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Train to Helensville A&P Show

Train to Helensville A&P Show
20 February 2008

A special excursion train will run to the Helensville A&P Show this Saturday, allowing city folk to spend a day in the country.

Aucklanders have been making the pilgrimage to Helensville for the vintage rural experience for over a century. This year’s show features all the classics – the pony rides, horse show, animal displays, live music, wood chopping, highland dancing and dog trials. Trains are also adding a new dimension.

With backing from the Auckland Regional Council, the Auckland Regional Transport Authority is restoring commuter train services to Helensville from mid 2008 after a 30-year absence.

To celebrate, the Helensville Historical Society will be featuring the north-western township’s rich railways history at the showgrounds.

ARC transport spokeswoman Christine Rose said taking the excursion train to the A&P Show was a great day out for families, and affordable. A $20 Family Pass will allow 1 adult and up to 5 children, or 2 adults and up to 4 children, unlimited travel on the Auckland rail network all day.
“It’s great to see trains once again supporting the Helensville A&P Show, which offers the wider region the chance to sample a slice of country life,” Cr Rose says.

“Auckland’s apartments and townhouses are home to new generation of city children, and it’s really nice for them to get out into the fresh air for a day.

“Public transport has a real role in enriching the region socially and economically, making it easier for people to explore Auckland as well as getting to and from work.”

A year-long trial of the commuter service will see trains stopping at Kumeu, Huapai, Waimauku and Helensville.

The regional council wants under-utilised rail assets pressed back into service and strongly supports the reopening of the Helensville line, and the Onehunga Branch Line in 2009.

Councillor Rose said Auckland rail patronage reached a record high of 6 million last year. The region’s rail renaissance would only gather momentum when major works at Newmarket, New Lynn and Onehunga, as well as the double-tracking of the western line, were completed.

“We are building towards a rail network where modern electric trains will run every 10-minutes at peak times, carrying more than 30 million passengers a year,” Cr Rose says.

Saturday’s excursion train will leave from Britomart Station at 8.55am and depart from Helensville for the city at 3.40pm. The train takes passengers to the historic Helensville Railway station, which is a short 500m walk from the showgrounds. It will make a limited number at stops at the suburban stations on its journey, including Newmarket, New Lynn and Henderson.
Show admission is Adults $7, Children $3 and $20 for a family pass.
• For information about the show and train timetable, see www.helensvilleshowgrounds.co.nz or www.maxx.co.nz


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