THE NEW ZEALAND GOVERNMENT HAS APPROVED A HISTORICAL INVESTMENT PLAN WITH WHICH IT WANTS THE RAILWAY TO FORM THE BACKBONE OF A SUSTAINABLE TRANSPORTATION NETWORK FOR THE 21ST CENTURY.
New Zealand, with an area of 267,707 km2, is an archipelago formed by two large islands, one in the North and the South, along with other 700 of smaller size.
Divided into 16 regions, its main cities are Auckland, Christchurch, Hamilton, Dunedin, Tauranga, Whangarei and Palmerston North. The population increase, currently has 4,885,300 inhabitants, especially in urban areas, has led the Government to rethink mobility solutions to respond to the growing increase in passengers in a sustainable and competitive manner.
In order to replace road traffic, investments will be used in the next ten years to boost the railroad as a solution, both for goods and passengers.
The railway sector
he national railway system, exclusive property of the State, consists of a 1,067 mm wide network in the North and South Islands.
The services are mostly for freight rail, especially in bulk and for import and export. The only two cities with urban networks are Auckland and Wellington. In addition, there are some tourist lines, though of minor importance.
KiwiRail Holdings Limited operates throughout the network through several
branches On the one hand, KiwiRail Freight manages freight traffic. On the other, KiwiRail Interislander is in charge of passenger and cargo services in the Cook Strait.
In turn, KiwiRail Passenger is responsible for urban stretches in Wellington and also for long-distance panoramic trips in Coastal Pacific, TranzAlpine, Northern Explorer and Capital Connection services.
The maintenance and improvement of the network and rolling stock is entrusted to KiwiRail Infrastructure and Engineering. At present, this renowned company boasts a network of 4,000 kilometres and a rail fleet of 198 locomotives, 4,585 freight wagons and three ferries.
In the 2019 budget, an allocation of 1.042 billion New Zealand dollars (599 million euros) was approved as the first step of planned rail investments in the next 10 years. This amount includes 331 million New Zealand dollars (190.2 million euros) for improvements in roads and other infrastructure until the year 2021; 375 million New Zealand dollars (215.5 million euros) for new rolling stock , as well as another 300 million New Zealand dollars (172 million euros) for works in different regions.
Also, an entry of 534 million New Zealand dollars (307 million euros) has been earmarked to continue with the urban project “City Rail Link” in the city of Auckland.