ARC backs novel but clever rail idea
16 September 2010
An informal discussion on a transport blog site last month got a few Auckland transport bods thinking and they came up
with a great idea.
And like the best ideas, it is simple, relatively easy and smart.
It is a two way peak hour diesel service to and from Huapai in the north west of the region to Pukekohe in the south -
and perhaps further.
It bypasses Britomart in favour of Newmarket and anyone heading into the city would simply need to switch platforms in
Newmarket for the quick run down the hill to Britomart
Michael Lee, Chairman of the Auckland Regional Council was drawn to the idea because it extends commuter rail services
to new areas.
"This idea works on many fronts, it gets commuters using Newmarket station whilst addressing the capacity constraints at
Britomart, and it avoids the need for western trains to reverse at Newmarket."
The 'Long Hauler' as it has been dubbed, would not be reversing at Newmarket - it will stop briefly and then just keep
going all the way to the end of the line.
"This is a smart idea because it means an incremental (but nonetheless relatively bold) linear extension of Auckland's
commuter rail network.
"Based on the Wellington experience we are told that such a service would be relatively economic to run," says Mr Lee.
Wellington experts believe there are likely to be a high number of long distance tickets (at higher prices); a stable
patronage base (regular clients on monthly passes); ability to cherry-pick the best stops - therefore fewer stops and
fewer acceleration/de-acceleration cycles and therefore lower maintenance costs.
If and when demand picks up - then the 'Long Hauler' can extend the concept to Waimauku in the north and Pokeno and
Drury in the south and then across the border into the Waikato.
"Now the 'Long Hauler has left the station - it's up to us to make sure the new Auckland Transport Agency catches
it,"says Mr Lee.