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Waitakere Passenger Train Services Likely To Close – Possibly before Electrification Fully Implemented

Some time ago I wrote a blog on the future of services in greater Auckland beyond Swanson to Waitakere township. I suggested the future looked bleak. Well this is now being played out as I expected and services could be closed in favour of a regular bus connection from Waitakere to Henderson sooner rather than later. This is indicated in the draft Auckland Transport Regional Public Transport Plan (RPTP). See the link here:
Although they don’t state it explicitly rather magically Waitakere has disappeared from the rail network in favour of a bus connection!
 
The reasons for probable closure are manifold
 
  • Electrification is terminating at Swanson due to the large capital costs of extension further west – in particular the poor clearance on the Waitakere tunnel would require significant remedial work
  • The post electrification cost of dedicated diesel shuttles for the relatively short and sparsely used service beyond Swanson
  • The lack of will, motivation and ambition at the current time to stretch the service to either Waimauku or Kumeu/Huapai. Only with this extension and combined with potential significant  higher passenger volumes would a diesel shuttle beyond Swanson be worth its while (much like it is currently to Pukekohe)
  • Safety in the Waitakere tunnel. In the event of any incident the evacuation of people from the train is currently somewhat constrained. Special evacuation procedures are in place for this tunnel due to limited clearances and this is a worry they will gladly get rid of.
  • Falling patronage ex Waitakere. It is an extra fare stage from Swanson to Waitakere so people may find it cheaper to Park n Ride at Swanson than at Waitakere.
 
 
Auckland Transport has to be careful where it spends its money and to be frank this service would cost a lot as a diesel shuttle to operate marginally on its own two feet once separated from the ex Britomart trains.
 
However Auckland Transport should be more upfront and explicit about their intentions now. It is not good enough to simply imply, as they have, that rail services will be permanently replaced by buses on this stretch of line. They need to get of the proverbial pot now and come out with what they are saying privately or quietly publically. I suspect they hope it will disappear somewhere in the good news that electrification, new trains and integrated ticketing is.
                                       
It is a shame though as this little stretch of line is arguably the most scenic / pleasant section of the entire urban rail  scene in Auckland – a well kept secret that is perhaps the only remaining semi-rural rail passenger service in the country outside of the Wairarapa.
 

3 Comments to Waitakere Passenger Train Services Likely To Close – Possibly before Electrification Fully Implemented:

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Best travel spots on Friday, 18 January 2013 10:26 p.m.
Information allocation about train service! This article has served me helpful news about the train service of Auckland which is really great. Thanks and keep it up!
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public transportation on Saturday, 9 February 2013 6:43 p.m.
What a significant blog about waitakere Passenger Train Services Likely To Close – Possibly before Electrification Fully Implemented. I have come to get a good concept on Train Services. Thanks a lot mate for giving me a good impression on Train Services by the assist of your blog. Thanks.
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Lumigan Distributor on Monday, 1 April 2013 7:01 p.m.
It's really very interesting post. All the comments are very helpful and very good. Thanks for sharing.
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