Wanganui Mayor Annette Main has expressed her disappointment with the recent changes announced by KiwiRail to the Overlander train service, which she believes will make rail travel less accessible for both local people and those visiting our district.
KiwiRail is introducing changes to the Overlander service from June 25 this year, which will reduce the number of weekly services between Auckland and Wellington from 14 to six and shorten the journey time by making fewer stops which will only include Hamilton, National Park, Ohakune and Palmerston North.
"KiwiRail's announcement calls this exciting, but for us it means the loss of a service to and from both Wellington and Auckland with us losing the opportunity to access the service from the nearby town of Marton," says Mayor Main.
"People in our district will now have to drive to Palmerston North if they want to travel by rail to Wellington or Auckland.
"Although the changes are intended to increase the attractiveness of the Overlander service to tourists it will reduce the travel options for visitors to who are attracted by major events, our river, and our recreational opportunities.
"I am also concerned by KiwiRail's claims that the changes were discussed with tourism groups - as far as I know there has been no consultation with either tourist groups or councils in our region. I would welcome an opportunity to discuss the proposals with KiwiRail and ensure that our district and those neighbouring us are able to be properly served by rail services."
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