In the government’s budget last month, they allocated $450 million to Kiwirail over the next two years
$450 million of that funding will be invested in KiwiRail over the next two financial years.
“KiwiRail has achieved significant productivity and efficiency improvements over the past two years, despite the challenges of the November 2016 earthquake and the Midland Line fire,” Mr Bridges says.
“Budget 2017 investment in New Zealand’s rail infrastructure and systems will ensure that KiwiRail can improve its resilience and reliability, while continuing to support tourism, freight and export industries.
At the time I was surprised there was no information about just what that $450 million would be spent on. The government did say that it would go towards providing Kiwirail with funding for restoring the line around Kaikoura following the quake last year while they wait for their insurance claim to be finalised. However, at least most of that that would surely be freed up again once the insurance funds were received.
So, I was interested to know where the money would be spent. At the time we didn’t know about the Third Main business case and I was interested to see if the funding would go towards that critical project. So I asked Kiwirail what the money would be used for. Last week they finally got back to me. Here’s what their spokesperson told me. There’s nothing that particularly stands out but seeing as they provided the info, I thought I might as well share it.
The capital provided in the Budget will be invested to ensure we meet our health and safety obligations for staff, customers and the public.
It will be split between multiple network renewals and improvements, and replacement of rolling stock.
The capital spending we will undertake is another step in ensuring our focus is on the refurbishment of our assets so we can continue to enable New Zealand’s economic growth and meet the country’s tourism needs.
Major network projects in FY18 include:
- completing year two of the three year upgrade of the communications system on the main trunk
- completing year three of five in the upgrade of the Kaimai tunnel
- repairs to the Otira tunnel (used by the Tranz Alpine)
- replacement of a further five bridges
- track signals and other works across the network as a whole
The rolling stock projects include a wide variety of assets, including locomotives and wagons, and major refurbishments of the plant and facilities needed for ongoing maintenance.
Some of the wagons and locomotives being replaced are more than 50 years old.
We will modernise a number of KiwiRail sites, with infrastructure improvements, maintenance and IT solutions.
I’m guessing the locomotives being replaced will include replacing the electric ones that run through the central North Island, something which Radio NZ reported yesterday would generate more carbon dioxide than is saved by the more than 3,000 electric cars currently on New Zealand’s roads.