New Zealand's shrinking passenger railway network

Published on 11/08/2022 at 9:45 am.

Dr André Brett online video presentation, discuss why Auckland and Wellington have modern electrified commuter railway lines but beyond their outer suburbs, passenger rail has all but disappeared from New Zealand. A century ago, things were much different: passenger trains served almost all towns and villages of note and many rural areas.

There has been a steady decline, first in the disappearance of local services, then of intercity express trains and commuter services in several New Zealand’s cities. This talk will examine the reasons for the contraction of New Zealand passenger rail network, showing that it was not inevitable—it was the result of an accumulation of decisions.

For further information concerning the points raised in the online video presentation -

Dr André Brett is Lecturer of History at Curtin University in Perth, Western Australia. Dr Brett has written widely on political, environmental, and transport history: he is the author of four books, over twenty scholarly journal articles and chapters, and many other contributions to TV and museums. His most recent book, 'Can’t Get There from Here: New Zealand Passenger Rail since 1920.

Dr André Brett book 'Can't Get There from Here' can be purchase online.

The online video presentation aired on 6 July 2022 at Auckland Central City Library on 6 July 2022.

This online video presentation on is for education purposes only and the promotion of better sustainable environmentally friendly passenger rail travel in Aotearoa New Zealand.

The New Zealand Government - Transport and Infrastructure Committee has opened an inquiry into the future of inter-regional passenger rail in New Zealand. The aim of the inquiry is to find out what the future could hold for inter-regional passenger rail in New Zealand. The terms of reference below will guide what the committee investigates.

Greg O’Connor, the Chair of the committee, said “We hope interested New Zealanders will take the time to have their say and help us better understand inter-regional passenger rail and its future in New Zealand.”

The committee welcomes your comments and ideas on the topic and is looking forward to learning what the future of passenger rail could look like for New Zealand.

To have your say please make a submission on the future of New Zealand's inter-regional passenger rail services

Submissions close 6th October 2022

If you support the Connecting Communities 2030 Initiative, have your say or become proactive by getting involved in local better public transport campaign groups.

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