Readers may notice some subtle changes to this website as it has been renamed Heriot-Edievale.Com.
The Heriot-Edievale Enterprises Ltd consulting business is now closed. I am no longer resident in New Zealand and have moved to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and as such it is not possible to continue with this business any longer for various reasons. I am now refocusing my efforts on my new role as Strategy and Performance Director at Etihad Rail in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.
Etihad Rail is a very exciting leading edge rail development that is basically building a brand new rail system from scratch. It is indeed a privilege to be part of something that is building a entire integrated rail system both for freight and passenger traffic across the Emirates.
In the end it was a straight forward move for me - Follow my dreams. How often does someone get the chance to be part of building an entire nations railway network from scratch. It is not something I thought I would ever see as most countries built their railways back in the 19th century. A link to the website is here: www.etihadrail.ae
As for New Zealand - whilst sad to leave in some ways I am very much glad to leave behind me much of the negative sentiment towards rail in that country and move on. I am sad about the Napier to Gisborne Line closure. I am sad about Long Distance Rail passengers destruction and demise over the past 10 years. I am sad about the SOL Line closure. I am sad that Hillside Workshops "had" (I don't think it necessarily had to really) to close. So much tearing down of New Zealands rail frabric has occured it could make you cry.
Much of what has happened in New Zealand though has at least been partly been outweighed by some very positive developments - Complete rekitting and rebuilding of the Wellington Urban Rail network. Expansion, rebuilding and electrification of the Auckland Urban Rail network and last, but certainly not least, the rebuilding of the core Railfreight business through the KiwiRail $4,3 Billion Turnaround Plan.
Will Rail ever be fully financially self sustainable in New Zealand. My view is No. It is too big a ask for such small tonnage and a relatively vast network. The economy is too small and the costs are too large. They need to learn in New Zealnd what the rest of the world already largely knows. Rail needs to be ge given benefits/credit for its externality Wider Economic Benefits (WEBs). This is especailly the case in a country like New Zealand where road and rail traffic density is so light.
But Jim Quinn and his team must be given credit for something that no one else managed to acheive in over three decades - secure funding to help turn freight rail at least partly around in a wider view of a sustainable future.
On Scenic Rail the new AK carriages are a bright spot and produce a flicker of hope that one day Long Distance Rail Passenger may recover. I am watching with interest but new flair and committment by a entrepreneural spirit, as I have said many times before, will be required and yes the Government should contribute if for nothing else but a sense of national pride and nation building like they do elsewhere in the world.
However I wish them well back in New Zealand and I will continue to watch from afar in the Middle East with great interest the goings on in "downunder" Australia and New Zealand (and occassionally comment).
Good luck New Zealand Railways!!!!