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The government has approved the first NZ$94·8m tranche of an expected NZ$300m from the Provincial Growth Fund to fund renovation and upgrading works on KiwiRail’s 181 km North Auckland Line between Swanson and Whangarei.
Speaking in Helensville on September 5, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones said the government was looking to stimulate economic development and encourage modal shift from road to rail. At present rail only has 5% of the Northland freight market, and the line had been maintained to a regime of ‘managed decline’.
According to KiwiRail Group Chief Executive Greg Miller, ‘the line has been in decline for decades and without this investment would have had to close in the near term. It’s crucial that Northland stays rail connected and I’m incredibly grateful for this government support which will not only ensure the NAL remains operational but becomes more efficient.’
This article first appeared on www.railwaygazette.com
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