Government laying down tracks for the future

4 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineJune 25, 2019

The Government says investment in rail infrastructure in the Wellbeing Budget will make trains more reliable and cut down on maintenance time and costs.

KiwiRail will kick off the process of getting more than 100 new locomotives and 900 new container wagons, replacing and repurposing old and outdated stock, as part of the Wellbeing Budget‘s $1 billion investment in making sure New Zealand has a reliable and sustainable rail network.

Detailed breakdown of the boost to rail from the Wellbeing Budget

$331m: over two years to help address legacy issues on the rail network and help move the rail network towards a sustainable ‘steady-state‘ condition.

This will include:

  • Increased investment in tracks, bridges, tunnels and signals around the country.

  • Mechanical renewals for existing rolling stock (replacing parts) and the plant and equipment required to do this.

  • A new freight reservation, booking and tracking system for customer use.                                                                               

$375m: over two years towards replacing rolling stock that is at the end of its useable life and to upgrade maintenance facilities which are no longer fit for purpose.

This will include:

  • Final payment on 15 new locomotives for the North Island (arrived in New Zealand in October 2018).

Starting to replace KiwiRail‘s oldest 48 long-haul locomotives, predominantly in the South Island, 52 short-haul locomotives across the country, and a small number of electric short-haul locomotives.  

  • The first locos are expected to arrive in New Zealand in 2022-23.

Replacing 900 flat-top container wagons. These will be used in the busiest corridors, allowing the worst of the 900 existing wagons to be retired with a small portion of those being re-purposed to carry logs.

  • For the container wagons, KiwiRail expects to select a supplier and place an order in late 2019. Delivery of new wagons from late 2020.

Major upgrades at the key Hutt and Christchurch maintenance facilities – to improve efficiency and safety:

  • There will also various upgrades at other KiwiRail maintenance depots all around the country. 

$35m: for KiwiRail to progress design and procurement of two rail-enabled ferries, to replace the three aging ferries currently used by Interislander. In addition to the design work KiwiRail will be investigating various options for financing the purchase of the ferries.

  • The Cook Strait ferry crossing is essentially an extension to State Highway 1 and the main trunk line. Each year the Interislander ferries transport about 800,000 passengers, about 2.7 million lane metres of cars and trucks and 450,000 lane metres of train wagons.

$300m: for regional rail projects through the Provincial Growth Fund

  • KiwiRail is considering a range of rail projects around the country.