Auckland Transport to Review North West Public Transport Services

Will look at Huapai Rail as well

As the North-West of Auckland continues to grow (see: West Auckland Needs Heavy Industry) Auckland Transport needs to keep an eye on the north-west.\

From Auckland Transport:

A review of public transport in north west Auckland

Auckland Transport is undertaking a review into medium to long-term public transport connections in north west Auckland, including rail from Swanson to Huapai.

Auckland Transport General Manager AT Metro Mark Lambert says the review will take into account future population growth and development, including Special Housing Areas, and the resulting demand on transport infrastructure.

As part of the short-term transition from diesel to electric trains on the Western Line, rail services between Swanson and Waitakere are due to stop in July to be replaced by a bus shuttle service. Electric trains cannot travel past Swanson because overhead lines do not go through the Waitakere tunnel.

Mr Lambert says a bus shuttle service is considered to be the most viable use of public funds in the short-term to provide a transport link between Waitakere and Swanson. Last month (April) there were approximately 40 return passenger trips per day from Swanson to Waitakere.

He says: “Rail services could be re-instated in the future subject to value for money and available funding and the outcome of the broader review, including diesel rail shuttles.”

He says Auckland Transport has looked at a diesel rail shuttle between Swanson and Waitakere to operate until rail services to Huapai are more viable, but KiwiRail has advised that additional capital works would be needed at Swanson including a third platform.  At present, capital funding for this work and additional operating costs are not available.

An estimated $3 million would also be required to upgrade Swanson and Waitakere stations to provide the infrastructure to support a diesel shuttle. A further $3 million would be required to refurbish two diesel trains to provide the service. Annual operating costs for the diesel shuttle would be more than $1.5 million.

A report on all options for public transport in the area is expected to go to the Auckland Transport board late this year.

—ends—

One to watch especially as the West and North West seem to be missing out on quality public transport options compared to their cousins in Southern Auckland.