and walking trail from Dunedin to Wingatui through the Caversham and Chain Hills tunnels.

02/03/2009 Initial Survey results are available as a PDF file.

28/11/08
We will be looking to establish a charitable Trust in the very near future to begin fundraising to progress the trail and tunnel usage.

24/11/08
At a meeting of the Infrastructure Services Committee today, the Council decided to delay any investigation into the re-use of the Caversham and Chain hills tunnels until the 2009/2010 period when an application for funding assistance for such an investigation can be sought from NZTA. In the meantime, possible land ownership and/or easement issues for the longer term rail trail will be looked at separately.

25/10/08
Our thanks to Clare Noakes for the opportunity to visit the eastern end of the old Chain Hills tunnel - new photos in the gallery.

29/08/08
On 29th of August an informal meeting was held between the DCC Infrastructure Services Committee, DCC staff, and tunnel advocates. 

This was an opportunity for us to present our ideas for reopening the Caversham and Chain Hills tunnels, and creating a trail between them.  Problems and opportunities with these ideas were briefly discussed. 

A number of the issues raised will be investigated by DCC staff and their report is due back to the Infrastructure Services Committee late November.

 

25/10/2008 from Gerard,