Sunday, 28 December 2014

NZ First’s 2014 “Railways of National Importance” policy platform [2]

Now looking into more detail of various RONI projects.
1. North Auckland  and Marsden Point Line
Northland needs good rail connections to the rest of New Zealand if it is to grow. That means upgrading the Auckland to Whangarei line. Good rail links to Northland means developing a rail link from the main line to Marsden Point port, which has great advantages as a deepwater harbour that does not require dredging. There is also plenty of land for expansion.  There is great scope for it to serve as a container port and take pressure off Auckland and Tauranga. The potential of the Port of Northland for the region, as well as for the country as a whole, is being strangled by lack of an effective rail link.
2. Rolling Electrification Programme
New Zealand First proposes an on-going rail electrification programme to use the skills and expertise built up in the current Auckland suburban rail electrification project. The first project will be to extend electrification from Papakura to Pukekohe. Other potential projects to be investigated include electrification between Auckland and Hamilton, Hamilton and Tauranga, and extending electrification north from Waikanae and from Upper Hutt to Masterton. Many other projects for electrification would follow in later years:

- Lyttelton-Christchurch-Greymouth.
- Christchurch suburban area.
- Picton-Christchurch-Dunedin-Invercargill.
3. Regional Opportunities
Funds will be made available for smaller capital investment opportunities that KiwiRail is unable to fund given its current funding constraints.
In particular, $4m will be used reinstate the Napier –Gisborne line as soon as possible.

The long term costs of reinstating the Gisborne line are much greater than this relatively small amount for a one-off reinstatement. 
4. Cook Strait Ferries
The Cook Strait Ferry service and vessels will be funded for upgrades to ensure a high quality fast reliable and safe service for freight and passengers.
5. Auckland-Pokeno-Paeroa-Te Aroha-Tauranga-Whakatane
A new line to be built along the rail formation between Pokeno-Paeroa-Te Aroha, a new line to be built between Te Aroha and the western portal of the Kaimai tunnel and a new line to be built between Awakeri and Whakatane, all combined creating a shorter and more direct rail route into the Bay of Plenty.
The Pokeno-Paeroa line was never more than some formation works as it was never brought into operation. The same (small) saving in distance over the existing route to Tauranga could easily be achieved by the much cheaper expedient of moving the existing ECMT junction from Frankton to Taupiri. Awakeri-Whakatane is basically the old siding to the Whakatane Board Mills, but also needs the reinstatement of the Taneatua Branch to Awakeri.
6. Auckland-Hamilton-Tokoroa-Rotorua-Taupo
A new line to be built between Kinleith-Rotorua-Taupo primarily for forestry traffic, as well as for general freight and passengers.
7. Nelson-Blenheim
A new line to be built between Blenheim and Nelson, completing this long proposed project for freight and passengers.        
Nelson never had a through railway at any time in its history. 
8. Auckland International Airport
A new line to be built to link the Auckland International Airport with the rail system. The proposed new integrated terminal at Auckland (like that built at Christchurch International Airport) is already being designed to accommodate a rail terminal within the building.
Debate continues over the best railway system for Auckland. Light rail is a viable alternative as it is difficult to get airport passengers to use public transport.

9. Auckland City Rail Link
Build the Auckland City Rail Link tunnel project under central Auckland as soon as possible, jointly funded with the Auckland Council.
Already underway in Auckland City.
10. Northland
New lines to be built to link the rail system with ports in Northland between Oakleigh and Northport at Marsden Point, and Otiria and Opua in the Bay of Islands.
Marsden Point and Opua are two different systems. Opua is a much smaller port, why would rail to there be important.