TRAC applauds Government decision for new trains

Published on 1/05/2023 at 8:30 am.

Press release - TRAC (The Rail Advocacy Collective) applauds the decision by the government to buy new trains for the Manawatu and Wairarapa services. The new hybrid trains will run on a combination of electricity in the Wellington region and battery and diesel power beyond that. TRAC feels that this is a good start, but urges the government to electrify the entire route to Palmerston North.

TRAC’s National Coordinator, Niall Robertson says, “The North Island Main Trunk is being electrified from Auckland to Pukekohe and is electrified from Hamilton to Palmerston North and from Waikanae to Wellington. It seems ludicrous to leave this little gap between Waikanae and Palmerston North unelectrified”. TRAC recognises that many Wellington workers are living now in the Kapiti and Horowhenua districts for lifestyle and house affordability reasons. Robertson says that it is imperative that these commuters are able to reduce their carbon footprint by commuting in a greenhouse gas free mode of transport, and Robertson says that the best mode to achieve that is rail.

Robertson says that New Zealand has not been good at long term transport strategies. He says New Zealand is still stuck in a 1960’s era of continued motorway building, when development of the rail system has languished. Robertson says, “We really should be looking at rebuilding the rail track bed, easing curves and double tracking to get our rail system up to its potential” Robertson suggests that the proposed motorway to Levin will perpetuate poor use of land for transport infrastructure and locks into a highly polluting and high carbon transport system for the foreseeable future.

TRAC Chair, Guy Wellwood hopes that the development of passenger rail to Palmerston North will stimulate interest to develop rail passenger services further afield to Napier, New Plymouth and Auckland from Palmerston North. Wellwood says there could also be connecting services from Masterton to Woodville through the Wairarapa.

Robertson says, “These new trains are a fantastic start. Let us hope that politicians understand that it is time to build on these developments and develop rail passenger transport for the one third of travelling New Zealanders who are without a road vehicle and those who want a low carbon form of transport to get around the country”.

Press release dated 1 May 23. Authorized by Guy Wellwood Chair, The Railway Advocacy Collective (TRAC)

Similar articles