Rail Renaissance

17 Jan

Despite our government’s ongoing passion for roading and traffic congestion/pollution, rail seems to be progressing well with the steady advance of Auckland’s 25kV AC Metro rail electrification.  Next year we should be seeing some of the stylish Spanish-built EMU units.  Auckland will have an electric train service as good as the best anywhere.  In the South Island I have enjoyed several train rides aboard the new Ak cars in use on the Coastal Pacific Service .  They have been superbly-designed and built in NZ- at KiwiRail’s Hillside workshops in Dunedin.  These are definitely world class carriages.  Their introduction this year on the TranzAlpine will be another significant step forward.  I also suspect Dockline Tram is the beginning of something more impressive, emerging as part of an Auckland modern Light Rail network.  Priority has to be getting the tramway to Britomart.  It will be needed for all those additional people soon to be commuting to and from the spectacular new ASB head office complex in Wynyard Quarter.  We can only hope the rail renaissance is ongoing and does not stop unfinished as has happened all too often.  While talking about the South Island, Auckland-based Lonely Planet author Brett Atkinson says post-quake Christchurch is emerging as one of New Zealand’s most exciting cities.  He recommends staying several days.

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