A Horizons regional councillor has collected more than 3000 signatures on his petition to get the Northern Explorer stopping in Taumarunui again.
But he said creating the petition - which he will deliver to Parliament on Thursday - had made him think more broadly about rail.
As a result he is also lobbying Government to make rail travel affordable and accessible to rural people.
At present the Northern Explorer is solely focused on the tourist dollar.
Stops on its Auckland to Wellington journey are limited to tourist destinations. It dropped 12 former stops, including Marton and Taumarunui.
Kirton heard of one incident when the train made a toilet stop at Taumarunui for five minutes - but a Taumarunui passenger was not allowed to get off. Instead his family had to drive to National Park, an authorised stop, to pick him up and drive him back to Taumarunui.
With Government's push to reduce emissions and increase public transport, passenger train travel needed to be affordable and accessible, Kirton said.
Rail should be a preferred choice - environmentally friendly, affordable, efficient and "the right thing to do".
"It seems to me that they have forgotten what they said three years ago about rebuilding rail for passenger and freight."
He's asking that KiwiRail be represented on all the country's regional council transport committees, and that plans be agreed by both the committees and Transport Minister Phil Twyford.
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His petition meshes with the Land Transport (Rail) Legislation Bill that had its first reading in Parliament in December. It could be sent to the select committee considering amendments to the bill.
Kirton is to meet Te Tai Hauāuru MP Adrian Rurawhe and Rangitīkei MP Ian McKelvie at Parliament at 11am on February 13 to present the petition.
KiwiRail is aware of the petition but its executive general manager of tourism and marketing, Ahleen Rayner, said it did not currently have plans to add Taumaranui to the schedule for the Northern Explorer.
"Increasing the number of stops for the Northern Explorer would stretch out the already considerable travel time between Auckland and Wellington, impacting heavily on customer satisfaction."
Kiwirail said the Northern Explorer service is not intended as a regional passenger service but rather as a tourism experience provided as part of our wider Great Journeys of New Zealand offerings.
The train will stop in Taumaranui by arrangement if there are bookings for 10 or more people.