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ARC backs novel but clever rail idea


ARC backs novel but clever rail idea

16 September 2010

An informal discussion on a transport blog site last month got a few Auckland transport bods thinking and they came up with a great idea.

And like the best ideas, it is simple, relatively easy and smart.

It is a two way peak hour diesel service to and from Huapai in the north west of the region to Pukekohe in the south - and perhaps further.

It bypasses Britomart in favour of Newmarket and anyone heading into the city would simply need to switch platforms in Newmarket for the quick run down the hill to Britomart

Michael Lee, Chairman of the Auckland Regional Council was drawn to the idea because it extends commuter rail services to new areas.

"This idea works on many fronts, it gets commuters using Newmarket station whilst addressing the capacity constraints at Britomart, and it avoids the need for western trains to reverse at Newmarket."

The 'Long Hauler' as it has been dubbed, would not be reversing at Newmarket - it will stop briefly and then just keep going all the way to the end of the line.

"This is a smart idea because it means an incremental (but nonetheless relatively bold) linear extension of Auckland's commuter rail network.

"Based on the Wellington experience we are told that such a service would be relatively economic to run," says Mr Lee.

Wellington experts believe there are likely to be a high number of long distance tickets (at higher prices); a stable patronage base (regular clients on monthly passes); ability to cherry-pick the best stops - therefore fewer stops and fewer acceleration/de-acceleration cycles and therefore lower maintenance costs.

If and when demand picks up - then the 'Long Hauler' can extend the concept to Waimauku in the north and Pokeno and Drury in the south and then across the border into the Waikato.

"Now the 'Long Hauler has left the station - it's up to us to make sure the new Auckland Transport Agency catches it,"says Mr Lee.

ENDS

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