Government to investigate Northland Rail
The potential for upgrading and expanding rail north of Auckland will be investigated, as part of a package targeting Northland’s growth, Transport Minister Phil Twyford and Associate Transport Minister Shane Jones have announced.
The business case will be investigated for both passenger and freight tasks according to a statement released by the New Zealand Government.
Along with general freight and passenger services Twyford reckons “It will also investigate whether the upgrade could include a new spur line to Marsden Point to support Northport’s growth,”
The rail lines in the north are currently in a dilapidated state and would need a large amount of government investment to get up and running again.
Around 1185 tonnes of freight leaves Northland by road to Auckland which will continue to rise as long as there are enough drivers available to work the trucks.
Road freight is a potential source of employment for Northland if the government intends to continue stimulating the economy in the region, but Shane Jones would like to see more emphasis put on the rail.
“A reliable, resilient rail connection would take some of this freight off the road in both Northland and Auckland and help increase the flow of products in and out of the region,” says Jones.
The $500,000 cost of the business case will be paid for by the Provincial Growth Fund.