Government funding for Hamilton to Auckland rail service confirmed
The Government has confirmed funding for the construction of the Hamilton to Auckland passenger rail service.
The release of the $79.80 million funding means parts of the service can now be built or developed.
That includes Hamilton City Council making improvements to Frankton rail station and constructing the new Rotokauri transport hub, Waikato District Council upgrading the Huntly rail station, and Kiwi Rail starting on a carriage maintenance facility at Te Rapa.
The funding also allows for installation of wifi on carriages and ticketing systems. Local authorities have committed $12.57 million of funding.
The rail service is due to start by June 2020, provided the rail stations are completed.
Two return services will operate each weekday at peak travel times, with one return service on Saturday.
The route will start at Frankton in Hamilton, stopping at The Base before going onto Huntly and stopping finally at Papakura.
Urban Development and Transport Minister Phil Twyford said the service is designed to strengthen the connection between Hamilton and Auckland, two of the fastest growing urban areas in New Zealand.
The train is designed to give commuters more transport options, he said.
“We know more and more people are commuting between Hamilton and Auckland, and this service will give them a real choice between being stuck in traffic or relaxing on the train.
“The service will initially start with a four-carriage train which can carry 150 passengers – with two morning peak trains and two return afternoon peak trains.
“As demand grows, it can be expanded to a five-carriage train carrying up to 200 passengers.”
Waikato Regional Council chair Alan Livingston said the Hamilton-Waikato metropolitan area is expected to double in the next 40 years, and roads alone can’t cope with the growth.
He believed it would also improve safety on the roads.
“We’ve heard from commuters they’re currently driving in stressful traffic conditions for long periods of time in the early mornings and evenings. Taking fatigued drivers off the road is going to make it safer for everybody,” Livingston said.
He thought the service might eventually extend to Puhinui in South Auckland to connect with direct bus routes to Auckland International Airport.
A name has not been settled on for the rail service yet, with options including The Tron Express, H2A, Waikato Link, Tron and Tuhuno Waikato (Connecting Waikato) being considered.
How many passengers would want to go to from Hamilton to Papakura?
What happened to Cindy’s promise before the last election to provide a train trip from Auckland to Tauranga? Oh that’s right, she was telling yet another lie.