Pics: Onehunga Celebrates In Style
Set against a back drop of blustery winds and the odd shower , a Veolia train filled with guests celebrating the reopening of the Onehunga branch line rolled into the brand new Onehunga station at Onehunga Mall just after 10am today.
The official ceremony was held in a tent on the leveled out area which will be a park and ride. (Rather rough dirt at the moment).
It was a milestone in Auckland’s rail history. The guests were the first passengers to use the line in 37 years.
It was to have been a steam train from the Mainline Steam workshop and provided by the Railway Enthusiasts Society to recognise the history of the line which was the first to run in Auckland in 1873, taking passengers between Waitemata and Manukau harbours. But that train was delayed getting carriages because of debris around Glenbrook where the carriages were stored.
The transport minister Steven Joyce and ARC chair Mike Lee (who has been at the forefront of the battle to get the line re-opened) officially marked the reopening of the train line and its newly constructed stations at Onehunga, Te Papapa and Penrose.
ARTA developed the three stations as part of a $3.6m project and KiwiRail developed the track and signalling work.
ARTA chairman Rabin Rabindran said he expected hundreds of people to use the Onehunga service each week.
“As part of ARTA’s commitment to making Auckland’s public transport a fully integrated system we have also ensured that all buses that cross the Manukau Harbour, as well as cross-town 008, go via the new Onehunga Train Station, providing the option to transfer from bus to train easily for passengers. In addition, Park and Ride facilities will be available, taking more city bound car trips off congested roads.”
Until 1pm, a few lucky members of the public were scoring free steam engine trips to Penrose and back and commuters can use the Onehunga line from tomorrow morning.
Old photos of Onehunga train and the suburb grace the entrance to the station in Onehunga Mall.
Tomorrow also sees a new new rail timetable seeing more than 400 extra train trips a week across Auckland. This is approximately a 25% increase in services, the biggest increase in train services in recent times in Auckland.
ARC chair Mike Lee, who is standing in the Waitemata bid for the new super-council now the ARC is being closed: “It’s incredibly satisfying, given the long battle to achieve it, that the return of rail services to Onehunga is happening at last. Queen Street CBD is once again linked by rail to the Onehunga Mall which was also once called Queen Street.”
ONEHUNGA OPENING: FULL COVERAGE CONTINUES
ARTA chair says rail is booming-Video
Videos of steam train
First official train into Onehunga
Photos of the festive day
Onehunga celebrates in style
Mike Lee speech
Te Papapa, Penrose 3 pictures
Steven Joyce speech
Steven Joyce on police chases
Onehunga being constructed- Photos
35 take first trip into Britomart on Sunday- photos
More hordes try out the new trains – Photos
Historic photos along the fenceline a nice touch
New $36m New Lynn transport hub opens
Time now for airport rail