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Greens call for Bay Express rail fast tracking

9 June, 2003
Greens call for Bay Express rail fast tracking

The Green Party is calling for the rebirth of the Bay Express and other regional passenger rail services between Napier and Wellington via Palmerston North after the Government's decision to buy back the rail tracks.

Green Party transport spokespersons will meet with Trans Scenic managers next Tuesday to encourage them to expand their inter-city passenger rail services and tap into the region's rail tourism opportunities, said Green Associate Transport spokesperson Sue Kedgley.

"I believe there is huge tourism potential in a passenger transport line with an 'Art Deco Express' that takes tourists to one of the world's greatest living examples of Art Deco," said Ms Kedgley.

"It's a wonderfully scenic route and has great tourism potential. It could herald the beginning of a new golden age of rail in the region."

Ms Kedgley said the new track ownership and commitment to upgrade the tracks was crucial in making passenger rail a viable and attractive mode of transportation.

"It's just the boost the region's rail system needs," said Ms Kedgley.

"The Government takeover will be a plus for track maintenance. Because of its financial troubles TranzRail was skimping on upkeep of the system.

"When TranzRail closed the services down they weren't attractive to new operators because of high track access fees and speed restrictions because of poor track maintenance. All that could change now.

"Now there will be no reason why the tracks can't be kept up to scratch.

"As a Green MP I'm committed to doing what ever I can to get these services re-started and promoting rail as the best way to see the sights of the lower North Island," said Ms Kedgley.


ENDS

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