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Old January 28th, 2009, 08:13 AM   #21
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I really think they should bring back national and regional rail services in NZ. The only centres in Nz with a proper, frequent, reliable railway system that I know of are Wellington, Auckland and Beleive it or not Masterton (the Wairarapa) Which could also be considered to be part of Wellington.
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Old January 28th, 2009, 11:48 AM   #22
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Do you have any idea how many billions would need to be spent to make inter-city and regional rail services a viable alternative to car or air travel? Heck, it takes TWO AND A HALF HOURS to train from Auckland to Hamilton, a distance of approximately 140km. That's an average speed of 56 km/h - just over half the open-road speed limit!

It's a great idea though.... perhaps when peak oil hits we'll have hope.
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Old January 28th, 2009, 12:45 PM   #23
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Probably. It doesn't help that the Overlander always gets stuck behind an all-stopping suburban service throughout the Auckland metro. Bring on triple-tracking the NIMT to Papakura!
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Old January 28th, 2009, 12:45 PM   #24
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I'm sure that Auckland - Hamilton was two hours when the Silver Fern railcars were used to Tauranga and Rotorua. That'd suggest that catching up with deferred maintenance would save 30min for a start.
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Old January 28th, 2009, 12:48 PM   #25
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Probably. It doesn't help that the Overlander always gets stuck behind an all-stopping suburban service throughout the Auckland metro. Bring on triple-tracking the NIMT to Papakura!!
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Old January 28th, 2009, 01:43 PM   #26
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Once the urban systems are sorted and lauded (especially with an urban-biased media) the rest of NZ will realise trains are a viable, cheap, green and sometimes quicker alternative.

They should try to get a successful route around Christchurch on existing tracks. I know there is talk - even one popular route would be a great PR exercise. Auckland is slowly getting there, the city tunnel would greatly help!

Wellington is pretty much fine, improvements and extensions (Otaki happening? A few more to Palmy?) would bring the railways back into the thoughts of more of NZ. Old people love trains, and with an aging population, centres like Tauranga and Rotorua should be looked at too - I think they are though, but all talk so far.

Airport links woudl be useful too.
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Old January 28th, 2009, 02:06 PM   #27
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It would be great if we could get something like the QR tilt trains. They can go up to 160km/h, and got up to 200km/h on a test run. There is a diesel and electric version. They could initially be used on Masterton - Wellington, Palmerston North - Wellington, Auckland - Hamilton and Auckland - Tauranga routes, initially diesel then convert later to electric then place the diesels elsewhere on new routes.

Interestingly the new National MP for Otaki is actually interested in getting electric rail to Otaki.
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Old January 28th, 2009, 09:56 PM   #28
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I still think that significant investment would be necessary to make tilt trains worth it. It doesn't matter how fast a train can go if it gets stuck behind an all-stopping suburban train.

There should be a goal to run Auckland-Hamilton services in 90 minutes and Auckland to Tauranga services in 150 minutes. I think that a major realignment of the NIMT would be necessary between Pukekohe and Huntly for that to be possible - as the existing track is too curvy and unnecessarily heads east for a big loop just after Pukekohe. You would also need a 3rd "express" track within Auckland's metro area so that trains could pass all-stopping commuter services. This track would also be useful for freight and express trains from Pukekohe.

Hmmmm... I think that'll be about a billion dollars alone.
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Old January 29th, 2009, 03:43 PM   #29
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I can understand urban rail making sense, but inter-city/regional rail is probably not plausible again any time soon. As I recall, the Southerner service which ran Christchurch-Dunedin-Invercargill, was stopped because it needed government money to pay for it. It wasn't making any money at all as patronage had dropped dramatically since the 70s in favour of road and air. All the South Islands remaining passenger services are tourist attractions (Trans Coastal, Trans Alpine, and the tiny Kingston Flier and Taieri Gorge lines). Even the ones that actually go somewhere (Trans Alpine and Coastal) are there mainly for the journey, not the destination.
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Old January 29th, 2009, 04:00 PM   #30
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It's only not realistic because tracks are poor, running speeds are slow, services are infrequent and too expensive.

Correct those problems and make it rival the car and you'd get patronage. But of course in such a sparsely populated country, that would be quite a tall order to achieve.
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Old February 11th, 2009, 08:04 AM   #31
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At least someone is asking the question.

http://nz.biz.yahoo.com/090211/3/aq8a.html
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Old February 11th, 2009, 10:52 AM   #32
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I'd certainly take the train from WLG to AKL if it was a bit faster. 12 hours is just ridiculous!
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Old February 11th, 2009, 04:06 PM   #33
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More on rail here at the DomPost.

Faster trains are nice, but they'd likely have an issue with the Raurimu Spiral though.
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Old February 11th, 2009, 10:46 PM   #34
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12 hours is an age. You could fly to LA in that time.

Wasn't there a consortium who approached the govt when they bought back the rail system from toll who were interested in running a service AKl to Welly? I seem remember they were talking about bringing in new, faster rolling stock from China or somthing.

What happened to that?
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Old February 11th, 2009, 10:56 PM   #35
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To speed it up you need to drastically improve the Auckland to Hamilton section, and also the section from about Taihape to Paraparaumu. That's where the savings could be made as the terrain isn't too bad. It takes 150 minutes from Auckland to Hamilton - crazy when you can do it in a car in about half that time.
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Old February 12th, 2009, 09:05 PM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cambennett View Post
12 hours is an age. You could fly to LA in that time.

Wasn't there a consortium who approached the govt when they bought back the rail system from toll who were interested in running a service AKl to Welly? I seem remember they were talking about bringing in new, faster rolling stock from China or somthing.

What happened to that?
About as much as has happened with the fabled third cellular network provider.
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Old February 17th, 2009, 09:57 AM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NZ1 View Post
About as much as has happened with the fabled third cellular network provider.
HaHa yes the elsusive third cellphone provider. Much like Bigfoot there has been talk of it's existence but no solid proof yet.

I guess thats what you get living with a small population. Only a few slices of the pie to be divided up between suppliers.
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Old March 2nd, 2009, 04:56 AM   #38
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From www.beehive.govt.nz

Looks like Woburn Workshop in Lower Hutt misses out on new engine construction -- rather 20 imported from China; new carriages to be built at Hillside in Dunedin.


Quote:
Government invests in KiwiRail, sets up infrastructure unit

The Government has approved $115 million of spending on new carriages and locomotives for KiwiRail and the establishment of a small unit within Treasury to manage the next stages of its infrastructure programme.

The moves follow the announcement last month that almost $500 million of publicly-funded school, housing and roading projects would be fast-tracked – helping provide work for regional businesses.

“The Government was elected with a mandate to fix the infrastructure problems holding New Zealand back and to target projects that will help us build a higher performing economy,” Infrastructure Minister Bill English said today.

“Today’s announcements are the next steps toward achieving that. The KiwiRail investment will lift the productivity of freight services and the profitability of key tourist passenger routes.

“The National Infrastructure Unit within Treasury will ensure that the Government’s infrastructure programme is both strategically sound and helps build a more competitive, more productive economy.

“We will confirm more infrastructure projects over the coming months.”

Of the KiwiRail investments, $39.9 million will be spent building new carriages for the TranzScenic passenger routes. The work will be completed by KiwiRail’s Hillside Engineering workshop in Dunedin and will begin in January next year, maintaining workshop jobs and providing work for hundreds of other suppliers.

The remaining $75 million will buy 20 new locomotives from China, which will boost productivity on key freight routes and allow KiwiRail to free up locomotives for Auckland metro passenger routes. All 20 locomotives will arrive by August next year.

Meanwhile, the National Infrastructure Unit within Treasury will improve the way public sector agencies manage their existing infrastructure assets and lead to stronger forward planning of infrastructure needs.

The unit will be drawn largely from existing Treasury staff and resources and staff seconded from other departments.

A National Infrastructure Advisory Board, to include representatives from the private sector and local government, will also be set up to advise the infrastructure unit and the Infrastructure Minister.

The new arrangements will bring New Zealand into line with other countries, including Australia.

The infrastructure unit and the advisory board will develop a national infrastructure plan by the end of this year – fulfilling another commitment made by the National Party during the election campaign. The plan will be updated every three years.

“These 20-year plans will not be prescriptive roadmaps, but will present a high-level view of the state of New Zealand’s public infrastructure and anticipated future requirements,” Mr English said.

“I am confident that this will provide the private sector and all of New Zealand with far greater certainty and confidence about the nature and timing of future government infrastructure investment.”
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Old March 2nd, 2009, 05:37 AM   #39
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I thought that the new carriages for TranzScenic was supposed to be from the $80 million that was approved under the previous government? Maybe they're trying to make it look like they're doing more than they really are.
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Old March 2nd, 2009, 05:59 AM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UglyBob View Post
From www.beehive.govt.nz

Looks like Woburn Workshop in Lower Hutt misses out on new engine construction -- rather 20 imported from China; new carriages to be built at Hillside in Dunedin.

I have to admit i thought they would try to weasel out of spending any money at all on rail. This is better than i expected. Although the locos are to be made offshore the new carriages creates a bit of work which is good .
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