Monday, May 12, 2008

Some more questions for Dr Cullen on rail

And by the way, John Key and Maurice Williamson will need to answer them too, after all if you're not going to sell it....

Who will be responsible for allocating subsidies to the "new" NZR, will it be the soon to be created New Zealand Transport Agency which will also be responsible for the state highway network (so has a conflict of interest), or the Ministry of Transport, which doesn't have a significant capability in making funding decisions?

Will the 60 year + old rolling stock for the TranzCoastal, Overlander and TranzAlpine be replaced? When? For how much and will it be subsidised?

What is the strategy for the following lines that are not used? (Taneatua, Whakatane, Rotorua, Rapahoe, Castlecliff)

What is the strategy for replacing the vast majority of the diesel locomotive fleet which has engines built in the 1970s?

Will you be owning the new trains being bought for Wellington that are partly local authority funded, or will GWRC still own them?

Will you operate a transparent accounting structure that separates overheads, fixed and variable costs for each line, so that it becomes clear what routes you subsidise and by how much?

Will you subsidise trains by paying for services to be operated or just for rolling stock and locomotive, regardless of how well used they are?

How will you ensure neutral treatment of the coastal shipping industry now you will be a major player (and competitor) with the ferries?

Will you let the "new" NZR get into road freight or not?

Will you let other companies buy their own locomotives and rolling stock to operate trains or have any restrictions other than safety, or any capacity limits? In other words, will you operate an open access railway?

Will you be building any new lines and if so, why, what are the net benefits?

What policy will you have about closing lines and stations, or are they all to remain perpetually open?

How much taxpayers' money are you budgeting for rail infrastructure, rail services and rail rolling stock, beyond what is funded from the National Land Transport Fund through Land Transport NZ?

Will the railways be transferred to NZRC and will it still be expected to make a profit (as it did when it originally ran the lot from 1982 to 1990)?

How will you ensure the subsidised railway system wont cross subsidise the rail ferries?

Will you subsidise any passenger services besides commuter services in Auckland and Wellington?

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