A railway within a railway

Point of Order blog writes:

The  poor old taxpayer who  poured more than  $1bn into   state-owned  KiwiRail during the term of the  National  government  is  being hit up  for  another $35m   to reverse the decision taken  two years  ago to  ditch the  North Island  electric locos  and  replace them with diesel-powered engines.

The Ardern-Peters-led coalition has decided to refurbish the 15  units in  the electric fleet — even  though the   argument  to replace  them  was “compelling” .

While  the  government  now  says it is keeping electric locomotives on the North Island Main Trunk Line running to help meet its long-term emissions goals and boost the economy,  KiwiRail  earlier  said it was essentially running “a railway within a railway”by having the electric section.  (The North Island Main Trunk runs from Auckland to Wellington but is electrified only between Hamilton and Palmerston North). The doubling up of service facilities, inventory, training and maintenance required with two separate systems on the line, KiwiRail said, adds to  inefficiencies and unreliability.

It basically nuts. Instead of a train service that can go from Auckland to Wellington, we effectively have three train services – Auckland to Hamilton, Hamilton to Palm Nth and Palm Nth to Wellington.

What this does is make it more likely freight will go by road instead of rail, which will actually produce more greenhouse gas emissions, not less. So once again the Government puts optics ahead of substance when it comes to the environment.

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