A collective of 20 councils situated along the North Island main trunk line called the North Island Main Trunk (NIMT) Railway Group is working for the reinstatement and development of passenger services on the North Island main trunk line.
With the retirement of Mayor Cameron at the October 2022 local body elections the leadership role will transfer to Horizons and the Greater Wellington Regional Council.
The NIMT have funded a feasibility study the North Island Regional Passenger Rail Study as the first stage of work toward the development of an Indicative Business case (IBC) which will be followed by a Detailed Business Case (DBC).
The Government's Transport and Infrastructure Committee has opened an inquiry into the future of inter-regional passenger rail in New Zealand. The case for North Island Regional Passenger Rail along the North Island main trunk line is to be presented at Parliament to the Transport and Infrastructure Committee in the near future.
While there is an ongoing national discussion about regional rail, this study focuses mainly on the Central North Island part of NIMT, extending north to Auckland and south to Wellington. In particular it concerns the feasibility of establishing the missing link to Hamilton and Palmerston North.
The return of rail passenger services to the North Island main trunk line would deliver the following benefits:
Provide a critical regional and community link
Support social connectivity and economic growth
Provide an alternative transport option
Reduce greenhouse emissions
Help improve road safety be lessening car and truck movements
Improve the resilience and capacity of the North Island transport corridor
Aligns with strategic Government policy on land transport, road safety and climate change amongst others.