Electric avenue future?

LETTER

Re: Bridges goes electric and ‘wouldn’t go back’, January 7 story.

How interesting to contrast the above headline with the one on December 22, 2016: KiwiRail to replace electric trains with diesel.

Simon Bridges, Transport Minister, having converted from diesel to electric cars, is now “preaching to his National Party colleagues about going electric” and points to the reduced emissions and much lower cost of energy.

Yet KiwiRail chief executive Peter Reidy, despite looking “long and hard” at the electric options, has decided to adopt the short-term policy of reverting to diesel on the electrified main trunk between Hamilton and Palmerston North. Considering that NZ (a) generates most of its power from hydro but is obliged to import oil, and (b) is committed to reducing emissions, this decision beggars belief.

Our new prime minister, with billions of “surplus” dollars at his disposal, together with the Ministers of Transport, Finance and Business, Innovation & Employment, should be pursuing a policy of investment in full electrification, and procurement of reliable electric locomotives.

Other countries are investing heavily in major long-term projects to develop their infrastructure, yet the government of New Zealand seems more concerned with bribes of lower taxes to secure its continued dominance in parliament.

Is this the path we want to follow for the future of our children?

Peter Wooding

Re: Bridges goes electric and ‘wouldn’t go back’, January 7 story.

How interesting to contrast the above headline with the one on December 22, 2016: KiwiRail to replace electric trains with diesel.

Simon Bridges, Transport Minister, having converted from diesel to electric cars, is now “preaching to his National Party colleagues about going electric” and points to the reduced emissions and much lower cost of energy.

Yet KiwiRail chief executive Peter Reidy, despite looking “long and hard” at the electric options, has decided to adopt the short-term policy of reverting to diesel on the electrified main trunk between Hamilton and Palmerston North. Considering that NZ (a) generates most of its power from hydro but is obliged to import oil, and (b) is committed to reducing emissions, this decision beggars belief.

Our new prime minister, with billions of “surplus” dollars at his disposal, together with the Ministers of Transport, Finance and Business, Innovation & Employment, should be pursuing a policy of investment in full electrification, and procurement of reliable electric locomotives.

Other countries are investing heavily in major long-term projects to develop their infrastructure, yet the government of New Zealand seems more concerned with bribes of lower taxes to secure its continued dominance in parliament.

Is this the path we want to follow for the future of our children?

Peter Wooding

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Richard - 9 months ago
The benefits of electrification of a rail network are well understood by the industry globally - even on little-used rural lines. It is therefore a rather odd decision of Mr Reidy to go against the accepted wisdom of the industry. One can only assume that the upfront capital required was not forthcoming from central government, and so, they and he opted for short term financial saving vis-a-vis long term infrastructure gain and huge job creation opportunities. A very poor strategy.

But, alongside electrification there needs also work to be done on improving the quality of the permanent way. Without smooth, robust, fast and safe rails, passenger traffic will not be encouraged to return to rail ? be it on city to city or rural community feeder lines.

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