Ham-Auck Train May Go To Papakura Only
A twice-daily Auckland to Hamilton commuter rail service could be up and running as early as next year.
And Auckland transport officials are putting up the best option from their perspective as being a Silver Fern service to Papakura from where commuters would transfer to the usual Auckland train service leaving for the city centre and other stations on the urban network every 10 minutes.
That’s the word today from Norm Barker of Environment Waikato who adds a few terms and conditions to the prediction it will be up and running in a year.
He says if “logistical, operational and infrastructural details could be worked through, a twice-daily service could be up and running as early as next year, but only if there was community support for funding it.”
Baker is the group chairman of the working group looking at the feasibility of a new Hamilton-Auckland passenger rail service.
At its latest meeting, it has asked for further investigations into three options for advancing the inter-regional service:
The three options are:
- A refurbished Silver Fern railcar service from Hamilton with people transferring onto the existing Auckland MAXX urban rail service, preferably at Papakura, to complete the trip into Auckland’s central Britomart station.
- Extending some existing Auckland MAXX services, both peak and off-peak, so the services that currently start in Pukekohe could originate in Hamilton. This option would require the addition of two commuter carriages specially fitted-out for longer journeys.
- A composite service using the Silver Fern railcar to Pukekohe or Papakura where the railcar would be coupled to the MAXX service into Britomart. This option poses the most challenges and would be most unlikely to proceed to a final recommendation.
Baker said that until the working group sees the detailed analysis of the proposed service and costings for carriage refurbishment, platform and other infrastructure upgrades, it’s too soon to say if that is the Papakura suggestion is the best option.
The working group agreed each option would ideally need to provide for an early morning commuter service and a mid-morning service for shopping and leisure trips to the city, with both returning later in the day. It is estimated the trip would take 2 hours 15 minutes.
The working group will agree on a preferred option in August or September this year, with councils formally consulting with the public during the first half of the 2012 calendar year.
The group is chaired by Environment Waikato and includes Hamilton City Council, Waikato and Waipa district councils, KiwiRail, NZTA and Auckland Transport.