Waikato Rail Baby Step


Waikato’s regional council - which hasn’t been collectively enthusiastic about rail-  has today opened the door just a tiny bit to the possibility of a Waikato-Auckland commuter rail service.

Councilors have agreed to a series of steps aimed at “further assessing the potential for a commuter rail service between Hamilton and Auckland.”

The bad news is that during annual plan deliberations today, councilors decided against making a financial contribution to a service now, noting it would require a special public consultation process before such a contribution could be made.
Councilors agreed to” further investigation of the proposed service and a community survey.”

Cr Norm Barker, who chairs the Regional Transport Committee, said afterwards: “Clearly there’s some significant local support for a service but central Government has indicated it is not keen on helping fund one for the present.
“If one does eventually go ahead we need to involve Auckland and others in assessing demand and in contributing to the costs of Hamilton-Auckland commuter rail.”

Councilors agreed to further consideration of a service during current reviews of the Regional Land Transport Strategy and the Regional Passenger Transport Plan, and during the development of the Regional Rail Strategy. These processes would assess a service’s priority alongside other competing passenger transport services.

Also, the chair of the Regional Passenger Transport Committee was to convene a special working party involving EW, local Waikato councils, Auckland Council and the New Zealand Transport Agency to look at options and determine the willingness of various parties to contribute financially to a service.

As part of the review of the Regional Passenger Transport Plan, a community survey (including Auckland) will be undertaken, looking at potential demand for commuter rail, and what rates and fares people would be prepared to pay.

Councillors also agreed that EW would advocate with the transport agency for more passenger transport funding generally in the region.
“These decisions indicate clearly how EW is taking steps to establish actual demand for a commuter rail service and what our regional partners are prepared to bring to the table,” said Cr Barker.

Hamilton regional council at last moving in right direction?

Today’s meeting also agreed to spending more than an extra $120,000 for two new buses will be used to help ease congestion on the crowded Orbiter school bus routes from the start of the 2011 school year but at a cost.
The extra spending will be funded by raising the child concession fare from $1.30 to $1.50 and increasing Hamilton passenger transport rates by an extra 26 cents per $100,000 of capital value.
Regional Passenger Transport Committee chairman Norm Barker said after the meeting that using a mix of increased fares and extra rates to fund the additional costs struck a sensible balance.
“It means we will be charging the school children contributing to the overcrowding a bit more, as well as having Hamilton ratepayers in general supporting a valuable community service.”
A minority of four councilors from the council’s Rates Control team voted for the increased costs to be funded entirely from fare increases.

Related Posts

  1. Waikato Rail Not Dead
  2. Waikato-Auckland Rail Link Deemed “Not Viable”
  3. Beehive Bins Waikato Petition
  4. Waikato’s Regional Council Says No To Funding Hamilton Rail
  5. Crucial Day For Waikato Rail Link Plan




  1. Jon R says:

    EW has been dragging this on for over 6 years now and funded reports in 2006 and 2009 that show the service has excellent BCRs.

    More reports and studies would, on the surface and based on past evidence, seem like Cr. Barker as another attempt to stop any progress on commuter rail.

    It should be noted Cr. Barker recently printed an opinion piece in the Waikato Times with incorrect and misleading information anti Waikato trains.

    Looks like this campaign for trains this year is going to the elections. Snails move faster than the EW councillors on the regional transport committee!

    Environment Waikato - the CAN’T DO COUNCIL?

  2. DanC says:

    So weird that you can’t take regular trains between Auckland and Hamilton. Come on NZ.

  3. Carl says:

    These guys ae idiots and this is where Pukekohe suffers, because half of our surrounding regions are in EW and some ARC…. they both need to pull there heads in and work together.

    Pukekohe can be the key link in this problem, because commuters from Pukekohe, Waiuku, Taukau and Drury can all win from this train service.

    it has to be pushed forward. The problem is with Pukekohe is that yes lots of people use the train, but there is bugger all bus feeder service to connect with it in the morning, and the lack of parking spaces makes it even worse.

    this train needs to happen, again i bring up the moot point of people who live in Pukekohe and study in Hamilton. if they could catch the train everyday and back, a lot of younger people may stay on in the area, rather than move down to hamilton.

    and in the future, that can only mean good things, for sports, work and living standards.

    Pukekohe is a very important 1/2 way point between both these growing cities, we are a service town for a reason.

    I think now is the time we also get included in somethings.

    I don’t mean to defer from the thread topic, but those extra possible 50-150 people that could possibly use the train either way to Pukekohe and back may help it get off the ground… and thats probably not even including people that might jump in Taukau or some of the smaller towns on the way to Hams… the likes of Mercer could easily have station, and from memory the town of Te Kawauta also has the train raining very close to its town centre… there could be so many rural spin off’s for this service.

    Plus once the NPC rugby season gets started, well all know that Pukekohe station is a stones throw from the ground and vice versa for Auckland v Waikato games…..

    I reckon they should trail this RWC train this season when Auckland Plays Waikato or Counties Plays Waikato/ Auckland…. its worth a shot, if people know they can catch a train and have a few beers at a game and not worry about getting picked up DIC… surely it will work?…

    am i right or just crazy?

  4. KEVIN S says:

    Now that EW figures from two conflicting reports have been blown out of the water through detailed analysis you’d think Waikato District Council would cotton onto this. One would think they’d know better than to turn down the proposal outright with their CEO stating by email ‘because WDC doesn’t have any evidence enough of those who signed the petition would use it’. That they are not prepared to work with others to establish accurate costings and dismiss the proposal outright is bizarre. Now they have been given a mathematical statement showing them this assumption cannot be substantiated by mathematical scrutiny. They have been provided figures originating from EW data that shows a threshold for train viability. The justifiable reasons to oppose the train without accurate costing have dried up. What remains is the bizarre, inconsistent, hypocritical, illogical assumptions that have no substantiable basis. The corner has been painted. Using the exptressway as an excuse to block rail development, in the face of 11500 supprters of rail, can now only be on the basis of lobbying by groups who use the road who don’t pay their full costs as rail does.

    It became obvious to me during the petition presentations that some key staff in transport infrastructure and funding organisations are opposed to the train service. I think the petition signals the start of public awareness there needs to be some revision of transport policy and funding to weed out self-interested decisions and create a balance in Waikato transport infrastructure providers and funders. They are proving hard to budge-and the excuses for opposing the train at least for a trial period are fast drying up.

  5. Jon R says:

    I would have to agree with Kevin S. The excuses for opposing the rail services, even a rail trial, are fast becoming a joke. Not one single reason given is watertight.In fact excuses from Environment Waikato, Waikato District Council and Hamilton National Party MP and anti commuter rail fanatic David Bennett sink faster than the titanic - that’s how full of holes they are.

    Environment Waikato - the CAN’T DO COUNCIL!

  6. Kelly says:

    I would actually live in the Waikato if there was a decent train service between Hamilton and Auckland. It would have all the benefits for me of a city wage with lower living costs.

  7. Suzie says:

    It’s a shame that David isn’t like his brother Tom who has done a lot to improve train services in Auckland through his legal expertise and common sense approach to public transport.

  8. Anon says:

    I read this book about a young man was sent to Auckland to where he would begin studying. What’s funny is that the story said he caught a train about 2kms north of the City Center in Hamilton and arrived at the old Beach Road Station in Auckland?


Leave a Comment


XHTML: You can use these tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>