Fuel Crisis Can Be Helped By Passenger Rail – Save Our Trains

Passenger rail campaigners say the fuel crisis can be helped by the Government getting long distance passenger rail back on track.

KiwiRail announced in December 2021 it was withdrawing same day scheduled long distance passenger services on both islands, and is now promoting potential luxury rail tours for tourists.

Save Our Trains spokesperson Dr Paul Callister says affordable passenger rail services have to be the priority.

He says while there is nothing wrong with rail tours they should not be a priority.

Dr Callister says the current fuel crisis and surging living costs mean that KiwiRail has to get its passenger services up and running urgently.

“New Zealand is now seeing the effects of a global fuel crisis driven by war that has highlighted our need to develop a resilient transport system including long distance passenger rail.”

Some of New Zealand’s most disadvantaged communities live in small isolated towns and villages, says Dr Callister.

“These lower income people are in areas without good public transport options. They will be hurting and affordable passenger rail services would be an effective way of helping ease the burden.”

In the long term the goal has to be giving people the choice to use affordable, low-emission public transport, he says.

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 accessibility, climate action, and economic development.

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