Kapiti Coast commuter rail campaigner Cr Gwynn Compton has welcomed the announcement from Green Party co-leader James Shaw that, if elected to Government, the Green Party will make electrification of the Wellington rail network between Waikanae and Ōtaki a top priority, with work to begin in the next term.

“While the Green Party has always been leading the way on commuter rail, this specific commitment to electrification between Waikanae and Ōtaki, as well as new hybrid* trains for the Capital Connection service, is welcome news,” says Gwynn Compton, who set up the Kāpiti-Horowhenua Commuter Rail Campaign in March 2020, and has previously run a petition that gained over 1,600 signatures in support of electrifying the rail network to Ōtaki.

“The Green Party’s longer term vision which James Shaw outlined today – including electrification and double tracking all the way to Palmerston North and track upgrades to allow higher speed services using tilt trains – would also transform commuter transport in the lower North Island’s western corridor, removing cars from the road and fossil fuel emissions from the atmosphere.”

otaki railway

The Green Party’s announcement now means that both they and the National Party have committed to electrification and double tracking between Waikanae and Ōtaki, as well as funding new hybrid trains for the Capital Connection, putting pressure on the Labour Party and New Zealand First to get onboard.

“Having support from across the political spectrum for public transport infrastructure projects like these is critical for getting them across the line. I’m laying down the challenge for Labour and New Zealand First to join their colleagues in the Greens and National and commit to delivering fast, frequent, and climate friendly commuter rail services as outlined in the plan from the Kāpiti-Horowhenua Commuter Rail Campaign.”

More information about the Kāpiti-Horowhenua Commuter Rail Campaign can be found at www.kapitihorowhenuarail.co.nz

  • Gwynn says the term hybrid is used loosely to cover bi-mode (e.g. overhead electric and diesel) as well as actual hybrid (overhead electric then battery). Hybrid (as in overhead and battery) now get around 150km on a single charge, with rapid charging (10 minutes) fairly standard, which would be plenty to service Ōtaki to Palmerston North. [It would also be plenty to cover Waikanae to Palmerston North].