The Green Party today announced that it will trial a passenger rail service between Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga starting in 2019, when it is in government.
The passenger rail service will be based on the concept released today by Greater Auckland. It would run five times a day between Hamilton and Auckland, with one return service to Tauranga daily.
“National has let regional rail services rust away but the Greens in government will restore rail as the backbone of New Zealand’s transport system, for freight and for people,” said Green Party transport spokesperson Julie Anne Genter.
“I expect a lot of people from Hamilton and Tauranga will be attracted by the idea of being able to work and rest while on the train, and avoid Auckland traffic once in the city.
“There’s been a lot of talk about passenger rail to Hamilton. We now have a plan to make this happen in our first term in government.
“The trial will cost $20 million over five years, with the money reprioritised from National’s spending on low value motorways.
“We expect it would take approximately two hours and 15 minutes to travel between Hamilton and Auckland, and three hours and 30 minutes from Tauranga to Auckland.
“If this trial is successful, we’ll look at creating a premium, fast service that would be about an hour quicker. This is estimated to cost around $400 million and could start in 2025,” said Ms Genter.
Greater Auckland’s Regional Rapid Rail proposal,
Regional Rapid Rail will revitalise the existing rail network using modern technology tilting trains travelling up to 160km/h on upgraded tracks. This will allow for much faster trains, providing quick and reliable journeys that are faster than driving and skip the traffic completely. This revitalised network will stitch together the economy of Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga, and extend the benefits of growth and development of the main centres to their nearby towns and villages. This will provide fast and reliable travel options to regular commuters, business travellers, shoppers, students, local visitors and international tourists alike.
However, Regional Rapid Rail isn’t just a scheme for commuter trains on the trunk line. It is an integrated regional economic development plan for the Upper North Island, based on fast and regular intercity train connections between the cities and towns of Auckland, the Waikato and the Bay of Plenty.
The proposal has four pillars for success:
- Using the right technology to achieve speed and performance affordably
- Leveraging existing infrastructure
- Providing a frequent, reliable and regular service for all trip types
- Integration with land use and development plans