National Killing Rail Slowly

20 June 2017

KiwiRail's new Chinese-built locomotives are proving to be duds, says New Zealand First.

“These new locomotives have to be limited to 80 kilometres an hour, they’re unsuitable on New Zealand’s rough tracks,” says New Zealand First Rail Spokesperson Denis O’Rourke.

“The older US-built locomotives can travel at 100km/hr meaning they can compete with road freight services, compared with the Chinese built ones that are struggling.

“National needs to take a leaf out of our 'Railways of National Importance' book and invest in the country’s main trunk lines.

“KiwiRail must have the investment to purchase locomotives fit for New Zealand conditions, and the investment to upgrade rail lines.

“Trains must be able to run at least 100km per hour so that rail can compete on an equal footing with road freight.

“One hundred kilometres per hour on New Zealand's narrow gauge track is only realistically achievable with the necessary upgrades and a much higher standard of maintenance.

“Having the top speed reduced on KiwiRail's newest locomotives and fastest passenger trains is a sign of how bad National is letting things get with rail, while they continue with massive expenditure on roading projects, deliberately leaving rail to starve a slow death,” says Mr O’Rourke.