Hamilton to Auckland commuter train

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alexjc Deputy Commissioner

Sad I know I sound mean, but I'm glad to see the back of this idea...For now.

There were just so many things that went against it.

Looking to the future, sometime in the '20s we will see this train return.

I still stand by my idea of the Expressway and a park n ride link facility be built at a southern Auckland terminal with quick access to Britomart services.

Instead of the two modes of transport fighting against each other, lets get them to work together.

 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed

Wink And for me the ideal time to introduce such a service is once all the emu's have entered service and it should then be possible to squeeze an extra train into Britomart and the 3rd track is installed from westfield to Puihuini junction allowing faster running through south Auckland.

 
Been_Benuane Junior Train Controller

In theory it seems insane that there's no daily commuter service between Hamilton and Auckland especially with three perfectly good silver fern railcars in storage.

But when you investigate the situation further it makes perfect sense.

For starters; Britomart is already reaching capacity it peak times so until the CBD tunnel finally gets built it would probably have to use Newmarket as its terminus (unless the old Auckland terminus gets millions thrown at it). And not only is Britomart crowded in this timeslot but so is the NIMT between Auckland and Hamilton with the freight trains whom KiwiRail's turnaround plan depend upon.

And even then, from the Hamilton end it will have to depart from Frankton junction as there's little hope of the old station under Hamiltons CBD getting any refurbishment funding. And even if it did it wouldn't be pleasant to use with no Diesel fume extractor fans and the frequent passing of freight trains.

And then there's the salient fact that the station at Huntly was closed and its historic station house picked up and moved with the palform completely demolished almost ten years ago. So it without any likelihood of a rebuild of the Huntly station for of the Ngaruawahia station it would only stop at Frankton junction, Pukekohe, Papakura and Newmarket. And then it's not likely to be allowed to run fast enough to have a journey time of less than two hours.

It could only work if some millions were given in funding. Maybe they should wait until the Auckland CBD tunnel is finally built and see if the Auckland commuter network can keep extending southwards.

I honestly think Hamilton PT advocates should start looking at advocating for rail both freight and passenger for only Hamilton and the greater Waikato instead. Especially with the projected economic effects from the Waikato expressway.

 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed

May I suggest that you read the reports that have been made for Environment Waikato over the last 10 years. Then you will understand the economics of teh rail service better. As for congestion, this is only a problem in South Auckland and it is intended to build a third track to overcome this problem in the next few years.

 
Been_Benuane Junior Train Controller

May I suggest that you read the reports that have been made for Environment Waikato over the last 10 years. Then you will understand the economics of teh rail service better. As for congestion, this is only a problem in South Auckland and it is intended to build a third track to overcome this problem in the next few years.

- wanderer53

You know wanderer, aside from your rudeness I'm starting to see a trend in you where you make unfounded assumptions that I've not done my research.

I don't need to take your suggestion because I've kept up to date with the reports from Environment Waikato (and it's a mystery why you'd assume I didnt) and I know full well about the third line on the NIMT through south Auckland and that will not effect the heavy freight traffic south of Papakura. And yes the freight traffic remains heavy south of Papakura.

May I suggest that you read the reports about capacity constraints at the Britomart Terminus?

Or reports about the state of the Hamilton station? or the status of other Waikato stations?

Then you might appreciate why it's not currently possible without some considerable (and hard-to-justify) investment.

 
Been_Benuane Junior Train Controller

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

The "Auckland city rail link" is NOT a commuter service between Auckland and Hamilton.

It is a rail tunnel under the CBD from Britomart up the hill to Mt. Eden with stations at Aotea square and Karangahape road.

It has very little to do with any Auckland-Hamilton commuter service beyond allowing extra capacity at Britomart during peak times.

 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed

May I suggest that you read the reports that have been made for Environment Waikato over the last 10 years. Then you will understand the economics of teh rail service better. As for congestion, this is only a problem in South Auckland and it is intended to build a third track to overcome this problem in the next few years.

- wanderer53

You know wanderer, aside from your rudeness I'm starting to see a trend in you where you make unfounded assumptions that I've not done my research.

I don't need to take your suggestion because I've kept up to date with the reports from Environment Waikato (and it's a mystery why you'd assume I didnt) and I know full well about the third line on the NIMT through south Auckland and that will not effect the heavy freight traffic south of Papakura. And yes the freight traffic remains heavy south of Papakura.

May I suggest that you read the reports about capacity constraints at the Britomart Terminus?

Or reports about the state of the Hamilton station? or the status of other Waikato stations?

Then you might appreciate why it's not currently possible without some considerable (and hard-to-justify) investment.

- Been_Benuane

And I would suggest that you go back through the threads and see what I have been saying over the last few years!

 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed

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

The "Auckland city rail link" is NOT a commuter service between Auckland and Hamilton.

It is a rail tunnel under the CBD from Britomart up the hill to Mt. Eden with stations at Aotea square and Karangahape road.

It has very little to do with any Auckland-Hamilton commuter service beyond allowing extra capacity at Britomart during peak times.

- Been_Benuane

The article was posted in this thread because of the last line!

 
alexjc Deputy Commissioner

Confused I was gonna say...If you are a newbee, it's best to read up on a subject that is already being discussed...It's good to have fresh faces here on the NZ and O section, welcome aboard.

 
Been_Benuane Junior Train Controller

May I suggest that you read the reports that have been made for Environment Waikato over the last 10 years. Then you will understand the economics of teh rail service better. As for congestion, this is only a problem in South Auckland and it is intended to build a third track to overcome this problem in the next few years.

- wanderer53

You know wanderer, aside from your rudeness I'm starting to see a trend in you where you make unfounded assumptions that I've not done my research.

I don't need to take your suggestion because I've kept up to date with the reports from Environment Waikato (and it's a mystery why you'd assume I didnt) and I know full well about the third line on the NIMT through south Auckland and that will not effect the heavy freight traffic south of Papakura. And yes the freight traffic remains heavy south of Papakura.

May I suggest that you read the reports about capacity constraints at the Britomart Terminus?

Or reports about the state of the Hamilton station? or the status of other Waikato stations?

Then you might appreciate why it's not currently possible without some considerable (and hard-to-justify) investment.

- Been_Benuane

And I would suggest that you go back through the threads and see what I have been saying over the last few years!

- wanderer53

Question

 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed

Been_Benuane if you bothered to read back you would know why I suggested that you should. You would know that we have covered all this along with a number of possible options to overcome the problems. As Alex says its best to read up on the subject being discussed.

 
Been_Benuane Junior Train Controller

Been_Benuane if you bothered to read back you would know why I suggested that you should. You would know that we have covered all this along with a number of possible options to overcome the problems. As Alex says its best to read up on the subject being discussed.

- wanderer53

What's wrong with me making a statement (which by the way I am informed and "read up" upon)?

 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed

HOPE REVIVED

The Auckland-based Campaign for Better

Transport is disappointed that a Hamilton-

Auckland rail service won’t run any time soon but

is pinning its hopes on Auckland electrification

re-opening the case. Supporters of a service

accepted defeat when local and regional

authorities in the Waikato decided they couldn’t

afford to meet the difference between service

costs and what passenger would pay. But the

final nail in the coffin of a two-year trial service

was confirmation from the Minister of Transport

Gerry Brownlee that the Government would not

support a service. “Perhaps the way ahead lies

in Auckland’s rail network which will hopefully

keep expanding and when electrification

comes along it might be foreseeable to run a

shuttle service from Pukekohe.” said campaign

spokesman Cam Pitches, The Chairman

of Parliament’s Transport and Industrial

Relations Select Committee, Hamilton East

MP David Bennett appeared to provide some

support for the Campaign’s view. He described

electrification as an opportunity for both the

Waikato and Auckland. “I don’t think anyone

doubts the possibility of it happening at some

point,” he said.

 
alexjc Deputy Commissioner

Confused I Don't trust CBT as far as I could throw them...Can never get over the fact they took $25 off me for membership at a meeting back in 2009 and never heard from them again...Carpet Baggers!

Electrification down to Te Rapa is the only logical reason to introduce a higher speed service...It will need to be, as the expressway will be finished five years from now.

 
Been_Benuane Junior Train Controller

The Stations at Huntly and Ngaruawahia are gone, which only leaves the far from ideal station at Frankton junction.

The NIMT is very busy at peak times with freight trains.

Britomart is reaching capacity.

The transit time under current conditions isn't attractive.



Realistically a Hamilton-Auckland commuter service isn't looking likely unless someone is willing to throw away billions into it.

 
alexjc Deputy Commissioner

...Realistically a Hamilton-Auckland commuter service isn't looking likely unless someone is willing to throw away billions into it.

- Been_Benuane

Where those billions will go is developing the underground loop at Britomart...That is what will unlock the problem of capacity at the station and will allow regional services, not just to Hamilton, but Tauranga to develop.

As for stations along the proposed route, this has been identified by Kiwirail, local and district councils.  

I know I sound like a scratched record here, but using the Expressway and the new Park and Ride facilities on the southern edges of the metro should be given profile advertising. Leave your car at Manukau or Papakura and ride in from there. This will only encourage the system to grow.

 
Been_Benuane Junior Train Controller

...Realistically a Hamilton-Auckland commuter service isn't looking likely unless someone is willing to throw away billions into it.

- Been_Benuane

Where those billions will go is developing the underground loop at Britomart...That is what will unlock the problem of capacity at the station and will allow regional services, not just to Hamilton, but Tauranga to develop. As for stations along the proposed route, this has been identified by Kiwirail, local and district councils. I know I sound like a scratched record here, but using the Expressway and the new Park and Ride facilities on the southern edges of the metro should be given profile advertising. Leave your car at Manukau or Papakura and ride in from there. This will only encourage the system to grow.

- alexjc

Even so, there would still need to be some considerable extra investment in re-establishing a station for Huntly and Ngarauwahia. And Mercer for that matter. And there would need to be measures to ensure that the journey time is competitive with commuting by automobile.

The idea of trying to establish a service between Hamilton and Auckland right now is in my opinion deeply flawed. What seems more sensible is to slowly extend the existing commuter services from Pukekohe southwards. With the expressway being built there's a chance that those centres may see some development as satellites of Auckland anyway. Eventually it should become feasible for the commuter service to reach Frankton Junction (with a new station in the vicinity of Te Rapa).
By that stage there could be a direct rail link between Morrinsville and Taupiri, which would also make building a new satiton under Hamilton's CBD feasible. It would also make a service to Tauranga feasible, although the ECMT is currently suffering capacity problems as it is.

And all of this is dependent on the CRL being built anyway.
In my opinion the CBT needs to put this idea on the back-burner for a decade or so until it's more feasible.

 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed

The only capacity issues facing the introduction of a Hamilton to Auckland commuter service are all within the Auckland commuter system, namely Puhinui Junction to Westfield for which a third track is to be built, Newmarket and Britomart stations. There is currently plenty of capacity on the largely double track line south of Papakura although eventually something will need to be done about the single track section through the swamp. However this will be determined more by the builld up of freight than a couple of extra passenger trains. Once the third track is in use between Puhinui Junction and Westfield then the long slow crawl between stopping trains north of Papkura will be avoidable thus allowing a train to run at competative timings.

The problem of capacity at Newmarket can be easily solved with a little lateral thinking and political will. Simply run one or two western line counter peak flow trains on the direct chord avoiding Newmarket station. Britomat is more dificult to solve, but not impossible. At the moment it is not even capacity that is blocking the Hamilton train form Britomart but the effect that it will have on the reliabitiy of the Auckland commuter trains. However if the Hamilton train runs direct to Newmarket, then perhaps stops also at the new Parnell station  before running into the Strand commuters for Britomart will have a frequent suburban service to change into and out of for the last few minutes of travel. A much more acceptable conection than for example changing at Papakura.

As for subsidy, if you are going to subsidie these passengers when they drive to Papakura and catch the train you might as well apply the same subsidy to the Hamilton train. In fact I suspect that even if only half as much subsidy per passenger was aplied to the Hamilton train then it would become viable. (same applies to the capital connection)

As for slowly extending the commuter service south whilst this remains a shuttle connecting into emu's at Papakura it will remain unattractive as would a Hamilton train doing the same thing. Then very rapidly you find yourself in the same situation as the CC. The CC is only really useful from Levin south but it is cheaper to start and terminate the train from Palmerston North than to stable it at Paekakariki.

As for tauranga trains until such time as line speed improvements can be justified north of Hamilton these are unlikely to be any more popular than they were last time round. Then you have the added problem of pathing through a busy single track railway!

 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed

DI Y PLATFORM

The north Waikato town of Tuakau isn’t

giving up on its fight for a train service.

The Tuakau Districts and Development

Association put their case to the

Waikato District Council recently as

part of the council’s deliberations

over its draft plan. Association

member Dee Bond said the need for

trains had increased as the town’s

population continues to grow. In the

light of Auckland Council’s decision

to allocate money for improving

Pukekohe station, the Waikato council

should follow suit. “If they release that

$500,000 it will at least give our people

some hope,” said fellow association

member Neil Young. And if there was

any trouble finding someone to do the

job, Neil Young says they should look

no further than the association. “We

have all the skills and the resources –

we want to build our own platform,” he

said. In June last year the association

presented a petition to Parliament in

support of a commuter rail service to

Tuakau.

 
alexjc Deputy Commissioner

Smile Couldn't really find anywhere else to put this, but it does involve Hamilton/Frankton Station although more the miserable Queens Park area of bare land it sits next to.

Young property developer, Andrew Yeoman has made a start on a new 'Ponsonby' styled residental development of the bleak and unused Queens Park reserve with 26 properties sold and three houses already under construction. The houses are designed to embody the 'Railway Cottage' look to blend into the housing style of the suburb. A new pedestrian overbridge is to be built over the ECMT that will lead into Frankton Village. Queens Park was reciently cleared for development by Environment Waikato after tests showed that the ground was stable and toxins left behind from the old loco depot were of no harm. It is not planned to build houses over the actual depot site though as a playground and a small commecial shopping block would sit there. Access to the Railway Station is unaffected by the development.

 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed

Smile Couldn't really find anywhere else to put this, but it does involve Hamilton/Frankton Station although more the miserable Queens Park area of bare land it sits next to.

Young property developer, Andrew Yeoman has made a start on a new 'Ponsonby' styled residental development of the bleak and unused Queens Park reserve with 26 properties sold and three houses already under construction. The houses are designed to embody the 'Railway Cottage' look to blend into the housing style of the suburb. A new pedestrian overbridge is to be built over the ECMT that will lead into Frankton Village. Queens Park was reciently cleared for development by Environment Waikato after tests showed that the ground was stable and toxins left behind from the old loco depot were of no harm. It is not planned to build houses over the actual depot site though as a playground and a small commecial shopping block would sit there. Access to the Railway Station is unaffected by the development.

- alexjc

Does that mean that a south to east chord will no longer be possible?

 
alexjc Deputy Commissioner

Does that mean that a south to east chord will no longer be possible?

- wanderer53

Shocked A long term plan is to place a new station and platform on High Street sitting over the old Commerce St level crossing site this will remove the 'old' station and allow the Queens Park area to fill out. Google Earth gives a clear view of the 'Prince of Wales' chord area...It is known to be a possible future addition BUT is not vetted as such. So I doubt if the alignment will be affected, more so if and when the station is torn down.

 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed

Shocked A long term plan is to place a new station and platform on High Street sitting over the old Commerce St level crossing site this will remove the 'old' station and allow the Queens Park area to fill out. Google Earth gives a clear view of the 'Prince of Wales' chord area...It is known to be a possible future addition BUT is not vetted as such. So I doubt if the alignment will be affected, more so if and when the station is torn down.

- alexjc

Hopefully by then the potential for the chord will be recognized.

 
alexjc Deputy Commissioner

:)More good news for the future of a Akl-Ham commuter rail link.

A large release of residential land in the small Waikato border town of Pokeno will see up to 500 sections come onto the market with a further scope of another 1000. As prices for Auckland housing has become out of reach of average NZers, the outer fringe towns along the Waikato Expressway and NIMT are being used by developers as an easy access alternative. There has been a call for the electrification to extend south to Mercer by 2025 as distance travel residential housing will be seen as a major contributor to the growing North Waikato region.

Pokeno has already been in the news with the construction of a large Chinese owned Baby Milk Powder factory underway, providing 250 jobs in the area and further house sales. Rail is to be used for the moving of containers.

 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed

Smile Eventually a commuter train like the CC will br required on the Hamilton - Auckland run regardless of those who are opposed to it. The thing is that the subsidy required for such a service will probably be less than if they drove to Papakura and caught a train from there as certain MP's think they should. Same goes for the CC if it comes to that.

 

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