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Last updated: 16 June 2011

Otago Excursion Train Trust

Collection | Ref # ARC-0688 | Held by Hocken Collections - Uare Taoka o Hakena

What is it?


Otago Excursion Train Trust


Otago Excursion Train Trust

Level of description:



4.03 linear metres

Reference number:



The Otago Excursion Train Trust was formed following the decision of New Zealand Railways in 1976 to cease operating excursion trains. The Otago Branch of the New Zealand Railways & Locomotive Society promoted its formation and began the task of restoring veteran carriages. The Trust was inaugurated at a public meeting in Dunedin in April 1978 and operated its first excursion from Dunedin to Cromwell in October 1979.
The activities of the Trust have included regular Taieri Gorge excursions and a variety of other excursions and charter trips to Port Chalmers, Central Otago and other destinations. In February 1987 the Trust launched a new, tourist-oriented service, called the Taieri Gorge Limited. This service saw the employment of paid train staff instead of volunteers, although volunteers still play a major role in the operation of charter and excursion trains.
By December 1989, when New Zealand Railways announced the closure of the Otago Central Railway, the 'Limited' had become established as a Dunedin tourist attraction and the Dunedin City Council agreed to purchase the line as far as Middlemarch to allow the Trust to continue operations. Following a successful fundraising appeal the Trust leased the track and rail corridor from the City Council and reached an agreement with New Zealand Rail to operate its trains between Dunedin and the Taieri Gorge Railway. A board of directors was appointed to oversee the operation of the railway and additional staff employed.
In 1996 the Trust was faced with a need for more capital to finance expansion which was difficult to raise under the structure of a community trust. A new agreement saw the Otago Excursion Train Trust and Dunedin City Council sell their railway assets to a new company, known as Taieri Gorge Railway Ltd., in exchange for shares and directors on the company's board (from the website of Taieri Gorge Railway Ltd,

Scope and contents:

This collection includes constitutional documents, annual reports, minutes, employees' pay records, other financial records, newsletters, reports, clippings, working files, excursion applications, running sheets, photographs and other papers.

Dates covered:

1977 - 2004

Archival history:

Listed on Hakena, the Hocken Collections archives and manuscripts catalogue.

Access conditions:

Not restricted

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Associated with:


Dunedin · Central Otago District · Taieri Gorge

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