Railway officials in New Zealand are asking commuters to think again before they start heading to the shops on the eve of Christmas.
A new rail network will see trains running from Wellington to Auckland, and Auckland to Wellington, via Auckland, Wellington and Dunedin.
The trains will link up with the existing freight train system to help connect the towns and cities of Auckland, Dunedin and Wellington to each other.
Auckland is already on the rail network, and the new trains will be able to run as soon as they are ready.
But the NZ Transport Agency has announced that it will only be able be ready for service in 2020.
And, it’s expected that the trains will not start arriving until 2021.
The agency says that a new train line will be built in 2020 and the New Zealand government will be asked to commit to investing $1 billion to upgrade the trains, and to run them for at least 10 years.
It’s hoped that New Zealand’s trains will start arriving by 2021.
So, how is this a rail network?
Railway officials have been talking about this new railway since the late 1990s.
“New Zealand has the most modern rail network in the world, and we have seen that from the first days of this network when we started out, and in the past, it has been built to the same standard,” New Zealand Transport Agency spokesman Ben Brown said.
He said that this new system would have the potential to increase rail capacity by 20 per cent.
“And the trains themselves will be very good, so the system will operate in a way that is environmentally friendly,” he said.
But, the new rail line will require a lot of work, and it will take time to develop.
“It will be a long-term undertaking.
And it will be subject to the New England and New Zealand Governments commitments.”
Brown said that the new railway line would be built on top of the existing rail network.
“But you can’t just say, ‘Well, we’ve just got this track, and that’s all we’ve got’.”
We need to make sure we have all of the infrastructure in place to ensure the rail can operate safely,” he added.
A timetable for the New York to Wellington train route has not been announced.
But Transport Minister Judith Collins said that it would be “extremely challenging” for New Zealand to run trains from New York via Wellington on a regular basis.”
There is a very significant backlog of work that is going to need to be undertaken,” Collins said.”
If New Zealand is to continue to have a robust rail network we need to invest in it as quickly as possible.
“She said that she was committed to building the new line, but that it was too early to say when it would begin to operate.