Waikato Rail Plan Kept Alive


The planned Waikato rail service has taken another hit but it’s not dead.

Waikato Regional Council today decided against rating for Hamilton-Auckland passenger rail in its 2012-22 Long Term Plan but is keeping its options open for the future should circumstances change.

At a council meeting today, councillors accepted a staff report that said central and local government partners had formally advised they weren’t yet ready to contribute to a service.

There was also an absence of NZTA funding. This meant ratepayers would bear too much of the cost if it went ahead now. At this stage, neither Auckland, Hamilton City, Waikato District or Waipa District Councils, as well as NZTA, are prepared to put in funding.

However, councillors agreed to a recommendation that staff keep the situation under close review in case circumstances changed and there was a fresh opportunity to re-examine the idea of the regional council rating for a service in future.

The council’s decision and the reasons for it will be included in the draft 2012-22 Long Term Plan  providing opportunity for the public to comment.

The original recommendation to council suggested the council decline public consultation on the issue through the 2012-2022 LTP. However, Cr Russ Rimmington, seconded by Cr Lois Livingston, asked the wording be changed to simply say that funding was declined.

Cr Rimmington said the Greens, who favoured public transport, could be part of the next Government or at least have a significant influence on decisions and, therefore, it would be wise for the council to be open in the short-term to the possibility of looking at rating for a service again.

New look Silver Fern

The council also recommended that the idea of passenger rail be included in the Regional Land Transport Programme as an unfunded project at this stage.




  1. Sam says:

    Think I’ve mentioned it before but AKL- Bay of Islands service would be far more useful - freight and tourists and I know we could get a bunch of backpackers on that…
    Rail is already there; upper section just needs upgrade.

    Who really in Akl wants to go to the Tron??

  2. Kris says:

    There are to many bureaucrats who cannot think outside the square.

    Its not about about whether if Jafas wanting to visit Hamilton, its about providing a public transport link between NZ’s largest city - Auckland to NZ’s 4th largest city - Hamilton.

    If there is a rail link between Wellington to Palmerston Nth (NZ’s 8th largest city) surely there is no reason why two major cities can not be link together by a regional passenger rail service.

    I can see why people are leaving NZ to Oz for a better future, as this country is slowly being stifled by to many bureaucrats who have 20th century thinking, who can not understand the concept of better urban living.

  3. Matt says:

    “There was also an absence of NZTA funding”

    because the NZTA is broke, and can’t do anything it should be doing, like maintenance, PT funding, and funding local council roads, because it is hell bent on doing whatever the Minister for Trucks, Mr Steven Joyce tells it to.

    Yeah good one NZTA - you’re failing us.

  4. Publius says:

    I very much doubt anyone would like to commute HAM-AKL 2 hours each way on a train.
    But as i write this, Masterton-Wellington is the same time and that is very well used.
    Ideally you do need need a non-commuter train (ie toilets) and power plugs for laptops are a must.
    But perhaps the most important thing would be certainty that the train wouldn’t be cancelled in the future. Nobody in Hamilton would get a job in Auckland unless they were sure the train would continue to run. So for this reason alone Hamilton should be footing the bill - so they can certain of the trains fate.

  5. BD says:

    Watch out guys an election is coming this way us the people have a chance to have a say I do hope a Lab-Green Coliation happens and we’ll start to see this project put back on the agenda or even better still electrification extending all the way to Hamilton.


  6. ingolfson says:

    Kris - sorry, but it is NOT the bureaucrats, but our 1960s government, which spits on rail whenever they can do so without looking too badly.

    Since NZ taxation is heavily Wellington-centred, that means the scope of local government is much mroe limited than in many other countries.

    There’s an election on next weekend, though.

  7. John Gilbert says:

    I agree totally with Chris. Between NZ’s largest city and the 4th largest should be a no-brainer. If, that is the product is properly marketed and the track is fettled so that it DOESN’T take 2 hours. Good Lord, 2 hours for such a relatively short distance. What is needed is the will, the drive, and the ambition to achieve it. And after all, it’s not Space science! Perhaps the PM should appoint a minister who regards rail and road even-handedly?

  8. Jon R says:

    If any of you vote National, then you get a Govt. anti rail until the day it is voted out.

    Vote this weekend, but make sure it counts for rail and public transport, Labour, Greens, NZ First.

  9. Brendan says:

    A commuter train to Auckland would be nice but…

    There are no slots at Britomart, and no chance of the intercity rail loop which would give more slots. The strand station is in the middle of nowhere.

    Two the operator must be willing to take losses for a few years before it will work out. And with the national books as they are, there is no chance of that for the next few years.

    Besides I think that Kiwirail are looking at upgrading the Silver Ferns and using them for luxury travel in Wellington not a commuter service.

    I would like a service but I think we need to focus on getting the rail loop in Auckland and the airport connected first.

  10. Martin says:

    I’ve done my bit from Wales… Fingers crossed its goodbye Joyce

  11. Ian says:

    Let it go. Revive it when rail can compete with road times for the trip to Auckland along with new equipment. Despite Kiwirail staff doing a great job refurbishing the interior of the Silver Ferns they still look pretty awful exterior wise. And yes, Labour is the only sensible vote if you want a real emphasis on decent PT.

  12. Jon R says:

    Hi All,

    Whether you want more investment rail or public transport, or want more roads (4 lane highways to nowhere) and trucks, whatever side you are from….just do one thing tomorrow - VOTE!

    We all criticise the Govt of the day over their spending on transport, this current one has caused me particular concern on many levels. However, get out, tell your friends and family to VOTE tomorrow. At least when you VOTE you have expressed your opinion and let the MP´s know who you agree with.

    If you don´t VOTE then you are not using your legal right to say who spends your money on transport projects.

    I have my fingers crossed for better transport spending decisions to come.


  13. Martin says:

    @ Ian

    What’s so bad about the exteriors. Quite attractive trains by NZ standards!

  14. Carl says:

    “keep it open for the future”?

    what for, so they can say the same things now?


    People would commute, people would use it, how can they say it wont work, its only a computer telling them how many people may or may not use it.

    How many people from Puke study in Waikato, and might train it down on sunday, stay in there dorm and train it back on friday night.

    rugby matches, other sporting fixtures, the V8′s (while it still lasts before it comes back to its real home in Puke).

    more services for areas that have never had a service.

    if its 2hrs, its 2hrs. add a toilet and a snack buying service to the train and get over themselves.

    people can sit in traffic for up to an hour, and probably travel less distance.

    this is so boring and overated. The Tron has all these neat sporting events and is trying to make self a centre like Melbourne.

    yet it has nothing in the way of regional trains or decent PT.

    bunch of dreams that need to be replace by people that are determined to make something happen…

    not “have another crack in the future”… the future is now.


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