Cabinet 18: Rail in New Zealand

'New Zealand' in Pamaero Library Scrapbook, 1967-70.

‘New Zealand’ in Pamaero Library Scrapbook, 1967-70.

In 1970 ‘great things’ were happening with rail: there was the ‘Blue Streak’, the new Southerner, and the eagerly anticipated ‘Silver Star’. It was smiles all round. In 1965, 25 million passengers travelled by rail; by 1998, it had reduced to 11.7 million. Ownership changes also affected services. Simplistically, once government owned, rail was privatised (1993), then reverted back to a state owned enterprise in 2004. Today, Ontrack, a division of the New Zealand Railways Corporation (NZRC), owns and maintains the rail infrastructure (e.g. 149 Tunnels; 1700 bridges). KiwiRail, another NZRC division, operates freight services, long distance passenger services and suburban services in Wellington. Veolia New Zealand operates suburban services in Auckland. Webber died in 1983, and did not see these changes in the New Zealand rail system.

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