Cherie Howie

Cherie Howie is a reporter for the Herald on Sunday.

Dire times for Central

KiwiRail chief executive Jim Quinn. File photo / Ross Setford
KiwiRail chief executive Jim Quinn. File photo / Ross Setford

If KiwiRail really is planning to run down the rail network, as it's being accused of, things are going to get pretty dire in the central North Island.

KiwiRail has confirmed more than a third of journeys made by its electric trains servicing the area are already failing to meet the company's performance standards.

Communications manager Jenni Austin also said locomotives were failing an average of once every 28,000km. The company standard is one failure for every 45,000km.

The figures come at a time the state-owned company is under fire from Labour for running down the network, something it denies. A leaked copy of the company's business plan revealed last week that it must cut $200 million from its spending over the next three years.

Station Cafe owner Warren Furmer knows the locomotives haven't been performing - he paid for it when the Overlander train failed to turn up on time at National Park.

"Plus or minus 10 minutes is acceptable, beyond that the customers are not going to wait, buses are not going to tie in with it."

KiwiRail chief executive Jim Quinn said the trains were around 30 years old, but KiwiRail hoped to get a further 15 years out of them by reconfiguring the control systems.

- Herald on Sunday

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