Given he is buying not only Toll Rail's business and trains, but also the monopoly of track usage that the government let Toll keep when it bought the tracks, the report in the Dominion Post of a private company (Manning Group) willing (apparently) to invest in running new trains on the Wellington-Auckland line is promising.
It shows that, perhaps, the right approach would be to sell track access to whoever is willing to pay to run trains, it may be on an exclusive franchise arrangement. In other words, private companies paying to use the otherwise worthless tracks. It does mean Dr. Cullen sharing his train set with others though. Now I don't think the Manning Group's idea makes good business sense at all, I can think of better ways to invest money that in a transport mode that takes 9 hours, when three companies fly you in an hour, but if it is their money and their track access isn't subsidised AND it stops Dr. Cullen paying for new trains to replace the Overlander, bring it on! I'm convinced that entrepreneurs can do better than the state.