Advocates for passenger rail are questioning why services have been dumped while KiwiRail posts healthy and rising surpluses.
KiwiRail is aiming for an operating surplus of up to $162 million for the full year to June, representing a big jump from the previous year. Yet the state owned enterprise announced in December 2021 it was withdrawing same day scheduled passenger services on both islands.
Save Our Trains spokesperson Dr Paul Callister says there is a severe disconnect between the goals of Government to reduce emissions and the operations of state-owned enterprises such as KiwiRail.
Dr Callister says passenger rail is in danger of becoming a lost opportunity in the urgent process of decarbonising transport.
He says issues like dumping passenger services are filed away as operational issues for KiwiRail, but need to be policy issues that the Government delivers on. “Passenger rail is not about profit, it’s about providing regular and reliable services that move people off cars and planes, and providing choices for the travelling public.”
Dr Callister says upgrades to our national rail network will benefit passengers as well as freight rail transport and is a basic infrastructure requirement for a modern society.
The petition to Save Our National Passenger Rail Network reads:
We call on the Government and KiwiRail to commit to maintaining existing intercity passenger rail services. Furthermore, we ask for a comprehensive national strategy for future passenger rail services built around concern for accessibility, climate action, and economic development.
The petition to Save Our National Passenger Rail Network can be found at:
Press release dated 8 Mar 22. Authorized by Victor Billot, from Save Out Trains.