Western Lines Services to Huapai?

Waste of OPEX where buses are more efficient in running the trip instead

 

And so the Public Transport Users Association has put out their first project presser:

Rally for Rail This Thursday

A group of local residents and would-be train users are meeting at the Huapai train station this Thursday, but they might be waiting a long time for a train. Despite proposed growth of thousands of new homes in Huapai and Riverhead, an existing railway line to the heart of the growth area, and existing stations and diesel rolling stock, Auckland Transport are not planning for trains.
A new group hopes to change that. The Public Transport Users Association is a voluntary organisation, newly established to give current and future public transport users a voice. They are launching their first campaign this week, to retain and extend rail services from Swanson to Waitakere and Huapai.
Chairperson of the new group, and former Chair of Auckland’s Regional Transport Committee, Christine Rose, who is a local bus and train user, says Waitakere and Kumeu communities must be the only communities in the region facing a worse public transport future, with the withdrawal of train services to Waitakere, and the cancellation of long-held plans for hourly rail services to Huapai.
“The Northwestern motorway is severely congested and can’t keep up with growth in our area. Auckland Transport have no plans for a decent, dedicated, congestion free bus way to the Northwest. But we do have a significant underutilised asset in the rail, stations and rolling stock, that could provide a viable alternative for existing and future commuters”.
The Public Transport Users Association is launching the WestRail campaign at 4 on 4 December, but have already been encouraged by locals in support of rail services to the area. Further engagement with the community will follow. The group are also engaging with locals at the Waitakere station from 7-9 on Thursday morning, talking to commuters and encouraging awareness about the feasibility and need for rail services retained and extended in our area.

Further Information

  • The Rally for Huapai Rail will be held at 4pm, Thursday 4pm at the Huapai train station and consultation with Waitakere rail commuters, from 7-9 on the same day.
  • Hourly rail services to Huapai were long planned by Auckland’s transport authorities, and was included in the Auckland Passenger Transport Plan until last year Auckland Transport plans to remove Waitakere rail services altogether, by early 2015

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Not the best project I can think of here with our limited funding towards Auckland Transport as is.

The problems:

  1. Hourly services do not cut it as we know with the Manukau Link in the off peak and as the Western Line had in its weekend runs until recently
  2. The trip from Haupai to Britomart is a circuitous one and would be about 75mins compared to around an hour by bus via the North Western Motorway, even quicker once the bus lanes are reopened in 2017 or the bus way built alongside
  3. The line between Swanson and Northland is in poor shape and riddled with speed restrictions that would make the trip slower as is. The Government has no intentions of upgrading that part of the line any time soon
  4. The EMU’s from next year will be doing the Swanson to Britomart run. This means a diesel shuttle from Swanson toHuapai would be needed much like the Pukekohe to Papakura service from next year that will be diesels.
    1. That might have been okay but the Henderson depot will be housing the Electrics and the diesel fuelling facilities will be removed. That means the diesels would be parked at Westfield thus resulting in a lot of dead running between Westfield and Swanson to do the shuttle services. The Pukekohe-Papakura diesel shuttle will have the diesels at Pukekohe with the fuelling facility there thus minimising the dead running
  5. The OPEX cost for diesels is higher than the EMUs with reliability problems creeping in as well. This OPEX cost that would need to be found could have funded in part the North Western Busway. So an opportunity cost presents itself if the western diesel shuttles were to run.
  6. The age of the diesel fleet apart from the ADL DMUs is old. The ADL’s that were built in the 80s would be used on the Southern Line meaning no spare units post decommissioning. In anycase the DC locos used to haul the SA sets are leased to use by Kiwi Rail thus another OPEX cost…

 

Conclusion?

Not a good start for the PTUA……