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.