Short Term Goals

  • To re-open the Old Caversham Rail Tunnel to pedestrian and cycling access
  • Repaired drainage, re-surfacing, and lighting through the tunnel
  • Access ramp at Kaikorai Valley end of tunnel

2013 Update: Focus has shifted to the Chain Hills tunnel to be the first stage of the larger project. This tunnel has fewer issues involved with opening, although being on private land easements will need to be negotiated with the landowners.

Long Term Goals

There is another disused rail tunnel nearby that connects the Abbotsford area to the Wingatui area, known as the Chain Hills Tunnel, that has been recently used to pipe effluent from the Burnside Works. 

By connecting these two tunnels together with a walking/cycle track, a route from Dunedin city to the Taieri Plains would be created that avoids the major arterial roads, motorways, and hills in between.  

A Coast-to-Clyde Rail Trail:

Beginning at the Dunedin Railway Station, cyclists follow the cycleway to the Old Caversham Rail Tunnel and through to Kaikorai Valley.  Turning southwest, the old rail track can be followed out past Abbotsford, then west near the current rail line.  The old track then veers slightly north to pass through the Chain Hills tunnel, and out at the northern end of Gladstone Rd.  From there it's a short ride to the Wingatui Platform where the Taieri Gorge train is boarded, and a trip through the Taieri Gorge is taken to Middlemarch.  At the Middlemarch end, the cyclist starts the Otago Central Rail Trail (OCRT) cycle/walking track, finishing at Clyde in Central Otago.

There are a number of hurdles to get over before the above idea can be brought to fruition.  Firstly, the Caversham tunnel will need to be re-opened, re-surfaced and well-lit.  The Chain Hills tunnel, being in a rural environment and considerably shorter - about 200 metres - would ideally remain unlit and allow for the full 'tunnel' experience.  Next, both Wingatui and Abbotsford ends are currently on private land, and access over these lands in and out of the tunnel would need to be negotiated. 

The Taieri Gorge Railway company already provides for cyclists travelling to and from the OCRT from the Dunedin railway station.  By offering the link from the Wingatui platform, the cyclists experience the old rail trail from Dunedin itself, two tunnels, and still get to travel through the Taieri Gorge experiencing its history and scenery.