Not only is the frequency of rigs increasing, but so is the average size of each truck and trailer, now longer, bigger and able to haul more than ever before.
Company propaganda will have you believe "that its been a great year" but if look past the smoke and mirrors, there is more than meets the eye. This year has seen the closure and sale of the Hillside workshops and with it the loss of many dedicated and skilled employees.
Never again will rolling stock be manufactured in New Zealand now that we can buy mass produced cheap products from China!
2012 also saw the closure of the Gisborne line, and the final shipment of timber from Wairoa. Guess what mode all that product is sent via now??
Let us not forget the official closure of the S.O.L, nor the many track gangers and infrastructure staff who we made unemployed this year.
Such is the mentality that when we derailed in Eltham not long ago, the question was raised if we actually needed the siding we were servicing and if the set of points we had damaged could be removed!!
Let us not forget that Kiwi Rails corporate structure will change quite dramatically at 0001 hours on the 1st of January 2013 as we are molded into a fair humdinger S.O.E while the New Zealand Railways Corporation is dissolved, its staff and assests (but not the land!) are passed onto the "Newco" books.
One then gets suspicious of the top level managers who are rapidly resigning like rats abandoning a sinking ship, and the massive book cooking re-evaluation and write down of company assets and worth......
Its is touted that tonnage volumes hauled by rail have increased, but that is hard to quantify around here.....
Not that many moons ago, it was not uncommon for Whareroa to produce 100 or more loaded wagons a day during the peak of the season, 60 odd from the powder bays, 21 or more from butter and at least 15 from cheese. These days you can almost halve all those numbers..... I wonder if that has any correlation to the increased number of trucks of site???? Nah surely not.
Now that trucks can carry just as much product as we can on our highest capacity wagons I cant help but think we are in for a slow and lingering death.
Nails in coffins? Hmmm - check out this bad boy in the picture below. Fonterra has at least three of these super tankers on the road here now, and we are told they plan to have the Paihiatua powder plant running for the 2014 - 2015 season, which will reduce our milk train services. By how much is unknown but current murmurs are at least one train will vanish.
Finally factor in the large number of contract truckies hauling milk in addition to Fonterra's own fleet, each with "High Productivity" mega tankers (some from as far away as Dunedin and Otago) filling in the blanks its a disturbing trend.
Righto, enough of the doom and gloom.... some recent foamings are attached below.