Phil Cole on the High Street Cable Car

Mornington cable train, High St

### ODT Online Wed, 13 Feb 2013
Opinion
Cable car project has popular aims
By Phillip Cole
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 + Images

● Phillip Cole is chairman of the Dunedin Cable Car Trust (est. 23 July 2008)

Dunedin had the first cable car system outside of the United States opening in 1881. San Francisco Municipal Railway became the sole operator of cable car service in the world with the closure of the Mornington line in Dunedin on 2 March 1957.

Related Posts and Comments:
15.1.13 Return of High Street cable car
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

61 Comments

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61 responses to “Phil Cole on the High Street Cable Car

  1. Joc parkes

    Do you know where I can locate the DVD of the Hold very tight please book or similar. Thankyou Joc Parkes.

    • Joc, suggest you contact Phil Cole, chairman of the Dunedin Cable Car Trust – you can contact Phil via the Trust’s website. Link provided at the post that tops this thread.

      • ### ch9.co.nz July 22, 2013 – 6:49pm
        Nightly interview: Phil Cole
        News emerged early this year the High Street cable car could be back in action within five years. The trust behind the project was preparing for a major fund raising drive, and planning for a $2 million terminus near Mornington Park. Six months down the track, a public meeting is being planned to update the public on progress. Dunedin Cable Car Trust chairman Phil Cole is here with the latest.
        Video

  2. With all due respect, I think it is time that Phil put this cable car resurrection idea to bed and got on to the business of the possible. I understand he might be a candidate for council. That is where his energies should go, as God knows there are enough ‘white elephants’ in that building that need euthanised without adding more.

    • Calvin, I’m more than happy to back the work of the Dunedin Cable Car Trust for the reasons Hype outlines – the project rests or falls on the strength of its commercial proposition. All good things take time.

      • ### ODT Online Tue, 23 Jul 2013
        Cable car plan sessions
        By Hamish McNeilly
        The group behind the proposed High St cable car is hosting public meetings on Sunday to discuss planning for the multimillion-dollar project. The Dunedin Cable Car Group was aiming to raise an initial $2 million to build a cablecar terminus at Mornington Park by March 2017, chairman Phil Cole said. That date would coincide with the 60th anniversary of the closure of the original High St to Mornington line, which opened in 1883 and closed in March 1957.
        Read more

  3. Hype O'Thermia

    But Calvin, this is ONE project that isn’t looking at compulsory funding i.e. the rates knife held to ratepayers’ throats. They’re not planning to have it tomorrow and damn the expense. They’re doing what rugby should have done, planned for what was possible with hard work, saving, using their own efforts and staying realistic. I’m with Phil, I like it when people have visions in the healthy sense not the sociopathic “I’m a visionary, my unrealistic visions deserve your money and you’ll damnwell pay” kind.

  4. Ouch! I hear what both Hype and Elizabeth say, but in my book the project has nothing going for it. First, there is no solid support else it would have progressed further by now. Second, it involves substantial disruption of the city’s traffic ways to Mornington, both in doing and having. Third, It goes to Mornington. Woop-de-do! Fourth, it is horrendously expensive for whatever benefits to be gained.
    Now, if Phil and his people really wanted to think outside the square and do something spectacular, how about the following? Go to Bethunes Gully and establish a ‘gondola service’ up through the native bush and flora to the top of Mt Cargill. It has the following advantages. First, it doesn’t interfere in any way with the city’s traffic infrastructure. Second, it goes somewhere with a serious point of difference. The views are 360deg and truly spectacular. The ride would be special to say the least, an unfolding vista of natural landscapes, and progressive widening views as it progresses. It is all through City property, so assuming it got the OK from City Hall, no other impediments are obvious. Third, it would offer something entirely different to visitors from city streets and buildings. It could finish with a lookout building/cafeteria restaurant. A place for celebrating the likes of weddings etc as well as just a trip for a coffee. Fourthly, I suspect that the existing building built to accommodate TV technology, is now partly or possibly totally redundant, a starting point for terminal facilities worth investigating. It is a project with real commercial prospects that could be attractive to business funding. Who knows, but I think it would be a much easier, more spectacular ‘bang for the buck’ than creeping up through the suburbs disturbing the traffic flow and dispositions of the citizens.
    Fifthly, they work! Just look at Queenstown’s and Christchurch’s Port Hills. Mt Cargill would blow them both away for an experience. But hey! what would I know?

  5. Wise One

    Spot on Calvin. Just wait till the High St cable car project runs into financial difficulties. About six months beforehand it will be gifted to the City. Like a lot of other albatrosses. Once again another failure will be left for the ratepayer to pick up the tab.

  6. Phil Cole

    Thanks for all the comments so far – both for and against! Hype O’Thermia and Elizabeth are pretty much spot-on with their comments and have obviously been following the various press releases of the past. All we can do is put out how we are going about the project, what we hope to achieve and how we hope to get there.

    We are, and have been, under no illusions that this is going to be easy – if it was we would have done what the ‘Stuart Street Group’ did and make a presentation to council, told them how much it was going to cost and then told council that they had to fund it… surprisingly, the council said ‘no’.

    There is no time limit on this project as Hype clearly understands. What we are doing is planning and raising money in phases, not starting on any phase until we have the money, and then making sure that each phase has a ‘fall-back’ option in case money for the next phase cannot be raised, or takes a long time to achieve. The beauty of this project is that it is only going to succeed if the Dunedin people are behind it and we are under no ‘fixed’ finished-by date.

    I could argue the various points you have raised, Calvin, but I respect your views and if you think a Gondola up Bethunes Gully is a good thing then go ahead and do it – nothing to stop you. All the positive points you raise about the venture can be applied to the Mornington Cable Car ride.

    I do not know if the Mornington Cable Car will ever run again in Dunedin but there are a lot of people – sorry, a number of people whom I have spoken to at talks and who have contacted me from much further afield than Dunedin – who are very supportive of what we are trying to achieve. There is, and always will be, a vast silent majority out there who are indifferent to the project until they find out more about it.

    Raising the start-up costs is infinitely more of a difficult task than raising funds for the stadium ever was – although we have raised more than the $30 they were able to raise and we haven’t started any fund-raising yet! – you never know what you can achieve…

    …but one thing is for sure – we want as many people involved in the project as possible who can offer practical help (and we don’t mean ‘financial’) and who can feel as if they are an actual part of the project. If people want to give any financial contribution they can but they can do it of their own free-will and if they don’t want to contribute then they won’t have to.

    The people who have valid concerns about the project will be listened to and their advice taken on board – it’s the only way we can avoid any potential pitfall we haven’t thought of ourselves. We do not presume to know everything – we can’t; not only are we human, we are dealing with a transport system that has worked well for over 130 years, is sustainable (that dreaded word!) but hasn’t been built from scratch in most of our life time (even yours, Calvin, with respect…)

    But our contacts at San Francisco MUNI have, and continue to be incredibly helpful – they are very much aware of the debt they owe to George Duncan and the pull curve – and when the San Francisco lines were all renovated and upgraded in 1984 they brought new technology along to the cable cars with them.

    We don’t expect all people to be supportive of what we are trying to do, but we hope that at least they can understand the way we are going about doing it – making sure that the ratepayer never pays anything towards it unless they want to out of their own pocket. The promotion and fund-raising will continue long after it is built – if it gets built – with all profits going back into the local community (Dunedin).

    Come along on Sunday and hopefully you’ll find out a bit more… or no doubt have your worst fears confirmed!

    As for running for council… ”You may say that – I couldn’t possibly comment…” (with apologies to Francis Urquhart ‘House of Cards’ (BBC)).

  7. Phil, I admire your perspicacity, but nothing you say has convinced me. Sorry, but to compare this to San Francisco , which is, and has been an iconic going concern for many many years. This is a revamp of a system discarded as being no longer suitable for the task. I have no beef with cable cars per se but a five-minute scenic trip to Mornington is not an earth mover. I believe that for any tourist venture it has to have a point of difference, find that and I’m with you. And it has to be a tourist venture because there is no way local traffic will make it pay. If it doesn’t pay it simply would join the already crowded field of “crocks” the city props up.
    I simply proposed the Mt Cargill gondola as a possible commercial prospect if it is pitched right. That way the funding would either be there or not. Forget about moving into the public’s pocket, because there’s nothing left after they have subsidised the existing ventures.

    • Calvin, I suggest smelling the roses for a long while if not to last gasp – since DCC failure does not mean other things can’t grow out of the desert. I get a hint that you’re maybe not up on what is occurring in the city south of Moray Place or the level of investment going in, or indeed what Mornington can sustain as a suburban centre given all the amenity it has and its potential for further… Properties in High Street Heritage Precinct (likely to be extended in area) are upgrading all the time, many at significant private cost. Don’t think I’ve heard or read DCCT say Tourism is the prime object for the cable car project. Do happen along on Sunday!

  8. Further to my contention, where did the idea come from? Several years ago, about ten in fact, My late wife and I were down at the Gardens when two nice mature ladies stopped and asked were they on the right way to the ‘steepest St in the world’. We pointed the way and said it was a further 15 to 20 minutes walk. They thanked us and went on their way. Later on we drove along the Valley to see if they found it. We met them coming back, stopped and asked if they would like a ride into town where there would be a bus to take them back to the ship. I then said that if they had some time we would take them to have a real look at Dunedin. We then drove up Pine Hill and on up to the Mt Cargill summit. They got out and walked to the lookout, and honestly they were blown away (figuratively) and said without doubt that was the most comprehensive, one shot touristy bit they had experienced on their whole trip. They both said why was this never shown in any literature for we passengers to take in. I said just think of the road up here and ask yourself. Anyway, we took them back down and over the old road route back to their ship at Port Chalmers. They both thanked us profusely and reiterated that so far, it was the highlight of their trip. Ever since, I have just wondered if any organisation would ever think of capitalising on the possibilities of the ‘gondola concept’? Seems not.

  9. Hype O'Thermia

    The trouble with an out-of-the-way scenic ride is that no matter how amazing the view it’s not something people will do often, that’s also the trouble with the Chinese Garden, even people who loved it and thought “must go again soon” find it’s dropped off their to-do list, pushed off by all the other to-do’s. Relying on tourists works in highly tourist-centred places like Queenstown where business pretty much revolves around visitors. Tourists passing through on buses and campervans staying for a couple of nights or a week of pure holiday sightseeing and experiences. Conference-goers with activities arranged by the conference organisers. Ski and summer holidaymakers… the town revolves around feeding, accommodating, entertaining and cleaning up after them – and cleaning out their pockets before they go home. Dunedin is broader based, we may have more people here at any one time but how many of us, visitors included, are going to do “experiences”, how often? How often do others who are reading this go to the Albatross Colony, ride the Taieri Gorge train and so on?
    Something in the middle of town that isn’t a biggie, a pleasant afternoon’s activity with friends from town, not necessarily visitors from outside Dunedin, a ride up the hill, a cuppa and one more cake than one should really indulge in, then back down, didn’t cost a fortune, didn’t take up too much time, yet what a pleasant break in one’s routine. Mornington can turn on a decent cuppa and scone, a bar with good NZ beers – given a tiny smidgen of luck the cable car and cafe and bar will strengthen one another and their success will encourage others to make use of the old shops, that’s how centres grow. That’s what’s happened along the rail trail, accommodation and handcrafts and local foods and so on make the trail more interesting, and the trail makes those businesses feasible.
    It won’t happen straight away, said Rachel, and she’s right.

  10. Hype O'Thermia

    Calvin, reading your last comment I think you’re definitely onto something, just not the expensive permanent structure of a tram system. A drive with a picnic – a thermette! – shouldn’t be hard to organise should anyone with a passenger license and a halfway decent car feel like doing it. I’d love to see more “little” attractions. Every extra hour takes a visitor closer to having to spend another night – or planning to come back for all the things they missed because they’d believed the bullshit that there was nothing much except the albatrosses to see in Dunedin.

  11. Peter

    Did you get a tip, Calvin?

    I’m sympathetic to the idea of some cable car/tram line but think, IF it is financially feasible, a route within the city that covers more tourist spots, as well as gaining regular commuter patronage,there is likely to be a better return.
    Mornington is not a must see destination. Not keen on something like a gondola up Mt Cargill either with the bush being ripped up, and littered, by mass tourism. Let the buggers walk.

  12. Peter, I think you miss the point here. I know the Bethunes site. Born and brought up beside it, trust me, the properly set up gondola would ride over the bush, not through it. It is not huge stuff in there, but second growth after a disastrous fire back early in the 20th century. Also it was milled in the late 19th / early 20th centuries. I don’t know who has been up there on a fine day, but it really is awesome if you’re into that sort of thing. And no, we did not get a tip. But very pleasant folk they were.

  13. Phil Cole

    Just a reminder to you all to feel free to pop along Sunday afternoon to the Hutton Theatre between either 1-3pm or 3-5pm to find out about the Cable Car project or to have your worst fears confirmed…:)

  14. Just come from the presentation in the Hutton Theatre and picked up a brochure. I have read the ten bullet points elaborating the benefits of proceeding. To that was the presenting of the financial break down of the project. Mornington terminal $3m, refurbishing and purchase of trams $2m, Track installation and commissioning $15m plus route landscaping $1m. Total $21 million.

    This to come from fund raising from the public and institutions such as Lottery funds, charities and government grants. No approach is intended to council thus avoiding any onus on the ratepayers. Cheers for that.

    Missing is the all important factor of operational costs. No mention of maintenance and repairs, staff costs (both for trams and restaurant), or financial charges (assuming there will be some borrowing) there always is.
    I question where is the point of difference? It is not a unique concept.

    Wellington has a service. San Francisco is an ‘iconic’ set up of which this proposal would be but a faint copy. Where is the real scenic value. A trip through the suburbs, which are pretty much common world wide. Views less than memorable. As a tourist, he/she would probably be underwhelmed. As a mode of public transport, where do you think today’s ‘health and safety regulations would fit with the ‘strap hangers’ of old (see illustrations)? As a viable project, it looks like it won’t get off the ground.

    Best of luck, but from where I see it,’seriously mad’.

    • I sat through both public sessions and as I was leaving received from Phil Cole (thank you) a copy of the powerpoint presentation.

      Calvin, you could’ve asked questions about the things/issues/operationals you have problems with or feel are not explained or to your mind could never work – that was invited at each session in order for the Trust to learn from or provide reply to since in a short overview session for the public no-one is ever going to get into the full blow-by-blow financial detail – obviously, the Trust has gone deep into things to get to this point and does so conservatively on costings. Phil stated in the second session that he revises figures every three months; and OK today he was giving conservative figures for staging of the infrastructure cost. He also gave potential cable car user ticket costs once the route is constructed with the terminae and stops. He did not set out likely overheads – however I’m sure he’s in a place to talk about them if asked. The project has always been cased against potential operational costs and the research is ongoing; and as was said, the DCCT is communicating with other operators internationally as well as customising projections for operating in the immediate Dunedin environment. I’m very comfortable with where the Trust is sitting and I believe it does so responsibly and diligently.

      [I remember, in the planning stages, how many doubters thought the farmers market would never get off the ground – tall poppy syndrome was alive and ‘well’ or was that ‘kicking’ in Dunedin (personally, I put the negativity down to incredible small-mindedness and lack of ‘Dunedinite’ business knowledge of farming and food production) – but behind scenes we had covered all aspects three times over and proved the market could work based on the model we had established for this ‘local climate’ and at the exact street address, one not copied from elsewhere – you have to plough on, practical visions are like that.]

      Today, people in the audience were not just there for nostalgia (which is part of it) but also for ways they may contribute time/labour, equipment, resources, connections, expertise and financially – some on a stepped but quite generous level where dollars are concerned – but that’s between them and the Trust as their conversation evolves. And as was explained, the major fundraising launch for the High Street Cable Car project is not until next year, and is for Phase One.

      Phil will no doubt arrive back here to comment.
      When I have time I will cover (in summary) points produced by the Trust.

      To stay up with the project, I suggest people get on the DCCT email list for newsletters. Visit their website for details of how to do that http://dunedincablecars.co.nz/ and make yourselves known to the trustees.

      Thanks to everyone who helped with the presentation today – fantastic project! It’s never been anything else!

      My full bias exposed, it’s that sort of project.

      Calvin, keep asking questions and provide suggestions as to how you can contribute to making it work. I love Mornington and its potential; I also love High Street Heritage Precinct and environs, and the urban regeneration motoring in the Exchange area (people said it wasn’t possible! but wait, roll in the entrepreneurs, engineers and investors and look what happens in very rapid fire… eg National Bank, BNZ, Standard, Bing Harris, Clarion, CPO… warehouse precinct). Amazing! – good things (via pure slog, teamwork and connections) always happen in a slump for the bright and empowered, the ones who have thoroughgoing affection for Dunedin City and know the machinery for change is dependent on their – privately/publicly – putting something back to empower others.

  15. Russell Garbutt

    Oh, isn’t it amazing to contrast the cable car project with the multi-cursed stadium project. A fraction of the cost, something that anyone can use anytime, open and constructive dialogue. Contrast that with the deceitful CST/ORFU and everyone connected with them grabbing profits from land deals, goodness knows what underhand deals were going on. Who would you believe – St Farry of St Clair, skulking round the DCC offices – or someone like Phil Cole? A real no-brainer. This project fits into lost opportunities – all our ratepayer dollars have gone into making these deceitful and nasty people just a little bit richer – instead of investing just a few DCC dollars into something that would provide on-going attractions for ratepayers and visitors alike. And I agree – Mornington is, and can be, a much better end destination than looking at a white elephant underneath Palmer’s Quarry.

  16. Mike

    Well said Russell

  17. Bev Butler

    INVESTMENT TIP.
    Invest in the telcos. Lots of money spent on phone calls. Yes siree.

  18. Elizabeth, I admire your enthusiasm for the project, but I can’t see how it can be compared to the wonderful happenings recently with the restoration of our older building stocks. They are all done with a view to breathing new life into them, and power to the folk behind it all. The cable car is not in that category in my opinion. It is what could best be described as a “folly” which
    as a moving object has more unanswered questions than enough. As I suggest, the ‘health and safety’ issue is in this day very real. If the ‘strap hangers’ aren’t able then the $21 million is a no brainer. The proof will be in the fund raising, and I will be first to eat humble pie if that is successful. To me, Mornington is, with all due respect, a err… less than riveting destination, although I agree with Russell it is infinitely preferable to Logan Point Quarry and the stadium. But then that was always based on a crooked premise.

  19. Peter

    Why was the cable car system, in Dunedin, abandoned in the first place?
    Was it just part of the fashion in favour of the motor car? Was it for financial reasons?
    Coming from Melbourne, with its extensive tramway system,I’m pleased they hung on to their trams. (Too flat for cable cars!) Of course the trams have always served a large population base which helps.

    • Peter, the Dunedin City Corporation opted for bus systems… [when do councillors ever get things right??]
      The Mornington Cable Car was Dunedin’s most profitable route and, as told today, there was only one year it didn’t run to profit and this was due to advent of the trolley bus system.

      From wikipedia:

      Mornington
      Opening on March 23, 1883, the Mornington line travelled one mile (1.6 km) up High Street to Mornington. Cable Car House (now a plumbing business) is still clearly marked in the shopping area, having had little external changes since the line closed. The Mornington line was the last to close, on March 2, 1957, leaving San Francisco with the only operational cable car system in the world.

      These are very good reading – borrowing copies available at Dunedin Public Libraries (to buy, see Otago Settlers Museum giftshop):

      Otago History - Mornington - The Top of the HillOtago History - Mornington Cable Car

      • This at the Otago Heritage Bus Society Inc. website about DCT#1 trolley bus:
        http://otagoheritagebus.co.nz/bus-hire-and-fleet/dct-trolley-bus-1/

        Built under the directions and specifications of the Dunedin City Corporation Transport board (later known as Dunedin City Transport) in 1945. The Government of the time encouraged local government “to Buy British and help our Mother Country”. New Zealand Motor Bodies won the tender to supply Dunedin with initially 73 trolley buses with British United Traction motors and Leyland chassis. The fully built buses were delivered between August 1950 and September 1958. An extra 6 were ordered in 1958, which were delivered in 1962 to make 79 in total.

        DCT#1 was the first trolleybus for Dunedin to roll off the production line at the New Zealand Motor Bodies Petone workshop in Wellington on 6 August 1950 and was soon shipped south to Dunedin where it awaited its turn to be put to work, two other trolley buses arrived one month later, after a few trials and driver training along a new route, Queens Gardens to Opoho via Castle Street. All three trolley buses were put to work on 23 December 1950 showcasing Dunedin’s new modern comfortable enclosed public transport to the delight of the Christmas shopper.

        The Dunedin Trolley Bus system had 26 miles of overhead wire, 19 routes and a total of 79 vehicles over the duration of its operation. Dunedin boasts to have had the world’s most southern trolley bus system and DCT#1 was the first bus to be operated on it. DCT#1 retired in 1966 from the Dunedin City Transport fleet only after 16 years of service. The average age of a trolleybus in Dunedin was 19 years. DCT#1 had travelled over 249,147 miles.

        • ### ODT Online Sat, 16 Nov 2013
          Society plans to restore trolley bus
          By John Lewis
          When DCT No 1 started rolling around Dunedin in 1950, it was the first trolley bus to operate on the city’s streets and the first trolley bus on the world’s most southern trolley bus network. These days, DCT No 1 sits on a lot in Wellington, a little worse for wear. But the Otago Heritage Bus Society hopes to bring it back, not only to Dunedin, but back into operation in the city.
          Read more

        • ### dunedintv.co.nz November 21, 2013 – 7:23pm
          Nightly interview: Jacqui Hellyer
          Middle-aged Dunedin types will fondly remember the city’s yellow trolley buses heaving their way along local bus routes. The Otago Heritage Bus Society wants to bring the first trolley bus to grace city streets back from its exile in Wellington.
          Video

  20. Peter, I think the demise of the cable cars was largely due to the fact that they were deemed to be past their use by date.

    With the post war upsurge in population, the capacity to move volumes of people efficiently was limited. Further, with the increasing numbers of private vehicles competing to use the streets, the double zip cable tracks simply were in the way of progress. The main public transport in Dunedin were the trams which plied the city streets but were confined largely to the flat.

    Dunedin’s developing areas were into the hill suburbs and Diesel buses – rightly or wrongly – were preferred. This again exacerbated the road use problem so the decision was made to axe the cable cars. Also, the cable car running stock and infrastructure was faced with expensive upgrading. In a word, obsolete.

    The other thing with the diesel buses, of course, was that they were versatile in as much as they weren’t constrained to fixed routes. Later, the trams were given the heave-ho for much the same reasons. They were replaced with the clean, efficient trolley buses, but they again were found wanting due to their fixed routes, and declining patronage due to the private motor car.

    Its time had truly come, for better or worse, and the result is that public transport of whatever ilk has been a huge loss making headache ever since. Everything and everybody has been tried to solve the intractable problem of public transport in which the public will embrace in favour against the motor car.

    Peter, it ain’t going to happen. Not till the last cent has come out of their pockets, the love affair with the car is as strong as ever. That’s why the idea of the public embracing cable cars as everyday transport is a dream.

    Tourists in ones and twos yes, but until some magic can get cable cars to the Warehouse, the supermarket, the sports grounds, the films, the anything and anywhere you care to mention then just forget it.

    Turning back the clock is not the way to progress, it just turns it into a museum piece and God knows this town has enough of them.

  21. JimmyJones

    Calvin, I agree with you. Phil has said that his cable car is primarily not aimed at tourists. It would be competing with buses for passengers. For the average commuter, a cable car would be vastly inferior to the bus which involves much less walking. The cable car fare could therefore not not be greater than the bus fare. I don’t see how it could be financially viable. I think the delay in showing us the business plan is because it isn’t financially viable.
    High Street doesn’t exist just for show; it is a significant road. Putting a cable car there is vandalism of a very useful road and would cause problems as motorists diverted up nearby streets.

    The idea is bonkers because the benefits are so small, and the detriments so large. Also, I think there would be a severe risk of the DCC being stupid enough to help with fund raising and providing most of the annual subsidy needed to run it. The DCC is compulsively attracted to these sorts of loss-making businesses – just like the way a hagfish is attracted to a rotting whale.

  22. Jimmy, if the cable car did get off the ground then maybe it could be fitted with ‘tow rope hooks’ to which cyclists could attach and get towed up the hill. That could excite Dave Cull and Jinty MacTavish into supporting the project. Then the cycle ways could be extended even further. As it would be down hill for the return then we could eventually see a large number of Mornington residents cycling to work safe in the knowledge that they could get back up the hill. It would then become one of the healthiest suburbs in Dunedin with an upsurge in real estate values and increase in business, activities expanding from that. Jimmy, there is your missing business plan. Phil just hasn’t cottoned on to it yet.

  23. BillyBob

    Hey son, let’s go to Disneyland for the holidays!!. No Dad, let’s stay home and take the cable car to Mornington

  24. Wise One

    Saturday’s ODT front page says it all $50 million convention centre for Queenstown. Now that is where all the action is, not in dear old dunners. Restoring old buildings, restoring old cable cars. That’s all in the past for the oldies to reminisce. Today’s world is for the young, that is why Queenstown is booming. Dunedin is for the oldies and will continue to decay. Meet the needs of the young and Dunedin will progress. Keep living in the past and the only ones that will profit will be the funeral parlors.

  25. Bev Butler

    Wise One, have you already forgotten Dunedin has just spent over $200 million on a new stadium which was pronounced by Sir Eion Edgar and his mates as being the saviour of the city? Remember Sir Eion Edgar, Sir Clifford Skeggs, Malcolm Farry, Michael Guest and other mates all said Dunedin would die without it!

  26. Hype O'Thermia

    The hill routes are expensive for bus companies. The smart bus operator will by now have worked out that there’s a nice earner bringing people along the relatively flat routes to the cable car terminuses – termini? – where unlike changing buses the customers won’t have a long wait, the cable cars running every 8 minutes.

    Have you tried to amuse children over the holidays? On a skinny budget? A ride up the cable car, better still with a map and binoculars so they can find what they see on the map and with their own eyes, looking out onto the harbour and surroundings. Local businesses and fund-raising clubs having school holiday attractions, the sausage sizzle, face painting, craft and “pre-loved junk” stalls.

    Adults are not immune to the delights of alt.transport, the kind they remember and the kind they only remember their grandparents talking about. Many of our best attractions are quite expensive, you have to book in advance, and they are some way out of town – Orokonui Sanctuary, penguin and albatross watching, the train, and even the glorious butterflies are enough of an extra cost for many families to put off going frequently. The cable car will be a convenient daily commute for people who can face the walk or bike ride from home but the long haul from the CBD to Mornington and surrounding areas is just too much. And it will be a pleasant interesting outing for families and for friends who meet up somewhere periodically for coffee and a chat, then a wander around the shops (which will have good reason to smarten up their appearance and stock) before catching the cable car back, either to walk home or to catch the bus or retrieve their cars from the carpark.

    I can’t see it failing, especially since the plan is to do it piece by piece when they have the money in hand. Admittedly this is a bizarre idea for those who have become accustomed to personal and council “buy it now, worry about the money longer (or add it to the rates)” impatience. Maybe that’s why the Cable Car people are so thorough about their plans, they foresee it being their efforts at stake, they totally rule out the modern sequence of (1) “visionary”optimism about low costs, no unexpected hitches, maximum returns, and (2) borrow when their half-baked “plans” go wrong, and demand more money from DCC who add it onto the rates and city debt.

    This is a scheme unlike any we have seen for a long time. People may take some time to get their heads around the old-fashionedness of it. Not only is it old-fashioned transport but also old-fashioned prudent planning, very thorough, taking into account the fact that schemes coming in UNDER budget are very very rare.

  27. Wise One

    That is just my point Bev. The stadium was not built for the young, even though it may have been sold to us as such, but as a monument to the old farts that you mention above. I don’t recall the young ones being asked what they would like $200 million spent on, or anybody else for that matter.
    The whole thing was decided on well before the public were told about

  28. JimmyJones

    Hype O’Thermia: it would not be “old-fashioned”, it would be a tacky theme-park ride. A cable car could be genuine in many ways, but so out of place in today’s Dunedin that it would just seem fake, a desperate attempt to recreate our history. Dunedin has many genuine reminders of our glorious past and no need to manufacture history. I see this cable-car idea as an insult to those authentic reminders that surround us. It would cheapen the city.

    • It doesn’t get much more authentic than Mornington Trailer 111 (currently under refurbishment) and gripcar 103 (next for rebuild) at Ferrymead. Trailer 111 was recovered from the Taieri Plains and is being taken back to its 1930s style and appearance. Visual artist Don McAra who attended the DCCT meetings yesterday is working on 111 and says it features kauri cabinetry and seating. It was built in the 1920s for the New Zealand and South Seas International Exhibition, the world’s fair held in Dunedin, from 17 November 1925 until 1 May 1926. There may be opportunity to lease these – regardless, the relationship with the experts at Ferrymead is vital to options for cable car design at Dunedin. Talks with San Francisco have detailed the computerisation now for use in cable car systems (eg warning systems providing enhanced cable maintenance, and electronic ticketing at cable car stops). Old and new technologies both have their place in a successful cable car system and track at Dunedin. Regenerative energy systems for car operation are also possible.

      I guess every vintage ferryboat owner could be hit on the head too.
      [aside] NZHPT registered TSS Earnslaw as a historic place! (moving heritage)

  29. Hype O'Thermia

    The bicycle is “out of place” in today’s motorised world but that’s not stopping people from going back to it because it works – not all people, not all their journeys. Nobody is suggesting Dunedin should return to cable cars and trams on all routes. Cable cars work. It was a dumb decision to get rid of them and the trams in the centre of town. For those routes they were much better than buses. Smart transport is “horses for courses” and if some of those horses have attractive aspects on top of their utilitarian function, is that something to gripe about?

  30. JimmyJones

    Hype O’Thermia: you say that “Maybe that’s why the Cable Car people are so thorough about their plans”. This might be what you believe, but I don’t think we have any independent sources to verify this assertion. Don’t mistake enthusiasm and PR skills for a financially viable project. As far as I can see, the Trust is following the same plan as the FB Stadium, namely: underestimate the costs, overestimate the benefits, underestimate the detrimental environmental effects (damage to transport infrastructure, in this case).

    The harmful effect of traffic congestion that would be caused by this has a cost to the city that needs to be considered. One way to asses this cost is to compare other roads where the DCC and NZTA have spent money to improve congested roads. From previous projects (such as the Caversham 4-Laning) we have a history of costs and expected benefits to congestion. For Phil’s cable car, the congestion caused could be valued from what has been spent in the past to relieve a similar degree of congestion that would be caused. I think the cost would be many millions of dollars. The Trust should be expected to pay this cost to the city. Think of this as compensation for destroying the functionality of the Street. The DCC should tell us if their policy is now to allow private businesses to own or downgrade parts of Dunedin’s roading system.

    Also, if the traffic modeling shows significant increases in traffic diverting along Stafford St etc, which justifies an upgrade to other streets, then the Trust should pay all direct and indirect costs of those upgrades. My guess is that Stafford St residents don’t want 200 vehicles per hour driving past their front gate. I bet that the Trust has not been thorough enough to ask them about this; I bet they haven’t done any traffic modelling either. High Street is the wrong place for a cable car. This is a dumb idea.

  31. JimmyJones

    Hype O’Thermia: I am not griping about their “attractive aspects”, I am griping about the mess it would make of a significant part of Dunedin’s transport system.
    My other gripe is the lack of their “utilitarian function”. The cable car route would include about two bus stops, which compares badly with the actual bus which travels 4 times the distance for about the same cost. Most passengers would take the bus because it means less walking. This lack of utility means that there is a very high risk of needing a DCC subsidy. I haven’t heard Phil Cole say that they would never, ever accept ratepayer money. Am I wrong Phil?

    • The route does not use existing bus stops. The cable car track is at road centre.

      Passenger catchments, integrated transport including shuttle bus links into Mary Hill etc were discussed at the meetings.

  32. Mike

    I like the idea of real cable cars as tourist attractions – we need more of those before we bother about building more tourist hotels – San Francisco does very well with tourists on its cable cars and they were nominally rebuilt as working public transit (the locals tend to avoid them because of all the annoying tourists). Having the terminus outside the Casino, across the road from the Post Office hotel, means it will be an easily accessible attraction.

    If it is going to be a working cable car for commuters it will need to integrate with the buses – with feeders from the top and from the bottom – and to do that they’re going to need to untangle the mess that is the Dunedin public transit system. It’s time for end to end tickets and buses who’s schedules actually intermesh – you buy one ticket from say Mary Hill, catch a bus to the cable car which is there waiting, another from the bottom to the Uni or St Clair with at most a 10 minute wait during commute hours.

    If you can’t do that frankly people are going to stay in their cars – they just don’t walk as much as they did back when we last had cable cars and trams (and commuter trains, don’t forget we had 2-3 trains from each of Port/St Leonards/Ravensbourne and Mosgiel/Abbortsford/Green Island/Caversham to town every day; and trains from St Clair and St Kilda to town if you want to to back a lot further).

  33. Mike

    (oh yeah and a daily railcar for the commuters from Palmerston)

  34. JimmyJones

    I understand, Elizabeth, I was thinking that it would be the equivalent of two bus stops, with stops at the top and bottom, and one half way up. It doesn’t seem worth the trouble or cost to try to integrate the cable cars with the buses or to extend the reach with shuttle-buses. A bus/shuttle can zip up High St in a giffy. Apart from the novelty factor and the odd tourist, why would anyone on a bus want to change to a slow cable car and then maybe change to a minibus at the top to complete the journey? I am not clear about the primary goal: is this a genuine attempt to provide a viable alternative to the buses?

    • Dunedin (via ORC) has been a long time without coordinated transfer ticketing! Peak and non peak hours may see different ‘market share’, to use that term loosely indeed. The DCCT project has allowed 8 years for full feasibility to operation. Keep asking these questions, along the way.

      The cable car ‘track’ is actually a 6-track system. There are three tracks for each line (one line uphill, one downhill). This information was provided by DCCT on Sunday.

      A continuous cable runs under both lines; the power station is located at the Mornington terminus proposed for Mornington Park reserve (just down from the current bus turnaround on Mailer St/Eglinton Rd). The High Street route has one horizontal (pull) curve and three vertical curves.

  35. Elizabeth, “the cable car “tracks” as in plural. That means, with passing gap a hell of a lot off centre. Again I ask, what about the “strap hangers”? Today’s Health and Safety rules won’t let that happen. Sorry, I agree with Jimmy, an ill thought out, outmoded form of transport with nothing but ‘novelty value’. You can’t simply re-invent the past and super impose it into today’s systems. Buildings, yes, if reusable, no problem. They don’t go anywhere, trams do. Stop it before it gets embarrassing.

    • You’ll have noted that DCCT is in discussion with OSH and can likely answer these questions given the extent of discussion had to date. That was a good one to explore at the meeting through the question and answer session or by leaving a note on the wall-pads as invited.

  36. Mike

    Really it’s 4 tracks: 2 tracks each way – plus a slot (hole in the ground) each way for the cable.

    Cars can only stop on the flat (which is why High street is the way it is, it didn’t naturally have steps).

  37. Hype O'Thermia

    JimmyJones, there weren’t a whole lot of alternatives to the Caversham road, it was either that or KV road which ends in a set of obstacles if one is looking for the way North-South, so it’s not comparable with High St.

    If traffic uses Stafford St or Serpentine Ave and they require more expense, well, at the same time because that traffic isn’t using High Street the expenditure is the same just shifted a block sideways.

  38. JimmyJones

    Hype O’Thermia: I mentioned the Caversham 4-Laning project as an example of where congestion was relieved by spending money. I was trying to suggest that where congestion is caused by a private business venture, then that increase in congestion can be costed and compensation paid to the city by the people causing the congestion. One way to value the amount of compensation is to charge an amount that would be typically spent to relieve congestion of the same degree of severity. No-one should be allowed to wreck the capability of High Street (or any street) to carry motorised vehicles, but if they are, then they need to pay the city compensation. If the Trust had to fund-raise an extra $10 or $20 million for compensation, then probably that would be the final nail in the coffin of the project.
    Phil and the DCC should resist the urge to create congestion. High Street is the wrong place for the Trust’s loopy ideas. Try to think of a better idea, Phil.

  39. Elizabeth

    ### ODT Online Wed, 2 Jul 2014
    Restored Dunedin cable car wins award
    By Bill Campbell
    A Mornington cable car trailer that last ran on the High St cable car line in January 1957 has received a major award from the Federation of Railway Organisations of New Zealand, being named as the best restoration of a tramway vehicle for 2014.
    Read more

  40. Mike

    I assume this is not really a “Restored Dunedin cable car” but the trailer shown in the picture above.

    Did the cable cars run on the same gauge as trams? anyone know – any chance they were interchangeable with the tram stock?

    • Elizabeth

      The subeditor at ODT needs a slap for the headline. Of course, Bill Campbell’s story is correct.

      Bill is a keen cable car enthusiast, historian and author.

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