KiwiRail Going Backwards for Xmas
New Zealand First says KiwiRail’s announcement to abandon electric traction in favour of diesel haulage makes no sense.
“The reasons used by KiwiRail to justify replacing electric locomotives between Hamilton and Palmerston North with Chinese-made diesel locomotives are cobbled together and shot full of holes,” says New Zealand First Leader and Northland MP Rt Hon Winston Peters.
“KiwiRail has consistently failed to properly maintain the existing electric locomotive fleet – how convenient – now it can justify the switch to diesel.
“KiwiRail also has the option of buying new electric locomotives rather than more poor quality diesels from China.
“KiwiRail is overcooking the issue of changing from electric to diesel traction at Hamilton and Palmerston North. This is a routine operation that can be done in a few minutes. When train carriages have to be shunted diesel operation confers no real time advantage.
“All around the world smart countries are investing heavily in electrification of their rail networks. In contrast, KiwiRail’s move is astonishingly retrograde
“Government transport policy should aim to make NZ more energy self-sufficient and more resilient. This KiwiRail move goes backwards on both issues.
“But we should, however, not be surprised at the KiwiRail decision. The National Government’s real plan is to weaken and undermine New Zealand’s rail infrastructure. Throwing away electric traction on the North Island Main Trunk Line is all part of that hidden agenda,” says Mr Peters.