Hamilton to Auckland commuter train

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wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed

The public is to finally have its say on a trial commuter train between Hamilton and Auckland, bringing the Waikato one step closer to the service.

A multi-agency working party, which has been investigating viability for the $1.9 million service, wants the idea to be publicly consulted.

It's the first time since a campaign to get a commuter train travelling between the two cities began two years ago that Waikato residents will be able to officially voice their opinions.

In March last year an 11,500 signature petition was presented to Parliament calling on the Government to implement the rail service, while a telephone poll of 1155 residents and ratepayers in the Waikato found 81 per cent of those asked supported the train.

If adopted following public consultation, a Silver Fern passenger train leased from KiwiRail could run between Frankton railway station in Hamilton and via The Strand to Newmarket in Auckland at peak times.

An off-peak service could operate between Frankton and Britomart railway station in Central Auckland.

It's proposed the 96-seater railcar would set off around 6.30am and stop at a station to be built at The Base, as well as at stations in Huntly, Te Kauwhata, Tuakau, Papatoetoe, The Strand in Parnell and finally Newmarket.

The train would return to Hamilton for the day, allowing Auckland business people into the Waikato before heading back in the afternoon to return to Auckland in the evening.

It's estimated there could be up to 130 passengers a day with fares costing up to $24 one way. The trip from Hamilton to Auckland would take about two hours while the service would initially operate as a two-year trial.

Working party chairman Norm Barker said the decision to put the service out for public consultation marked a significant milestone for the group, which had taken into consideration the survey results, as well as the findings of extensive research.

"However, this is far from a done deal. It's still a few hurdles to leap through yet before it even gets to public consultation. But we've had strong indication in the past that the service is sought after."

He hoped Waikato regional, Hamilton city, Waipa and Waikato district councils would sign off on the service by October 30 after which the consultation could begin.

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," Mr Barker said.

Campaign for Better Transport convener Cameron Pitches said he was delighted with the next step. He said a two-year trial was a "decent length of time" and hoped that if the service was successful, a second Silver Fern train would be used to grow the service. Without government funding, it was estimated the rail link would cost ratepayers up to $22 each a year

 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed

Minutes of the Hamilton to Auckland Passenger Rail Working

Party meeting

Held at 1pm, on Friday 26 August 2011

Council Chambers, Waikato Regional Council, 401 Grey St, Hamilton East

Members Waikato Regional Council

Cr Norm Barker

Waipa District Council

Cr Laurie Hoverd

Waikato District Council

Mayor Allan Sanson

Auckland Council

Cr Mike Lee

Hamilton City Council

Cr Dave Macpherson

Campaign for Better Transport

Robin Jansen

NZ Transport Agency

Andrew McKillop

In attendance Waikato Regional Council staff

Bill McMaster, Vibhuti Chopra, Wendy Valois, Jenni Somerville

Campaign for Better Transport

Rob George,

Hamilton City Council staff

Chris Allen

Auckland Transport staff

Raymond Siddalls

Waipa District Council staff

Shelley Monrad

Apologies Auckland Transport

Mark Lambert

KiwiRail

Tom Evers-Swindell

Waikato Regional Council

Vaughan Payne

Auckland Council

Darren Davies

The Chair, Cr Norm Barker opened the meeting and welcomed all those in attendance.

Doc # 2043391 Page 2

Item 1. Confirmation of last meetings minutes

The minutes of the 12 August 2011 meeting were confirmed. No matters arising.

Item 2. Final Rail Working Party Recommendations Report

Vibhuti Chopra, Waikato Regional Council outlined changes made to the report as a result of

discussion at the last meeting of 12 August in Auckland.

Key discussion points:

„h Changes highlighted in yellow in report. Updated costs were received from KiwiRail and

the report was reworked with input from Auckland Transport and KiwiRail. Economic

analysis was updated by Richard Paling

„h Main changes to the report were:

o Preferred service options (addition of link bus)

o Timetable (subject to confirmation closer to the time)

o Stops for the service

o Additional rolling stock if required

o Funding options (from Appendix 5 of the report)

„h Concern noted over Auckland funding contribution in the report especially the 40/60

benefit split. Auckland representatives noted there must be very clear demonstrable

benefit to Auckland, for example mitigating Auckland congestion, carrying Auckland

passengers or linking Auckland projects. If this cannot be demonstrated and quantified

then Auckland cannot consider a funding contribution. Also noted that Auckland still

may not be able to contribute to funding of the service as it may have other priorities for

funding within their region. Auckland Council are supportive of the project, hence the

involvement so far, but outlining any financial inputs into the report from Auckland would

be unwise. The RWP agreed that it is better to look at the bottom line without any

Auckland contribution at this stage, until the benefits were quantified and discussions

had with Auckland Council. Removal of quantum of Auckland benefits (including

reference to 40/60 split) from the report was agreed by the RWP.

„h It was noted that the entire business case will need to be prepared in order to go into the

Regional Land Transport Programme (and also into the Auckland Regional Land

Transport Programme).

Service Option

„h Page 7 top para ¡V Community survey 2010- reference to ¡§as low as 0.8%¡¨ of residents

surveyed said they would use the service noted this was badly worded, sounds like not

many people, could this be quantified or better reflected in some way.

„h Pg 12, last para, Benefits, inter-regional ¡§feedback at a public meeting has revealed

businesses that would¡K.¡¨ Reword to ¡§feedback at a public meeting as well as public

submissions, has revealed¡K¡¨

„h The link bus discussion was parked at the last meeting. Diverting other existing services

to the Strand was discussed but Auckland Transport noted there has never been a bus

service running down the Strand as there has never been a need for it. If it can be

proven that the service is needed for Aucklanders then Auckland Transport may be

interested in contributing to funding. The way the layout of the streets is in that area, it

makes it difficult to divert any nearby services past the Strand (this has already been

looked at by Auckland Transport)

Doc # 2043391 Page 3

„h It was also noted that a connecting bus would add to the total cost of operating the train

service.

„h Auckland Transport indicated that rule of thumb estimate was $150-200 per hour for the

use of the bus, if there is a bus available in the city at the time.

„h It was agreed that a connecting bus to meet the train at The Strand station should be

stated as the intent but ¡§subject to further investigation¡¨ in the report and for costs not to

be included in the business case as there could be other options of providing this bus

like a commercial operator wanting to run this service.

„h Noted that it is 400m to the nearest bus route so a bus may not be needed

Confirmation on the train carrying on to Newmarket station from the Strand was sought.

Auckland Transport indicated that until a formal timetable was put together and

submitted to the Timetable Committee, it would be difficult to say. Also a new timetable

will be in effect from February in Auckland which again, makes it difficult for Auckland

Transport/KiwiRail to confirm at this point.

Section 4.1 Preferred Service Option. The RWP confirmed Option 1 as the preferred service

option with the link bus not being part of the option at this stage. This option is via the

Waterfront route (through Sylvia park, Glenn Innes) on to the Strand and carrying on to

Newmarket as the termination point for the peak service.

Section 4.2.1 Timetable: (an indicative timetable at this stage)

„h RWG confirmed option 2 as the preferred option. Also amend off peak timetable in

Option 2 to make it 9.30AM start

„h Concern that the journey time will need to be worked on so that it will take a shorter time

to get to Auckland. From feedback so far, the time could be a critical factor and the

current predicted trip time may be too long for commuters.

„h Would be useful for a delegation of Waikato representatives to talk to KiwiRail at a very

high level (including CEO) to discuss what can be done to ensure that the best possible

timetabling option is provided for this service. Noted that an Intercity press release

tabled att the meeting notes bus trip time to Auckland in 1.45 hours is a strong

competitor to a train although train is more a comfortable commute.

Section 4.2.2 Stations:

„h Concern was raised with removing Te Kauwhata as a stop. Te Kauwhata people have

been some of the most vocal about the service and it is of concern they could be left out.

„h Noted that the number of people commuting from Tuakau could be an issue for capacity.

Issue of lack of capacity a concern for Campaign for Better Transport member. This

could be a real problem, especially given the cost of doubling the size of the train.

„h RWG agreed to bring the Te Kauwhata stop back into the proposal

„h SuperGold card users would not be eligible to use the service (that is the NZTA position

for new services)

„h Map on Page 19 of report ¡V make a new inset on the map showing Auckland central

(waterfront route) rather than Hamilton inset

„h Rolling stock ¡V noted there is a better quality SilverFern train set than the one taken on

the rail trip to The Strand. It will be important to be commercial with KiwiRail and ask for

the best Silver Fern railcar to be provided and also in terms of level of service (lateness

etc)

Doc # 2043391 Page 4

„h Concern that marketing cost is now included in Councils cost which was previously

included in the KiwiRail proposal. This and re- looking at the cost of provision of the

second railcar and maybe the overall operating cost of service provided by KiwiRail were

agreed as being items to be discussed with KiwiRail at the highest level, including a

political level engagement.

„h Station upgrade costs. Noted that using local contractors for the Base, could get costs

down to $1m and possibly with different configurations of platforms, could bring cost

down to $650,000. This would be a HCC local roading project which would have an

opportunity for NZTA subsidy. The amount includes works on Tasman Road for some

commuter parking. Agreed that the costs for the station at the Base be changed to

$650,000 in the analysis.

„h Noted under Section 4.2.6 that Hamilton patronage to be split - 30 Hamilton (Frankton)

and 40 at the baseCR s ¡V these will be updated to include the latest figures but a full

business case will provide a more detailed assessment of BCR..

„h Noted that for Tuakau there is still the possibility for targeted rating in the Waikato

District Council for infrastructure at Tuakau and for the MAXX train to extend to Tuakau.

Auckland is investigating this Tuakau extension also. Would cover the concern that the

Hamilton train will already be full by the time it reaches Tuakau. Would also mean only

one rail car would be needed from Hamilton so it would lower the costs for consideration

in the BCR calculations. The commentary of the report will note that any overflow from

Tuakau will be resolved through this other option rather than use of a second railcar.

Section 6 Rating options

„h All funding options need to remove Auckland as a funding partner

„h Noted that the options need to show NZTA funding so public can see the difference in

cost with government contribution

„h RWG confirmed Option 5 as the preferred option but with an indirect region-wide rate of

10% added.

„h RWG confirmed that they would prefer Waikato Regional Council to rate on behalf of

Councils4

„h RWG agreed that an Additional new recommendation to be added to recommendations

list stating:

o That Auckland Council be approached to contribute funding to the proposed

service in line with demonstrated quantified benefits as assessed through the

business case

„h RWG expressed concern over quoted KiwiRail costs. Noted urgent discussion needed

with KiwiRail CEO Jim Quinn and Kiwirail Chairman of the board John Spencer. Mayor

of Waikato District Council would arrange a meeting with John Spencer to discuss costs.

Recommendations

1. That the proposal of a ¡§2 year pilot trial Hamilton to Auckland passenger rail service¡¨

(proposed service) proceed to public consultation through the 2012-22 Long Term Plans

of Hamilton City Council, Waikato District Council, Waipa District Council and Waikato

Regional Council.

2. That a funding application supported by a robust business case be prepared (containing

details outlined in the letter provided by NZTA to the RWP in December 2010) to apply

for NZTA subsidy.

Doc # 2043391 Page 5

3. That the partner organizations work together in preparing the funding application and

supporting business case and ensure the preparation is aligned with the timeline of the

2012-2015 Regional Land Transport Programme so that it can be considered for funding

through the 2012-2015 National Land Transport Programme.

4. That Auckland Council be approached to contribute funding to the proposed service, in

line with demonstrated quantified benefits for Auckland, as assessed through the

Business Case and the proposal be included in the 2012-22 Auckland Council Long

Term Plan.

5. That an application also be made through the Auckland Regional Land Transport

Programme, for funding the proposed service.

6. That the Rail Working Party conduct high level engagement (including political) with

KiwiRail to ensure that the best operating and most cost effective proposal is obtained

from KiwiRail.

7. That a targeted differential regional rate be levied, as per details in the funding section of

this report by the Waikato Regional Council for the proposed service.

8. That all partner territorial authorities of the Rail Working Party (Hamilton City Council,

Waikato District Council, Waipa District Council and Waikato Regional Council) formally

endorse the rail service proposal and regional rating for it and that this proceed to public

consultation through partner councils 2012 Long Term Plans.

9. That all partner territorial authorities formally reply to the Rail Working Party by 31

October 2011confirming their support for the service and acceptance of the

recommendations in the Rail Working Party final recommendations report.

10. That Hamilton City Council and Waikato District Council are responsible for the

infrastructure upgrades required for the proposed service prior to the startup of the

service.

11. That the Rail Working Party continue its role through the next stages of the process of

investigating a Hamilton to Auckland passenger rail service.

 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed

4.2 Preferred Service Option

Two options were shortlisted by the RWP for final assessment ¡V

Option 1: Terminating Hamilton Services at The Strand and providing bus service

connections to the CBD

Option 2: Extending an existing MAXX Pukekohe - Auckland service to depart from

Hamilton

Appendix 2 contains the comparison between the two shortlisted options.

Considering the operational viability of the various options and taking account of

customer preference and other information available, the RWP decided upon Option 1

as being the preferred option for operating the service, subject to a visit to the Strand

station to assess its viability as a terminating station from a user¡¦s perspective.

A train trip on the Silver Fern railcar and a visit to the Strand station was conducted by

the RWP, Councillors from partner Councils, MP¡¦s and other interested parties, including

members of the Campaign for Better Transport (CBT). RWP members also walked from

the Strand to Britomart to assess the distance and the suitability of the walk.

The walk from the Strand station to Britomart, was assessed as being ¡¥meandering¡¦ and

unsuitable in rainy/bad weather from a user convenience point of view. Following this,

the RWP modified the preferred option to be:

Preferred Option: Hamilton to Auckland service via the Waterfront route (through

Sylvia Park/ Glen Innes) onto the Strand station and carrying on to Newmarket as

the termination point for the peak service.

It should be noted that dwell time at Newmarket will need to be a reasonable time to

offload passengers. This will need to be confirmed by Auckland Transport and ultimately

approved subject to the final timetable.

The service proposal includes

„h Two peak and two off-peak trips every weekday

„h Services five days a week excluding public holidays

Doc # 2049332 Page 17

The service will be operated by one Silver Fern (SF) railcar with a seating capacity of 96

passengers to start with.

Once the implementation is confirmed, the viability/potential of providing a connecting

bus at the Strand station to link up with the proposed train service will be investigated.

Further details of the preferred option are provided in the following sections.

4.2.1 Timetable

It is proposed that the peak service will start around 0600 in the morning from Frankton

station and around 0610 from The Base. The maximum expected travel time is 2 hours

and 20 minutes approximately. However, indications are that travel time could be closer

to 2 hours. Further investigation on this will be carried out once implementation is

confirmed. The travel time is expected to be the same as travelling via Newmarket to get

to the Strand due to lesser congestion on the Waterfront line. The expected departure

and arrival times as shown below

Peak services (2 peak services or 1 peak return service)¡V

Depart Hamilton 06:00

Arrive Strand, Auckland 08:20

Arrive Newmarket, Auckland 08:27

Depart Strand, Auckland 17:30

Arrive Hamilton 19:45

Off peak services (2 off peak services; one departing Auckland and one departing

Hamilton) ¡V

Depart Auckland (Britomart) 09:30

Arrive Hamilton 11:45

Depart Hamilton 14:30

Arrive Auckland (Britomart) 16:45

Depart Auckland (Strand) 17:30 (return peak service noted above)

It needs to be noted that the final timetable will need to be worked out with Auckland

Transport and KiwiRail closer to the time of implementation of the service. This will

depend on time slot availability and network capacity at the time of implementation.

Once the implementation is confirmed, a further survey or focus groups could be

conducted to gauge the timetable preference especially for the off-peak service.

4.2.2 Stations

The proposal is for the service to run between Frankton station in Hamilton and

Newmarket in Auckland (via the Strand station) at peak times. The off peak service

could operate between Frankton in Hamilton and Britomart station in Auckland. The

proposed service includes stops at the following stations:

Frankton, Hamilton

Doc # 2049332 Page 18

The Base, Hamilton

Huntly, Waikato District

Te Kauwhata, Waikato District

Tuakau, Waikato District

Papatoetoe, Auckland

The Strand, Auckland

Newmarket, Auckland

Map 1 below shows the route and stops for the proposed Hamilton to Auckland service

Map1: Route and stops for proposed service

Doc # 2049332 Page 19

Map 2: Route of service in Auckland

Doc # 2049332 Page 20

4.2.3 Rolling Stock

As stated earlier, one Silver Fern railcar (96 seats capacity) will be used for the start up

service. The railcar has been refurbished to a high standard including, new interiors,

larger windows and power points for laptop use. Catering services will also be provided

onboard. Refurbishment cost will be included in the annual operating cost.

4.2.4 Infrastructure Requirements

Site visits were made by a KiwiRail engineer to assess the infrastructure requirements at

the different stations in July 2011. In summary, the assessment shows:

„h No work will be required at Frankton and Huntly stations for the start up

„h Te Kauwhata and Tuakau require tidying up and amenity work and

„h Ngaruawahia and The Base need more extensive work in terms of a platform,

pedestrian crossing and the like.

The key assumptions/points in the report are:

„h Some of the existing stations are lower than the standard height requirements

but the existing low level platforms are suitable for the start up service and that a

portable step, if necessary, will be provided on the train.

„h It has been assumed that there will be no disability access at the stations for the

start up service (like ramps for wheelchairs), which would otherwise be additional

cost for the start-up.

„h Costings do not include costs for secured parking facilities

„h Station upgrade costs will be met by the territorial authority in which the station is

located.

Alternative cost information has also been provided by Hamilton City Council based on

their preliminary assessment of station development costs for a station at The Base.

Summary of startup stations upgrade costs (within the Waikato region) are provided in

table below:

Table 3: Station upgrade costs

Stations Startup upgrade costs

(million)

Frankton, Hamilton $0.0

The Base, Hamilton $0.65

Huntly $0.0

Te Kauwhata $0.11

Tuakau $0.16

Total $0.92

The full assessment report is included as Appendix 3.

Doc # 2049332 Page 21

4.2.5 Fares

In the proposal put forward by KiwiRail, the ¡§out of pocket cost¡¨ of motoring has been

considered to be the most appropriate approach to fares, which has been successfully

used on the Capital Connection rail service between Palmerston North and Wellington.

This service is similar to that proposed for Hamilton ¡V Auckland.

In order to improve the commercial performance of the proposed service and reduce the

subsidy requirements, KiwiRail have suggested limited discounts. Single tickets will be

available with 10 trip tickets at a 20% discount. There will be no additional discounts for

children or other concession groups, including no SuperGold concessions.

The proposed fares are ¡V

Base fare: $24 one way (including GST).

Average Fare: $19.95 across all passenger trips (including GST)

Average Fare: $17.35 excluding GST

Fares have been considered constant throughout the contract period assumed. It needs

to be noted that the actual fare structure will need to be set once the implementation is

confirmed.

full report: http://www.waikatoregion.govt.nz/PageFiles/18093/Final%20recommendations%20report.pdf

 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed

It is the self-described city of the future and soon Hamilton could be just a train ride away.

This afternoon the Transport Committee will consider a two year trial for passenger rail between Auckland and its Waikato neighbour which could be in operation by the 2012/2013 financial year.

It is being recommended by a group of stakeholders headed by the chairman of the Waikato Regional Passenger Transport Committee.

A daily commuter service was established between the two cities in mid-2000 but was canned a year later due to low patronage with an average 129 passengers per trip.

The Overlander currently operates a train from Auckland which stops at Hamilton but this caters to a tourist market, is more expensive and less reliable than the service being proposed today.

Campaign for Better Transport, which petitioned parliament for the service last year, says the service would benefit Aucklanders and Hamiltonians alike.

Spokesman Cameron Pitches says businesses such as Fonterra and Southern Cross Healthcare have workers who regularly commute between offices in both cities.

The almost two-and-a-half hour journey would depart weekdays from Hamilton at 6am and 2.30pm and Auckland at 9.30am and 5.30pm.

Under current proposals, the service would finish at Newmarket going via the old train station at The Strand in Parnell.

The only other stop for the twice daily return service would be at Papatoetoe where commuters would be able to transfer to other public transport and the airport bus.

Today's agenda says more Auckland stops would benefit local commuters and says further options should be considered before it commits council funding to the project.

Initially Auckland had been expected to contribute 40 per cent to costs but this has been revised to an indeterminate figure based on benefits to the city.

One option is for the service to travel via Pukekohe where it could carry commuters to downtown Auckland.

The majority of passengers on the disestablished service between Hamilton and Auckland boarded at Pukekohe and Papakura stations.

Cost implications of the service will be calculated in a business case which will be finished later this year.

Other concerns set to be raised today are the impact it will have on Auckland's rail capacity and the length of the proposed journey which is about an hour longer than the average car trip.  

Pitches believes the service offers economic benefits in its current form with Hamilton commuters spending their money when they arrive in Auckland.

He says Aucklanders will also make use of the train.

Ad Feedback "If there was a service which allowed Aucklanders to go to Hamilton, have a meeting and return to Auckland the same day, I think that would have quite a high patronage," he says.

While Campaign for Better Transport has concerns about the journey length, Pitches says the service will avoid congestion, be more reliable and commuters will be able to work and "enjoy a coffee" while travelling.

Decisions on the proposed train line will be finalised when funding is approved from Waikato councils.

At the end of the two year trial "detailed consideration" would be made of the service's future.

Today's report will also be referred to Papakura, Franklin and Waitemata local boards for feedback.

The meeting will also consider a report recommending a rail loop links downtown Auckland and the airport.

The report was presented to Auckland Transport last week who approved its recommendations and moved a detailed business case for the rail loop to go ahead.

The Transport Committee is expected to make the same recommendations today.

 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed

Auckland Council won't help pay for a commuter train to Hamilton.

An update on a proposed two-year trial of the twice daily return service was presented to the council's Transport Committee yesterday.

Auckland was expected to contribute 40 per cent to the trial project but that was revised to an indeterminate figure based on how much the city would benefit.

Yesterday's meeting ended up deciding there was no benefit except bringing Hamiltonians to the city.

The service is the latest in a number of rail projects being considered by Auckland Transport authorities, including city and airport options.

Campaign for Better Transport, which petitioned parliament for the service last year, argues Auckland would benefit.

Spokesman Cameron Pitches says businesses such as Fonterra and Southern Cross Healthcare have workers who regularly commute between offices in both cities.

The group also claims Hamiltonians brought into the city would spend money.

Other concerns raised in the meeting were the impacts it will have on Auckland's rail capacity and the length of the proposed journey - which is about an hour longer than the average car trip.

The Overlander currently runs a train from Auckland which stops in Hamilton but is mostly just for tourists.

The almost two-and-a-half hour journey would depart weekdays from Hamilton at 6am and 2.30pm and Auckland at 9.30am and 5.30pm.

It would finish at Newmarket going via the old train station at The Strand in Parnell.

It would also stop at Papatoetoe where commuters would be able to transfer to other public transport and the airport-bound bus

 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed

Auckland Council won't help pay for a commuter train to Hamilton.

An update on a proposed two-year trial of the twice-daily return service was presented to the council's transport committee yesterday.

Auckland was expected to contribute 40 per cent to the trial project but that had been revised to an indeterminate figure based on how much the city would benefit. Yesterday's meeting decided there was no benefit except in bringing Hamilton residents to Auckland.

The service is the latest of several rail projects being considered by Auckland transport authorities, including city and airport options.

Campaign for Better Transport, which petitioned Parliament last year for the service, argues Auckland would benefit.

Spokesman Cameron Pitches said businesses such as Fonterra and Southern Cross Healthcare had workers who regularly commuted between offices in both cities. And Hamiltonians brought into the city would spend money.

Other concerns raised in the meeting agenda were the impact the service would have on Auckland's rail capacity and the length of the proposed journey.

The almost 2 1/2 hour journey – about an hour longer than the average car trip – would depart on weekdays from Hamilton at 6am and 2.30pm and Auckland at 9.30am and 5.30pm.

It would finish at Newmarket, going via the old train station at The Strand in Parnell. It would also stop at Papatoetoe, where commuters would be able to transfer to other public transport and the airport bus.

The Overlander train from Auckland already stops at Hamilton but caters largely for tourists

 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed

Auckland Council transport chairman Mike Lee believes KiwiRail should consider delaying long-distance train departures from Britomart to free up a slot for a Waikato commuter service.

That follows advice to his committee that Britomart will reach capacity in February, when it will have to cope with extra trains from the new Manukau branch line and an increase in services on the western line to a turnaround every 10 minutes.

A working party on which Mr Lee sits has accepted a likelihood of having to drop commuters off at the recently reopened Strand station below Parnell because of the Britomart bottleneck.

The morning Waikato train would end its run at Newmarket, before doubling back to Britomart to pick up passengers for a return journey.

Britomart could also be used to take off-peak passengers to central Auckland in a second daily service, but early-morning commuters would have to catch a bus from The Strand.

But Mr Lee, hoping to increase chances of success for a commuter service from Hamilton, persuaded his committee to recommend to the Waikato Regional Council that it work with KiwiRail to investigate delaying departures by the Overlander train.

He said the only way to create peak-time room at Britomart was for KiwiRail's Auckland-Wellington train to have its departure shunted past 9am.

He believed that would benefit the Overlander as well as Waikato commuters, who have an existing departure time of 7.25am.

Mr Lee said he wished the Waikato councils success in the interests of increasing transport choices between Hamilton and Auckland.

But although 11,500 people signed a petition in the Waikato calling for the new service, the region's councils have yet to ask their ratepayers if they would be willing to support a two-year trial, given that it is likely to require a first-year subsidy of $1.23 million.

 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed

Auckland tells Hamilton ‘you’re on your own’ on link train

Waikato Councils will be on their own for

the moment to fund a two-year trial of a

Waikato to Auckland Silver Fern train service,

Auckland-based website AKT reports.

Auckland Council’s transport committee

had an update earlier this week on what

was being proposed but made it clear that

at this stage it was to be funded by Waikato

Councils as there were no direct benefits to

Auckland, other than bringing Hamiltonians

into the city.

The working party which has been considering

the service had hoped for funding contributions

from the Auckland Council and the NZTA.

NZTA has given clear signals that while they

would consider an application, the project

would not get a subsidy from the National

Land Transport programme.

The proposed annual cost of the service is

$1.97m with fare recoveries of $0.74m.

Hamilton ratepayers and those within 10km

of the city would be paying $16.63 for it or

$8.32 with an NZTA subsidy, according to

the working report.

One suggestion that came forward at the

Auckland committee’s discussion was

whether, instead of the peak time train

arriving from Hamilton at out-of-theway

Strand station, it could get a berth

at Britomart if the Auckland-Wellington

service was rescheduled.

That service, the Overlander, takes up a peak

time slot as it leaves Britomart at 7.25am.

Committee chair Mike Lee said that moving

the Overlander timetable to after 9am would

benefit the Overlander as it meant tourists

getting that train would not have to get up

so early.

He said it was essential that the Hamilton

service get a slot at Britomart – something

presently denied because of the limitations

of the dead-end Britomart station and

the demands of the Auckland metro train

service; demands which will increase to

capacity in February with the opening of the

Manukau line and a new 10-minute peak

time Western Line timetable.

Mike Lee also said that KiwiRail needed to

work with Waikato Councils to find a way

to make the journey quicker especially as it

would compete with bus services.

The proposed 6.00 am service from Hamilton

would not arrive at the Strand until 8.20am

and then passengers wanting to go to the

CBD would have to wait for a bus to there

or walk. That is longer than when a Hamilton

service was tried a decade ago.

Palmerston North to Wellington is a similar

distance at 141 kilometres but is scheduled

for 2 hours 5 minutes even though it too has

to negotiate part of its way nearer Wellington

with metro commuter train schedules

 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

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A $1.9 million commuter train trial from Hamilton to Auckland could be on shaky ground because some of the Waikato councils being asked to pay for it are having doubts.

A committee of Waipa District Council has recommended the council not support the service, a twice-a-day return commute between the two cities.

Waipa Mayor Alan Livingston said his council's worries were over the financial impact on ratepayers.

Its first priority was the completion of the $1 billion-plus Waikato Expressway from Rangiriri to Cambridge.

"The completion of the Waikato Expressway is our absolute priority, and we don't want that to be affected in any way," he said.

"It's a huge financial contribution the Government is providing [for the roading infrastructure] and we have to keep our focus on that first and foremost."

The expressway is expected to be completed in about 2018.

Waikato Mayor Allan Sanson said the expressway was also his council's main priority.

"The commuter rail is nice to have provided we can afford it and it ticks all the boxes on the way through, but there's a few boxes it's not ticking."

No access to Britomart was one issue and the other was the length of time the trip was expected to take.

"It's around about two hours 20, it's just too long. Those two things alone make it very difficult for us to sell it to the community."

The idea is that the 96-seater Silver Fern railcar would leave Hamilton's Frankton Station at 6am, stopping at a station to be built at The Base, as well as in Huntly, Te Kauwhata, Tuakau, Papatoetoe, The Strand in Parnell and arriving in Newmarket at 8.27am.

An off-peak service would leave Auckland at 9.30am, arriving in Hamilton at 11.45am, leave again at 2.30pm and arrive at The Strand at 4.45pm. The final trip would leave Auckland at 5.30pm and arrive in Hamilton at 7.45pm.

It is estimated the service could carry up to 130 passengers a day with fares costing about $24 one way.

Mr Sanson said a proposal to run a train from Tuakau to Pukekohe to a park-and-ride service there was "less challenging and more beneficial" for the Waikato District Council.

A multi-agency working party has been investigating the trial for two years.

The Hamilton to Auckland rail working party's final recommendations to Hamilton city, Waikato regional and Waipa and Waikato district councils are that they agree to the two-year trial and invite public submissions.

The regional council transport committee chairman and chairman of the working party, Norm Barker, said: "Times are really tough at the moment and people are finding it really difficult to meet their obligations".

Hamilton City Council finance and monitoring committee chairman Dave Macpherson agreed no access to Britomart and the time the trip took were issues but they weren't "show-stoppers".

 
alexjc Deputy Commissioner

Sad During this past Rugby World Cup I travelled to Auckland BY CAR, but parked in Papatoetoe and rode the train from there, it was surprisingly easy to do...And no offence to those who want a regional rail service (and I WAS one of them), I'd do it again...and even park in Manakau to ride the new line from there.

What I'm now supporting is the closing of the wire gap...Only then will a regional rail service to Hamilton and even Te Awamutu, become viable.

Sorry guys, I'm a Hamilton ratepayer that is trying to stop our council sliding further into red. This is a luxury we can't afford at the moment, especially with a Rail company that doesn't want it's money making freight trains disrupted and a government that is committed to finishing a roadway forty years overdue...And untill electrification is a reality, cars will still beat trains into the outskirts of Auckland where sensible people like me will Park and Ride the multiple choices of suburban services on offer.

 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

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Indeed this is why a shuttle service for example will never work.

As for electrification, still a long way off and part of itts eventual justification will be passenger trains. You will need the passenger trains first.

The biggest problems that I see are the slow transit times through south Auckland which will be overcome in a few years with the installation of the 3rd track between Westfiels and Puhinu Junction and lack of access to Britomart and Newmarket. Newmarket could probably be overcome simply by making the odd contra peak train to/from the west avoid the Newmarket reversal and run via the direct curve. From Newmarket of course if a way cannot be found of getting the Waikato train into Britomart, at least it is only a short hop on the metro trains.

 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

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Council defers decision on Hamilton-Auckland rail service

Waikato Regional Council has deferred a decision

on whether to include a Hamilton to Auckland rail

service in its 2012-2022 Long Term Plan until it

has more information from its funding partners.

The council received the final report from the

Hamilton to Auckland Rail Working Party

recommending that a two-year trial of a passenger

rail service between the two cities be included in the

long term plans of the regional council, Hamilton

City, Waipa and Waikato district councils.

Chairman Peter Buckley acknowledged the rail

working party had been established to look at the

feasibility of the service and develop a proposal

for formal consultation with the public.

"But we cannot consult while the options for

funding the proposed trial are uncertain," he said.

"We need more information about the funding

of the trial and also to hear from all our partner

councils," he said. The issue will be considered

again on November 23.

Waipa District Council has formally advised it

is not supporting the proposal, while Auckland

Council is not going to consider funding unless

the service can be shown to clearly produce

benfits to Aucklanders.

Hamilton City Council was also considering the

recommendations today and Waikato District

Council will discuss them next week.

Although the New Zealand Transport Agency

has indicated it will not fund the rail service,

it has said it is open to considering a funding

application supported by a robust business case.

Waikato Regional Transport Committee and

rail working party chair Norm Barker said it was

important the council 'kept the faith' with the

large number of people who wanted a rail service.

"We should include the rail proposal in our LTP

and our regional transport plan and apply for

funding to NZTA - it's about putting forward a

strong case for our regional priorities."

The proposal is for a Silver Fern service between

Frankton railway station in Hamilton to the

Strand and Newmarket in Auckland at peak

times. The off-peak service could operate between

Frankton in Hamilton and Britomart railway

station in Auckland.

 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

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Support for a proposed rail service between Auckland and Hamilton is drawing to a halt.

Earlier this month, Auckland Transport said they would not contribute funding for a two-year trial of a twice daily return service because it wouldn't provide enough benefits for Aucklanders.

Now Waikato councils are following suit.

Yesterday the Waikato Regional Council said it would not include the project in its 2012-2022 long term plan unless other funding partners were willing to jump on board.

Their decision goes against a report this week from the Hamilton to Auckland Rail Working Party which recommend the project be included in the long term plans of the regional council, as well as the Hamilton City, Waipa and Waikato District councils.

Waipa Council has already said it does not support the proposal.

Waikato District Council will consider the project next week and Hamilton City Council is also yet to make a decision.

Initially Auckland had been expected to cover the $1.23 million shortfall with ticket sales contributing a further 40 per cent to the $1.97m annual running costs.

But that was rejected by Auckland Transport who said the project provided little benefit for the city.

Public transport advocate Cameron Pitches disagreed with their claim saying businesses like Fonterra and Southern Cross Healthcare had workers commuting between both cities.

He said the service would bring Hamiltonians into Auckland who would then spend money in the city.

A daily commuter service was established between the two cities in mid-2000 but was canned a year later due to low patronage with an average 129 passengers per trip.

The Overlander currently operates a train from Auckland which stops at Hamilton but this caters to a tourist market, is more expensive and less reliable than the service being proposed.

 
alexjc Deputy Commissioner

Confused I think it's time to call a halt for now...At the moment the HCC is about to be put under possible administration due to other events that have cast a pall over the city.

Kiwirail is reluctant to use it's Silver Ferns on commuter runs and are looking to overhaul their Catipillar engines to make them more efficiant. Rumor has it, there really is going to be a new Chch - Dunedin service launched next year.

I re-iterate my case - Close the Wire Gap for ALL rail use between Auckland and Te Rapa...The we will see regional passenger services.

 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed

Confused I think it's time to call a halt for now...At the moment the HCC is about to be put under possible administration due to other events that have cast a pall over the city.

Kiwirail is reluctant to use it's Silver Ferns on commuter runs and are looking to overhaul their Catipillar engines to make them more efficiant. Rumor has it, there really is going to be a new Chch - Dunedin service launched next year.

I re-iterate my case - Close the Wire Gap for ALL rail use between Auckland and Te Rapa...The we will see regional passenger services.

- alexjc

In which case it will be 20 years before this comes up again!

 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

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Council receives final recommendations on Hamilton to Auckland rail service

27 October 2011

Waikato Regional Council today deferred a decision on whether to include a Hamilton to Auckland rail service in its 2012-2022 Long Term Plan, opting to wait for more information from its funding partners.

The council received the final report from the Hamilton to Auckland Rail Working Party recommending that a two-year trial of a passenger rail service between the two cities be included in the long term plans of the regional council, Hamilton City, Waipa and Waikato district councils.

Chairman Peter Buckley acknowledged the rail working party had been established to look at the feasibility of the service and develop a proposal for formal consultation with the public.

“But we cannot consult while the options for funding the proposed trial are uncertain,” he said.

“We need more information about the funding of the trial and also to hear from all our partner councils,” he said. The issue will be considered again on November 23.

Waipa District Council has formally advised it is not supporting the proposal, while Auckland Council is not going to consider funding unless the service can be shown to clearly produce benefits to Aucklanders.

Hamilton City Council was also considering the recommendations today and Waikato District Council will discuss them next week.

Although the New Zealand Transport Agency has indicated it will not fund the rail service, it has said it is open to considering a funding application supported by a robust business case.

Waikato Regional Transport Committee and rail working party chair Norm Barker said it was important the council ‘kept the faith’ with the large number of people who wanted a rail service.

“We should include the rail proposal in our LTP and our regional transport plan and apply for funding to NZTA – it’s about putting forward a strong case for our regional priorities.”

The proposal is for a Silver Fern service between Frankton railway station in Hamilton to the Strand and 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.

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.

 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

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Labour would scrap the so-called "holiday highway" to fund the Auckland city rail link.

Announcing the party's transport policy today, Labour leader Phil Goff said it would cancel the $1.69 billion Puhoi to Wellsford highway and dedicate $1.2b from the Land Transport Fund to the city rail link.

That funding would cover half the $2.4b cost of the rail link, with the other half to be funded by Auckland Council.

Mr Goff said the city rail link was the next step in building a modern Auckland public transport system.

"This investment will get Auckland moving," he said.

"Aucklanders are fed up with sitting in endless traffic jams. Building the rail link turns Britomart into a through-station so trains don't have to stop there and will double the number of trains coming into the city from south and west Auckland, take cars off the road and encourage investment to transform the city centre."

Mr Goff said Aucklanders were overwhelmingly and vocally in favour of the rail link proposal.

"Unlike National, Labour is listening. Today we are committing to central government's half of the bargain."

Mr Goff said the "gold-plated" Puhoi to Wellsford highway was fiscally irresponsible in tough times.

Labour favoured a $320 million alternative that included a Warkworth bypass and improvements to the existing road to fix crash black spots and traffic bottlenecks.

The combined cost of the alternative and the rail link would be less than what National had budgeted for the highway.

Labour's Auckland Central candidate, Jacinda Ardern, said it was time to "unchoke the heart of Auckland".

"It's not about spending more, it's about priorities and this Government has got it all wrong."

Labour's other transport initiatives would include:

* Funding to promote an increase in coastal shipping, with the goal of 30 per cent of inter-regional freight being carried by sea by 2040;

* A re-evaluation of the roads of national significance programme;

* Engagement with the working group on establishing a Hamilton to Auckland commuter rail link.

 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed

A daily commuter rail service from Hamilton to Auckland has been dealt a further blow, with city councillors yesterday shelving funding for infrastructure a day after another key council baulked at its potential cost.

Hamilton City Council pulled $325,000 of funding for rail platforms from its draft long-term budgets despite voting 7-4 to give support in principle for the service, and keeping aside $256,000 already earmarked for the link.

The project will be identified as an unfunded project in the council's draft 10-year plan. The public will be able to give feedback early next year during long-term plan consultation.

Councillors opposed to a regional rate to help fund the rail link's estimated $1.97 million were wary of the city being left to foot any shortfall should train patronage estimated to bring in $740,000 a year fail to materialise.

Waikato District Council's roading and transport committee yesterday declined to support a regional rate for the rail link, with many councillors questioning the service's costs and wider benefits. District councillors also declined to include the rail proposal in their long-term plan. Waipa district does not support the proposal either. The financial modelling assumes patronage of 109 passengers a day, with one-way fares costing up to $24.

Those estimates are at the mid-point of assessments, with 70 boarding at Hamilton and 27 at Tuakau.

Concession fares would lower the average one-way cost to $19.95, but city councillors speaking against the proposal said the city's straitened financial circumstances meant the time was not right to commit money.

A two-year trial would see a week-day peak-hour service depart Frankton at 6am and arrive at 8.20am.

The peak hour service would return at 5.30pm, arriving at Frankton at 7.45pm. A second week-day off-peak service is also proposed by a multi-agency working party, which includes representatives from the Waikato Regional Council, Auckland Council, Waikato and Waipa district councils, and Hamilton City Council.

The proposal has been considered since 2006, with the working party researching it for more than a year.

It has enjoyed significant public support, including a 12,000-signature petition gathered last year, and a major survey by the regional council finding around 80 per cent support and considerable backing for rates funding.

The working party's recommendations to the councils include them agreeing to a two-year trial, and seeking public submissions. The New Zealand Transport Agency has said it will not fund the service with a subsidy.

Auckland Council has said it would not consider funding unless the service was shown to benefit Aucklanders. The Waikato Regional Council will debate the issue again later this month

 
alexjc Deputy Commissioner

Sad I think we should put this matter to bed untill the 2014 elections...Most of the councils involved in the funding debate are barely solvent, and to make matters worse, it all has to do with access to Britomart.  The current mayor of Auckland, as we know, is fighting a torrid battle with central government over the inner city loop. He will win this battle but will have to survive the 2013 Local Elections. This and the long term electrification of the route is what will swing a rail service back into favour with funding bodies. Just at the moment, it's not popular with limited resources out there.

 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed

A bid to get a commuter train operating between Auckland and Hamilton is losing backers quickly.

The Hamilton City Council is the latest funding agency to withdraw support for the project.

The council joined the Waipa and Waikato district councils and the Transport Agency in saying no to funding a two-year trial of a commuter train.

The Auckland Council wanted to see benefit to its ratepayers before committing any money.

The Hamilton council would have had to pay up to $625,000 for infrastructure at the new Base station and let the regional council rate Hamilton property owners up to $22.73 each a year towards a two-year trial.

The Waikato Regional Council will now be forced to make the final decision on the multi-agency Rail Working Group's proposal to run a two-year trial comprising one return peak service and one off-peak return service five days a week at an operating cost of $1.97 million a year.

The regional council put off making a final decision until after it had received feedback from funding agencies.

Yesterday's decision is the latest blow for the train proposal which has gained wide public support including a petition of more than 11,500 signatures presented to the council in 2009.

It also became a campaign issue at last year's local body election, when nine councillors and the mayor supported it.

Campaign for Better Transport spokesman Cameron Pitches, who has led the campaign for the commuter train, was disappointed but said the train being unable to go into Britomart was a big hurdle.

"All we were after was a trial service for a couple of years."

With Waipa and Waikato district councils already opposing the proposal, the proposed Hamilton rate would rise from $16.63 to $22.73 per property.

Councillor Ewan Wilson's "middle ground" suggestion also responded to Mr Macpherson's concerns about using $265,000 already retrieved from ratepayers for the rail as being illegal by proposed that it be ring-fenced it so it could be used only for rail infrastructure.

The council compromised and voted 7-4 to keep the project on the unfunded section in its long-term plan.

Mr Wilson said by having it in the long-term plan the community would still have a chance to make submissions.

The city council supported the concept, but did not think it was a priority when it was making cuts to the rest of its budget.

Councillors would have preferred the journey time to be less than two hours and 20 minutes and terminating at Britomart instead of the "deserted" Strand Train Station in Parnell.

Councillor John Gower said he thought the timing was wrong.

Councillor Dave Macpherson's attempts to push the service through failed when only four of the 11 councillors present supported it.

 
alexjc Deputy Commissioner

Idea Let's ease off the idea for now...And encourge a southern Auckland based higher speed service into the city. A large park and ride station be built in Papakura or even Pukekohe and a form of conectivity made with a bus service from Hamilton. Not the best, but a start...and of course lobby for electrification.

 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed

It certainly seems to be dead for the time being Alex. However I beleive that the pressure needs to be kept on the political class or they will bin  it for ever.

 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed

Plans for the introduction of a rail service

between Hamilton and Auckland have been

put on hold with Hamilton City Council

yesterday indicating that while it continues

to support the idea, now is not the right time

to fund it.

The council along with other local and

regional authorities in the area formed a

working party to examine the feasibility of a

service using a KiwiRail Silver Fern Railcar.

In a statement yesterday, Hamilton City

said the Council voted 7-4 in principle to

support the proposed service, but will not

commit finances to it.

The statement said the project to provide

supporting rail infrastructure will be

identified as an unfunded project in the

draft 10-Year Plan. The public will then be

able to give feedback on the proposed service

as part of the consultation process.

Funds previously collected, totalling

$256,000, have been retained in a specific

reserve for passenger rail infrastructure if the

project is pursued.

Chris Allen, General Manager City

Infrastructure, said there had been

considerable dialogue among stakeholders –

including representatives from several other

Waikato Councils who are part of the Rail

Working Party – about the proposed service,

which if advanced at a later date could

also be subject to New Zealand Transport

Authority subsidy.

“With its decision today Council has indicated

to staff that with its current fiscal challenges,

allocating substantial funding to this project

would not be appropriate,” he said.

Meanwhile, Waikato District Council's

roading and transport committee yesterday

declined to support a regional rate for the rail

link, with many councillors questioning the

service's costs and wider benefits. District

councillors also declined to include the rail

proposal in their long-term plan.

Waipa district does not support the

proposal either.

The proposal has been considered since

2006, with the working party researching it

for more than a year.

It has enjoyed significant public support,

including a 12,000-signature petition gathered

last year, and a major survey by the regional

council finding around 80 per cent support

and considerable backing for rates funding.

The working party's recommendations to

the councils include them agreeing to a twoyear

trial, and seeking public submissions.

The New Zealand Transport Agency has said

it will not fund the service with a subsidy

 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed

A proposal to trial a daily commuter rail service from Hamilton to Auckland has been shelved indefinitely, with regional councillors baulking at funding costs.

Councillors yesterday declined to fund the rail proposal in its 2012-2022 long-term plan, saying ratepayers would bear too much of the cost if it went ahead now.

The operating cost of the proposed service is estimated at $1.97 million a year with infrastructure upgrade costs estimated at $970,000.

Earlier this month Hamilton City Council pulled $325,000 of funding for all rail platforms from its draft long-term budgets but agreed to keep the rail proposal as an unfunded project in its draft 10-year plan.

Waikato and Waipa district councils have also declined to support a regional rate for the rail link. A multi-agency working party has researched a rail trial for more than a year with party members recommending a Silver Fern service from Frankton railway station to Auckland's inner-city Strand station and Newmarket at peak times.

Regional councillors yesterday recommended the idea of a passenger rail be included in council's regional land transport programme as an unfunded project

 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed

Final blow for Hamilton-Auckland rail proposal

The final nail has been driven this week into

the proposal to trial a daily commuter rail

service from Hamilton to Auckland – with

Waikato Regional Council joining other

local authorities in balking at funding costs.

The regional councillors have declined

to fund the rail proposal in the council’s

2012-2022 long-term plan on the basis that

ratepayers would bear too much of the cost

if it went ahead now.

The operating cost of the proposed service

has been estimated at $1.97 million a year

with infrastructure upgrade costs estimated

at $970,000.

Earlier this month Hamilton City Council

pulled $325,000 of funding for all rail

platforms from its draft long-term budgets

but agreed to keep the rail proposal as an

unfunded project in its draft 10-year plan.

Waikato and Waipa district councils have

also declined to support a regional rate for

the rail link.

A multi-agency working party researched a

rail trial using a KiwiRail Silver Fern service

from Frankton railway station to Auckland's

inner-city Strand station and Newmarket at

peak times.

Regional councillors have recommended

the idea be included in the council's

regional land transport programme as an

unfunded project.

 

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