Long Haul Tuakau Service?


The ARC transport committee has taken up chair Mike Lee’s suggestion to recommend investigation of a ‘long haul’ service from Tuakau to Huapai direct with transfer to Britomart at Newmarket.

It would be a two way peak hour diesel service to and from Huapai in the north west of the region to Pukekohe in the south - and perhaps further.
With ARC close to closing its doors, the investigation will be done by the new Auckland Transport body.
The suggestion arose during the debate about a Britomart service to Huapai early next year when new timetable changes are made. The suggestion is for hourly peak and 2 hourly interpeak services to Huapai.
The committee recommended the new Auckland super council and Auckland Transport investigate this but also passed a resolution for those bodies to “investigate a strategic approach to expanding commuter rail by scheduling long haul rail services from Huapai to Tuakai, enabling transfers to Britomart at Newmarket.
One councillor, Bill Burrill, wanted his vote against it recorded.
The train would run all the way from Huapai to Tuakau while at the same time a similar train would leave Tuakau bound for Huapai with transfers at Newmarket, so bypassing Britomart which opens up some interesting possibilities.
Mike Lee says it enables an extension of commuter rail services to potential new markets and at the same time solves two worrying strategic weaknesses in our Auckland rail system, capacity constraints at Britomart and the need for western trains to reverse at Newmarket (“since the idiotic destruction of Kingdon Street station last Christmas”).

Tuakau rally

The concept could be extended to Waimauku in the north and Pokeno and Drury in the south.

Based on the Wellington experience we are told that such a service would be relatively economic to run,” says Mr Lee.

“Wellington experts believe there are likely to be a high number of long distance tickets (at higher prices); a stable patronage base (regular clients on monthly passes); ability to cherry-pick the best stops - therefore fewer stops and fewer acceleration/de-acceleration cycles and therefore lower maintenance costs.”

You can read Mike Lee’s argument here
The idea sprung from a CBT discussion, that group involved actively in promoting a Waikato commuter service and last week organising sit in rallies at stations like Tuakau.

Mike Lee envisages being used either be a refurbished Silver Fern or a ‘Capital Connection’/Wairarapa SW type service.




  1. Paul says:

    Yip, nice idea

    Will local services get in the way of an express service?

  2. Andy says:

    Without thinking about the logistics I really like the idea of a service where people living to in the west can commute directly to any of the stations on the Southern Line and vice versa.

  3. Nick R says:

    Paul, the current timetable has a regular service on the Western line every 15 minutes at peak, so with the right timing it should be able to slot between two without much problem.

    Andy, they already can: it just requires a fairly awkward transfer at Newmarket.

  4. rtc says:

    This wouldn’t be an express merely a diesel hauled train with regular stopping patterns, would be a great addition to the network and would remove the need for diesels to be in the Britomart station as well as perhaps needing shuttles at either end, i.e. people could still catch a train all the way in from Waitakere and Huapai when electrification is complete.

  5. Carl says:

    ^ what you said on the last bit, because there is no electrification for Pukekohe on the plans and Tuakau is not “in theory” Waikato not auckland so they’ll never get any power down there.

    its funny because of the mention of Drury and other stations, I sent them a massive email about this idea ( south not north ) about 5 years ago. I got laughed off.

    well i can say now its great to see they are actually thinking about it, pity its taken them so damn long!

  6. rtc says:

    Admittedly 5 years ago the train system was in a mess and was close to being shut down, so it was no surprise you were laughed off ;-)

    The current plan is for shuttles at each end of the wires, this long haul could in effect negate the need for them.

  7. Carl says:

    shuttles at each end of the wires is bullshit. so people from Pukekohe and Tuakau would have to switch trains “in theory” at Papakura.

    whats the bet the trains don’t connect then people will just get back in there cars again.

    its set up to fail.

    electric to Tuakau, do it while every other area and station is doing it, don’t do a 1/2 pie job.

    either do the whole lot or don’t do it at all.

    Perth took a massive gamble with the massive massive mandurah line they were told it would be a waste of time, a failed idea. Yet know in the morning you scramble for a seat.

    best idea ever and its about the same distance and travel time to the that of Pukekohe and Tuakau. it needs to be done


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