Wednesday, June 9, 2010

a railway lesson from Norway for Steven and the Treasury

NZ Transport Minister Steven Joyce and Bill's Treasury could well look at how much has been spent and is spent on Norway's railway system compared with how little they want to spend on that of NZ.

Stand in Oslo's central station pretty much any time of day and you will see swarms of people heading to and from commuter trains and longer distance trains.

"Well you'd expect that, Oslo is a much bigger city than Auckland," Steve and the Treasury will respond.

No it isn't; the population of Oslo is only about half that of Auckland.

"But Norway is a much bigger country than NZ, right?"

Wrong again, it's population is only about 15% more than NZ's.

"But, but... NZ is a small mountainous country, spending money on improving railways through it is a lot more than in Norway... right?"

No, Norway is similar to NZ and very mountainous - the highest point on the railway system is a good 400 metres about the highest point on NZ's.

"But lines like Napier to Gisborne in NZ just can't work, look - no-one uses them."

Maybe that's because you spend nothing on maintainance and improvements to the line, Steve. On a long line like Trondheim to Bodö in Norway which ends at Bodö, and which serves communities about the size of Gisborne, there are two passenger trains a day the whole way each way, plus local railcars over parts of the route, plus plenty of freight trains.

"Sheesh, it's got me. Why can't our smart alecs in Treasury see that?"

Maybe the smart alecs in Treasury aren't so smart, Steve.

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