Kiwirail to Use Rubber Bridge to Replace Iron Bridge
3 FEBRUARY 2016
Kiwirail to Use Rubber Bridge to Replace Iron Bridge Across Cook Strait
In another more bizarre twist to the KiwiRail Cook Strait ferry shambles, the company is introducing risky rubber-tyred trailers to replace railway waggons on the Cook Strait run.
New Zealand First Leader and Northland MP Rt Hon Winston Peters says the Cook Strait ferries – with the exception of Aratere – can no longer carry rail freight. The Aratere cannot maintain an all-weather sailing schedule because of its multi-million dollar lengthening bungle.
“In a moment of inspiration, KiwiRail has now decided to load containers from railway waggons on to rubber-wheeled trailers then drive the trailers down a private roadway onto the Cook Strait Ferries.”
Mr Peters says this raises safety concerns on the ships. There are serious doubts whether the decks can cope with unstable rubber-tyred trailers carrying heavy weights which they are not designed for.
“For example, a set of tyres cannot spread a load on a deck like a set of rails.
“The move to eliminate rail on the ferries will require double handling and reconfiguration of the railway yards in Wellington and Picton,” says Mr Peters.
KiwRail confirmed yesterday that the days of carriages carrying rail freight on ferries are numbered.
“The future of KiwiRail is at risk because the state company went through a fire sale in the nineties, new owner asset stripping, share-value collapse, and the last Labour Government having to buy it back. Then followed years of gross mismanagement.
“Unfortunately the company kept a lot of top management from the previous owner Toll Holdings and continued making unsound commercial decisions on the Cook Strait service and elsewhere,” says Mr Peters.
“On Cook Strait a new ship would have been and will be, much cheaper in the long run.
“Railways predicament stems from the management not being up to the job and a litany of pathetic excuses for incompetence.
“When will successive National Ministers of Transport do something on rail to justify their portfolio?
“This rudderless, leaderless SOE is winding back regional services as a consequence.”