The poor old taxpayer who poured more than $1bn into state-owned KiwiRail during the term of the National government is being hit up for another $35m to reverse the decision taken two years ago to ditch the North Island electric locos and replace them with diesel-powered engines.
The Ardern-Peters-led coalition has decided to refurbish the 15 units in the electric fleet — even though the argument to replace them was “compelling” .
While the government now says it is keeping electric locomotives on the North Island Main Trunk Line running to help meet its long-term emissions goals and boost the economy, KiwiRail earlier said it was essentially running “a railway within a railway” by having the electric section. (The North Island Main Trunk runs from Auckland to Wellington but is electrified only between Hamilton and Palmerston North). The doubling up of service facilities, inventory, training and maintenance required with…
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