Hamilton Plan Shows Brit Is Chocka


The illogical thinking in the Government slamming of the CBD Rail Link case is highlighted in the argument that Britomart is not going to reach capacity.
Putting aside my own train journey today in which the train stopped outside Britomart and inside the tunnel, both times to await a train to leave, things turn even worse next February.
The planned implementation of the new timetable after the Christmas rail closedown includes 10-minute peak train services on the Western Line and the opening of the new Manukau Line to passenger service.
This new timetable will use up the last remaining slots into Britomart and Newmarket stations at peak times.
Auckland Transport says that until the construction of any City Rail Link, there will be no further spare peak slots at Britomart, even for additional peak Auckland urban train services.
And that’s why any Hamilton to Auckland service would have to terminate at the Parnell Strand, not at Britomart and be a Hamilton to Papakura/ Silver Fern service/Strand service as detailed on AKT some weeks back.
This would operate between Hamilton and Papakura with a cross-platform transfer to an Auckland urban service at Papakura; or between Hamilton and The Strand with a possible transfer to a dedicated bus service to the Auckland City Centre.
The working party looking into the proposal favoured this option saying this service could run non-stop in Auckland but it would need to follow an all-stops urban service for at least part of the way, even if the train from Hamilton is exactly on time.
However, a delayed service would have to be held until such time as a slot opened up in the
peak Auckland urban rail timetable and it may then have to follow an all-stops service.

So now we can forget that.

The Papakura/ Strand option  was considered to be the best option as:

  • The Silver Fern railcars are available now
  • Space is available at peak times at The Strand (but not at Britomart Station)
  • There is no requirement for passengers to change trains at Papakura
  • There would be lower initial capital costs as shorter platforms would suffice and there is no requirement for additional rolling stock.

The working party believes it would allow a limited service to start up initially at lower cost that, if successful, could be improved over time.

But the funding issue remains a big one.

The only current funding provision is $200,000 in Hamilton City Council’s Long Term Council Community Plan for station upgrade work.

A report to the Auckland Council on the issue says the service is expected to be fully funded by the Waikato as the NZTA has indicated that it will not subsidise this service. In other words Waikato people will have to pay for it through their rates. The Long Term Plan process for the Waikato councils will gauge public support for a rates increase to subsidise the operation of such a service.

So the final decisions rest on the outcome of the Waikato councils various long term plan processes. They will determine whether they make funding available in order to implement the final preferred option.

Staff from Waikato Councils’ have also been instructed to work on funding policy options for the service. These options will form part of the final recommendations report prepared by the Working Party.
And while Auckland Transport supports the idea, it has expressed concern that any commuter rail service from the Waikato serving passengers at Auckland stations could reduce the revenue that it receives from urban train services to these stations. This in turn could require additional funding from Auckland Council and NZTA.

A Hamilton to Auckland commuter rail service could begin operation in the 2012/13 financial year.

But and it is a big but - the report adds that is all subject to sufficient funding being included in those Council plans and a range of technical and operational issues being resolved.

in August or September a final recommendations report will be prepared and referred to all member Councils.

And from the history books:
A commuter rail service, known as the Waikato Connection, did operate a single weekday return
trip between Hamilton and the then Auckland Station (now known as The Strand Station) from
June 21 2000 until October 7 2001.
At the time of its cancellation, it was carrying an average of 129 passengers per trip, with the large majority of passengers boarding at either Pukekohe or Papakura. Only 31 passengers travelled the whole distance between Hamilton and Auckland,while 46 boarded at Pukekohe and 45 boarded at Papakura.
This service provided the first commuter rail connection between Pukekohe and Auckland. The day after the cancellation of the Waikato Connection, the then ARC contracted Tranz Metro (the then
Auckland urban rail operator) to run a single return service between Pukekohe and Auckland to
retain the commuter rail connection to Pukekohe.
There are now 20 return weekday services between Pukekohe and Britomart with 460 weekday passengers boarding at Pukekohe.




  1. Matt says:

    Sounds like something the NZTA should put funds towards, but, oh wait, the National Party-led national government doesn’t care about people in the Waikato either.

    Get rid of them this November.

  2. Cam says:

    This would be disasterous. If they are going to transfer to a suburban train they should not do it at all. The journey would take too long.

    This service would be very unattractive and you would get a similar result to 2001. This needs to be done when it can be done properly, otherwise another failure like 2001 would mean this would not be considered agian for many years.

  3. Jon Reeves says:

    Steven Joyce, the unelected National Party MP with possibly the most power in Govt, needs to go. He is illogical and corrupt in the way he thinks.

    A campaign in Auckland focusing on National’s poor record on new public transport investment will win over plenty, just like the huge majority of Aucklanders who support Mayor Len Brown’s vision.

    Steven Joyce has a vision of yesteryear and completely myopic in his thinking. He is blocking Auckland and the Waikato through not backing the City Rail Link. Furthermore he lies on TVNZ when mentioning that the BCR for his Holiday Highway is measured the same way as that for the city rail link.

    Who needs a lying Minister of Transport with too much history linked to the trucking lobby? Auckland and I would suggest NZ does not need him. Time to move the Nats out.

  4. Peter in Sydney says:

    A Hamilton to Auckland commuter rail service could begin operation in the 2012/13 financial year.

    As pointed out above, this service will be extremely unattractive unless places are provided to overtake the suburban trains. A third platform at connecting stations would allow the Hamilton service to run as a semi express service. As this will not happen any time soon I would suggest that the Silver Fern/s and any other serviceable railcarswill be needed to reduce overcrowding on the lead up to electrification.

  5. Kurt says:

    Having waited a number of times both outside and inside the tunnel at Britomart for a train or even two to go past only to find 2 or 3 empty platforms, I have concluded the coordination of train movements at Britomart really needs attention.

    There seems to be an obsession with running a particular destination from a particular platform rather than being totally flexible.

  6. DanC says:

    No you can’t have the CBD rail tunnel because it’s not needed.

    No you can’t run Hamilton to Auckland service to Britomart because it is full.

    ??? Huh? Govt???

  7. Jenny F says:

    DanC: Proves how stupid the Minister of Transport is. So pleased that I am not voting for the Nats this year as a protest.

    Mind you, I am also not keen on selling more of our assets off to foreign corporations. Our electricity is already too expensive as it is!

  8. Geoff says:

    @Peter in Sydney - I think KiwiRail is building a loop midway between Papakura and Wiri, and a third track near Otahuhu, as part of the electrification project. If so, it should be possible to have one or two opportunities for express services to overtake all-stoppers. Not perfect, but it would help.

    Regarding Britomart, perhaps officialdom should start taking seriously my suggestion of a surface line along the north side of Quay Street, to a surface island platform just short of the ferry terminal, opposite Britomart. Such a project would be in the “tens of millions”, and provide extra capacity for CBD train paths. Whether the tunnel is 10, 20 or 30 years away, it would be worth doing. AT could probably fully fund it.

  9. Luke says:

    The line is already there I thought, in the centre of the road at least. Port sidings still visible outside Countdown.
    More seriously building the first 500m or so of the CBDRL would have the same effect. Is cut and cover most of the way towards aotea so this could be built comparatively cheap, no TBM required.

  10. Robincole says:

    Has anyone thought of a cheaper loop?How about one that from Britomart goes under Queen St then curves round to the south recrossing Queen St between Wyndham and Victoria Sts, goes under the north end of Albert Park, then crosses over the top of Beach Rd, curves round to cross Parnell Rise alongside the existing bridge.This new pair of tracks would then run next to the existing tracks through a second Parnell tunnel as far as Newmarket Junction.This would allow Western Line trains to run through Britomart without reversing.An underground station could be built somewhere around Queen and Wyndham Sts.

  11. Luke says:

    @robin routes were studied extensively during the initial stages of the investigation, and the current one beats all proposals by a long stretch. Also need to note Newmarket is a constraint on trains, especially coming from the West.
    Also your loop as proposed doesnt offer any journey time savings or increased access to the city.
    Its definitely worth spending extra money to do the job properly.
    May be able to stage the project so the line south from Britomart to midtown is built first, allowing higher peak time frequency, as trains can park further down the tunnel, instead of taking up space exiting the tunnel.

  12. Matt L says:

    Robincole - your comment sounds a lot like one Colin Craig suggested during the election last year, here is a few reasons why wouldn’t be of any use.


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