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Pukekohe Rail Commuters Need Not Worry

11 September

Following the announcement of the termination of the Waikato Connection rail service with effect from October 7th, the Auckland Regional council is in discussions with Tranz Metro Auckland to ensure the extension of services that commence and terminate in Papakura to include Pukekohe. Environment Waikato is continuing negotiations with West Coast Rail for the retention of long distance rail services, which affect a significant number of Pukekohe commuters.

Due to the possibility that the transfer of Tranz Scenic train operations to West Coast Rail may not be concluded before mid-October, Pukekohe passengers will be catered for with an extension of existing services from Tranz Metro Auckland. At last week’s meeting of the Auckland Regional Council’s Transport Committee, a resolution was passed supporting the continuation of discussions between the Auckland region and Tranz Metro Auckland for the extension of existing critical services in the interim. Tranz Metro Auckland has advised that it has the capacity to initiate a proposal which involves extending the 7.30am Papakura – Auckland express service to commence at Pukekohe. A similar extension on the 5.30pm Auckland - Papakura express service to terminate at Pukekohe will also be available. This would provide a similar timetable to that currently provided to Pukekohe commuters by the Waikato Connection train.

Tranz Metro Auckland local manager Shane Ellison commented, “we have been involved in discussions with the Auckland Regional Council and Franklin District Council to establish the extension of our critical services to cater for the Pukekohe passengers. As negotiations between Environment Waikato and West Coast Rail continue, Pukekohe passengers have our assurance that they will not be left without critical rail services. We have already been extending our services to Pukekohe on occasion and don’t see any significant issues in making these extensions more permanent as we await the outcome of the negotiations.”

There is also a proposal for the provision of additional services for shoppers mid-morning and mid-afternoon commencing and terminating at Pukekohe, as an extension of the existing Papakura schedule.

“We are working towards seeing a deal with West Coast Rail in the next few weeks, however during this interim period of transfer, the region is doing its best to ensure Pukekohe passengers experience minimal disruption to their rail travel,” says Cr. Dianne Glenn, ARC representative for Franklin and Papkura. “In addition to ensuring that we satisfy the needs of existing committed rail users in the area, I’ve received numerous requests from Pukekohe residents for mid-morning and mid-afternoon services - not only for shoppers, but for people with medical appointments or other engagements in the city, who have a preference for the ease afforded in catching the train. Working with Tranz Metro Auckland, we are aiming to provide a smooth extension of services during peak and other travel times in accordance with current rail timetables.”

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