The Campaign for Better Transport is calling for the Northland rail network to remain open in the long term, in the wake of Kiwirail’s decision to suspend all freight services north of Auckland.
Kiwirail’s announcement means that up to 200 truck movements a day of milk powder and logs will be added to the roading network north of Auckland.
“We need to bear in mind the line carries both dairy and forestry products and most road users are well aware of the dangers logging trucks pose. By adding an additional 200 or more trucks daily on Northland’s roads there is a higher risk of accidents causing death or severe injury to innocent road users,” campaign spokesperson Jon Reeves said.
The Campaign for Better Transport is concerned that the suspension of services could become permanent. However, Mr Reeves said that now would be the perfect opportunity to carry out needed maintenance of the line, in time for the resumption of freight services.
“We need to keep the Northland network open for the benefit of freight and road users. If central Government was not spending so much on the $800m Puhoi to Warkworth toll road, there would be money to do this,” said Mr Reeves.
The Campaign for Better Transport proposed “Operation Lifesaver” in 2010 as a more cost effective option to address safety issues between Puhoi and Wellsford.