The myth busting campaign we are launching today has been designed to address the popular misconceptions that Kiwis have about passenger rail. They have been designed to spark discussion and encourage everyone to think about an Aotearoa New Zealand future, which includes inter-regional passenger rail.
Making Rail Work’s focus is in the Golden Triangle, which is the right place to demonstrate the positive impact that rail can have. Personally, I grew up in the outer suburbs of Christchurch. Life was car dependent.
In 2011, the Christchurch earthquake destroyed much of my city. I, like many others, looked with interest to how we were rebuilding. However, I was not satisfied with the direction being taken, especially extensive new car-dependent suburban sprawl. This frustration led me to take an interest in urban planning.
At the start of 2020, I was fortunate enough to travel to Japan. It was a thought-provoking to experience how passenger rail, when done well, can provide fast, reliable, convenient, and affordable transportation for the masses. It can also be integrated into the urban environment, benefiting the community in a way no other form of transport can. The experience left me with a newfound love of trains and rail travel.
I decided to combine my burgeoning interest in rail with urban planning. When I first began to speak out and share my thoughts, I’ll admit that I was naïve. However, with research, studying, and guidance, I was able to enter the professional rail industry, which grew my knowledge and experience even further.
Around the middle of 2022 I joined Making Rail Work. It has ultimately been a great way for me to expand my knowledge of the real obstacles that stand in the way of inter-regional passenger rail. I’m now part of a team that is proactively taking on those challenges, which feels more productive than just shouting on social media from the sidelines.
It is wonderful to be part of a team with a strong unified passion and motivation to bring passenger rail back to the Golden Triangle. Hopefully, this model can one day be used to redevelop the city I grew up in and begin to set right the issues I first spotted all those years ago.
We all still have a lot to learn. My hope is that this myth busting campaign will help all of us expand our understanding of how we can make rail work for all Kiwis.