by .

All the best for your retirement Murray!

Retiring Dunedin Railways chief executive Murray Bond has relished "every minute" of the many hours he has put in at work over the past 24 years.   "I really have enjoyed every morning I’ve been coming to work."

Mr Bond (64) has a holiday home in Central Otago and when he retires on October 6 he intends to spend more time fishing at Lake Hawea, and reading, than he has be able to for several decades.

He has had a "hands-on approach to leadership" and has often worked 60-70-hour weeks, coming in at weekends to help with cruise ship passengers. He had done that not because he had to, but because he wanted to, to ensure the company remained strong, and that tourists and other train passengers received good service and went away happy with their experience.

"Tourists need to be looked after rather than told ‘Come back tomorrow’.

"We don’t do that," he added.

Company chairman Geoff Thomas said Mr Bond had provided "loyal and valuable service" and had led the company through a "long period of growth and development".

The railway company, previously known as Taieri Gorge Railway, would be advertising for a replacement in the coming months, he said.

Since becoming chief executive in April 1993, Mr Bond had led a "transformation of the organisation".

In 1993, fewer than 300 trips were run, carrying about 18,000 passengers.

Last year, there were more than 1000 train journeys carrying more than 80,000 passengers.

Mr Bond came into the chief executive role from a background as a Dunedin district engineer for New Zealand Railways and a project manager for Arrow International.

Born in Dunedin, he attended Otago Boys’ High School, and completed an honours degree in civil engineering at Canterbury University.

Mr Bond has thoroughly enjoyed combining two of his passions: railways and tourism.

The company was strongly placed, and it was time for a new leader to take over later in the year. He remained optimistic about the future of both Dunedin Railways and Dunedin tourism.