Josh Martin always thought KiwiRail was lazy branding (see also Kiwibank, Kiwibuild), but it turns out it’s an oxymoron as well. Kiwis and rail do not mix. Maybe decades ago New Zealanders used to go by train, but in my lifetime I’ve only ever been given compounding evidence in favour of a nation of gas-guzzling petrol heads.
I hate this theory – in the UK I’m a public transport fanatic and I am writing this rant aboard a speedy, if cramped, train from Manchester to London. I hold out hope Auckland’s rail regeneration will supercharge passenger numbers, but anybody hoping for a convenient, lower-carbon alternative to flying or driving between our largest city and the capital was dealt a blow when pricing details of KiwiRail’s relaunched Northern Explorer was released.