TRAINS TO HUAPAI Ready: No Spades Required
As the Government calls for nominations of ‘shovel ready’ projects from Crown Infrastructure partners to stimulate the economy after Covid-19, one community group is putting its hand up and suggesting a project where a ‘shovel isn’t even needed’.
Huapai-Kumeu is a rapidly urbanising community on the edge of Auckland, and a railway line runs through it. But unlike all the other urbanised railway towns in the region, this one has no trains. It has the lines, stations, walk up population, planned Park and Rides, urban growth, commuter base, congestion and local political support. The Trains to Huapai group says there are spare trains that could serve the area right away.
Christine Rose, Chair of Trains to Huapai, and local resident, says “After Covid-19 we’ll need projects that can be delivered promptly, with long term benefits, that serve social, economic and environmental goals.“
”Providing rail services to Huapai will stimulate the local economy and provide affordable passenger transport options to the community who otherwise face long congested road based commutes.” “Either diesel shuttles could run an hourly return service to Swanson, or the Government could undertake electrification of the line for added investment, daylighting the Waitakere tunnel”.
Public Transport Users Association Co-ordinator and Trains to Huapai partner, Jon Reeves, says the proposal has regional benefits.
“This project would complement any longer-term light rail proposal to Westgate and create a closed loop rail/light rail network, while addressing the immediate needs to the far-North-West communities, for transport to all points on the western line and beyond.”
”It would integrate with the regional cycle network, and provide quicker journeys to key western work, study, healthcare and shopping destinations than any other mode.”
Mrs Rose says “This is a way for quick wins on transport to the North West supporting a speedy economic recovery after Covid-19”.