Protect Our Winters Aotearoa is actively supporting the #saveourtrains campaign.
New Zealand needs more public transport, especially transport that connects regions and rural areas. There are about 4000km of existing rail line across the North and South Islands, connecting almost all regions, including regions where many of us like to play outside such as Ohakune and Arthurs pass.
Yet almost none of these rail lines are used for actual public transport. In 2021 KiwiRail announced they would end same-day intercity services between Auckland and Wellington, and between Picton and Christchurch, replacing them with luxury rail cruises. Thanks to the #saveourtrains campaign though, Kiwirail recently reversed that decision and from September the passenger services will be reinstated.
One of the few existing public transport rail lines is the Capital Connection commuter rail service which connects Wellington and Palmerston North. It is in dire straits, with a severe lack of investment causing the service to be less and less reliable.
Trains have an important place in our future, and in mitigating the climate crisis, but investment, commitment and planning is required from the NZ government.
A few fun facts about rail transport:
? Rail provides a more sustainable and climate friendly method of transport across the country.
? Rail can invigorate the social and economic life of small communities by making them accessible to remote workers and tourists.
? Trains can bring our diverse country together by connecting them to people and landscapes across wide distances.
? Trains provide an accessible method of point-to-point transport for the elderly and disabled.
? Trains can help take traffic off the roads and improve road safety.