10 Dec 2010

New train engines launched by PM

3:40 pm on 10 December 2010

Prime Minister John Key travelled by train on Friday morning to Te Rapa in Hamilton to celebrate the first investment in new rail engines in 20 years.

Twenty Chinese DL-locomotives are being commissioned at a cost of $75 million.

Mr Key says the investment in new engines is a sign of the Government's commitment to rail.

Transport Minister Steven Joyce says rail infrastructure has been neglected for decades.

He says achieving a turnaround in the fortunes of KiwiRail will not be easy, but with an investment of $750 million, the Government is determined that rail will play an important part in the New Zealand transport system.

Six locomotives will be used on the Auckland-Hamilton-Tauranga freight route and forestry lines in the Bay of Plenty.

The remaining 14 trains are due to be deployed around the North Island early next year.

The new engines are expected to be more fuel efficient than current diesel locomotives.