Alexjc, this appears to be the idea of Councilor Macpherson and not anything like an offical proposal. Anyway there will only be space for 5 CC carriages plus van and loco in the platforms at Britomart. Further I think it will take some time and expense to rebuild these carriages with 1/4, 3/4 doors as I guess he is suggesting. With Hillside busy with the Ak cars this year t would seem that mid to late 2012 would be the earliest this could happen.
Well It's really heating up now...And it's going to be at the Capital Connection's expense, or part there of.
Waikato Times 22/1/11...
A working group assessing options for an inter-regional passenger service isconsidering the proposal from Auckland transport officials, but Hamilton City Council member Dave Macpherson said it looks promising.
"It's a no brainer. It means Auckland is joining forces with us to lead the charge and there's the opportunity for us to shorten the time-frame to start the service considerably," Mr Macpherson said.
Under the proposal former Capital Connection passenger carriages would be refurbished with toilets, cafe-bar, and internet connections, as well as mid-carriage doors compatiable with Auckland's suburban rail network.
The idea would remove a major obstacle to such a service - that of finding space on Auckland's conjested rails for an additional daily service from the waikato at peak periods. It could also reduce the cost of the service.
Mr Macpherson said the cost could be less than other options and the service could start sooner than 2012. He said operational and capital costs could be shared with Auckland, and the proposal could " aviod the need in the short run for complicated, politically charged negotiations with government agencies. [for fundung].
This is becoming a little clearer now, it seems that Kiwi Rail have suggested to the Environment Waikato rail working group that later this year a couple of the capital connection cars may become available due to reduced patronage following the start of electric train services to Waikanae. They have suggested only that with modifications to the brakes and door controls to make them compatable with the Sa's then these could be added to a 4 car Sa set and the set work to and from Hamilton. Obivoulsly a lot depends on any change of patronage on the CC.
Frankton railway station is an island of fluorescent light holding the early morning darkness at bay.
Its dated brick buildings complete with palm trees look empty, the only noise the passing rumble of a freight train, but that may change if plans to resurrect a daily rail service to Auckland finally start rolling next year.
Key to the plans – still in their infancy but probably showing more momentum now than at any stage so far – will be the service's competitiveness with the same journey by road in terms of time and cost, say politicians.
The Waikato Times jumped into a car and lined it up against a potential timetable for the rail service, which explains why I am sitting in the pre-dawn darkness waiting for the dashboard clock to post 5.51am.
A possible timetable should one likely option prevail – to extend Auckland's existing suburban services – would see trains depart Frankton station twice each weekday, leaving at 5.51am and 8.43am, arriving at Britomart at 8.06am and 10.58am, with southbound trains leaving at 5.30pm and 7.12pm for the 135-minute return.
The numbers light up and I'm off, reaching the city limits 10 minutes later and Huntly 17 minutes after that.
From there, the hundreds of millions of dollars spent over the past decade arrowing the Waikato Expressway through the north Waikato begin to tell, and impatient commuters chancing their arm could easily be reaching 110kmh.
It is here that the car-versus-train contest gets lopsided, despite northbound traffic thickening noticeably.
At 6.46am I cross the North Island main trunk line at Pokeno, where the train would veer to the west to stop at Tuakau and Pukekohe before closing again with the main highway north at Drury on its way to Papakura.
At 7.01am the Papakura interchange is disgorging a stream of cars on to the southern motorway while 3km to the west at the town's upgraded rail station, the train won't sweep into the platform for another 18 minutes.
By Takanini I am forced to work the gears as the now-unbroken stream of cars starts choking progress.
By Otara I am down to 60kmh and at Otahuhu the maddening stop-start crawl slows to 30kmh at best.
I learned to drive in Auckland and I find myself quickly back in the city's feral driving mindset. There's no regard for following distance and aggressive lane-changes all around me. Driving is draining and frustrating at once.
At 7.22am I pass the upgraded Ellerslie rail platform, by now – despite the slowed pace – 28 minutes ahead.
Ad Feedback The morning motorway peak is building rapidly behind me, but I have beaten the worst and six minutes later I am sweeping off the motorway proper and turning into Symonds St on my way to the waterfront precinct.
At 7.34am I arrive at Britomart, and the basic test is complete – I'm 32 minutes ahead of the Waikato train.
It's been an imperfect comparison – car commuters would not start at Frankton station, for example, and would obviously time their journey to arrive in Auckland to suit their needs.
But if their arrival time was any later, they would clearly be caught up in morning traffic chaos and crawling as the train rolled northwards.
Aucklanders' fight-or-flight approach to driving doesn't encourage a relaxed arrival, and it is these less tangible factors that could sway people to swap their cars for a rail service with toilets, a cafe and wireless internet aboard.
The comparison also lacks crucial pricing – for example drivers' running costs such as fuel and parking; for the train its return ticket price and any transfer costs from Britomart or other stations.
The Automobile Association's latest running cost estimates – including tyres and maintenance, and based on then-lower prices of $1.70/litre for petrol and $1.10/litre for diesel – range from 17c to 28c per km for petrol depending on vehicle size, and 15c to 24c per km for diesel.
So in my compact car the 254km trip cost $48.
Market research by Environment Waikato found train support fell away when ratepayer funding above $24 each per year was suggested, while those who would use it priced the most acceptable return fare at $36.
While low fares may help boost numbers we all pay for any cost-recovery shortfall, and it's likely cost and time will be among a range of factors which influence patronage, in common with any public transport.
In the case of Waikato Mayor Allan Sanson it’s a
case of “have platform, will stop”, at least as far as
Tuakau has been concerned. The town has been
campaigning for months to have a train to stop. Now,
Mayor Sanson has instructed staff to investigate
budgets for a new platform. “I’m not going to miss out
on the trains because we don’t have a platform,” he
said after a meeting of the Rail Working Group that
has been considering a new Hamilton-Auckland rail
service. Last week, the group agreed to investigate
three options for advancing twice-daily trains, all using
a refurbished Silver Fern Railcar. The Tuakau and
Districts Development Association is delighted and
excited by the developments and says it’s confident
a service will be up and running by the Rugby World
Waikato councils have been swamped with thousands of requests to fund a $29.5 million velodrome.
The Hamilton City Council has received about 1500 submissions to their annual plan, with more than 800 submissions for the velodrome, while the Waikato and Waipa District Councils have counted more than 1000 submissions each to their annual plans on the proposed Home of Cycling at St Peter's School. The large number of submissions may be partly due to a targeted newspaper and email marketing campaign calling for people to submit to councils on the proposal.
There is also still strong support for a passenger train between Auckland and Hamilton, with all four councils being asked to fund the initiative.
Local issues in Hamilton include a petition with 600 signatures for the playground in Ashurst Park to be upgraded to a multi-generational playground. There were also more than 100 submissions on the council's finances, and on a passenger train between Auckland and Hamilton. Hamilton Mayor Julie Hardaker was delighted with the public response and said the submissions signalled some major debate around the velodrome, council debt, the Hamilton 400 and fluoride.
The Waikato Regional Council has received more than 1800 submissions to its annual plan, with the train and velodrome also top on the list along with submissions on Animal Health Board funding.
While most of the 1488 submissions the Waipa District Council received were on the velodrome, there were also 84 submissions opposing plans to build a new museum in Te Awamutu and 129 submissions with mixed views about where to proceed with the upgrade of the Cambridge swimming pool.
Waikato District received 30 submissions on a range of issues and more than 1000 emailed submissions on the velodrome.
Agenda for the latest Hamilton to Auckland train working group includes interesting letter from Mike Lee of Auckland Transport as to the possible new train using newly refurbished Mk2 cars with 1/4 3/4 spaced doors toilets and other ammenities suitable for the longer trip.
Read the report, drives me crazy. The only way to unclog Auckland IS the loop tunnel and electrification to Te Rapa. On Monday 2/5/11 it took me a shade under three hours to get from the Airport at 5.30pm to Hamilton. And that includes the new interchange and those annoying traffic lights...If the train can do this in two hours, what are we waiting for.
Read the report, drives me crazy. The only way to unclog Auckland IS the loop tunnel and electrification to Te Rapa. On Monday 2/5/11 it took me a shade under three hours to get from the Airport at 5.30pm to Hamilton. And that includes the new interchange and those annoying traffic lights...If the train can do this in two hours, what are we waiting for.
Money and Aucklands attitude that nothing may interfere with their suburban trains. Clearly major improvements can be made to this service at peak times once the 3rd track is installed between Puhnui Junction and Westfield but as you say the Auckland down town loop tunnel is essentual to providing the sort of service that will attract the punters.
One interesting thing that comes to light is that Auckland transport have keeping the Strand Station for long distance passenger trains in the longer term. Hopefully they will provide platforms on the eastern line here to allow interchange for CBD destinations.
Press release from EW. Note the preferred option is a Silverfern railcar to the Strand with a bus connection. I wonder if they have considered sharing a platform with the 2 car Onehunga branch train?
Silver Fern now ‘preferred option’
9 May 2011
A Silver Fern railcar service from Hamilton to Auckland’s inner city Strand station (the old main station) is now the preferred option for getting Hamilton-Auckland commuter rail up and running.
“The Silver Fern option to the Strand may be best for now, as the railcars are available, there is space available at the station, and it would not involve the major costs associated with platform extensions needed for other options,” said Rail Working Group chairman Norm Barker of Waikato Regional Council.
“It may allow us to start a limited service initially and if it was successful we could improve it over time.”
The multi-agency working group, meeting last week, instructed officials to do a more detailed investigation into the Silver Fern option, with a view to getting a service going subject to funding arrangements being in place.
While the Silver Fern option into the Strand would not put commuters into Auckland’s preferred central Britomart Station, the Strand station is only a very short distance from the CBD and the possibility of a link bus was discussed. The Strand is due to be re-furbished for the rugby world cup.
Cr Barker said the working group also asked officials to keep looking at an alternative service involving extending one of Auckland’s commuter services to Hamilton to create a Hamilton-Britomart service.
“It seems sensible not to put all our eggs in one basket in case there are glitches in using the Silver Fern or the Strand,” said Cr Barker.
He said he was very pleased the working group had been able to settle on a preferred option.
“It’s a sign we’re making real progress on getting together a package that could potentially be formally signed off by the Rail Working Group.”
The next step in the process will be for officials to develop a report for the working group to consider. If a proposal is agreed to, the working group could then make recommendations to councils about including funding for a service in Long Term Plans.
The cost of ratepayers to subsidise a passenger rail service between Hamilton and Auckland could be considered by Hamilton and Waikato Councils following a decision to promote the Silver Fern Railcar as the preferred option.
Meeting in Ngaruawahia earlier this month, the Hamilton to Auckland Passenger Rail working party concluded that a Silver Fern service to Auckland's old central city station at the strand was the most convenient and least expensive option in the interim. The Strand is 1.5km from the central city and a bus service to connect the two would be required.
Kiwirail long distance passenger rail manager Tom Evers-Swindell said the state owned enterprise has three 96 seater railcars, 2 of which has been refurbished and ready to go.
Mr Evers-Swindell said using The Strand was a suitable option, as it was near impossible to schedule another service into Britomart.
But the costs of running the Railcar service would need to be revisited, estimated at several thousand dollars each way on the about two hour trip.
It will only be sustainable if there is some funding behind it. As a user-pays it wont stack up. The seat cost would be to high. We have to revisit the costs.
Rail Working Group Chairman Norm Baker said the Silver Fern option was the best for now as the Railcars were avaliable, there was space at The Strand and it would not involve the costs of a platform extension needed for other types of service. The next step would be to recommend to councils including funding for a service in their long term plans.
A public survey commissioned by the Waikato Regional Council last year indicated 81% of those surveyed would likely use the service for visiting people, entertainments or events, shopping, day tripping, work, education and business. The question of how often people might use it was not asked.
Kiwirail estimates it would cost ratepayers $12 a year more or $22 without Government Subsidy. Campaign for Better Transport member Rob George said the cost would be split in three ways - from users (fare revenue), ratepayers and Central Government as it subsidised Bus and Rail services in Auckland and Wellington.
Mr George said how much ratepayers would contribute would come down to how well the service was promoted and used. We will advocate for proper promotion of the service and for making it a convenient and comfortable experience for Rail users. Rate payers already pay more than $5 million a year to subsidise Hamilton bus services. A passenger transport subsidy from NZTA contributes around another $5 million.
Meanwhile Intercity Buses run nine trips to Auckland daily, Monday to Friday between Hamilton Transport Centre and the Intercity depot in Auckland for an adult return fare of $50.
Hamilton's Frankton Railway station is likely to get a 'mini makeover' including murals on its walls as authorities plan rail services for Rugby World Cup games.
The plan comes after Hamilton City Council said reopening the underground station underneath Centreplace in the CBD - another option mooted for the cup - could cost more than $100,000.
Instead KiwiRail has proposed draping the Frankton station in bunting, installing an information kiosk and painting murals of "cultural significance" on at least two walls as a more cost-effective solution.
KiwiRail is proposing running a train from Auckland for Hamilton's three match games and a further seven charters to the Auckland games, but is waiting on a decision from the Auckland transport authorities before confirming the special service.
KiwiRail passenger general manager Deborah Hume said the Auckland station is to be determined by the transport authorities.
Ticket prices are expected to be about $90 return. Ms Hume said it was unclear at this stage how popular the services would be.
However Ms Hume warned the proposed trains were not a trial for any potential commuter service.
A return ticket is expected to cost $90 - higher than the $50 or $60 return fare proposed for the commuter market.
Hamilton MP Sue Moroney supported the central Hamilton underground station being reopened and said $100,000 was not a lot of money to ask the government to contribute towards the city hosting the event.
"It's not an enormous amount of money and it would be an ongoing investment for the city to come from the Rugby World Cup.
City planning and development chair councillor Dave Macpherson said he "wouldn't hold his breath" about receiving government funding and local MPs had made it very clear the government would not fund rail-related projects.
Mr Macpherson said the $100,000 estimated to reopen the underground station was for a very temporary solution and said they would have to spend "mega bucks" on a long term solution including security gate and lights.
"It's a good move, it will get people used to passenger trains - we wish it could be better still by using the underground station."
He estimated KiwiRail would need the train to be at least 60 per cent full to make a profit from the service.
Proposed train timetable between Hamilton and Auckland Rugby World Cup matches:
Matches in Auckland
Friday 9 September Opening match New Zealand vs Tonga - kickoff 8.30pm
Saturday 24 September New Zealand vs France - kickoff 8.30pm
Saturday 8 October new Quarterfinal ex Christchurch - kickoff 8.30pm
Sunday 9 October new Quarterfinal ex Christchurch - kickoff 8.30pm
Saturday 15 October Semi-final - kickoff 9pm
Sunday 16 October Semi-final - kickoff 9pm
Sunday 23 October Final - kickoff 9pm
Matches in Hamilton
Friday 16 September New Zealand vs Japan - kickoff 8pm
Sunday 18 September Wales vs Samoa - kickoff 3.30pm
Sunday 2 October Wales vs Fiji - kickoff 6pm
*Trains will arrive an hour before kickoff and depart an hour after the final whistle. KiwiRail will provide transfers to Waikato Stadium
Yeah, these are little more than excursion trains, I wouldn't put it past anyone that a few may be cancelled. Apparently there isn't enough road coach buses avaliable at this time and the RWC11 cabal felt embarrased if those 'fabled overseas visitors' were put out at having to travel on basic city buses barralling down the still incomplete Waikato Expressway. I've had enough of Herr Martin Sneddon's insistance of having taxpayers cowtow to their every need, sooner October's over the better...
...And then we can get back to focussing on the Golden Triangle's rail transport's needs.
Well at least the money spent on Frankton station will help Alex
KiwiRail's plans to run a commuter train between Hamilton and Auckland for the Rugby World Cup could be a one-way deal.
KiwiRail has confirmed it will be running trains from Auckland's Ellerslie station to scheduled Hamilton games but it could be that Hamilton rugby fans might still have to hit the road to see the seven Auckland games.
KiwiRail TranzScenic manager Tom Evers-Swindell said the firm was still working with Auckland Transport and Auckland passenger rail network operator Veolia and hoped to have an arrangement agreed soon.
Each train will carry up to 300 fans and will arrive an hour before the Hamilton pool games on September 16 and 18 and October 2.
The train will depart from Ellerslie, looping around to Newmarket, The Strand, Glen Innes, Middlemore, Manurewa, Papakura, Pukekohe and Huntly before continuing to Hamilton.
The trip is expected to take at least two hours and forty minutes.
There will also be shuttles running from the station to Waikato Stadium.
Frankton Railway Station was chosen as the best option for the services after the cost of reopening the central underground station by The Warehouse in the central business district was estimated at more than $100,000.
A return train ticket could cost up to $90 depending on which stop the passenger is picked up from.
Hamilton City Council will also come to the party in terms of dressing up the station with Rugby World Cup bunting and making it more inviting for visitors.
Council spokesman Philip Burton said preparations for the World Cup were on track and on budget. Many businesses were also buying bunting to get behind the event.
AUCKLAND BIG MATCH RUGBY SPECIAL Friday 9th September
Travelling from the Waikato region (Hamilton or Huntly) to the Opening Ceremony and Match in Auckland? [TIMETABLE]
If you’ve got a ticket to the game, or even if you want to join the opening night celebrations in Auckland, we’ve got a great way to get you there.
Come and join us on the AUCKLAND BIG MATCH RUGBY SPECIAL from Hamilton and Huntly and travel in style and comfort to Auckland.
You’ll arrive in plenty of time to soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the pre-match festivities in Auckland. After the game, we’ll be departing from Auckland at 11.20pm and stop off in Huntly briefly before arriving back in Hamilton at 1.10am
Maxx (Auckland Transport) advise that spectators travelling on the rail network or special event buses can show their match ticket for that day and travel for free* (3 hours before and after the game) to either Eden Park or North Harbour Stadium. Full details may be found here: http://www.maxx.co.nz/info/events/rwc-2011.aspx
Friday 09 September 2011 click here
Hamilton to Auckland return (day excursion)
$90 return per adult
$59 return per child
Huntly to Auckland return (day excursion)
$75 return per adult
$49 return per child
Terms and Conditions
Tickets are non refundable and non transferable, excludes game ticket, seats are subject to availability, tickets are a same day return fare must be booked and ticketed the day before travel, Tranz Scenic reserves the right to change or cancel this service at anytime and cancel due to insufficient numbers, seats are subject to availability and subject to Tranz Scenic General Conditions of Carriage.
Just advising that the Hamilton to Auckand Rail Working Party has charted the Silver Fern for a trial run this Friday 12th August. The train departs at 8:10 from Frankton. In Auckland the train timetable is:
10.30 Arrive at Newmarket railway platform (platform review)
10.35 Depart Newmarket railway platform
10.40 Arrive at The Strand Railway Station - Tour of railway station
11.10 Depart The Strand Railway Station for Britomart
Note: attendees may walk to Britomart to help gain an understanding of the distance between the two stations or continue by train.
11.25 Arrive Britomart for Britomart tour (meeting point at bottom of escalators under Britomart building)
The concept at this point is that the peak service will be going to the Strand, hence the Strand stop.
If anyone is in the vicinity of the Strand or Britomart at 10.40 and 11.25 respectively, feel free to come and give the train a warm welcome!
Public meeting MONDAY 23 AUGUST
All MPs have been invited, but I wouldn't be surprised if both incumbant National Seat MP's Tim MacIndoe and david Bennett will probibly be no-shows. Labour List MP Sue Moroney will know doubt be there...So will I and I WILL remind her that it was a Labour Government that pulled the plug on the train in 2001...Oh and it was a National Government that instituted the service in the '90's.
As with the last meeting I'm expecting small groups of self interested people to have a say but little unity shown...
Remember that the idea of these meetings is to convince the MP's that it is in their interest to support the scheme.
Transport lobby organisation Campaign for
Better Transport is determined to be on a trial
run by a Silver Fern railcar between Hamilton
and Auckland tomorrow. The trip is being
described as a “proof of concept trial run” for
the proposed Hamilton-Auckland commuter
rail service that many in Hamilton are pushing
for and CBT is supporting. “We welcome
the opportunity to take this trip,” says CBT
organizer Rob George. “Although it’s been a
long time coming it will be good to see some
tangible action even if this trip is only a concept
run.” Hamilton-based local and regional
councillors as well as MPs will join CBT on
board. Rob George says he’s confident that
the merits of the service and public demand
will ensure it is the first of many
¡ûMike Lee's Blog
Hamilton ¨C Auckland rail service ¨C another step closer
Posted on August 12, 2011 by Mike Lee
The introduction of a Hamilton to Auckland commuter rail service took a major step forward after Waikato region council leaders and MPs joined a KiwiRail Silver Fern unit on a pilot trip from Hamilton to Auckland this morning.
The KiwiRail Silver Fern which has undergone a comprehensive refurbishment is proposed as the best option to undertake the two trips up ¨C two back weekday service.
Waikato regional leaders led by WRC chairman Peter Buckley and joint working group chairman Cr Norm Barker were accompanied by elected representatives of all the concerned Waikato District Councils and Hamilton City Councils. Plus local MPs David Bennett (National) and Sue Maroney (Labour) and of course the Campaign for Better Transport activitists who campaigned fiercely to put the Hamilton service on the political agenda. I was invited to join them ¨C and with PT expert Darren Davis of Auckland Council travelled down to Hamilton by bus last night to catch the Silver Fern which departed Hamilton¡¯s Frankton Station at 8am this morning.
Tuakau rail campaigners attempt to 'stick up' the Hamilton to Auckland pilot train this morning
I was asked to give the passengers a peptalk on Auckland rail. Here it is:
Silver Fern Hamilton to Auckland trip, Friday 12 August 2011
Good morning Ladies and Gentlemen. It is a great pleasure to be on board the Silver Fern today. I would like to acknowledge Cr Norm Barker, Chair of the Hamilton to Auckland Rail Working Party and all the dignatories (read out). Special acknowledgement of the tireless work of two Hamilton rail activists in particular Cr Dave Mcpherson of Hamilton City Council and Jon Reeves (now in Switzerland) of Campaign for Better Transport.
As you know, I am strong supporter of rail and am proud to be able to play a role in the revival of a commuter rail service between our two cities. A similar service, known as the Waikato Connection did operate a single weekday return trip between Hamilton and the old Auckland Rail Station from June 2000 until October 2001. At the time it was cancelled, it was carrying 129 passengers per trip - with most boarding at either Pukekohe or Papakura.
Interestingly back in September 2001 (10 years ago) when I found out that the Waikato Connection was about to be withdrawn at a meeting of the the ARC Transport Committee I questioned the then ARC transport planners about the Waikato train patronage levels. They told me that they did not know, as the then-owners KiwiRail/West Coast Rail had told them the passenger numbers were ¡®commercially sensitive.¡¯ So I said ¡®why don¡¯t you just go down to the station and count them?¡¯ However they were not especially amenable to that advice ¨C so with a friend, Keith Strode-Penny ¨C I went down to the old Auckland Station, with a borrowed new-fangled digital camera and got on board ¨C (and it was the same Silver Fern train prior to the excellent refurbishment) to Papakura ¨C and we did the counting and interviewing of passengers and train staff and so on. That¡¯s when I first met our train manager today Fiona. I well remember that the Waikato Connection train staff were pretty emotional and upset that evening ¨C as the Silver Fern Geyserland service was also about to be retrenched - but Fiona ¨C 10 years on we are back ¨C and the lesson is ¨C never give up hope.
Unfortunately I was unable to convince my conservative colleagues back in 2001 to help save the Waikato Connection and the company retrenched it.
But the important thing to note about the old Waikato Connection is that this service provided the first commuter rail connection between Pukekohe and Auckland. At that time 46 people travelled on the Waikato Connection train from Pukekohe to Auckland ¨C today there are 460 passengers boarding at Pukekohe and 20 return weekday services between Pukekohe and Britomart.
Rail has taken huge strides in Auckland. Less than 20 years ago, there were barely one million rail passengers per year in Auckland and the system was on the verge of being shut down. Less than one month ago, on 29 July, Auckland reached 10 million rail trips, or ten times the figure of twenty years ago. Over 1 million of that increase was between 2009 and 2010 alone. And the rate of patronage is accelerating. June¡¯s patronage this year was 24.6 per cent greater than June 2010. We are now looking at increases of one million passengers every year!
From a rusting rundown system facing shutdown, we have moved to a dynamic network that is becoming increasingly integral to the life of Auckland. For example, last Saturday saw more than 16,500 people moved to the Bledisloe Cup match at Eden Park by train. This was 31 per cent ¨C nearly one third ¨C of the record 52,000 crowd. When combined with the 7,600 people who caught a bus to the game, 46 per cent of the crowd came on public transport. Just a few years ago, that sort of figure would just be unimaginable.
And key centres in Auckland are increasingly being connected to the rail network. Sylvia Park got its very own rail station in 2007, fully funded by the mall operator. Passenger rail services resumed to Onehunga in September last year, after a 37 year absence. Now Onehunga reminds me somewhat of the Hamilton service. Re-opening the Onehunga Branch Line was a personal crusade for me ¨C and CBT ¨C for many years, and for a time there was quite a bit of official opposition to it. But it has succeeded beyond even my expectations. Since it re-opened in September last year the Onehunga Branch Line has carried nearly 600,000 passenger trips and that¡¯s with only 30 min services weekday ¨C and only hourly services on weekends. We can project over a full year that Onehunga could carry an astonishing 7% of the total patronage for Auckland ¨C and with increased frequencies even up to 10%.
Apart from weekday working commuters Onehunga service also puts Auckland popular outlet mall, Dress Smart, within easy walking distance of rail for weekday/weekend shoppers. There is plenty of potential still there.
Next February sees the opening of a new rail line and passenger rail service to Manukau. And later next year work will begin on constructing new railway station in the thriving, historic inner-city suburb of Parnell.
Britomart Station now has 25,000 passenger movements every weekday, up from less than 7,000 in 2004.
The Auckland rail system itself is being rebuilt from scratch. Effectively, all that remains of the previous rail system is the rail corridor itself and structures such as bridges and tunnels. We are two-thirds of the way through the station upgrade programme and you will be able to clearly see the difference between upgraded and yet-to-be upgraded stations as we travel into Auckland. A state of the art signalling system is being installed, including automatic train protection ¨C a New Zealand first. And of course, the network is being electrified -which will allow faster, quieter trains able to carry many more passengers than at present.
What this means is that for the past ten years, and for the next two years, Auckland¡¯s rail network has been a continuous construction site. KiwiRail has likened this to renovating your home while the residents are still home and increasing numbers of visitors come to stay.
So Auckland¡¯s rail system is facing multiple challenges, primarily from its own success. Passenger demand is running ahead of supply, meaning an on-going demand for additional rolling stock and more frequent trains. As soon as more supply is added, demand quickly swells to absorb the increased supply. Overcrowding on trains is becoming an increasing issue. The recent extension of remaining station platforms for six-car trains and the introduction of another five carriages to the fleet (the last of the carriages purchased by the ARC in 2009) has alleviated the issue somewhat, in the short term at least. That¡¯s all the carriages we have left ¨C so we desperately need the new fleet of EMUs to arrive on schedule in late 2013.
Something else we need is the City Rail Link or CBD Rail Tunnel. Britomart, once famously derided by a former Mayor of Auckland City as a ¡°glorified train garage at the bottom on Queen Street,¡± will exhaust its peak train slots in February next year with the introduction of 10-minute peak train frequency on the Western Line and the addition of the Manukau Line to the urban rail network. The City Rail Link is needed as a matter of urgency which would free up three platforms at Britomart for inter-urban rail service, including service from Hamilton.
It is ironic that Britomart¡¯s very success means that, in the near-term at least, any commuter rail service will need to use The Strand, using platforms from the old Auckland Station which closed in 2003. However, I believe that The Strand can work as a station with a dedicated bus connection to the City Centre. Back before Britomart opened, over 400 passengers transferred from trains to buses at the old Auckland Station every morning peak period to travel to Queen Street and Karangahape Road.
One advantage of using The Strand is that the costs of getting this service up-and-running can be kept down and the service, with its attendant infrastructure, built up over time as demand increases and funding becomes available.
Finally I believe the Auckland Spatial Plan now underway, provides an opportunity for the Waikato Councils, led by Waikato Regional Council to support the strategic approach of ¡®necklace development¡¯ or planned expansion of townships between Auckland and Hamilton ¨C along the North Island Main Trunk Line. Much of this future growth I believe, could take place within the Waikato region. Therefore the concept of a Hamilton rails service is not only an attractive idea in itself, but looking to an electrified rail future could be the first step in a major reorientation of growth and development of the Auckland region and the northern Waikato.
I look forward to sitting around the table later today and discussing how we can move this important project forward.¡±
Support for the revival of a Hamilton to
Auckland commuter rail service was strong
after Waikato Region Council leaders and
MPs joined a KiwiRail Silver Fern unit on
a pilot trip from Hamilton to Auckland
The trip was arranged on behalf of the Rail
Working Party of the Waikato Regional
Council who are representing the key
stakeholders behind the plans to have a
regular rail service operating between the
two cities. Charter Manager for KiwiRail
Passenger, Mark Fergusson, looked after the
operations and Fiona Stevenson acted as
“The purpose of the trip was to experience
the refurbished Silver Fern, and gauge its
performance as a suitable commuter train,”
says Tranz Scenic Manager Tom Evers-
Swindell, who took part in the pilot trip.
The train, which departed Hamilton’s
Frankton Station at 8.00 am, carried Waikato
Regional Council Chairman Peter Buckley
and joint Working Group Chairman Cr
It also carried Auckland Council’s Principal
Transport Planner, Darren Davis, and
elected representatives of Waikato District
Council and Hamilton City Council. MPs
David Bennett (National) and Sue Maroney
(Labour) joined them, as well as members
of the Campaign for Better Transport, who
have been campaigning fiercely to have the
Hamilton service reinstated.
The KiwiRail Silver Fern used for the trip
was refurbished in January this year and
has been shortlisted for the Hamilton-
“There is a lot of passion to get a train
service, but it will require funding
to support the farebox,” cautions
Tom Evers-Swindell. “However, there is no
denying that the support is there and people
are keen to see the rail link between the two
Stretch too far
Things that appear fine on paper often turn out
to be not quite so fine in reality. That appears to
be what happened to the group of politicians and
bureaucrats who made the exploratory trip in a
Silver Fern railcar last week from Hamilton to
Auckland. The idea was to assess its potential
as a regular service. It mostly went well until the
Silver Fern reached its destination at the Strand,
some 1.2 kilometres from Britomart. That doesn’t
look much on the map, but with his feet on the
platform it seemed a bit of a stretch for Hamilton
Deputy Mayor Gordon Chesterman. “For myself,
I want to know how I am going to get to where I
want to go next,” he said. “It’s the next step in the
journey which needs to be addressed.” Even the
Chair of the Rail Working Group which arranged
the trip conceded that, “on a wet day, it wouldn’t
be ideal”. An alternative discussed involved
the Silver Fern carrying on to Newmarket. The
working group makes its recommendations next
Minutes of the Hamilton to Auckland Passenger Rail Working Party meeting
Held at 12.30pm, on Friday 12 August 2011
Auckland Government Policy Office, 1 Queen Street, Auckland
Rail Working Party members in Attendance:
Cr Mike Lee Auckland Council
Mark Lambert Auckland Transport
Robin Janson Campaign for Better Transport
Cr Dave Macpherson Hamilton City Council
Tom Evers-Swindell KiwiRail
Robert Brodnax NZ Transport Agency (Representing Andrew McKillop)
Cr Dynes Fulton Waikato District Council (Representing Allan Sanson)
Cr Laurie Hoverd Waipa District Council
Cr Norm Barker Waikato Regional Council
Darren Davis Auckland Council
Raymond Siddals Auckland Transport
Annick Janson Campaign for Better Transport
Dee Bond Tuakau & Districts Development Assn
Neil Young Tuakau & Districts Development Assn
Rob George Campaign for Better Transport
Cameron Pitches Campaign for Better Transport
Cr Gordon Chesterman Hamilton City Council
Chris Allen Hamilton City Council
Steve Tritt NZ Trade and Enterprise
Cr Clint Baddeley Waikato District Council
Cr Rob McGuire Waikato District Council
Cr Rodney Dixon Waikato District Council
Aaron Leaman Waikato Times
Cr George Simmons Waipa District Council
Cr Grahame Webber Waipa District Council
Cr Vern Wilson Waipa District Council
Chairman Peter Buckley Waikato Regional Council
Cr Jane Hennebry Waikato Regional Council
Cr Laurie Burdett Waikato Regional Council
Cr Paula Southgate Waikato Regional Council
Cr Phillip Legg Waikato Regional Council
Cr Russ Rimmington Waikato Regional Council
Cr Simon Friar Waikato Regional Council
Cr Theresa Stark Waikato Regional Council
Bill McMaster Waikato Regional Council
Edwin Swaris Waikato Regional Council
Emma Wright Waikato Regional Council
Sally Latham Waikato Regional Council
Doc # 2033308 Page 2
Vaughan Payne Waikato Regional Council
Vibhuti Chopra Waikato Regional Council
Wendy Valois Waikato Regional Council
Andrew McKillop NZ Transport Agency
Allan Sanson Waikato District Council
The Chair, Cr Norm Barker (Cr NB) opened the meeting by welcoming all and outlined the
general agenda for the meeting. Cr NB invited Vibhuti Chopra (VC) to take the RWP through
the agenda items.
Presentation by Vibhuti Chopra (VC)
Project Manager Vibhuti Chopra (Senior Policy Advisor WRC) provided background to the
project to date and noted that the final draft recommendations report is due by end of
VC highlighted that the draft of the Recommendation Report was based on discussions and
investigations carried out so far by the RWP. She outlined details of the preferred option in
terms of proposed timetable, route, stops, rolling stock, costs and revenue.
Cr. Dave Macpherson (Cr DM): Clarification requested: two peak trips means a return trip at
peak times which was confirmed.
Cr DM requested an addition to the agenda: the issue of connecting the Overlander with the
proposed service, which was agreed by the Chair.
Cr NB queried the estimated fare box recovery for the service proposal.
VC confirmed the fare box recovery works out to approx 33%, on revenue estimated by
KiwiRail in their proposal i.e. the $621,000 for year 1.
The RWP was then taken through the “Decisions Required” section of the Cover Report
circulated in advance.
1. Does the RWP recommend a rail service trial for 2 years - proposal to proceed to
public consultation (of all partner Councils)?
Cr DM proposed that it shouldn’t be called a trial. If the service was to go ahead and the
councils were putting in money for infrastructure then it couldn’t be a trial. It should have a
review period possibly but not be called a trial period.
Rob George (RG) questioned why the public consultation needs to happen prior to trial. A
service should be started for two years and if it is successful then it could be taken to the
public to highlight the success of it and to be able to provide information of patronage etc.
Doc # 2033308 Page 3
Cr NB explained that local authorities must consult through their Long Term Plans for any
new proposals that they are intending to fund, especially if they trigger the significance
Cr Dynes Fulton (Cr DF) Noted that the issue is going to be all about funding and a trial can’t
be run without the funding and therefore consultation would be needed before the trial.
Rob Brodnax (RB) advised the RWP that the service proposal needs to be in the Regional
Land Transport Programme (RLTP), which is essential for NZTA funding. Public consultation
is also required on the RLTP.
Cr. NB asked the NZTA rep to indicate whether a ‘trial’ or ‘pilot’ is required from an NZ
Transport Agency (NZTA) perspective?
RB stated that NZTA staff are not able to give any indication at this stage.
Cr DM noted that infrastructure isn’t something that you trial – you have to put it up at the
beginning. An issue for TA’s is whether they are going to build stations or not.
Cr NB noted that the Silver Fern option was chosen because it requires less start up cost.
VC brought Appendix 3 to the attention of the RWP which is the station/infrastructure
assessment report carried out by KiwiRail. It suggests a staged approach to infrastructure
development to spread the costs out more evenly and takes into consideration the fact that
this is a “trial” service and therefore a full infrastructure development approach might not be
most appropriate in the initial stages of the service.
Cr DM stated HCC doesn’t need to consult on a new rail station in Hamilton as the station
costs are already included in HCC budgets.
Cr NB put up a change to question1 to read:
1. Does the RWP recommend proposal to proceed to public consultation (of all
partner Councils)? (take out ‘rail service trial for 2 years’)
Cr NB reiterated that the proposal needs to be incorporated into councils LTPs.
Cr DM stated that HCC support consultation in the LTP, although not through a separate
special consultative procedure. The amount of work required means it would be a review
period, rather than a trial period.
Cr Mike Lee (Cr ML) suggested that the word ‘Trial’ is useful for consultation purposes as it
reassures people who may be sceptical about the project. It also indicates that the service
will not go on forever even if not successful and therefore would suggest keeping the word
VC asked the RWP to confirm that, in principle, they agree that the proposal proceed to
public consultation through the LTP’s of partner Councils?
This was agreed in principle. The question of whether it be recommended as a “trial” service
or not was parked for the time being.
2. Does the RWP recommend that the rail service trial proceed to public consultation
even if there is no funding contribution from NZTA and/or Auckland Council?
Doc # 2033308 Page 4
Cr DM said that HCC would look at questions 2 and 3 together because of funding issue – to
align with how PT elsewhere is handled.
Cr DM noted that the public is aware that any subsidy will come from local people and not
It was generally agreed that the proposal be consulted with the public with or without funding
contribution from NZTA and or Auckland Council.
3. Should a full business case be prepared to apply for NZTA subsidy? When should
the Business Case be prepared
• Now – prior to consultation
• Following outcome of public consultation
• It needs to be noted that it could possibly cost around $20,000 to prepare
this. Cost sharing?
Cr DM stated HCC supports the preparation of a business case now, prior to public
consultation. The Business Case to NZTA is not only for NZTA, but also for other partner
councils and the public.
Cr NB said that WRC supports the preparation of the Business case now.
Cr DF said that Waikato DC supports points 2 and 3 (the preparation of the Business case
Cr DM questioned the $20,000 estimated to undertake the Business Case. He suggested
the Business Case can be prepared by staff from the partner councils, and the cost
absorbed within Councils budgets.
VC bought to the attention of the RWP that there was a Business Case proposal from
Boulter Consulting put to the RWP at the 6 May meeting which was estimated at $50,000.
Since it had some very detailed work, some of which has been completed, the estimate has
been revised, though it would still come to approx $30,000 to-$50,000. But optimistically
$20,000 has been assumed. In order to make a funding application to NZTA, as has been
agreed by the RWP, the report needs to strengthened.
Bill McMaster (BM) indicated that the Business Case would need specialist transport
economic advice which is not available in house.
RB said that at the end of the day, this proposal will be put up against other proposals
across the country when NZTA is considering it so it needs to be well done.
Cr DM suggested that the Business Case be undertaken in house and then, should external
advice be required, HCC would be prepared to contribute some funding.
Darren Davis (DD) advised that Auckland Council could possibly offer transport economic
assistance, the expertise is available in house. Darren was to check availability.
Integrate service with overlander
Cr DM stated that the proposed service needs to integrate with the Overlander to show the
entire picture of services that are available for the Waikato people to travel to Auckland. The
proposed subsidy will fund the two Silver Fern rail services but noted that there are three
daily services provided if the Overlander is taken into account.
Doc # 2033308 Page 5
Tom Evers-Swindell (TE) clarified that the Overlander and the Silver Fern are run by the
same people ie KiwiRail. However, the Overlander is a multipurpose train (7:20am – 9:30)
and does not stop at smaller stations en route. It does however offer a passenger rail service
out of Auckland in the morning. The Overlander works well for Auckland to Hamilton trips
because of the timing.
Mike Lee (ML) asked what the cost of ticket from Hamilton to Auckland on the Overlander
TE advised that ball park ticket cost lies between $40-$49, but this varies based on different
factors including when the ticket was brought. It needs to be noted that all this is being
looked at, at the moment.
4. Is the recommendation for two peak and two off peak services?
General consensus – yes.
5. What are the recommended off peak times
Possible options -
Depart Britomart 0915
Arrive Hamilton 1130
Depart Hamilton 1145 (to Britomart)
Depart Britomart 1000
Arrive Hamilton 1215
Depart Hamilton 1245 (to Britomart)
VC advised that these off peak times are for starting discussion.
Cr CM supported arriving approx 8.20am arrival in Auckland for the peak service and later
departure time would be the10am leaving Britomart).
Cameron Pitches (CP) suggested changing off peak time so the train dwells in Hamilton for
longer during the day so that people going to Hamilton from Auckland can have their
meeting etc and come back up later in the day.
VC responded that the off peak times were based on it being a Waikato train and the survey
results which showed people wanting to go up to Auckland for leisure purposes. The
preferred time for getting to Auckland in the survey was around 11 am – dwelling in Hamilton
and leaving later in the day (around 3 pm) reverses that idea.
RG suggested the RWP use the Base as the main departure station for Hamilton. Ideally
6:20am leaving Hamilton (The Base) and a later return from Auckland (5:30pm).
Raymond Siddals (RS) suggested that there be market research done to inform the
Cr ML asked: how do we get closer to the 2 hour journey time mark ie how do we get the
service quicker? Getting the time the service takes lower is important because of
competition with buses etc.
Doc # 2033308 Page 6
TE replied that KiwiRail has done timetabling though normal sources – unfortunately the
trains are increasingly held up in Auckland. There may be ways to get around this (i.e.
making the train go faster in the Waikato.)
Cr ML suggested that it would be good to get precision timing.
Cr DM suggested that if time can be shaved off on the morning peak run, make the
departure time later rather than arrive in Auckland earlier.
6. Do RWP recommend a bus service to link trail the train to Britomart? Will this be
implemented by Auckland Transport? Cost sharing?
Cr ML stated that the bus is going to be an essential part of the service. It will be needed to
get customers from A-B with an “onward ticket”.
–The question was asked: whether the train can stop at Newmarket?
RS noted that it is not possible to say definitively. There may be a way – if it goes around
the waterfront and back into Newmarket (against the peak train flow). The problem is that
due to current timetabling, dwelling at Newmarket is very hard and the Silver Fern is not
designed for fast stops (needs 2-3 mins)
Newmarket is a very important stop in the Auckland network.
TE suggested another option to consider – having the Strand as a through point and
Newmarket as the final termination point for passengers. Due to less congestion on the
Waterfront line it might not take any longer to come in that way than through Newmarket.
TE Newmarket would be a short stop i.e. 1 min.
Cr NB said that the walk from the Strand was very informative for the RWP.
TE could put a timetable proposal up for the Waterfront – Strand – Newmarket option.
Newmarket is possibly a better option for termination (the bus that links to the train will be
facing rush hour am traffic).
Auckland officers suggested Kiwirail would need to run the bus service.
TE noted Kiwirail doesn’t run buses - possibly explore private shuttle operators – they may
want to take the opportunity.
Cr DM - important not to over-complicate the service – one ticket for both the train and the
bus(not separate tickets for buses/shuttles etc) would be important.
CP asked if there is any chance of getting this service into Britomart?
RS – Noted that Britomart station is at full capacity.
Cr ML – asked whether the Overlander could leave later?
TE - The Overlander leaves early because it is a 12 hour journey - important it doesn’t leave
too late. It’s unlikely the current Overlander timetable can be tinkered with.
Doc # 2033308 Page 7
Cr DM suggested that getting off at Newmarket would ease the pressure of getting a bus at
There would be other travel options available to customers at Newmarket.
RS suggested that if you get on a train from Hamilton to Auckland, you’ve got somewhere to
go – so a shuttle integrated service would guarantee to get you from A to B, C, D, E...
Cr DF noted that the discussion was tending to focus on detailed matters and the group
needed to work through the big issues.
Cr NB asked the RWP if terminating at the Strand is still the preferred option now that
people have experienced the walk? The distance and the meandering nature of the walk
does not make it very appealing.
Dee Bond (DB) suggested that maybe the previous option of the service terminating at
Papakura and using other services to get to Britomart needs to be relooked at.
Cr Laurie Hoverd (Cr LH) commented that the Strand is not such a barrier – walking not
such a bad thing.
CP commented that a change at Papakura means getting on an all-stops service, ie not an
express service like the Silver Fern.
VC told the RWP that staff will bring back options to next meeting about the route and
terminating station and possibly pricing of bus link.
7. The estimated start up year/time of the proposed service (assuming that it
receives the go ahead through public consultation)
VC – Once the service receives the go ahead after public consultation further
implementation details like station upgrades, timetables, fare structure, ticketing etc will need
to be worked through which will take time. Given this, what kind of service implementation
timeframe is the RWP recommending? If the proposal gets adopted through the LTP’s it will
be by 30 June 2012.
RB – if you were to get NZTA funding it would be confirmed by 30th September 2012.
Agreement that ideally around 2nd to 3rd quarter of year 1 of the LTP for the service to start.
8. Does RWP recommend a second railcar if the capacity of one railcar is exceeded
within the trial period?
Note: Adding a railcar could potentially double the operating cost of service resulting in a
higher rates/subsidy requirement. The revenue increase would not be proportional.
Cr DM asked why the doubling of costs?
TE told the RWP that the only saving is on driver costs, everything else is double for a
Cr DM suggested that wouldn’t it be better instead to run more services (with the addtional
rail car set) rather than putting another rail car on the first one, if the costs are double
Doc # 2033308 Page 8
TE - Could do but the assumption is that people are wanting to travel up at the same (or
similar) time and one railcar is doing the forwards and backwards trip.
The RWP noted that it may be essential to put on a second railcar because if the first rail car
is full it may kill the momentum and turn people away.
CP - After two years the environment the RWP will be operating in will be different – we’ll
know more and will be able to commit to things.
Decision – RWP wants to keep the option of operating with a second rail car if required due
9. Stations/stops recommended by RWP for the trial service?
Note: Capital costs of station upgrades will be borne by the relevant territorial
Cr DM – Important to keep the Base as a station– this is a deal breaker. Agree with
proposition in Q9.
Cr DF - Tuakau is key stop for Waikato District Council. Huntly also – if no cost.
Cr DM – A south Auckland stop is needed for connection to Auckland Airport, as well as
stops that connect to the hospital.
RS - Papatoetoe would be the likely stop for the airport connection.
RWP agreed the following stops for the startup rail service from day 1 –
• Frankton, Hamilton
• The Base, Hamilton
• Te Kawhata (but only if there is a backlash)
• Huntly, Waikato District
• Tuakau, Waikato District
• Papatoetoe, Auckland
• The Strand, Auckland
• Newmarket, Auckland
10. Does the RWP support a regional rate (within Waikato) levied by Waikato Regional
Cr DM questioned the sliding scale rate? (ie the further away from the track, the less you
Links into only HCC and Waikato District rates.
Cr NB – Asked for comment on the option of HCC/Waikato DC putting it on their rate line
(operational costs) ie for direct rating by these TAs
Cr DF – stated HCC would have to make a decision with Waipa DC.
Cr DM - HCC would align with Waikato and WRC – would consider separate rating as a TA
Cr DF – supported a rate levied by WRC
Doc # 2033308 Page 9
Cr DM – Preference is a regional rate on a sliding scale. Would consider a local HCC rate if
had to (but this would be out of sync with how buses are funded).
Noted HCC and WDC need to work together to agree preferred position on rating and report
back to the meeting on 26th August
11. Does the RWP support rating of only Hamilton and Waikato district areas?
All of HCC and Waikato DC?
– or Hamilton City and 10km buffer of the track
– or rate whole region on sliding scale
The RWP indicated a need for a further opportunity to discuss this.
Cr NB – Need to get an indication of whether Auckland agrees to the 40% benefits attributed
to Auckland region and the resultant funding contribution indicated.
Cr ML stated there is potential at this stage for Auckland to be involved (financially) if the
benefits attributing to Auckland can be clearly identified and quantified, such as mitigating
Auckland congestion, carrying Auckland passengers, links with the development work
happening in Auckland. Cr ML advised that Auckland will pay if direct benefits can be
VC – The suggestion is that in the Business Case that is prepared as a funding application
for NZTA, covers in detail all the benefits accruing from this service both to Auckland and the
Waikato region and will quantify these benefits.
13. Does the RWP recommend that it have a continuing role through the next stages
of the process leading up to the implementation of the service?
Cr DM – Agree, though the frequency of meetings might change.
Waipa DC - Yes
Auckland C– Yes
HCC – Yes
Waikato DC – Yes
CBT – Yes
VC took the RWP through the next steps and reiterated that the meeting on 26 August is to
sign off the final Recommendations Report of the Working Party and would possibly need to
be a long meeting so that agreement on all recommendations was reached and options
coming out of this meeting could be tabled.
Cr NB thanked the members and other attendees.
Meeting concluded – 2.00 pm
I have heard reports that the August 26th meeting did in fact approve this service and it will be taken on to consultation. Nothing offical yet though.
Sorry found it now.
Rail working party makes final recommendations on Hamilton to Auckland service
26 August 2011
The region is one step closer to a Hamilton-Auckland passenger rail service, with a multiagency working party today recommending that it proceed to consultation.
The recommendations for the passenger rail service were finalised late this afternoon and will be provided in a report for the consideration of partner councils in the next month.
If adopted following public consultation, a Silver Fern service could run between Frankton railway station in Hamilton and via The Strand to Newmarket in Auckland at peak times. The off-peak service could operate between Frankton in Hamilton and Britomart railway station in Auckland.
It is proposed the 96-passenger Silver Fern railcar would stop at a station to be built at The Base, as well as at stations in Huntly, Te Kauwhata, Tuakau, Papatoetoe, The Strand and Newmarket.
Patronage estimates for the proposed peak service suggest there could be approximately 130 passengers a day. Fares could cost up to $24 one way, with the trip from Hamilton to Auckland taking approximately two hours.
Working party chairman Norm Barker said: “Today’s decisions mark a significant milestone for this group, which has taken into consideration the results of a community survey, as well as volumes of information and the findings of extensive research.
“These recommendations have not been made without substantial consultation, discussion and consideration by the working party,” Cr Barker said.
“However, this is far from a done deal. We’re recommending the preferred service option be taken to the public by the Waikato regional, Hamilton city, Waipa and Waikato district councils for feedback, so the community will have its opportunity to have a say.
“Combined with the investigations undertaken over the past year, it will inform decisions to be made by the councils as part of their Long Term Plan considerations next year.”
If endorsed by the public, details for the implementation of the service would need to be worked through before the service would begin.
“We’re also carrying out further work to show the economic and social benefits this service would provide to Auckland – reducing congestion, improving road safety and providing additional services for their commuters too,” Cr Barker said.
The working party recommendations included:
•Auckland Council be approached to contribute funding to the proposed service.
•That the proposed two year pilot trial rail service proceed to public consultation through the 2012-2022 Long Term Plans of all partner councils.
•That a funding application, including a full business case, be prepared by 15 October 2011 for the 2012-2022 Regional Land Transport Programme.
•That a targeted differential rate be levied by the Waikato Regional Council for the proposed service.
•Hamilton city and Waikato district councils take responsibility for any necessary upgrades to train stations prior to the start-up of the proposed service.
The working party comprises representatives from Waikato Regional Council, Auckland Council, Hamilton City Council, Waipa District Council and Waikato District Council, as well as members representing the NZ Transport Agency, KiwiRail, Auckland Transport and Campaign for Better Transport.
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