Save The Trains Campaign welcomes KiwiRail’s decision to include a daily Auckland-Wellington service in an upcoming market research survey. But campaigners say New Zealand is still a long way off seeing long distance passenger trains return to the tracks.
The Save Our Trains campaign was started in late January by concerned members of the public after KiwiRail’s announcement in December 2021 it was pulling same day scheduled passenger services throughout New Zealand.
KiwiRail today sent an email to subscribers raising the possibility of a daily Auckland-Wellington passenger train in addition to multi-day tours and guided tours and packages. KiwiRail plans to send a short questionnaire to everyone who has signed up on their website.
Save The Trains Spokesperson Paul Callister says: “Let’s be clear, KiwiRail is merely adding a question to a survey, not promising to return passenger trains to our tracks.”
Mr Callister says this is still a sign KiwiRail is reacting to public blowback against their decision, with 5200 people signing the Save Our Trains petition.
He says KiwiRail does not currently have enough trains available to offer all the services mentioned in their bulletin.
Mr Callister says it now comes down to a battle between tourist-specific services or broader passenger focused services.
“We’ll continue to campaign for the return of national passenger rail services for all users”, says Mr Callister.
He says the campaign’s other demands are that future passenger rail services are built around concerns for accessibility, regional economic development, and climate action.
The Coastal Pacific service in the South Island was not mentioned in the statement by KiwiRail.
The petition to Save Our National Passenger Rail Network reads:
We call on the Government and KiwiRail to commit to maintaining existing intercity passenger rail services. Furthermore, we ask for a comprehensive national strategy for future passenger rail services built around concern for climate action and economic development.
The petition to Save Our National Passenger Rail Network can be found at:
Press release dated 16 Feb 22. Authorized by Victor Billot, from Save Out Trains.