Capital Connection commuters will benefit hugely as the Government invests in a fleet of 18 new trains for the lower North Island.
This is a massive win for Palmy, and means we will soon have more reliable and efficient options for making our way to the capital.
The Government has announced that it’s co-investing in a fleet of 18 four-car trains, and is upgrading rail tracks to strengthen public transport links in and out of Wellington from Manawatū and Wairarapa. This will provide capacity for another 1.5 million trips, helping to boost productivity for Manawatū and New Zealand as a whole.
I have long been a strong advocate for the Capital Connection, and use the service when I can, so I’m absolutely delighted with the Government’s announcement. I know many regular commuters will be familiar with the disruptions associated with the current ageing fleet, particularly around service frequency and reliability. I’m really thrilled that getting to Wellington will soon be easier.
The Government is committed to upgrading New Zealand’s transport system to make it safer, greener and more efficient. It is working hard to provide more viable and attractive public transport alternatives and this latest initiative is critical to busting congestion throughout the lower North Island.
As well as increasing the number of trips and speeding up journeys by up to 15 minutes for those using Manawatū services, this investment in hybrid electric trains will help to reduce carbon emissions by over half a million tonnes.
Commuters will be able to choose when they travel, with Palmerston North services doubling during peak time, as well as the addition of off-peak and weekend services. This is something locals have asked for in my discussions with them.
In the interim, the refurbished carriages for the Capital Connection will be hitting the tracks in a few months’ time.
Since taking office in 2017, the Government has made significant investments to build a resilient and reliable rail network after decades of neglect and decline. We’ve focused on the bread-and-butter work of replacing tracks, installing new culverts and bridges, and upgrading turnouts, all of which are needed for a safe and effective network.
Further strengthening these public transport links will be an absolute game changer for those in Palmerston North, and I am proud to have been able to assist in delivering this for our community.
Tangi Utikere is the MP for Palmerston North.