Return of High Street cable car

### ODT Online Mon, 14 Jan 2013
Cable car back in 2018?
By Hamish McNeilly
The High St cable car could be resurrected within five years, as the trust behind the project prepares to start a major fundraising drive this year. The original High St to Mornington line opened in 1883 and closed in March 1957, but the Dunedin Cable Car Trust hopes to have a cable car back on the route by 2018. Chairman Phil Cole said the estimated $22 million project would be broken down into three phases, beginning with the construction of a $2 million terminus near Mornington Park.

Mr Cole stressed the trust was not looking for financial support from the Dunedin City Council, but was keeping the council updated on the project.

The Mornington terminus would include a cafe, museum and storage area for the cable car, and could be completed by 2015. ”We want to build this first to generate income for the project”. He said the completion of the terminus would help provide impetus for the project before the start of phase two – raising funds and installing the track and building the cable cars.
Read more

ODT Poll commenced 14.1.13

ODT Poll High St cable car 14.1.13[screenshot as at 12:00am 15.1.13]

Related Posts and Comments:
23.12.11 High Street cable car update
27.8.10 Invitation to ALL #High St Cable Car
25.11.09 High Street cable car
23.11.09 High Street Cable Car a possibility
19.10.09 Cable Car Meeting @Dunedin

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under Architecture, Business, Construction, Design, Economics, Geography, Heritage, Innovation, Inspiration, Media, Name, People, Project management, Property, Site, Town planning, Urban design

13 responses to “Return of High Street cable car

  1. Mike

    The San Francisco cable car museum is worth a visit if ever you’re there – it’s in the working winding house for that city’s Cable Car system (now really only used by tourists).

    Their on line presence has a great explanation on how real cable cars work:

    (Wellington’s isn’t strictly a “cable car”, it’s a “funicular railway”)

    They also have a great history of the Dunedin Cable cars

    • Elizabeth

      Mike, glad you mentioned this – the DCCT has been in touch with SanFran and at least one member of the trust has been to visit them, I believe the exchange continues as the Dunedin project is scoping – the ticketing/business side has also been gauged. Other cities and information and system providers have also been contacted for various reasons.

  2. Mike

    That’s good as I understand there was a long standing connection between SF and Dunedin around cable cars we also have being a goldfields port in common and there must of been toing and froing between here and there way back when

    • Elizabeth

      Dunedin was the second city in the world to adopt the cable car (the first being San Francisco).

      In particular, there’s the history of Dunedin cable car innovation that was picked up by San Francisco et al:

      In 1881 the Dunedin cable tramway system opened in Dunedin, New Zealand and became the first such system outside San Francisco. For Dunedin, George Smith Duncan further developed the Hallidie model, introducing the pull curve and the slot brake; the former was a way to pull cars through a curve, since Dunedin’s curves were too sharp to allow coasting, while the latter forced a wedge down into the cable slot to stop the car. Both of these innovations were generally adopted by other cities, including San Francisco.

      Another reference:

      Dunedin Cable Car Trust (DCCT)

  3. Calvin Oaten

    I don’t like being the ‘Cassandra’ on this one, but I cannot for the life of me see the reinstatement of a cable car up High St (or anywhere else for that matter) as being anything but ‘pie in the sky’ writ large. Where is the business model? Is it just another OSM in miniature? The Chinese Garden should tell us if anything will, that these brain storms are just a future burden for the ratepayers. Granted, Mr Cole is looking to raise funding from the public to the tune of, I think, $22 million. If he can, good luck to him. But as in all these works the ongoing costs of operation (assuming it happens) fall either into insolvency or, as is more likely, the DCC will be called in to prop it up. Debt servicing and operating costs will outbid revenue by quantum sums and the city will be the fall guy. It always is thus. Haven’t we seen enough with the Stadium?

  4. Anonymous

    I like the idea but figure it is or will just give Dave Cull and his gang of idiots something to hijack to help their dead political careers, while providing plenty of room to change later. It is just the sort of political carrot Stadium Councillor Syd Brown uses on his lazy electorate with the pool. The sort of rubbish Bill English regurgitates when saying we will be in surplus by [insert current year + 3]. Bring it on but my rates are on the ODT using it to give their puppet a winning change. It’s the sort of thing lazy media and useless politicians promote instead of tackling the hard issues.

  5. Mike

    I think you’re both right – a CC is a great idea if it can be made financially viable – of course as public transit it would tap ORC funds rather than DCC ones, as a tourist attraction though I’d expect them to be hitting up the city – I don’t think we have the money, keeping the council’s collective fingers away from the public purse in an election year is going to be difficult.

  6. Hype O'Thermia

    IF it were accompanied by a real attraction – better still, several – it could become a permanent constant delight. People I know, retired or in part-time employment, meet for coffee or take Mum for an “outing”. I know some who go to the casino as a group for a meal and take a small amount for the pokies, $20 or so, and if they win it’s great, if they lose it well, it’s still not an expensive night out. An aging population means more people who don’t particularly want to go out at night except to concerts and theatre, and anyway most bars target the youth market and are too noisy for conversation. But there has to be something up the top that people want to go to more than once, preferably something for children to do too, for the cable car to have steady patronage other than those who use it to go to and from [bus connection to] work and study.

    • Elizabeth

      Phil Cole, of course, intends to make formal media reply or he wouldn’t have pitched in with New Year comments. He’s a British, now New Zealand-based transportation and civil engineer, with the ability to question, teamwork and scope the financial sustainability of system delivery and integration in a place like Dunedin. You’ll have noticed his brief mention of three stages to the High Street project. Hype is onto to the general idea – before long, Phil and team will bring details forward in a sane way.

        • ### ODT Online Wed, 13 Feb 2013
          Cable car project has popular aims

          Phil Cole outlines the Dunedin Cable Car Trust’s vision and plans.

          OPINION Achieving an 86% positive response to the recent online ODT poll – ”`Would you like to see a cable car operating up High St?” – was a pleasant, but not surprising, result for the Dunedin Cable Car Trust. From the 994 votes cast, 852 were in favour. The votes reflect the opinion of just under 1% of Dunedin’s population, but it is enough to give us encouragement. Recreating the cable car on High St creates enormous challenges. To overcome these, the trust needs to be pragmatic and innovative to make sure Dunedin is left with an asset rather than a liability. To this end, the trust has spent a lot of time developing a project that will appeal to, and have the support of, a majority.
          Some, including those in support of the cable car, are still under the misconception money for the project will come from the Dunedin City and Otago Regional Councils. However, the first matter agreed was that the trust was not going to ask the councils for a cent. We want to create a project the people of Dunedin and further afield can get behind and feel part of. Those who don’t want to support the project would be under no financial obligation to do so.
          Read more

          – Phillip Cole is chairman of the Dunedin Cable Car Trust

  7. Apart from the lack of financial viability is the tackyness of the idea. As I said earlier (ODT 2010): Dunedin has its own authentic charm which would be diminished by tacky theme-park type Noddy Trains. Cable cars are an established part of San Francisco, but here they are a faded memory. They have been gone too long to be able to convince tourists that they are an authentic part of Dunedin’s way of life. Tourists know what is fake and what is not.

    Passion, determination and hard work are no substitute for common sense. This is an extreemly silly idea.

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