Te Huia was speeding its way from Hamilton to Auckland. The conductor had just finished clipping tickets in the second carriage when he noticed something amiss.
"Where have the carriages gone? he said. "I am sure there were four when we left the station", he added with some certainty.
It was probably not a big deal because most days the carriages would be empty anyway, but as it happened on this particular day there were a few stranded passengers, on a train without a locomotive.
It all ended well because, unlike the movies where "detached" carriages pick up speed and go crashing into a terminal at great loss of human life, in this case, the safety brakes had applied and the carriages came to an uneventful stop.
Te Huia is the government's answer to saving the planet from global warming (and the snow that is falling in Wellington as I write this).
Te Huia has the capacity to transport 1000 passengers a day (500 a trip) - but carries about 100. At $42 the ticket price is twice as much as the fuel cost to travel the 125 km by car, and at just under three hours it takes twice as long.
Even those taking the bus will get in between half an hour and an hour before the train, and they can choose from 13 departure times a day instead of two, and they will pay as little as $18.
So how are the passenger numbers going for Te Huia?
Great according to the government: 3855 passengers in April, 3220 in May, and 2658 in June. Yep, that's looking good.
And let's hope they find those carriages soon. "Te Kauwhata", the conductor says, "I last saw them around Te Kauwhata, or was it Mercer?"
Frank Newman, a political commentator and investment analyst, is a former local body councillor.
Great article Frank.
Demonstrates perfectly this government's ineptitude and woke logic.
They can't understand why people don't want to use a service which costs more, takes longer and is completely unflexible, even when the falling passenger numbers month on month scream the answer at them.
Trouble is, we the taxpayer have to pay for their limitless incompetence.
I see we had some rolling blackouts in the Waikato this evening due, I believe, to the cold weather. Come off it - cold weather! If that is really the cause it shows how fragile NZ's power grid is. No doubt this government's answer will be to close Huntly Power Station - the only 100% reliable source of generation - and build some more wind farms.
Power generating companies build unsightly wind farms then shut them down because it's "too windy" go figure.
There are taxpayer subsidies in there somewhere.
This government fails dramatically with just about everything it touches.
The Hamilton to Auckland passenger train will be in “jeopardy” if passenger numbers don’t improve, a Waikato council boss says.
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