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Bring back the 'Blue Streak' say Greens

Bring back the 'Blue Streak' say Greens

The Green Party is calling for the rebirth of the Blue Streak and other regional passenger rail services between New Plymouth, Wanganui and Wellington after the Government's decision to buy back the rail tracks.

Green Party transport spokespersons will meet with Tranz Scenic managers next Tuesday to encourage them to expand their inter-city passenger rail services, including into the Taranaki and Horowhenua regions, said Green Associate Transport spokesperson Sue Kedgley.

"I believe there is real untapped tourism potential in a passenger transport line through the Horowhenua and Taranaki regions with lines skirting the magnificent Mt Taranaki and beside the Whanganui River," said Ms Kedgley.

"The Blue Streak was withdrawn from service in 1977 but this would be a great opportunity to herald the beginning of a new golden age of rail throughout the provinces."

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.

Under the old arrangements new passenger services were not attractive to operators because of the high track access fees charged by the monopoly owner of the rail network, Tranz Rail and poor track maintenance, Ms Kedgley said. All that could change now.

"The fact that the government has signalled it will offer reasonable track access fees and upgrade and maintain the national rail track means that a new operator can invest in new passenger services in regions such as Horowhenua and Taranaki with confidence that the track will be there to run them on."

"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.

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