July 9th, 2008

Edge

Bringing New Zealand back on track, III: The South Island, rolling stock, and concluding thoughts

After the interlude of my previous entry and a week or so of inactivity, I’d now like to return to this series, focusing on the potential for serious and substantial rail transport revitalisation in New Zealand. My first two entries focused on the upper and lower North Island. This entry shall look at the South Island, with Christchurch and Dunedin as operational hubs. The east coast of the South Island has a number of markets where air and road are doing a rather inefficient job of handling traffic that really falls within the sphere of rail. There is precious little traffic over on the west coast, and Nelson is rather out of luck due to the complete absence of a railway, but the corridor from Blenheim to Invercargill has plenty of opportunity.

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Anyway, I hope these ideas have been interesting and thought-provoking to at least somebody out there. I may return with a series on commuter services at some point; I have already made it clear, either explicitly or implicitly, that there should be commuter trains from Christchurch to Rangiora/Kaiapoi, Lyttelton, and Rolleston, from Dunedin to Mosgiel and Port Chalmers, from Auckland to the North Shore and Hibiscus Coast, and between Hastings and Napier. I would also support the partial relaying of the Southbridge branch to enable Christchurch – Lincoln commuter trains. So we’ll see. I suppose it could be a project for next semester when I feel like procrastinating!