Pukekohe Electrification Case Took Some Legs and Ran
After the news of Auckland Transport releasing the business case for extending the electrification all the way to Pukekohe, so that ALL Auckland Metro Rail services will be covered by the new EMU’s (replacing the existing diesel fleet), the entire concept has seem to grown legs and gone for a run on its own steam (excuse the pun).
From Auckland Now:
Electric trains could run to Pukekohe if Auckland Council approves a $102 million upgrade to electrify the line past Papakura.
The electrification of Auckland’s train system is already well underway and an Auckland Transport spokesman said today they were “looking at options” to extend the project to Pukekohe.
“This would see trains running from Pukekohe to Britomart every 20 minutes at peak times and every 30 minutes at other times.”
The extra stretch is expected to cost $102.3m including buying two trains, creating park and ride facilities, new stations at Paerata and Drury and a major station upgrade at Pukekohe. Three bridges would be raised and the lowered.
Almost $19m has already been set aside in Auckland Transport’s long term plan for the project, which is expected to save $2m a year by having electric rather than diesel engines.
Mayor Len Brown welcomed an investigation, saying it would mean people in Franklin would be able to make full use of the rail network along with the rest of Auckland.
“This would mean quieter, faster and more efficient trains all the way to Pukekohe.”
Brown said Pukekohe was a key centre for residential and business growth, and there would be a rapidly growing need to move people to and from homes and jobs.
The area’s population is predicted to more than treble in the next 30 years to close to 80,000.
Franklin Local Board chairman Andy Baker said electrification was something the board and community had advocated for for a long time.
“We are extremely pleased that the investigation is happening now as it makes sense to do the work while we have contractors and systems in place to build Auckland’s electric rail network. ”
The first electric train is due to arrive in Auckland from Spain in the third quarter of 2013 and will undergo significant testing before going into public service in 2014.
And so it seems Auckland, especially South and Counties Auckland are all abuzz with the real possibility that by 2016, electric trains could be running from Pukekohe all the way to Britomart and Swanson (out west).
In saying that we in South and Counties Auckland must also not lose sight in all this excitement on the Manukau South Rail Link which would allow EMU’s to run Pukekohe to Manukau direct services, giving easy and fast access for South and Counties Auckland to their major service and employment hub – Manukau City Centre.
Exciting times ahead for this part of Auckland in regards to rail and efficient, accessible public transport.
You can see the Auckland Transport Business Case for Electrification to Pukekohe at my PUKEKOHE ELECTRIFICATION CASE post.