Kiwirail is considering closing the Stratford to Okahukura Rail Line because of damage to the tracks after a derailment last year.
Kiwirail has told the media they are asking for submissions from the public before making a decision. Although, in practice, I can’t see any mention of the submission process on their website…
Anyway, if you want to make a submission to Jim Quinn, the Chief Executive of Kiwirail then send it to ruth dot larsen at ontrack dot govt dot nz. The closing date is this Friday, the 12th of February. If you’re struggling for ideas here are:
6 reasons why we should keep the line open:
- The cost of reopening lines snowballs the longer they are closed. It would cost far less to keep this line open now than to close it and re-open it again 10 years later. According to Jon Reeves Kiwirail has just discovered that it will cost them almost $10 million to fix up the Rotorua-Waikato railway line which they closed down in 2001. That’s because a lot of the sleepers have been stolen.
- It provides an alternative (the only open rail line) to the North Island Main Trunk Line in case of a volcanic eruption or earthquake
- It could be a major tourist attraction. It is easily one of the most scenic rail routes in the North Island
- Closing it will mean yet more freight moves around our country by trucks, which are energy inefficient and tear up road surfaces. Maintenance would make it more attractive to freight and probably increase it’s usage
- Closing it will continue the process (which Fonterra has already started) of shifting most of our freight through 1 or 2 major ports. That may be good for Fonterra but it’s very bad for the environment (and road surfaces) driving freight 100s of kms more than necessary
- Given what experts are saying about peak oil we will need this rail line in future to transport freight and people when oil prices rise
Any other reasons you can think of?