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Action saves J'ville rail line

2 November 2006

Action saves J'ville rail line from bizarre one-way bus scheme

Green MP Sue Kedgley said she was delighted to learn that Wellington councils had abandoned their bizarre and foolish attempt to rip up the Johnsonville rail-line to establish the world's only one-way bus-way.

"I am absolutely delighted that the combined efforts of the Green Party, local residents and the local MP Peter Dunne, have scuppered this idiotic proposal, saved the Johnsonville line and brought some common sense back to the Wellington City and Regional Councils.

"There is no point in the Councils trying to blame the government for this fiasco, and for the waste of $400.000 of ratepayers money consulting on a project that could never get off first base. The fiasco was entirely of their own making --a simple phone call before they began the consultation would have confirmed that the government owns the rail track and had no intention of ripping up a successful suburban rail service.

Ms Kedgley said the Johnsonville line was extremely successful, with increased patronage of 13% in the last year, but it was essential that the Council now undertook an urgent upgrade of the Johnsonville line. "The carriages are 50 years old, and so we urgently need new rolling stock. We also need the track and signals upgraded and the run-down stations spruced up and ten minute frequency of service during peak time. This would transform it into first class suburban rail service.

"Now that the government has finally woken up to climate change, its absolutely imperative that we retain --and expand --all electric passenger rail services in New Zealand such as the Johnsonville line, as they don't emit carbon or pollution and rely on renewable energy. "The Johnsonville line is the envy of other cities like Auckland where ratepayers are forking out millions to electrify local rail networks. The thought that we would be rip ours up while other Councils are installing new electrified commuter rail services is too silly to event contemplate," Ms Kedgley says. .

ENDS

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