Picton may lose ferry

The inter-island ferry between the North and the South Islands at the moment travels between Wellington and Picton. The ferry carries people, cars, trucks and trains (without the engine). It takes about three hours.

The government is looking at changing the South Island port to Clifford Bay which is south of Blenheim and nearer to Christchurch. There are many advantages. First the travel time to Christchurch would be shorter by road and by rail. Now, it takes about four and a half hours by car from Picton to Christchurch and by train just over five hours. The trip could be reduced by 80 or 90 minutes by road and two hours by rail with a move to Clifford Bay.

There is a steep hill just outside Picton. At the moment, a train cannot manage a heavy load on that steep hill. Sometimes this means two trips up the hill with half a load each time.

Another important reason for the move is that ferries have to slow down in the Marlborough Sounds because of the damage they cause to the environment around the shore. With the move to Clifford Bay, most of the trip would be in the open sea and the trip would be about 30 minutes shorter.

With air fares now much cheaper, more people are choosing to travel by air but a move to Clifford Bay could attract passengers back to the ferries.

However, this move will mean a loss of business for Picton and Blenheim. It will also mean that tourists will not be able to enjoy the ferry trip through the Marlborough Sounds. This is a beautiful trip when the weather is good.

The government would use private and public money to build this new port. This is called a public-private partnership or PPP.

Sounds – narrow fingers of land in the sea, like fiords.

Would this be a good thing for Picton? Many people who enjoy boating would be happy to see the busy port disappear. What about business in the town?

One Comments

  1. As a owner of a camp ground this the worst thing that could happen as there are 5 holiday parks and motels etc .The powers that be say it would help Picton ????? WHAT ARE THEY THINKING
    As for this reinventing Picton HAVE NOT HAD ANY IDEAS PUT FORWARD.We could have hot pools, flying fox, but can’t see this happening so Picton will die sad This will just add to more stress for the people of Picton .There is more important thing to spend tax payers money on like THE POOR SODS IN CHRISTCHURCH. As for the freight train needing to be halfed to get up the hill is a load of shit. The odd time they send another engine as I see it every day.

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