Hamilton -Auck Rail Green Light


A Hamilton to Auckland commuter rail service has been given the green light by the multiagency working party investigating it for the Waikato regional council.

Trains would run from Frankton railway station in Hamilton and via The Strand to Newmarket in Auckland at peak times. An off-peak service could operate between Frankton in Hamilton and Britomart railway station in Auckland.

A new  station would be built at The Base, the shopping centre on the corner of Te Rapa Road & Avalon Drive,.

The trains would stop at stations in Huntly, Te Kauwhata, Tuakau, Papatoetoe  and Newmarket.

Fares could cost up to $24 one way, with the trip from Hamilton to Auckland taking approximately two hours.

A 96-passenger Silver Fern railcar would be used. The group believes there could be approximately 130 passengers a day.

Auckland ratepayers will be asked to contribute and Waikato ratepayers will now be consulted as they wil have to pay through rates.

The Government is not funding it.

Hamilton residents may soon get to Auckland by rail

The working party comprises representatives from Waikato Regional Council, Auckland Council, Hamilton City Council, Waipa District Council and Waikato District Council, as well as members representing the NZ Transport Agency, KiwiRail, Auckland Transport and Campaign for Better Transport.

Working party chairman Norm Barker said: “Today’s decisions mark a significant milestone for this group, which has taken into consideration the results of a community survey, as well as volumes of information and the findings of extensive research.

“These recommendations have not been made without substantial consultation, discussion and consideration by the working party,” Cr Barker said.

“However, this is far from a done deal. We’re recommending the preferred service option be taken to the public by the Waikato regional, Hamilton city, Waipa and Waikato district councils for feedback, so the community will have its opportunity to have a say.

“Combined with the investigations undertaken over the past year, it will inform decisions to be made by the councils as part of their Long Term Plan considerations next year.”

If endorsed by the public, details for the implementation of the service would need to be worked through before the service would begin.

“We’re also carrying out further work to show the economic and social benefits this service would provide to Auckland – reducing congestion, improving road safety and providing additional services for their commuters too,” Cr Barker said.

Council be approached to contribute funding to the proposed service.

The working party recommendations included:

  • Auckland Council be approached to contribute funding to the proposed service.
  • That the proposed two year pilot trial rail service proceed to public consultation through the 2012-2022 Long Term Plans of all partner councils.
  • That a funding application, including a full business case, be prepared by 15 October 2011 for the 2012-2022 Regional Land Transport Programme.
  • That a targeted differential rate be levied by the Waikato Regional Council for the proposed service.
  • Hamilton city and Waikato district councils take responsibility for any necessary upgrades to train stations prior to the start-up of the proposed service.

Well done to Jon Reeves and the others who have campaigned hard for it.




  1. The Trickster says:

    Awesome work.

    Might actually be able to see my folks up here again as they refuse to drive up here, and I could not for a second imagine them using an intercity bus. A train though, definitely.

  2. Gary says:

    Why is it that Auckland Rate payers are being asked to subsidise this???

  3. chrisr says:

    As an Auckland ratepayer already angered by the prposed reduction in commuter trains for the RWC, this makes me even more angry.

    There is no reason for Auckland ratepayers to be paying anything for this train.

  4. Andrew says:

    I’d rather be paying for this train than see it not run at all, but I guess that’s just me being stupidly altruistic?

    If we want to build towards a world class transit system, regional rail is a piece of that, and if the Govt refuses to fund it and you don’t want the council to either, then who will?

  5. Joshua says:

    I guess the rail trips will take cars off Auckland’s roads, so that’s the main obvious justification.

    I think reverse trips (Akl - Ham in later morning & Ham-Akl in mid afternoon would also benefit Aucklanders.

  6. Newnewt says:

    Good luck - this service is going to need it in spades. Using The Strand station will put it at a great disadvantage to start with, and last time I was on it, the Silver Fern felt like a (very quiet) antique.

  7. Cam says:

    I’m still skeptical as to how viable a service terminating at the Strand will be. Time will tell I suppose.

  8. Luke says:

    Well, I can’t wait for this. Those fairs are definitely worth it! We often drive up to Auckland, and have to pay parking in the city, which is ridiculously expensive by Hamilton standards. That, combined with petrol, easily equals these fares. Plus, it’s great if we want to go the the airport, and not have to pay parking there - just train up, then catch the airport bus (and hopefully the airport train before too long!)

  9. geoff_184 says:

    So if Waikato residents want to go to Pukekohe or Papakura, they will still need to drive. Brilliant eh!

  10. Roger says:

    @ Luke, airport buses leave Papatoetoe station every 30 minutes, seven days a week. This would be quicker than a bus from the city.

  11. Finn says:

    What about a stop at Ngaruawahia? Thats a big enough town for station, its even bigger than Te Kauwhata(?). They should also consider a stop at Taupiri.

  12. geoff_184 says:

    Ngaruawahia has a substantial residential area, but no stop. The Base has no residential area, but it gets a stop.

    Pukekohe and Papakura, despite being significant destinations for Waikato residents, also do not get stops.

    Those lucky enough to get onboard will then be dumped at the Strand, even though Newmarket makes much more sense, as trains and buses from Newmarket can take you into the CBD faster than a walk from the Strand.

    Hopefully they’ll rethink all of the above. If they want a second stop in Hamilton, then ditch the Base, and go with Claudelands, where the people actually live!

  13. Swan says:

    If it’s going to take 2hrs, it is no faster than the coach. And that’s before the Waikato expressway is built. What’s the point?

  14. Jacky says:

    Hmm sounds like a very good thing coming up…
    It will be create competition along with the bus operators… $24 for one way I think it is a very good deal…

    Make it with Snapper/HOP card facilities available, I am sure we will see Auckland Transport fly even further


  15. Bevan says:

    The post states the service will go via The Strand to Newmarket. I take it that means using the eastern line, but terminating in Newmarket? Or was the post meant to read “via Newmarket to The Strand”?
    Newmarket would be a much more sensible terminus than The Strand if Britomart is definitely too full.

  16. Bevan says:

    The post states the service will go via The Strand to Newmarket. I take it that means using the eastern line, but terminating in Newmarket? Or was the post meant to read “via Newmarket to The Strand”?
    Newmarket would be a much more sensible terminus than The Strand if Britomart is definitely too full.
    A stop at papatoetoe to transfer to airport bus would be sensible.

  17. Simon C says:

    I don`t mind paying for something Chris if it gives me more options to travel between the two cities. And the service is not only for Waikato people. And Swan, give me a nice train ride any day over a coach.

    I do hope Ngaruawahia is made a stop as there`s been a lot of support from there for the service. The Base is a popular shopping stop for Waikato people coming outside Hamilton so would probably be popular for the off peak ex Auckland services into Hamilton. The mall management is keen to build a station so let`s be thankful they`re a lot more positive to trains than the likes of Westfield.

    And there should be an integrated ticket with the link from Newmarket to the city.

    Again people do try and be a little more positive and a little less skeptical.

  18. Andu says:

    Cool! I really want this to go ahead. I’d love to travel to Hamilton by train.
    For people who don’t like the terms and conditions of getting this financed, we just have to remember that in this political climate it is a nightmare getting money out of central govt, so if this is the best we can get for now, we should go for it and be supportive.
    If we want better funding options we must kick National out.
    I agree that the appropriate stops need to be carefully considered.

  19. geoff_184 says:

    “I’d love to travel to Hamilton by train”


    “we just have to remember that in this political climate it is a nightmare getting money out of central govt, so if this is the best we can get for now”

    It’s not a case of the best we can get. This is actually the desired first choice of those who campaigned for the train. They specifically campaigned for a subsidized service, and did not campaign for any alternative model.

    “If we want better funding options we must kick National out.”

    Labour is no better. Don’t forget, when the Overlander was on the chopping block, Labour rejected all requests to fund it. Only the Greens have a pro-passenger rail policy, but they will not lead government in our lifetime.

  20. Pim says:

    I think the reason why it’s so slow is because of the crappy speed limits. It never really goes anything faster than 100. If it wants to be successful, the speed is definitely a huge factor. If they end up electrifying papakura to hamilton, they should straighten some sections of the track so that we can have higher speeds.

  21. Carl says:

    I don’t want to pay for this, i dont want to pay for that.

    get a brain, nothing will ever take off if someone doesn’t pay for it.

    Everybody who lives and works in Pukekohe pays for your train line in “Auckland”.

    we aren’t Auckland…. but we pay & we didn’t complain, so grow up.

    I’m not really happy this train doesn’t stop at Puke, its a bit strange to be honest.

    When are they going to list the times? I hope this train also runs weekends and late night friday. I hope they also make a connection to Waikato Uni.

    The Base clearly gets a station because its a major shopping area, much like Silva Park, I hope the company that owns that shopping park contributes to the station costs.

    Great work to all the people who picketed for this.

  22. geoff_184 says:

    “nothing will ever take off if someone doesn’t pay for it.”

    Not true, the Capital Connection took off, without a cent from ratepayers or taxpayers. That’s because farebox income is sufficient to cover running costs. The subsidy sought for the Hamilton train is to provide a profit to KiwiRail, and to cover track access charges, for which the railcar will be charged the same as a large freight train. It’s a rip off that will ultimately doom the service.

    “Everybody who lives and works in Pukekohe pays for your train line in “Auckland””

    Pukekohe pays, because the trains run to Pukekohe. Simple!

  23. geoff_184 says:

    “they should straighten some sections of the track so that we can have higher speeds”

    The line already has long straight sections, that would be suitable for 160km/h running. The reason it doesn’t happen is because for high speeds the track maintenance costs are huge, and could never be justified for a small passenger operation, so maintenance is kept at an affordable level, and speeds set accordingly.

  24. Martin says:

    @ Geoff 184

    The platform is still there. I can still remember the station burning down in the late 80s. Just Throw up one of those rubbish bus shelters and Ngaruawahia would be back in business although I’d love to see a replica of the old station or an attractive new one built.

  25. Andu says:

    Hi geoff_184
    I’ve caught the Overlander before to Wellington, and aware it stops in Hamilton, surely the more services the better though?
    Sure the campaigners want a subsidised service….why is this bad if it’s beneficial to people in both regions? Especially considering the insane amount of tax payer money that goes to roads.
    I disagree that at this point in history Labour would be ”no better” than National, and I’m going to give my vote to the Greens anyway :) Maybe they will never lead government, but they may be in a much better position to influence transport policy.

  26. Carl says:

    @ Geoff, right then, so this train runs to Auckland so the persons or persons complaining about paying for it can STFU!!!!

    it brings people to the city who spend money.

    it also in turn provides a platform the other way around.

    the idea of a intercity train service is tops. but people already having a cry about paying for it need to get a life.

    the sooner this gets going and then goes a little further the better.

  27. Patrick R says:

    I too am skeptical about the Strand… it is no kind of destination. Newmarket is a good hub for further destinations, [But is it planned to use the Eastern?] ideally with a stop at Papakura and Ngaruwahia.

    Fair bit of risk if this is done half-pie.

    Geoff, I agree that the last Labour gov was poor for transit except for a couple things, the purchase of KR and Project Da etcrt. But they now have really good policies for both PT and freight and are light years better than National. Such a shame that it took throwing them out [and some people moving on] before they got the message. Perhaps we should just changing govs till they listen?

  28. Pim says:

    Once we have electric trains, I think that there might be a little more room in Britomart, but I do agree if that isn’t an option, have it stop at Newmarket. I think the reason that they might go through the eastern line is that 1) There may be a third rail there in future and 2) When they get into Newmarket they can just keep going straight to Hamilton again, kinda like a loop.

  29. DanC says:

    Great news. Get this up and running and evolve it to stop at further stations. I think papakua and Newmarket are musts. Less people in cars means less deaths on roads, less pollution and more travel options.

  30. Antz says:

    I agree with some of the commenters on here saying that Newmarket would be a better terminus than The Strand if Bitromart can’t be used, but I guess The Strand would have to do for now. It may be half-arsed, but it is better than nothing I guess.

  31. BD says:

    Why can’t the underground station in Hamilton CBD be reopened or at least be upgraded to a high standard that attracts people to use the rail network around Hamilton. They should create a commuter rail system like they have in Auckland and Wellington. I don’t mean by just running a few trains between Hamilton and Auckland which is a good way to start of with I guess, I mean by upgrading some stations, even building new ones to the east of Hamilton in the Claudelands.

    It would be nice if the residents in Hamilton could get around the city using the train like they have in Auckland and Wellington. Hamilton has the North Island Main Trunk line running through the city and the East Coast Main line that goes east towards Claudlands Tauranga and Morrinsville.

    They could upgrade the underground train station in Hamilton CBD into a Britomart like train station with all rail lines feeding into the city. They should also build a new train line that goes North-East to the city and also reopen the Cambridge Branch so people can commute to Hamilton by train.

    This is what I hope for in the future as Hamilton’s population is growing rapidly it deserves to have a decent rail system that the people can use to get around.

  32. geoff_184 says:

    “Sure the campaigners want a subsidised service….why is this bad if it’s beneficial to people in both regions?”

    Because a subsidy isn’t necessary to run a train, therefore ratepayers are not actually paying for the train. Secondly, their are unecessary costs being added to the service. It’s essentially reckless spending. It’s interesting to note that most people asked said they did not support the use of rates to pay for the train.

    “I disagree that at this point in history Labour would be ”no better” than National”

    Labour has a proven track record of not funding passenger rail. They rejected requests to fund the Waikato Connection, Bay Express, Kaimai Express and Geyserland. They rejected requests and pleas from councils to fund the Southerner. When the Overlander was on the chopping block, and the New Zealand public were wanting it saved, Labour rejected all requests to fund it. At least National are paying for new carriages. People who think Labour likes passenger trains are ignoring history.

    “but people already having a cry about paying for it need to get a life.”

    But they won’t be paying for it, as that isn’t what the subsidy is for. Fares will pay for the running costs.

    The Capital Connection is a far more expensive train to run, yet it was started, grown, and given new carriages, all without a subsidy. By comparison, the Hamilton train has much lower costs. It doesn’t need a subsidy.

    Those who push for passenger trains to be subsidized are essentially adopting the National Party rail policy. Ironic eh?!

  33. Chris says:

    Beijing–Shanghai High-Speed Railway. Do it.

  34. Jon Reeves says:

    Geoff, again stuck on one track, uses mythical information to back his personal one eyed point of view.

    He says “It’s interesting to note that most people asked said they did not support the use of rates to pay for the train.” Actually, 84% of Hamilton ratepayers surveyed in the 2009 annual survey by the Hamilton City Council support funding the service.

    I would say buying back KiwiRail was a huge undertaking by the Labour Govt. That along with $600 million Project Dart commitment was the turn around in rail for New Zealand. They did well compared to National’s Chinese locos, rolling stock and a hand full of TranzScenic cars ( a downsized order compared to the original plan).

    Quite simply I believe we can all agree, Geoff is wrong on a number of one eyed points of view.

    As far as transport related issues stand I cannot see any benefit of having a National Party Government elected again. Even the OECD have criticised this Goverments transport plan based on Roads of InSignificance.

  35. Patrick R says:

    Geoff, do read my post above, yes Nat + Lab were both in the pockets of the road lobby, but now National [+ACT] are left there alone.

    The next change of gov will be a Lab/Green coalition and although Joyce will rush to pre-spend as many billions we don’t have on his mates with RoNS as he can, that will be the end of that sad experiment. No matter how disappointing the last Lab gov was for transport their current policies are light years ahead of anything that will ever happen under this Nat admin.

  36. Bruce says:

    I think this train service sounds like a great idea. But why would it not stop in Pukekohe? If its going through the area just makes sense to add more customers (revenue) to the service by having it stop.

  37. Cheryl says:


    The rail tracks in Cambridge were taken out over ten years ago. It was never a commuter service and as far as I’m aware it was only ever used for commercial purposes.

    I agree though, that Hamilton should seriously consider investing in making the current underground CBD train station usable.

  38. Max says:

    Yes, please pay this from my rates! It will end up, pro rata, about 44c a year (I am making this up, but that’s the level of it, I am quite certain), and for the added step towards a city that is not an embarrassment in terms of transport, that is something I am happy to pay.

  39. geoff_184 says:

    Jon, read page 11 of the market research results at http://www.waikatoregion.govt.nz/PageFiles/18093/1794762RailSurvey.PDF

    Only 39% support use of rates for the train. Of that 39%, 85% support spending $15-20 per year.

    So 32% support the proposed funding, not 84% as you state.

    Jon R wrote: “That along with $600 million Project Dart commitment was the turn around in rail for New Zealand. They did well compared to National’s Chinese locos, rolling stock and a hand full of TranzScenic cars ( a downsized order compared to the original plan).”

    National has spent more on rail than Labour did, even including the buy back price. But we are not discussing the wider picture, we are discussing long distance passenger rail, for which Labour rejected every single request for funding. Only National has put money into the long distance passenger business.

    Patrick R wrote: “The next change of gov will be a Lab/Green coalition and although Joyce will rush to pre-spend as many billions we don’t have on his mates with RoNS as he can, that will be the end of that sad experiment”

    Most of the RoNS are Labour projects. That’s why they were quick off the block, as Labour had most of the planning done. All of Auckland’s motorway projects, including Greenhithe, Hobsonville, CMJ, Mt Roskill and Manukau, were Labour projects.

    The only motorway National has proceeded with is Waterview, and even that was a Labour project!

    Labour is overwhelmingly the motorway party.

  40. Kon says:

    Touche, geoff_184

  41. Clayton says:

    Ok, Some of you guys have jumped to conclusions already.

    The reason this service states it stops in Te Kauwhata, Huntly etc is because NO OTHER TRAIN SERVICE DOES AT ALL!

    The Overlander goes straight through but stops in Papakura, Pukekohe etc- do you hear Te Kauwhata complaining?!

    Seriously, some of you need to get the full story before crying.

  42. Simon C says:

    Off topic but “National has spent more on rail than Labour…” I`m no big fan of Labour but that`s the biggest amount of BS you have ever written Geoff. Don`t tell me you`ve been brainwashed by repeatedly hearing Steven Joyce say “We have spent 1.5 billion on Auckland rail”!

    Back on topic. However much we may like to have a non-subsidised service from the start Geoff, you just don`t seem to get the fact that Kiwirail is an organisation under a huge amount of pressure from an anti rail transport Minister of Transport and government to turn a tidy profit or else. Being under the minister`s microscope leaves no room for trying new enterprises unless there is a 100% guarantee they will make a profit as per Herr Dictator of Tranport`s orders. It is an extremely risk averse organisation. Please try to understand that. Under a more supportive government and enviroment I would expect the company to feel confident about establishing services like this. But at the moment they simply cannot afford to trip up and risk the wrath of Mr Joyce. Even the capital connection service which you have been fond of mentioning has been in the firing line recently and is still not 100% safe from being axed longterm. A non-subsidised service is simply NOT going to happen in such a hostile political climate as we have at the moment. If you think it can, you`re dreaming.

    If in the short term it takes this to get the service up and running then I`m happy to open my wallet. I do agree there should be pressure on Kiwirail from all if after 3 or 4 years the service is doing well and there is less political pressure from above for a rationalisation of how the service is funded and I hope the working group has already discussed this scenario with Kiwirail and made them aware of future expectations.

  43. Patrick R says:

    Ok Geoff, so you’re one of those sad contradictions: a Tory who supports PT. Well you’re going to have to do better than make stuff up to try to live with yourself. It is irrelevant what policy was in the past, we can’t change that, the point I’ve made twice and you have stupidly ignored is that NOW labour actually has really exciting policy for using the NLTF to change the mad imbalance in transport spend. Anyhow you exaggerate Labour’s past position, in fact they sort of dithered; they were neither whole heartedly pro rail and PT nor as crazily road focussed as Joyce is. And sure they disappointed me then, but there’s no need to make up stories about this… can’t really figure what your agenda is but you ought to try to stay within reasonable distance of reality.

  44. geoff_184 says:

    @Patrick - Why do you call me a Tory? I only ever vote Greens. Are you one of those people that shoots the messenger when they provide info you don’t like? You say I’ve made stuff up, but you don’t say what.

    All the motorways built in Auckland over the last decade were Labour projects, and all the requests for funding of passenger rail were denied by Labour. Those are facts, as much as you may want to deny it.

    “Anyhow you exaggerate Labour’s past position, in fact they sort of dithered; they were neither whole heartedly pro rail and PT nor as crazily road focussed as Joyce is”

    Labour not crazily road focussed??? Pull the other one! They spent billions on building new motorways. CMJ, Greenhithe, Upper Harbour Bridge, Mt Roskill, Manukau, Hobsonville, Hutt Valley upgrade, and a raft of expressways around the country, including Napier-Hastings and all those motorway-standard routes around Tauranga?
    They also wanted Waterview, and in fact National had to downgrade it, as they believed it was too big.

    Seriously, you need to read up up Labours performance record. All of SJ’s roading projects combined don’t come close to what Labour built.

    @SimonC - Not BS. Fact. National has spent considerably more on rail than Labour. The $750 for the Turnaround Plan alone outstrips the Labour buy-back price, and that buy back price didn’t even give us anything new. If you add up the total allocations of funding broken down on a year by year basis, you’ll see that National are spending about three times as much on rail as Labour did.

    That’s not to say Labour wouldn’t have spent more had they stayed in power, but the point remains, that neither of the two main parties stands out as being more pro-rail than the other.

    If labour has changed it’s view to a more pro-rail stance then that’s great, but at the end of the day actions speak louder than words.

    You’ll note that Labour have so far refused to publicly state that they will fund the CBD rail link. I think you need to learn the difference between talk and actually commiting $$$.

  45. Andu says:

    ”You’ll note that Labour have so far refused to publicly state that they will fund the CBD rail link. I think you need to learn the difference between talk and actually commiting $$$.”

    Well that is true.

    I still say whatever issues to be grappled with we must support this service and send a message to those in power.

    Now geoff184 has challenged all of us to refute his arguments. Who can do it!?!? :)
    Don’t forget to cite your sources !

  46. geoff_184 says:

    I think only the Greens have publicly stated they will fund or part fund the CBD rail link. That’s why I find it so odd that some say we need a Labour government for it to be built. Labour don’t appear to be sold on it anymore than National is.

  47. tim says:

    Lots of kinks to iron out around stations to feed the service such as what about the Hamilton CBD station and possibly another one to the east but some great progress being made here. Kudos to all involved!

  48. Jon Reeves says:

    Geoff - again your anti commuter rail stance has cracks and you are proven grossly incorrect.

    According to the most recent Waikato Regional Council Survey of November 2010 85% of those surveyed agreed to paying $15 to $20 in rates for communter trains. See section 8.9 of the survey results.


  49. Patrick R says:

    geoff, fair enough, Labour have been shockers, and I agree the Greens have had the best policy the longest, and have been the only party to support. But, happily, this has changed, and we so need this, because, as I said to get these policies enacted we need more than one sub 10% party to have them:


    And looking forward things are perilous for PT funding, look at that GPS, so you may be angry with Labour and disappointed, as I am, but you cannot claim that National are ‘better’ with any accuracy. The main parties have been Dumb and Dumber. The vital issue is the future.

    Remember Joyce is only interested in hacking KR to a small rump of freight routes so it can turn a paper profit and be flicked off again. Sees no value in the rail network as a resource for the nation, in fact his second round of RoNS track along side the rail network and can be seen as a 20 billion dollar spend to kill rail off.

  50. geoff_184 says:

    @Jon R - The November 2010 report I quoted is very clear. 39% supported use of rates for the train, of which 85% agreed to paying $15-20 per year.

    You are jumping straight to the 85% figure, and therefore quoting it out of context, but then I’m sure you know that.

    Anti-commuter rail??? I am the one who thinks NZ should have more passenger trains like the Capital Connection. You are the one pushing for the more expensive, burdensome funding system that would be unaffordable in most parts of the country, and therefore is a model that will hinder passenger train growth, not help it.

    It’s amazing how you regard railfans as anti-rail because they refuse to see unecessary cost additions as being a good thing.

    Your view that a high cost structure should be adopted is actually in line with that of minister Joyce.

  51. Jon R says:

    As noted in previous conversations on this topic Geoff. You want a low quality service which does not offer the people of the Waikato Region regular passenger services which offer an alternative to driving.

    We on the other hand, and fully supported by the people of the Waikato, want more than one service per day.

    Geoff - poor quality service( like the Helensville experiment).

    Jon, CBT and Waikato - higher quality service which offers transport choices and has more chance of being successful.

    Did you not learn anything from the Helensville experiment?

  52. geoff_184 says:

    The Helensville experiment was a subsidized service (and brought to you by Mike Lee), so is in line with your thinking. It wasn’t the funding structure that was at fault (although the high cost of the subsidy ultimately destroyed it), but rather was just poor timetable planning.

    The lesson learned from that experiment is that subsidized trains are too expensive to keep operating with low patronage. The high cost destroys the service before it can evolve.

    The Capital Connection only has one train a day, but it attracts lots of people. It’s high quality. It was able to grow over time because it wasn’t burdened with a high subsidy.

    Hamilton-Auckland should have the same high quality service as the Capital Connection, and funded the same way, i.e., the costs are internalized, not externalized at second-party commercial rates.

    The government’s view is that the costs should be externalized and charged to the second party at commercial rates. You support that. I don’t.

  53. Giel says:

    interesting debate and Geoff is basically right on all counts as far as I can see. Call me a Green Tory or what you like. Actually I am not necessarily Tory anyway just not convinced that historically Labour have delivered on Rail long term in this country. Looking back over the last 70 years seems to prove otherwise. Bluntly over that time if you add it all up National have delivered more for Rail - ignoring the 2008 election “ideological burp” bribe of buying back Tolls NZ above rail business. Who knows what National would have done and how that may have worked. Remember Jim Bolger was a former National (Tory) PM and was a pro Rail chairman of KR for its first two years! Also it was the “Tory” big businesses that forced Labour to invest in Freight Rail and buyback the rail network in 2003 ie. Mainfreight, Fonterra, BHP NZ Steel etc etc. Anyone here remember the Rail Freight Action Group - biggest bunch of Tory big businesses around that insisted Labour buy back the Track of Tranz Rail in 2003. Labour didn’t want to do it but big business forced their hand. The RMTU union campaign to buy back the Track, (while useful to Labour to convince the prolatariat) had little to do with it in reality.

    I am perturbed how some seem to think that Labour are rail friendly - Greens are yes but Labour? Geoff is absolutely right on historical facts and Labour were openly hostile to long distance rail passenger and it was under them that the Geyserland Express, Kaimai Express, Bay Express, Southerner and Northerner all closed down. And they wanted the Overlander closed in 2006 - Cullen said as much. Oh yes those services might have been privately run for part of that time but surely that is irrelevant as a subsidy is a subsidy - to a private firm or a Crown owned entity. A subsidy was asked for by the Operators to continue those services but declined by Labour. Labour was hostile to Long Distance Passenger Rail and with people like King, Anderton (he is effectively Labour and is so openly hostile to Rail it is shamefull he calls himself a socialist and he was very complicit in the Southerner closure in 2002) I don’t know if Labour have really changed that much. Happy for it to be proved otherwise. It is more the Greens that are and continue to be the only pro Rail / Public Transport party. They need a strong voice which ever of the two main parties is in office.

    Now to be fair there are some very strong Labour types - Mike Lee, Len Brown and Bob Parker for starters who are pro Rail and PT so maybe there is a sea change in their ranks (they are our heroes I am sure we agree there) but sadly it doesn’t seem to permeate very far into the parliamentary Labour party.

    Anyway moving on - the amount of complexity in getting this new Hamilton service up and running seems very drawn out but that is the way it is today and the price to pay in terms of consensus to get sustainable progress. I look forward to a good outcome in due course.

  54. Patrick R says:

    Giel and Geoff, there is some wisdom in walking backwards; you can focus on where you’ve been, but you are also likely to be tripped up. Much as the past is regrettable no party can enforce their policy for changing it, so perhaps it is worth turning around and looking ahead now and then:


    Again I agree that only the Greens have been rational and votable for in transport in general and rail in particular, but now, happily, that has changed.
    And it is a bloody big shame that it took Labour losing power to wake up, but we did get a few little scraps under the last gov. that in Auckland at least are the foundation of our current growth. [These would never have happened under Brash]

    But now the real issue is to deal with the bloody big road block in front of us, and I think you will agree that isn’t the Labour Party.

    Onward! [As it says on the bas relief decorations at the sadly violated old AK station]

  55. Geoff says:

    Patrick, there is a big difference between a blog entry and official party policy. The same type of talk used to come from individual Labour party members throughout the 2000′s, but as I wrote earlier, actions speak louder than words.

    You’ll note that Phil’s blog refers to the National Party RoNS. He forgot to mention that all of the RoNS were Labour projects that National adopted.

    In the case of Waterview, National downsized the Labour plans to what is now proceeding.

  56. Karlos says:

    The decision not to include a Pukekohe stop on the Hamilton - Auckland service is a poor one. Any extra services to / from Pukekohe would be welcomed. And the time added to stop there would be minimal compared to total journey time.

    And as it already stops at Tuakau, it could provide a good local link between there and Pukekohe as well. The rail line between the two towns is much shorter than any of the road links.

  57. Peter says:

    How about starting the service at Cambridge and have a station in the middle of the Hamilton CBD as the track already goes under K Mart and the Central city mall. Great place for a station. that way commuting from Cambridge to Hamitlon by train adds extra revenue.

  58. Geoff says:

    There’s no railway into Cambridge these days, and the line to Hautapu is something like 25km/h, so the entire line would need to be replaced.

    Then the train would depart Cambridge at 5:20am, and return at 8:30pm, so too early and too late for Hamilton commuters.

    A Cambridge line would only be worthwhile as part of some plan to give Hamilton a proper suburban rail service, not for a once a day run at inconvenient times.

  59. Nick R says:

    Ignoring the timing issue, what about Morrinsville or Te Awamutu then?


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