KiwiRail had a much better 12 months to June 30 than a year earlier, improving its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and asset impairments to $91 million, 17 percent ahead of the previous financial year, which was marred by several one-off costs.
The result was achieved on total revenues of $721 million, down 3 percent for the year, with freight revenues falling 7 percent to $434 million in an environment where coal deliveries by Solid Energy fell, offset somewhat by higher levels of dairy production.
The forestry, import/export and domestic freight categories together performed slightly ahead of last year.
For the year ahead, chief executive Peter Reidy told BusinessDesk the state-owned rail business expected volatile trading conditions, with Solid Energy recently placed into voluntary administration and a sharp downturn in dairy prices expected to lead a reduction in milk solids production. Read more »
It was a dog when Labour bought it.
It’s required taxpayers propping it up to the tune of $2 billion plus, and now it turns out that they want to blackmail us into more, because without Kiwirail, its customers will no longer have taxpayer subsidised rail.
KiwiRail has been given two years sort out its finances or faces being shut down by Treasury, as the value of its network continues to decrease.
The company’s chief executive Peter Reidy says it’s not all doom and gloom and that rail continues to be a valuable commodity for the country.
The value needs to be measured not just in direct economic terms, but by what the cost would be if there was no rail network, he says. Read more »
Vandalism, graffiti, intimidation, street kids and inter school fighting – just the sort of thing to make people want to take public transport.
It’s already heavily subsidised, but just wait for Transit Police to be introduced next.
A number of train services in Auckland were disrupted this evening after a fight broke out at the Orakei Train Station.
Auckland Transport put out a notice to passengers via social media: “Please expect delays and cancellations on the Eastern Line due to an incident at Orakei.”
Members of the public have reported via Twitter seeing a fight amongst students breaking out on the Orakei platform. Read more »
The government was thinking about shutting down major chunks of the rail network in a bid to stop bleeding cash on a failed rail system.
For some reason though government ministers Bill English, Simon Bridges and Todd McClay all showed they are closet socialists arguing for continued funding of Kiwirail despite a continuation of their sea of red ink.
Closure of the entire KiwiRail freight network was an option if the company didn’t get more public funding earlier this year.
Bill English, Simon Bridges and Todd McClay presented a paper to Cabinet earlier this year arguing for continued financial support of KiwiRail, but outlined big challenges KiwiRail faced.
The finance, transport and state-owned enterprises ministers said a nine-month KiwiRail review showed the rail business faced two main options.
One was to retain most of the network and cut back unprofitable services on the network fringes.
The second option was to “close most or all of the freight network” with the option of retaining the upper North Island section only.
The northern section, Auckland to Hamilton to Tauranga, carried the biggest freight volumes and covered most of the network’s costs.
Passenger rail services in Auckland and Wellington were never in doubt.
Well lots actually.
France’s new rail fail would be unbelievable if it wasn’t true.
France’s national rail operator SNCF has ordered trains for an Italy-bound route which reportedly turned out to be a few millimeters too high for Italian tunnels, leaving passengers to Italy having to change trains at the border.
Regio 2N trains were ordered by SNCF from Bombardier, the Canadian multinational aerospace and transportation company.
They are supposed to operate on the TER (Transport Express Regional) line that serves the French Riviera coastline between Les Arcs – Draguignan station in Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region in southeastern France and the city of Ventimiglia in northern Italy, which borders on France. Read more »
John Roughan says rail is dead, live with it.
Thanks to the national transport planners, the part of Auckland that is probably best served by public transport is the one part that has no railway. The North Shore’s busway is probably the fastest flowing artery in the region and it is about to get better. AT has posted out a plan to Shore households this month that simplified all bus routes into loops between busway stations. It looks ideal.
Transport planners can do so much more with wheels on roads that it is hard to fathom their attachment to iron rails. Trains have a romantic hold on the human imagination, mine included. Long-distance rail journeys are some of the happiest travel I have had. But the romance shouldn’t blind so many to its limitations, particularly in this country.
The narrow gauge railway system laid through New Zealand in the 19th century is a dog, not just for urban commuting but obviously for national freight too. The present Government put more than $1 billion into a “turnaround” plan for Labour’s renationalised KiwiRail in its early budgets. We have never heard where that money went. Read more »
Len Brown exaggerates yet again the ‘need for the tunnel in down town Auckland with stories of crowded train platforms at Britomart.
Hints of wailing and gnashing of teeth and people unable to get home.
Britomart users may soon have to jostle their way through crowded platforms to get on to backed-up rush-hour trains, Auckland Mayor Len Brown warns, highlighting the “critical” need for the City Rail Link.
In the 12 months to April, rail use in Auckland increased 22 per cent, but Transport Minister Simon Bridges said there was still a way to go before usage reached the threshold at which the Government would consider helping fund the $2.5 billion project before 2020.
Mr Brown said the Britomart Transport Centre would face serious congestion problems by 2018 if the “stunning acceleration” of rail use continued – meaning a gridlocked city rail system and increasingly crowded platforms for passengers.
“At this rate, Auckland will meet the Government’s patronage threshold for financial support for the CRL early in 2017, three years earlier than projected. Growth has been accelerating since late 2013,” Mr Brown said.
Well even red Mike has worked out that trains cost too much money.
Despite being a staunch advocate for them Mike Lee is choking on his cornflakes over the exorbitant subsidy to run Auckland’s rail network.
Aucklanders facing a new transport rate are paying far too much to subsidise the city’s trains, says councillor Mike Lee, a long-time champion of rail.
Mr Lee, the council’s infrastructure chairman, has calculated that Auckland trains are costing ratepayers and the Government four times more to run than those in Wellington for each kilometre travelled by passengers.
He has worked out from figures published for each rail operation that the subsidy paid for every “passenger kilometre” travelled on Auckland trains last financial year was 65c, compared with just 16c in the capital.
Mr Lee, one of two council appointees to Auckland Transport’s board, says the proportion of rail operating costs covered by fares in Auckland declined to 22 per cent last year, compared with 24 per cent in 2012-13, and 50 per cent in Wellington.
“Government expectations are that farebox ratios should be 50 per cent, but Auckland has been moving in the opposite direction,” he said in a memo to Mayor Len Brown and fellow councillors as they debated a budget which includes a new targeted transport rate of $114 per household.
When is enough going to be enough?
Remember when Michael Cullen dropped $695 million dollars into the pockets of Toll Holdings in what he described as the deal of the century. It is rumoured that the anniversary of the deal is celebrated still by directors of Toll Holdings, such was the awesomeness of the deal for them.
It hasn’t proved to be the deal of the century for the government though, with National having to bail out Kiwirail twice already and now set to pump another billion dollars into what surely must actually be a failed business.
The government is looking at having to pump another billion dollars into KiwiRail over the next four years, Finance Minister Bill English says.
This is on top of the $1 billion the government has already invested in keeping the business going over the last five years, Mr English told a business audience in Wellington this week.
He referred to the long standing difficulties of operating a railway business in New Zealand of a long narrow country, difficult terrain and thin freight and passenger volumes compared with other countries.
“You have to ask which parts of the business make sense,” he said Read more »