Train To Helensville Sunday


There’s a rare chance to get a train to Helensville and back this weekend – or a train to Pukekohe on Sunday.

They’ll be running to help get kids to and from Farmers annual Santa parade which starts gathering momentum from 1pm in the CBD.

But for big people there’s a chance to sneak onto a train to Helensville and back.

All very 2009 for those of us who remember taking one of the regular daily trips.  Ironically it almost marks the anniversary of the end of the service which ended on Christmas eve 2009.

The first train leaves Britomart at 8.05am arriving at Helensville a long time later at 9.43am.

Then after stretching your legs on the platform you can return at 10am.

Helensville: This sign proved too optimistic as the service failed

The Sunday timetable is here



The last Helensville train

Pukekohe (and Southern Eastern) Sunday timetable is here





  1. Bryce says:

    At 1 hour 40 it is hardly surprising that the regular service failed to get the necessary support of the locals. I used to pass the train frequently (in the other direction) and noticed a lack of users. Does anyone have any data from when it was running?

  2. Jon C says:

    On average 43 passengers per day had travelled in total on the three daily services.

    Huapai has been the most popular station during the Helensville rail trial.

    The subsidy paid by the ratepayer and taxpayer per person per journey for this service was $45.72. This compared with a regional average of $5.02 per passenger per journey at the time.

  3. sooty says:

    say no more

  4. Bryce says:

    I think some line improvements to Huapai in order to speed up a possible service in conjunction with a park n ride (is there one there already?) would make that service pretty popular given the increased traffic volume that I have noticed from out there (no actual stats - just an observation).

  5. Rob says:

    Once the electric trains have been running for a year or more, the network should be extended to Huapai in 2015 as even on single track, there will still be enough passenger demand I believe. Penrose to Onehunga will remain single track and it has plenty of patronage. There are enough people living out Huapai / Kumeu way to justify running a daily Onehunga branch line-style service I’m sure of it.

    I can see that extending double tracking from Swanson to Huapai will be too costly so surely just upgrading (strengthening) the existing Swanson-Huapai single track (including track lowering work for the tunnel between Swanson & Waitakere and the SH16 bridge at Kumeu, installation of level crossing bells at currently 4 uncontrolled crossing points), upgrading of just the platforms at Waitakere and Kumeu (given Huapai and Kumeu’s close proximity, just having a station at Kumeu could well be enough to serve both communities) to take 3-car EMUs, plus the necessary signaling and traction work would be affordable / cost justifiable?

  6. Matt L says:

    Rob - I don’t think we should even have diesel services beyond Swanson come the electrics. Waitakere only has about 80 people use it a day and that number is falling, a bus would probably be better and I also can’t see Huapai providing enough patronage to justify an extension.

    Also Electrification was stopped at Swanson because it would cost to much to lower the tunnel between Swanson and Waitakere to allow the wires to go in.

  7. Giel says:

    Matt L is probably (sadly) right as the cost of running a diesel shuttle for the short run to Waitakere is unlikely to be worth it. The fact it currently runs there at all is an relic of history more than anything else. In History it was the only place that had facilities beyond Henderson to turn engines - it had a turntable. As for beyond there to Huapai the route is not direct enough by rail - far more direct and quicker into town via the new Motorway extension either via the Northshore or via the North Western Motorway (except if you are commuting to Henderson or maybe New Lynn). It may well be the end of an era post electrification as no doubt this small extension, being a discrete service, means it will come under the economic microscope.

  8. San Luca says:

    Any idea of costs?

  9. Geoff says:

    AT are not pulling out of Waitakere, as they have just built a park ‘n ride there. Most likely we’ll see a Huapai diesel shuttle from 2014, when the EMU timetable commences.

  10. Giel says:

    Geoff sorry to say but building a park and ride there means little. It is small and by that logic you would have said they would not pull out of Helensville as they spent a lot upgrading the three stations on that route. History is litered with examples of rail investments on lines not long before closures. I know it’s currently part of their proposed QTN but when someone looks at the numbers eyebrows will no doubt be raised unless there is a massive change in fortunes. Would like to think you are right but the reality will eventually most likely be compelling at least for a few years anyway. That’s not to say closure would be permanent.

  11. Carl says:

    should be trains to and from both these locations every sunday, heck maybe they could even run services on saturday to Puke! the flipping trains sit there all weekend collecting dust anyway!

  12. L.E. says:

    Word has it Some DMU’S will be refurbished and used to run between Huapai and Waitakere also Puke and Papakura. The tunnel between Swanson and Waitakere seems to be a problem. Also possible size issue with EMU’S and the tunnel!

    Mind you i’ve noticed nothing in this rail system is definite until its built!

  13. Rob says:

    Guys, points noted. Its seems to me that if they will be running DMUs from Pukekohe to Papakura to connect with the electrified network post-2014, then DMUs should also be run from Kumeu to Swanson. I’m sure that once these DMUs are seen regularly on the line from Kumeu, that passenger numbers will definitely increase. Its not a given by any means that the extension of the motorway to Brigham Creek will mean that Kumeu residents will use their cars to commute into the city. There are plenty of people out there (including my cousin who’s a traditional car driver) who would go by train if a smart-looking service is offered.

  14. Giel says:

    I think it would have to extend to Huapai to stay which at least has a reasonable population but is there enough there for regular interpeak train services??

    Can anyone here seriously imagine a DMU shuttling backwards and forwards between Swanson and Waitakere with its own crew and drivers and attenuate costs such as fuel and DMU maintenace, track access costs with no passengers most of the day. It would be a gross waste of public money and a high cost operation for a short distance. Currently the extra cost of running exisiting services that little bit further to Waitakere is probably not that material as it uses exisitng crew and equipment ex Britomart. But a whole new train shuttle - now that is an entirely different proposition. Seriously it would be cheaper to put every passenger in a taxi and shuttle then back and forth in that.

  15. Russell says:

    The time table links do not work. My wife and I would be keen to do the Brittomart return trip but stay in Helensville a bit more than 10 minutes


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