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Train Plan Set To Fail

Tuesday 4 December 2015

Train Plan Set To Fail

The Public Transport Users Association (PTUA) is concerned about rumours from our members about plans  to relocate the Northern Explorer Auckland to Wellington train service from its current base at the Britomart Transport Centre,  to the extremely  inconvenient Strand platform behind the former Auckland Railway Station,  located over a kilometre away between Downtown and Parnell.

“We have contacted Kiwirail on a number of occasions this week for a confirmation of this plan but have not yet received a response” said Jon Reeves, Coordinator of the PTUA. “It appears Kiwirail have started building an office at the Strand platform in the past week. The PTUA does not support the move of the Northern Explorer service to the Strand site, where public transport connections to the rest of the city are limited” Reeves added.

The PTUA are concerned the relocation of the Northern Explorer to the Strand will impact on demand and provide cause for the service,  the last long distance passenger rail option in the North Island, to be terminated. The PTUA are considering the possibility that Kiwirail and Auckland Transport are planning to run the service down, in order to free-up the rail network channel currently occupied by the Northern Explorer service.

Ultimately, Auckland needs the construction of the City Rail Link brought forward with confirmed investment by the Government and construction of the third railway line from Westfield to Papakura. Delaying full construction of the CRL 2020 is simply not an option, or in the best interests of Auckland. Without these critical rail infrastructure components, much needed fast inter-regional commuter rail services to cities such as Hamilton and Tauranga will never eventuate.

As an alternative, the PTUA suggest that if Auckland Transport need the morning slot in the Britomart Transport Centre for commuter trains, then adjusting the Northern Explorer timetable for a 9:15am departure would be a better alternative. A later departure time would enable the service to remain in its current location at Britomart.  Passengers, particularly tourists, will not be affected by this change in schedule, if anything it would be potentially more attractive than the current 7:45am departure time. On the flip side, passengers arriving into Auckland from Wellington in the evening will be faced with limited transfer options outside of taking taxi’s to Britomart to connect to the public  transport network.

“This is not a good look for tourists and their first impression of Auckland”, Reeves says.

“We know that in Auckland city, if you place trains out near the old station - which closed in 2003 - train patronage will be hampered. The rumoured plan to move the Northern Explorer trains to the Strand platform is certainly a very unwise move and needs to be stopped in its tracks immediately.“

The Public Transport Users Association encourages tourism operators to contact Kiwirail with feedback about this plan. We would also welcome Kiwirail’s response to PTUA concerns.

ENDS

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