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wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed
From the Environment Waikato website.

More work directed on Auckland-Hamilton train service

4 May 2009


Environment Waikato transport staff have been directed by the Waikato Regional Transport Committee to continue their investigation of a Hamilton to Auckland commuter rail service.

It follows a report from consultants received by the committee today which said a commuter service was feasible but noted there were a number of significant hurdles, including getting train access to the Britomart terminal in Auckland.

Other potential hurdles included whether a service could be included in the Regional Land Transport Programme and National Land Transport Programme in time for a service to take advantage of an offer of the Silver Fern railcars, and whether a funding deficit of about $1 million could be made up.

Committee chairman Norm Barker, of Environment Waikato, said a careful process needed to be followed.

"The committee needs more information on the value for money of the proposed service and how it would be paid for if it was decided a service was worthwhile. We need to know whether we could get the access to Auckland stations required.

"Also, hearings on the draft Regional Land Transport Programme (RLTP), due to get underway tomorrow, will have to consider whether a service is worthwhile. A commuter train would not qualify for essential government funding unless it was included in this RLTP, as well as the National Land Transport Programme. We would need funding from the New Zealand Transport Agency as well.

"And, while KiwiRail has indicated it could provide a service starting mid-year, it says the region will have to make up its mind quickly or else the Silver Fern cars may be offered elsewhere."

Cr Barker said this time pressure underlined the need for the committee to take a measured approach.

"The committee will hopefully be in a better position to look at this issue when it gets guidance from the RLTP hearings process and EW staff report back."

The consultants’ report focuses on the option of a service leaving Hamilton in the early morning, stopping at Huntly, and then travelling on to Auckland in time for work. It would then return to Hamilton at about 5.30pm.

The gross cost of one round trip a day, Monday to Friday, would be about $1.8 million. Assuming about 72 passengers each way, expected revenue would be about $730,000 gst exclusive based on one-way fares of $24 from Hamilton and $17.60 from Huntly. If the New Zealand Transport Agency was to pay an assumed 60 per cent of the remaining costs, that would leave around $456,000 to be raised locally to fund the service. Fare revenue would be less if the train couldn’t go through Newmarket, the consultants said.

This media item was current at its release date. The facts or figures it contains may have changed since its original publication.

This follows a public meeting held last week to press for this service to be included in the transport plan

The consultants report has identified around 200 people who live in the Waikato region and work with 10 mins walk of Newmarket and Britomart. Of course not all these will find the train times suitable and by using only the existing Hamilton and Huntly stations not all will have access to the train anyway.

Those at the public meeting called for a stop to be made to connect with airport buses in south Auckland. This might provide a small increase in patronage. It should also be pointed out that the proposals for an Auckland super city mean that about 1/3 potential passenger will now be living in the future Auckland City but without a local Maxx train service.
 
alexjc Deputy Commissioner


Sad This was the orginal plan, however access to Newmarket (IMO the soon to become superhub) and on to Britomart essential.  Journey stops need to include Ngaruawahia, Te Kawhata, Mercer and Pukekohe.

A question is what to do with the railcar(s) during the downtime. Obviously a Kamai Express run...But then you have to hand over the set from Maxx to Tranz Scenic staff, make a VERY limited stop (Pukekohe, Hamilton, Morrinsville, The Strand) service to Mt Maunganui leaving Auckland via the Oeraki line. A quick diesel and water service fill up within 20 minutes, before racing back to Britomart...swap out staff and run back to Hamilton.  What killed the trial service at the turn of the century was the service was changed to run from Auckland first thing...pointless.

Because they are available at short notice, the trusty Silver Ferns are a 'grab them now' short term solution. What has made the Capital Connection and Wairarapa Connection popular is comfortable carriage stock. Prehaps if the Waikato Connection is successful then the Eo push-pull set in Wellington could be refurbished and sent north when their time is up.
 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed
Indeed the additional stops are needed and the original plan also had stops at Te Rapa, (apparently Hamilton city council has set aside money for this) Pokeno and Tuakanu. However funding for the other staitons and a Hamilton South station where it was intended to start the service from has not been forthcoming.

The original plan also was for the set to make an off peak return to Hamilton. This together with the Overlander would have provided 2 off peak journey oppurunities but no sooner did they come up with that plan when somebody decided to close down the overlander.

From what I can make out this new service will be a Kiwi Rail operation and not Maxx.

If you read the reports the major benifit to having the commuter service is as a starter to a regular all day service between the 2 cities to tie the ecomomies together. This is to enable companies to base themselves in Hamilton and to still be in easy reach of Auckland for meetings. Lets hope that they at least get the commuter service running.

Of interest the original plan was for an Sw set with a Dc on each end basically starting the Maxx service currently worked by 2 silverferns back at Hamilton. It was estimated then that such a train would be fully subscribed by 2012.

Quite simply I suspect that it will take about 5 - 10 years to work up a Wairapa style service and from there it will not be long for a 2 hourly off peak service to be required.

Incidently in conjuction with this they looked at a suburban service for Hami;ton and recomended that provision should be made for a Cambridge to TeAwamutu service. Hopefully the out out come of this is the trackbed into Cambridge is protected for the future.
 
alexjc Deputy Commissioner


Confused  The Overlander carriages would simply fall to pieces if they were to be placed onto this service. Which would've happened if the Overlander had ended completely in 2007.  Kind of dodged a bullet there.
I do agree and totally support the two northern cities be connected by and efficeint rail service...But not forgetting the outer region which is Tauranga, a massive pool of passenger potential, and found wanting. Just look at the two highways that connect this city to Hamilton and Auckland.

Er...Cambridge - Te Awamutu? It's quicker by road between Cambridge and Te Awamutu.  Think of this service as a large horse shoe with Hamilton at the apex and the road as the gap between each end. Go figure.

What WAS also proposed was the morning railcar running 'light' down to Te Awamutu and starting from there (6am). Ohaupo being the only stop untill Melville (Hamilton South).

As for Hamilton surrounds, a lightweight railbus option, powered by third rail is the proposal, as Environment Waikato has said the bus network is becomming elongated (trust me on this one).  The new station at The Base megastrip mall (Te Rapa) is to be the electric limit north while Rukuhia the east and Melville the south. Easy to do as the overhead wouldn't be affected. The old underground inner city station be rehabilitated as the main station. A flywheel system within the underbody would allow for breaks in the supply (crossings, over the Waikato River, around proposed stations etc).

This could happen soon rather than later as when the reccession will, enevidably, end and oil prices begin to soar...It's beginning already.
 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed
Nobody suggested extra services for teh Ovelander, it would have simply run to the then existing timetable with tickets being interchangable with new Auckland Hamilton serives.

The consultants report certainly did recomend a Te Awamutu to Cambridge service. Not to provide a new journey opertunity between the 2 towns, the distance by rail is over twice the road distance. The consultants looked at travel figures from all directions and found that Cambridge and Te Awamutu provided the greatest number of possible rail journeys to central Hamilton. Those from the Huntly direction are apparently fewer and better catered for by the existing bus services.

Now comes the tricky bit, you cannot terminate trains in the underground station in central Hamilton so the suggestion was to combine the 2 services which also has the benifit that by the time a service could be turned around it is already a considerable distance to the other terminal station. ( just look at why the Thameslink service in London was started in the late 80's, the huge increase in passengers that resulted was a surprise to Br at the time. It may well be that Environment Waikato may decide to start with the Te awamutu service alone to start with as it requires little capital investment.

As for local services within Hamilton again EW hired consultants to look at this. they lloked at a number of options including trams and light rail but concluded that the operating costs were far too high for investment in a rail based option given the current bus use patterns, and yes I know that if you put in a rail based optoin more people will use it. The recomendation was to provide bus lanes.

The one corridor within Hamilton than has any promise in the foreseable future in Hamilton CBD to Te Rapa and that is more likely to be served by the longer distance services.

And yes I would like to see passenger services reinstated through to Tauranga. Unfortunaly Environment Bay of plenty has no plans to support such a service although they have looked at a commuter service between Omokoroa and Te Puke. To Make Auckland Tauranga attractive would require a journey time of around 3 hours which means upgrading the track easing curves and almost certainly double tracking large parts of the Hamilton to tauranga line. I do not see either a Nat or Lab government doing thsi without seeing some passenger useage figures to support the investment. So this needs to be taken step by step. Stage 1 is the commuter service Hamilton Auckland which is not so time sensitive as the road is congested at those times. Then you put in a few off peak trains. Hopefully then some investment can be made to improve the Auckland to hamilton journey time and then you can start running a few through trains to tauranga.

Given a competative journey time and the expected ppulation growth I believe this would all be worth while.
 
alexjc Deputy Commissioner


Sad When the line into down town Cambridge were pointlessly pulled up in 2000, the reason was the freezing works closing and the fact that no Rail Enthusists wanted the line. Would've been a gem to have.  Also the nuscence value of having to maintain the section along with it's many level crossings came into play.  Cambridge its self is a wealthy blue belt horse rearing district and the Range Rover rules, so there really wasn't the support for a 'commoners' type of public transport...The bus service will do just fine.
 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed
Indeed the fact that Cambridge is a well off area resulted in an early demise for the passenger service on the branch. However it is not just the citizens of Cambridge who would be targeted for the new service. As you may be aware since you live locally there is a state Highway running through the area. This means lots of people coming to Hamilton from further afield drive past a potential railway station. This would be a park and ride facility. The reasons that were given for choosing Te Awamutu and cambridge for rail based solutions included the potential for much faster journeys to central Hamilton than by car. Alexjc you will know better than me if this is true, but think the performance of a modern emu rather than a loco hauled train, although one of the rolling stock options was for Sa,Sd sets.

I should also mention that the railway by and large inside Hamilton does not pass through area's that would support rail based transits, quite simply the numbers of passnegers who could be attracted are too small to make it viable. So by and large the services are aimed at the park and ride market. Even this is only viable because of that hidden gem the Central Station right in the center of the CBD.

However to make things more complex now is the growth of Te Rapa!

Also the growth in housing is taking place on the eastern side of the river, close to where the Waikato expressway is to be built. Now you have suggested a new line in this area to take the freight trains away from the CBD, if such a line was built then it may be of use for subbies.

However longer term the growth of Hamilton needs to be in places that can easily be provided with public transport. As hamiltons economy becomes more enmeshed with aucklands the population is likely to explode. 300,000 - 400,000 people in 30 years and the place will be grid locked, it will be worse than Auckland if the infrastructure is not provided to cope with this.
 
Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW
http://www.stuff.co.nz/waikato-times/news/2391472/EW-staff-press-on-with-probe-for-rail-service

EW staff press on with probe for rail service
By MARTIN TIFFANY - Waikato Times
Last updated 12:59 07/05/2009

A few hurdles have not been enough to derail plans for a Hamilton to Auckland commuter rail service.

Environment Waikato staff this week were directed by the regional transport committee to continue their investigation of the service, despite possible obstacles.

A report from consultants received by the committee said a commuter service was feasible but noted there were some hurdles, including getting access to Auckland's Britomart terminal.

Other potential problems included whether a service could be included in the Regional Land Transport Programme and National Land Transport Programme in time for a service to take advantage of an offer of the Silver Fern railcars, and whether a funding deficit of about $1 million could be made up.

Committee chairman Norm Barker said a careful process needed to be followed.

"The committee needs more information on the value for money of the proposed service and how it would be paid for if it was decided a service was worthwhile. We need to know whether we could get the access to Auckland stations required," Mr Barker said.

He said hearings on the draft Regional Land Transport Programme, which were under way this week, would have to consider whether a service was worthwhile.

"A commuter train would not qualify for essential government funding unless it was included in this RLTP, as well as the National Land Transport Programme. We would need funding from the New Zealand Transport Agency as well."

Mr Barker said while KiwiRail had indicated it could provide a service starting mid-year, it said the region would have to make up its mind quickly or else the Silver Fern cars might be offered elsewhere.

He said this time pressure underlined the need for the committee to take a measured approach.

"The committee will hopefully be in a better position to look at this issue when it gets guidance from the RLTP hearings process and EW staff report back."

The consultants' report focused on the option of a service leaving Hamilton in the early morning, stopping at Huntly, and then travelling on to Auckland in time for work. It would then return to Hamilton about 5.30pm.

According to the report the gross annual cost of one round trip a day, Monday to Friday, would be about $1.8 million.

Working on about 72 passengers each way, expected revenue would be about $730,000 (GST exclusive) based on one-way fares of $24 from Hamilton and $17.60 from Huntly. The report said if the New Zealand Transport Agency was to pay an assumed 60 per cent of the remaining costs, that would leave around $456,000 to be raised locally to fund the service. Revenue would be less if the train couldn't go through Newmarket, the consultants said.
 
alexjc Deputy Commissioner


Smile The Hamilton City Council its'self has released a draft plan that is now moving housing growth south towards the Peacocks Road , Raines Road river area. This means once the Horsham Downs/Te Rapa hosing growth area is filled, that will be the end of North Eastern city development until 2030.  

Across the river at Te Rapa proper the bypass road will allow the North Western residential development to fill out, to Te Kowhai if nessecsary.  At the Te Kowhai Rd level crossing is where the new Station is planned.  However for those who are familiar with this duplicate section of track will realise that a third line is persent, lower down on its own track bed. This is called the 'Public Siding Line'. I'm amazed it survived this long.

As the name suggests, this served many industial complexes along northern Te Rapa, including the old RNZAF Stores base which of course is now the site of mega strip mall 'The Base'.  Originally this would've been used for the busrail service but it now looks likley that the line is to be sacrificed to allow the south platform to butt up against the main. This platform would lead into covered walkways into the the shopping area and and a pedestrian overpass to the North platform witch would have a large park and ride area built with a re-aligned Tasman Road skirting it.

Another option (probibly the best to begin with) is building a single platform station on the 'south' main with appropriate points at each end.  Developers of the base have set aside land for rail user parking, being a more secure option.
Either which way. This station will be the most visible flagship of the new service.
As for Frankton Station, a general tidy up, security cameras and the building of the pedestrian overpass into Frankton town centre are needed.
 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed
Indeed alexjc there seems to have recently been a growing realisation amongst local politicians in both the Waikato and the Bay of Plenty that these areas are likely to grow rapidly in the coming decades and rail will be required to give their voters mobility. I have been reading some more recent stuff coming out of Enviroment Waikato that see's rail services to Auckland as well as local commuter services around Tauranga as being required in the future. They too are begining to think of growth areas which are suitable for commuter trains around Tauranga.

I agree that the 2 stations that you mention will suffice for the start of the commuter trains to Auckland from Hamilton. However I cannot see the Te Rapa station being ready by August which is the hoped for start of the service. The Silver Ferns appaerntly come of lease at the end of June. Mind you I doubt that the funding for the service can be agreed by that time unless the likes of John Keys gets involved and tells everybody to sort it out. I do hope that once the service is agreed then HCC will get on with the Te Rapa station quickly. Other stations can follow although I would suggest that the Hamilton central station would need to be reopened for off peak services to have any chance.

In reality the success of the Auckland trains in the last few years seems to have had a remarkable influence on NZ politicians and not just those in Auckland.
 
alexjc Deputy Commissioner


Smile The August start date will see Frankton as the starting point, BUT it looks less likely that the abandond underground station would re-open. It's just too unsafe.  THE better alternative is the planned reinstating of Claudlands Station.  This gives Hamilton East a far better service. The railcar would shuttle to and start from here in the morning.

As the popularity of this service grows, by 2012 the planned service to Te Awamutu would see a second railcar running to join at Frankton. By then Te Rapa will be operational as well as Ngaruawahia having a shelter/self service kiosk built.

(As a side note, Kiwirail engineers have been consulted about having a centre cab door fitted to the 'non powered end' drivers cabs. Thus allowing access between two units for staff.  The old baggage spaces would be reduced with a small cafe severy installed and disabled access. The paired sets would operate 'engine ends' out)

The Silver Ferns will not last forever, they are 37 years old, this will be their swansong. IMO a MAXX Dc and carraige combo is also VERY obsolete, naturally a band aid at best.
The AC gap will need to be filled in. (The 2km wired section to Claudlands on the ECMT a simple non-issue.)
Brand new purpose built EMU units are essential and will be needed as the recession will end around 2011 and Oil is expected up around $80barrel again.
 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed
Even if the Central station was to be reinstated the train would need to start and terminate at Claudlands. I'm not so sure about the idea of one Railcar starting at Claudlands and one at Te Awamutu for a number of reasons. ! it is too early and too late for commuters to Hamilton and the numbers from te Awamutu commuting to auckland would not justify the service on there own. 2. the platform arrangement at frankton prevent the joining and splitting of the 2 services there which means they would need to follow each other to Te Rapa and join there, this means that the first car to arrive at Te rapa would need to stand there for up to 5 mins before it can proceed with the other car attached.

The idea of putting a door in the drivers cabs of the silver ferns has been looked at before. The trouble is the drivers desk is in the way making it expensive to do. And with only the non powered and so treated you would need to be careful about which car you couple to which car because if you coupled 2 sets that are facing the same way the whole thing would be pointless, the door of one car would open to the blank end of the other. Mind you it would save haveing a guard in each car which would be a considerable saving in operating costs. However bear in mind these cars have a life expectancy of 10 years. Which incidently ties in nicely with when I expect the service to justify stringing the knitting.

as for the cost of oil try $100-150 in 5 years.
 
Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW
NZ Herald
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10571968

Consultants say new railcar link to Hamilton will be a winner
4:00AM Wednesday May 13, 2009
By Mathew Dearnaley

Leading rail industry consultants have added weight to a campaign to run a commuter train between Hamilton and Auckland, saying economic benefits would "comfortably" exceed operating losses.

They predict $15.5 million over 15 years in economic benefits including reduced road congestion from a single daily return service, against an operating loss of $6.6 million.

That would give the service a benefit-cost ratio of 1.9, or an economic return of $1.90 for each $1 invested by the Government and ratepayers.

The analysis is in a preliminary business case prepared for the Environment Waikato regional council, which is being urged by campaigners including Hamilton City leaders to lease Silver Fern rail-cars being taken off the Pukekohe-Auckland commuter run at the end of next month.

Those submissions were among 92 received for the entire programme, which is worth about $1.2 billion.

Environment Waikato said last month that it was waiting to receive the business case before the Waikato regional transport committee could consider whether to add the rail proposal.
Although the council omitted a Hamilton-Auckland service from its draft three-year regional land transport programme of projects for which it will seek Government subsidies, it has received 40 submissions urging it not to lose the chance to obtain the rail-cars.

A team from three transport consultancies, led by Dr Murray King, has since provided a report to the regional council, citing indicative prices from KiwiRail of $1.84 million a year for one daily round trip, $2.2 million for two, and $2.65m for three.

The report suggests a modest start with one return trip from Hamilton's Frankton station, ensuring competitiveness with car journey times by limiting stops to Huntly, Papatoetoe and Newmarket before reaching Britomart.

Average one-way fares of $24 from Hamilton and $17.60 from Huntly are assumed, and the consultants predict a 75 per cent occupancy rate from 96 seats available on a single rail-car, starting at 72 passengers a day.

Fares income would initially cover 40 per cent of costs, leaving an operating loss of $1.14 million in the first year, but would improve with patronage to about 68 per cent in 2023 - reducing the deficit to $610,000.

A 60 per cent subsidy of $648,000 would be sought from the Transport Agency for the first year, which the consultants say is less than 0.3 per cent of the total amount being requested through the regional transport programme.

That would leave $456,000 to be raised from Waikato sources.

The consultants point to potential access problem through Newmarket to Britomart, saying the Auckland Regional Transport Authority does not think planned additions to its own suburban services next month and early next year will leave room for a Hamilton train at peak hours.

But they say KiwiRail's Ontrack division believes enhancements to trackwork and signals will create enough room, once they are commissioned by the middle of next year.

That may mean having to run the new service through Auckland's eastern and waterfront line into Britomart, bypassing Newmarket, until Ontrack completes the work.

The report's economic findings have been welcomed by the Campaign for Better Transport in Auckland and Hamilton City transport chairman Dave Macpherson, who said the only question now was when - not if - the service would start.

He hoped trains could also stop at a site at Te Rapa, where his council had allocated funds for a station, and believed two daily return trips could prove feasible.

KiwiRail needs an early decision on the use of its three Silver Fern rail-cars, and has indicated a preference for three daily return trips if a Waikato service is to run, a frequency which even Mr Macpherson believes might be too ambitious.
 
alexjc Deputy Commissioner

Look if the NZ Government (Kiwirail) is willing to run a three return service daily as a feel up to patronage - let them.  This will stimulate interest.  Still I'd prefer a twice daily service 'tween Claudlands and Britomart.  The railcars are fitted with a small hostess galley and placing a small servery with Cold drinks, Coffee and small heat and eats would be of little cost. And of course there is the wasted baggage space.

As I've banged on about already, the morning southbound could shuttle on through to Mt Maunganui...(Morrinsville and The Strand the only intermediate stops from Frankton.)

As for the desks preventing a central door in the cab. This has been looked at and creating a loco type control stand would work BUT the cars need to survive another 15 years to be worth the cost.
 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed
The only thing that is stopping Kiwi Rail running the 3 return services between Hamilton and Auckland as apparently they are keen to do is that the services will run at a loss. This means somebody needs to provide subsidy and that somebody is ultimatly central government for the greatest share. Hence the need to start modestly and build up the service. Quite simply if sufficent people use it the politicians will see it as a vote winner. The complication here of course is the relationship between National and the Bus industry???? Remember just a few years ago when ARTA and EW first asked for money to set this up Cullen would not provide money to subisdise a service in competition with the bus companies.

Just for interest the 3 train service does not involve an early morning run from Auckland. The proposal is for only 2 of the silver ferns to be in use, both once patronage builds up working the commuter service from Hamilton leaving around 6:30 and arriving Auckland at 17:30 to Hamilton.
Once in Auckland each of the 2 silverferns would then run seperate return trips to Hamilton, the first leaving at say 9Surprisedo arriving Hamilton at 11:00 and returning at 12:00 to arrive at Auckland at 14:00, the second would leave at say 10:30 and arrive at Hamilton at 12:30 returning again at 15:00 arriving Auckland at 17:00. This would provide a reasonably robust timetable. Whilst there is plenty of slack to run one of the cars through to Tauranga would require a number of very tight turn rounds making the service unreliable with the high probability of services being delayed.

Hopefully the commuter train will prove popular and will soon be replaced by perhaps the Se set, although what will happen to the capital connection once the EMU stock reaches Waikanae is another factor. With most of the passengers on this service starting from there and paraparumu this service may no longer be profitable and at the very least the number of cars in use is likley to decline. However the main point is that once the main commuter service is loco hauled then more flexable options will be available for the deployment of the Silverferns. And yes I am farmiliar with these cars, I even have a rather blurred photo of 2 of them running through Tawa station on the run from Auckland following there commisioning. The photo is blurred because the light was fading as the cars were running much later than expected due to a level crossing incident and as a result the cars were running faster than perhaps they should through the curves at Tawa station. And I must say I still regard them as one of the most comfortable trains, although they do have a tendancy to hit the stops on the suspension when running at speed on poor track, something the Japanese did warn the nzr about.

As mentioned the silverferns are only expected to last 10 years.
 
alexjc Deputy Commissioner


Smile A good candidate for a carriage set would be the Eo push me pull you set when that train is paid off in a couple of years. (problem is that Wellington owns the set, not Kiwirail) The Capital Connection will survive the electrification to Waikanae as it is very comfy to travel on.

Building up to an SW set is the ultimate, especially if the AC gap is closed between Papakura and Te Rapa, then we start getting into electric loco hauling. Wouldn't it be great to see a 'Virgin Voyager' like set operating in the end by 2015?
 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed
Indeed I expect that the Se set will be the one transferred, and not just as it has through wiring as the proposal seems to be a Dc on each end.

I would also expect the capital connection to be reduced to 5 or 6 cars, hopefully it will survive I have a friend who reguarly uses it from PN when he works in Wellington. However that would leave 2 or 3 carriages free that could be used as the basis of a further set.

Whilst you choice of Virgin's version of a pendilino is open to question, the continatal versions are a great deal more comfortable. But indeed if intercity trains are to have any impact in NZ they will almost certainly need to be tilt capable with the possible exception of Christchurh Dunedin if they ever decide to do something about the hills between Palmerston and Dunedin.

I would think that 2015 is a bit optimistic for wiring all the way from Auckland to Te Rapa. I would be hoping for an extension to Pokekohe to be approved at about that time. Incidently the ARTA did invite expressions of interest in 12 Bo Bo electric loco's to work 6 car sets of Sa,Sd stock in the same document that they invited expressions of interest in the new emu stock. This does not seem to be going forward and as Kiwi rail will now have responcablity I would guess that as many Ef loco's as can be cobbled together may yet find there way to Auckland. I wonder if any of the stored examples are still capable of restoration to service?

I would still put my money on 2020 to 2025 as the time scale for electrification Auckland Hamilton with Tauranga following pretty quickly after that.
 
alexjc Deputy Commissioner


Smile I'm just being an optimist...

ANYHOOOO, the clean up begins!

Ontrack has just this week torn down the main NIMT platform 45 meter long canopy at Frankton station.  IMO the best thing ever to happen to this tatty facility. Somehow it looks alot more inviting and SAFE.

As usual some of the local 'keep it in the past' railfan community have arms raised saying that 'we have lost an iconic structure!'  

Built right in the 'V' of the diverging curves of the ECMT and NIMT junction the station seemed on the wrong side of everything. The rather long 'main' platform was purpose built to hold the Silver Star (as I'm writing this, 4-6-4T,  WAB 794 is just arriving into the city and making her presence loudly known at every level crossing on this frosty clear winter's night - she's up from Feilding for some weekend excursions to Te Kuiti), and the ECMT platform had only a railcar length canopy - ironically the station built in 1975 long after services to the 'East long closed.  

Kiwirail has, rather coyly, said it will re-instate a more modern clean and safe structure immediatly - I doubt it will be as long as the original.

This station was built to last as, really, NO modernisation has taken place AT ALL during it's 34 year life. The platform clocks never worked properly from day one and was ridiculed for looking like a massive ablution block!

It was part of a last batch of 'new look' British Rail modeled on modern stations to be built in the 1970's which included the stunningly ugly Invercargill Station.
 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed
Environment Waikato has today released its regional land transport plan for the next 10 years. They have afterall included the Hamilton to Auckland commuter service but have not included any funding for it. Quetsion where does this go from here, at best this is going to require funding as passenger levels build up. EW say it is now for Kiwi Rail and Hamilton City council and other interested parties to work out a plan.
 
Taupo Station Master

Hamilton City Council is very keen on getting a Hamilton-Auckland commuter rail service started and the Campaign for Better Transport in Auckland is lobbying very hard to get support and funding for such a rail service.

There is going to be a public meeting in Hamilton about the Hamilton-Auckland commuter train proposal on Tuesday 23rd June, 7.30pm - 9.00pm
Reception Lounge,
Hamilton City Council
Garden Place, Hamilton

Would be well worth attending.
 
alexjc Deputy Commissioner


Very Happy WILL BE THERE!!!!
 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed
I hope this goes well and is well attended, last reoprts I have seen is that a final offer is still awaited from Kiwi Rail.

The major hurdle would be to get funds from LTNZ for the subsidy.

Auckalnd new timetable come into affect soon and from then on the Siverfern railcars will be wanting a home.
 
Cogload Train Controller

Location: Ooop North
Are you UK based Wanderer53? Judging by the log in (night time down under) I reckon you must be lurking in the north somewhere.... Smile

I have followed the CBT forum discussion on this closely and agree that if the Ferns are to be used then 5 returns a day will be a good place to start. Kiwirail may be able to cut a deal with EW - KR to cover the operating losses with EW to contribute capital funding toward improvements and stations. This was the BR/ local council model over here for many a year before the evil Thatcher decided to start the long march of emasculating local government.

The mood music from the infrastructure firm seems to be that they are making progress on the backlog of problems with the pway after the Beard era - there are some chronic TSR's on the NIMT (and after my sojurn on the Overlander I can attest to that) and that is what will kill any market from the Cowbell punters.

For suburban networks - it is reliability which matters. For the inter-urban speed starts playing a crucial role.
 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed
Indeed I am Uk based having left NZ at a time the population was actually decreasing.

The current proposals are for up to 3 return trips a day although starting with the commuter service only I believe. I supect if the running time can be brought down significatley below 2 hours, say 1hr 45 min reliably then it may be possible to squeeze a 4th return trip but that would be about all using 2 of the 3 silver ferns. It would not be sensible to diagram all 3 railcars for any lenght of time due to reliability issues etc. E have also been looking at subsidicing the Overlander so that it runs all week between Auckland and Hamilton or even Otorohanga to provide access to the caves for tourists. However I believe that for the off peak services to be a success they wil need access to the old CBD Hamilton station.

So far timings have not been fixed but they have been talking about 1hr 50 to 2 hrs, which represents a much better time than the Overlander. Hopefully that means that the speed restrictions are coming off now.

I beleive that Hamilton City council are to pay for a station at The Base which is near te Rapa. There are also useable stations at Huntly and Hamilton Frankton (built on the site of the old steam shed). I note that the natives of Tuakau, a few miles south of Pukekohe are getting restless and want a station of their own now. This would be for the ARTA to build as it is in their teritory.

The rest of the money required to get the commuter service up and running is an operational subsidy. In NZ Land Transport NZ provides 60% of this and of course the local authorities want that money rather than fork out the whole lot themselves. Cullen was against providing this a couple of years ago when ARTA and EW first started looking at this service so what chance now with an anti railway national government!

Hopefully they will get enough people to the public meeting to make some of the politicians realise that people want it.

To be succesful of course it needs access to both Newmarket, this could be a problem until about this time nest year when rebuilding and resignalling are comleted in this area and Britomart. Britomart is always going to be a problem, it only has 5 platfroms and a capcity of 21 trains each way per hour. ARTA wish to run trains every 10 mins on the western, southern and eastern lines plus 2 an hour to Onehnga, thats 20 trains, plus trains to Pukekohe and Kumeo/helensville. I beleive that Kiwi rail is looking at a 6th platform which will give a capacity of 24 trains per hour. But thsi station is owned by Auckland city council, just as well Banks is now a believer in trains.
 
Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW
Rail link scheme garners backers

By BRUCE HOLLOWAY and MARTIN TIFFANY - Waikato Times Last updated 13:00
18/06/2009

A smattering of Waikato Times readers have pledged to use a
Hamilton-Auckland commuter train service if it gets off the ground.

A previous rail link, the Waikato Connection, was axed in 2001, with the
Waikato Times editorially supporting its cancellation, saying we were a
nation of drivers, and roads were more convenient.

But readers have responded to the proposal for a new service.

Darryl Connelly, principal of Auckland's Royal Oak Intermediate School, who
travels daily from Hamilton, said he would use the train as long as there
was a connection to Onehunga there isn't at present and he could be there by
7.45am.

And Maureen Gallie was an enthusiastic backer of the idea.

"I used the Waikato Connection when it was running, even though it was badly
maintained, with tatty seats," she said. Kane Lynn said he would use it but
would like to see more than one service a day.

Tomaso Rossi said he would use the train, but at weekends.

"I come from Italy and I see the public transport in New Zealand as far
behind the EU's transport services."

Meanwhile, a public meeting will be held next week as the campaign for a
Hamilton to Auckland commuter train service gathers steam.

The meeting will be on Tuesday from 7.30pm to 9pm at Hamilton City Council's
reception lounge in Garden Place, under the banner of Waikato Commuter
Trains Now!

It is organised by the Campaign For Better Transport (CBT), and features
speakers including Jon Reeves from CBT, Hamilton city councillor Dave
Macpherson and Wise Group chief executive Jacqui Graham.

The Wise Group, one of the largest non-government providers in the New
Zealand mental health sector, has already signalled its support for the
train.

http://www.stuff.co.nz/waikato-times/news/2512285/Rail-link-scheme-garners-backers
 

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