Lack Of Commuter Rail Funding Inexcusable As Nearly Half Of Capital Connection Services Disrupted
With nearly half of scheduled Capital Connection services since Monday 13 June having been bus replaced, delayed, or operating at reduced capacity due to mechanical issues, Kāpiti Coast commuter rail campaigner Gwynn Compton has called out the Government’s failure to fund new tri-mode trains in Budget 2022 to secure the future of and to expand Capital Connection services as inexcusable.
“The failure of the Government to come to the table in Budget 2022 with the $360m requested by Greater Wellington Regional Council, Horizons Regional Council, and Waka Kotahi for new tri-mode trains is completely inexcusable given how the severe disruptions of the Capital Connection demonstrate that the very ability of the service to even operate as it is now is at risk,” says Mr Compton.
“What’s more, the carriages retrieved from storage in Taumarunui that were meant to be refurbished to provide a stopgap measure, and buy time for new rolling stock to be purchased, are nowhere to be seen. With the Capital Connection’s current rolling stock well beyond the end of its useful life, these temporary replacement carriages are meant to be in service by mid-2022, but the rumour is they’re sitting in KiwiRail’s Hutt workshops well behind schedule.”
Gwynn Compton says the escalating mechanical failures, delays in refurbishing stopgap rolling stock, and refusal by the Government to contribute to funding for the long-term solution of tri-mode trains are completely unacceptable, and represent a failure of both leadership and delivery by Transport Minister Michael Wood.
“Michael Wood needs to not only front up with funding to purchase the 22 new tri-mode four car units requested in Budget 2022, but he also needs to explain where the refurbished carriages are and pull out all the stops to ensure the short-term survival of the Capital Connection.
"KiwiRail’s engineers are performing miracles to keep the existing rolling stock operational. However, as the growing number of mechanical failures demonstrates, the service is at very real risk of collapsing in the short-term if no action is urgently taken.”
Gwynn Compton has been campaigning for the expansion of commuter rail services north of Waikanae since 2019. While Gwynn is a councillor on Kāpiti Coast District Council, these are his personal views and not those of Kāpiti Coast District Council.
For more information please contact Gwynn Compton on 027 917 3571.