By Patrick Morgan, Cycling Action Network
Imagine biking to the railway station, loading your bike, and relaxing on the train ahead of a weekend ride.
You are off to Te Kuiti to ride the Timber Trail. Or to Greymouth for the West Coast Wilderness Trail. Or Kaikoura for the Hurunui Heartland Ride.
The train includes dedicated space for bikes, comfortable seating, yummy meals and refreshments. Instead of battling traffic, you arrive relaxed and ready to ride.
After exploring cycle trails for a couple of days, the train whisks you home. Easy peasy.
This is my vision for the future of rail in New Zealand.
Trains plus bikes go together.
They combine the speed and comfort of rail, with the point to point convenience of biking. Less traffic congestion, less carbon, safer, and quieter. We'll get more value from our investments in cycle trails. This will create jobs, especially in the regions.
An evaluation of the New Zealand Cycle Trails in 2021 found that:
This vision is possible. A couple of decades ago we had passenger trains throughout New Zealand, as described in André Brett and Sam van der Weerden's book, “Can’t Get There from Here”.
As New Zealand embraces a low-carbon future, let's make train plus bike tourism the easiest option.
Train plus bike trips
Auckland or Wellington to Te Kuiti - Timber Trail - Taumarunui return
Auckland - Waikato trails
Wellington - Taihape - Gentle Annie - Napier - Wellington
Wellington - Taumarunui - Forgotten World Highway - New Plymouth - Wellington
Wellington - Ohakune - backroads - Papanui Junction - Hunterville - Whanganui – Wellington
Christchurch - Greymouth - West Coast Wilderness Trail - Hokitika – Christchurch
Dunedin – Middlemarch – Central Otago Rail Trail – Clyde – Lawrence – Mosgiel – Dunedin
In a future post, we'll explore how rail plus bike can support commuting and local trips.