Big upgrade of Manurewa train services
11 October 2005
Big upgrade of train Manurewa services set to begin
Work is about to begin on construction of the new Manurewa rail station behind Southmall, a $5 million project which will transform a site that is currently a parking area into a high-quality, state of the art station.
The Manurewa Interchange is being built by ARTNL, with allied support work by Manukau City Council. It is the first purpose-built transport interchange in the region since Britomart and will function as the public transport hub.
Once it opens next February, bus service timetables will be co-ordinated to meet train departures, and more trains will leave at peak travel times. Currently there are four trains per hour and that will be extended to around six. Car parking is to be provided and the station will be well-lit and attractively designed.
Manurewa is the latest in the regional network of rail stations to be upgraded, following successful overhauls of stations at Papatoetoe, Kingsland, Ranui and Glen Innes. Construction of new stations at Homai and Puhinui is continuing, and work on a new Middlemore station begins early next year.
The aim is to create a pleasant and safe environment for rail commuters, in contrast to the shabby and unkempt state of stations in the past, which was very off-putting for many potential passengers.
Getting rid of any graffiti and vandalism that appears at the Manurewa Interchange will be a high priority. To prevent tagging there will be bright lighting, CCT cameras and security patrols but any new tag or other paint vandalism that appears will be immediately removed under the new policy of “get rid of it within 24 hours”. This approach has been very successful to date, and stations such as Papatoetoe have been largely free of tagging since they opened.
The cost of a return ticket to Britomart in downtown Auckland City will be $11.80. For an individual passenger, a return journey by train will be cheaper than, and as fast as, using a car. The journey from Weymouth to Britomart will take an estimated 50 minutes during most of the day and 30 minutes by express train at peak hours.
Council transport planner Steve Dudley says there were valid reasons for avoiding using trains in the past, but that is fast disappearing. “The carriages are better and more comfortable, services are improving, and the stations are more attractive. People have fewer excuses for not using the trains instead of their cars now. When you consider the cost of parking in downtown Auckland, it’ll be much cheaper to catch the train”.
Improvements to the current timetable service begin at the end of this month. There are no trains on Sundays at present, but new Sunday services begin next month. Services will run later at night on Fridays and Saturdays, with the last one leaving Britomart at midnight.
Mr Dudley says, “The new late night services will be a huge improvement for people who wanted a good night out in downtown Auckland but didn’t want to leave the city by nine o’clock.
“However people should be aware of the extra services and longer operating hours and to expect trains passing through at new times. No one should use the railway corridor as a thoroughfare or short cut, because that’s a highly dangerous thing to do.”
Manukau Mayor Sir Barry Curtis says better train services are part of a co-ordinated plan to upgrade the region’s transport network. “We are working to improve roading connections, bus and train services to cope with the constantly growing population, and to give people more choices. It’s clear the rail upgrade is succeeding because many more people are now using trains.”
Since 2002, prior to the opening of Britomart and the start of improved services, the number of passenger rides on the region’s train network has gone up by 70 per cent.
Manukau City Council is now examining the public transport needs of Flat Bush which will be the next population growth centre in Manukau. Forty thousand people will be living there within a decade and Mr Dudley says there will be a great need for co-ordinated public transport.