2020 Start Date Still Possible For New Train Service
Waikato’s politicians remain hopeful the new start-up passenger rail service to Auckland will launch in 2020.
The COVID-19 Alert Level 4 lockdown has resulted in work on the Huntly and Rotokauri stations, as well as the fit out of the carriages in Lower Hutt, stopping for the time being.
Hugh Vercoe, Waikato regional councillor and chair of the rail governance working group, said a meeting was held this week at which the start date for the service was discussed.
“It’s clear we won’t be rolling out of Hamilton as planned on August 3; but the rail governance group remains optimistic we could still be on track to start before the year’s end,” Cr Vercoe said.
“There are, of course, a number of factors that could impact this and the biggest is the timing of the COVID-19 restrictions being lifted. But once that does happen, we’ll be in a position to confirm the new start date for the service.”
The start-up passenger rail service project is being led by Waikato Regional Council, working with partners KiwiRail, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency, Hamilton City Council, Waikato District Council and Auckland Transport.
A passenger rail connection between Hamilton and Auckland is one of a number of priority projects of the Hamilton to Auckland Corridor Plan, a joint iwi-council-central government initiative.
More information about the service is available at waikatoregion.govt.nz/rail.