It was great to have the Prime Minister John Key in Kapiti yesterday launching the new ‘Matangi’ trains.
Along with some local primary school kids we took a ride to Waikanae onboard the new units. I can tell you they are very impressive with lots of space, modern technologies and are quieter.
They start service on the Kapiti line this week and I’m sure this will be welcomed by commuters. It’s a big step forward, thanks to the National Government’s investment of $388 million investment into better rail services.
The Matangis will complement the Ganz Mavag units that are the 'work horses' on the Kapiti Line.
These will continue to be upgraded and modernised under a deal struck with the Government, and GWRC.
It’s a timely week to launch the new ‘Matangi’ trains because this also happens to be Rail Safety Week. In my role as Associate Transport Minister I officially unveiled new KiwiRail carriages on Monday, featuring this year’s message “Stay Clear, Stay Safe.”
Former New Zealand cricketer Chris Cairns is the face of this campaign and it’s been a privilege working with him. He tragically lost his sister in a train accident in 1993 and since then has dedicated himself to raising awareness of this issue, setting up the Chris Cairns Foundation.
With more services and new, fast and quiet trains starting in Kapiti, we all need to be aware and take responsibility around rail crossings.
Even with improvements to railway crossings, there have still been too many avoidable deaths.
Sadly we know that lights and bells are no guarantee of safety. There will always be a need for drivers and pedestrians to take responsibility, and stay safe at level crossings and around trains.