ARTA and KiwiRail today defended their decision not to make the Onehunga platform long enough for 3-car electric trains.
They claim there will not be enough passengers on the Onehunga line to justify it.
ARTA and KiwiRail insist that the new station was developed in accordance with passenger growth estimates to 2016.
ARTA’s spokesperson, Sharon Hunter said: “Passenger travel shows patronage on the line from September 2010 for the two hours at morning peak, from 7am to 9am, is estimated to be approximately 100 people boarding at Onehunga. This compares with 3,600 people alighting at Britomart during the morning peak period.
“The trains departing from Onehunga will be able to take 530 people seated with capacity of 1,000 including standing. This ensures capacity is future-proofed for growth.
“By 2016 patronage is estimated to increase to almost 300 people boarding and, following electrification in 2013/14 the number of trains departing Onehunga will provide 940 seats with a total capacity of 1,840.
ARTA’s solution to the Onehunga platform being at least 15 metres short for a 3-car train is for there to be the ability for passengers to only board the first two carriages.
Ms Hunter said, “At this stage it would not be prudent to put a four car train on the line with two cars potentially empty when carriages can be better used elsewhere on the network at busier stations.
“However, should patronage grow beyond the future-proofing we have put in place, there is room for the platform at Onehunga to be extended, potentially as part of a loop to the airport.
ARTA insist that the Auckland City consents restricting how close the track could be built to the Prince St apartments are the problem.
“Consents and constraints took into account the requirements of the local community in Onehunga, with conditions of the consent from the Auckland City Council, requiring railway lines to be at least 14m away from apartment blocks off Princess Street to meet noise and vibration limits. ” said Ms Hunter.
“The local community including the Community Board, the local Member of Parliament and the Onehunga Business Association have been consulted by ARTA, KiwiRail and the ARC as we have developed the line. Noise and vibration from the new line were key concerns for residents these were taken into account by Auckland City in its consent conditions and by ARTA and KiwiRail in their planning of the project.
“We look forward to bringing the reopened line to Onehunga.”
Interviewed late this afternoon on Radio LIVE, Sharon Hunter said the platform wasn’t just adequate but more than adequate.
She insisted it was as long as was needed for patronage expectations but them also said she expected “the line will be very successful for patronage.”
She first of all said it was to do with the consenting process and getting the line in and open in time and that the length of the line “was determined by those living nearby.”
Later she also said it was about funding as well.
Asked when the platform would be extended, she said when that would be done , it would be as a component for an Auckland airport line.
Asked why ARC Chair Mike Lee wasn’t aware of the situation, she said that Mr Lee “is very busy with lots of things on his plate and added that the site on which the station is being built belongs to the ARC and “we work hand in hand with them.”