Passenger rail service for Tauranga?

A map of the proposed rail routes. Image: Greater Auckland/Twitter.

The Green Party has announced it will trial a passenger rail service between Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga starting in 2019, if it is in government. 

The passenger rail service will be based on the concept released by Greater Auckland, and would run five times a day between Hamilton and Auckland, with one return service to Tauranga daily. 

“National has let regional rail services rust away, but the Greens in government will restore rail as the backbone of New Zealand's transport system, for freight and for people,” says Green Party transport spokesperson Julie Anne Genter.

“I expect a lot of people from Hamilton and Tauranga will be attracted by the idea of being able to work and rest while on the train, and avoid Auckland traffic once in the city.

“There's been a lot of talk about passenger rail to Hamilton. We now have a plan to make this happen in our first term in government.”

She says the trial will cost $20 million over five years, with the money ‘reprioritised' from National's spending on motorways. 

The Green party expects it would take approximately two hours and 15 minutes to travel between Hamilton and Auckland, and three hours and 30 minutes from Tauranga to Auckland. 

“If this trial is successful, we'll look at creating a premium, fast service that would be about an hour quicker. This is estimated to cost around $400 million and could start in 2025.”

Find out more about Greater Auckland's proposed rail plan here.



18 Comments

Day out in the big smoke

Posted on 30-08-2017 16:46 | By Baystyle

20 years ago when we arrived in paradise here the big family day out was a train trip to Aucks. Great fun it was! Then they canned the passenger service and I for one hope it comes back. Auckland traffic is diabolical and I cant understand why trains are not more popular.

Flywheel recharge

Posted on 21-08-2017 08:21 | By Papamoaner

Don't even have to plug-in to recharge at way stations. If the loco stops on the white line, the recharging is done by electromagnetic coupling. But with electric cars, manufacturers will never come to the party on flywheel technology. Why would they when they can establish an ongoing lucrative battery replacement market? If you think we have a used tyre disposal problem at present, you "aint seen nuthin" Wait until the worn out batteries start piling up! How many deep cycle recharges can a battery take? Reminds me of the pre-LED light days when lightbulbs were not quite completely evacuated - to nurture a market based on planned obsolescence. Back to topic, Properly engineered, we could conceivably commute between Tauranga and Auckland in one hour if track and tunneling is deemed to be viable.

@Active - you've got me thinking now

Posted on 20-08-2017 18:43 | By Papamoaner

Yes Tauranga to AK in 1 hour is realistic. If it's flat all the way, we could power the loco with a big flywheel needing no gimbals. Energy is returned to the flywheel every time you slow down, a bit like electric cars except you don't have dead battery disposal issues, and flywheel life is infinite if you use low friction bearing technology. Oerlikon of Switzerland (remember their famous naval guns?) originally made flywheel passenger buses back in the 1950's and NASA use flywheels as portable batteries for aerospace in a joint R&D project with university of Texas. (no chemicals required). All Those silly buggers tail spinning over electric cars have gone off half cocked I reckon, or is it $$$$ ? Funny as hell to realise 1940's kids flywheel toys were leading edge technology. You pressed my button!

@Active

Posted on 20-08-2017 08:55 | By Papamoaner

Yo, I've seen a bullet train but never been on one, but I travelled from Bato to Maasin on a Jeepnee last week and that wasn't too fast. I hope you only drink black rum. That white stuff is for blouses mate. Seriously though, the proposed rail network will cost megabucks and make our museum look like pocket coin. The principle is good, but we only have around 5mil national population. We would need a whole order of magnitude more than that to justify it. Like you, I have transport dreams too, but they mainly involve a twin track main trunk line with container-lift wayside sidings, and coastal shipping. We had a remarkably good coastal shipping network, but Finton Patrick Walsh and his cronies had pretty much killed that off by the time we got to the end of the 1960's

@Papamoaner

Posted on 19-08-2017 17:38 | By Active

Thanks for that info. I have travelled a couple of times on the Lufthansa express at 300km per hour. Tauranga to Auckland is 246km. See why i dream. Morrinsville population would explode. Ha. Auckland would slightly deflate. NZ Would change. I dream on. i am sure i saw a pig fly. Might need another rum.

@Active

Posted on 19-08-2017 12:44 | By Papamoaner

Conversion is easy from wide to narrow or from wide to dual, but in our case near impossible cost-wise due to needing longer sleepers and wider ballast. But the advantages of a wide guage are probably insufficient to justify the cost. We still had disused tracking for years after Rogernomics, but the rails got ripped up for re-use as vertical stanchions at roadside slips where they got hammered vertically into the ground and shored up with timber. Now the country has run out of those rails of high quality steel. What a bloody waste. Now, if we want regional and district rail, we have to start all over again from scratch. Thank you yet again Roger! The naked embankments are a common sight around central Otago and other places, with the rails and sleepers long gone. Testament to our stupidity.

As much....

Posted on 18-08-2017 22:29 | By groutby

..as I love the rail system to actually be efficient and have the likelehood of moving people quickly between major centres, as I see it, it simply is not possible with the narrow gauge (3'6"?) we have at the moment, sure the Chinese would build it, and if it actually worked I would believe we could never attain the efficiency ultimately wanted. So to do this we would need a complete rail system from the ground (literally) up, we simply could not afford this..nice election side issue tho...

Both Gauges?

Posted on 18-08-2017 16:57 | By Active

Yes, Papamoaner i agree. I was just thinking of the money investment side. Would need to be to German or Japanese build or us. Could a wider gauge be put outside the existing so both could use? there would be problems of course. But i bet a German or Japanese rail engineer would nut it out. Time to dream or say just too hard or impossible.

Go Green

Posted on 18-08-2017 14:40 | By phoenix

What about a Hot Air Balloon service.

Reality

Posted on 18-08-2017 13:04 | By rastus

Why are so many wasting their breath talking about something that will never happen - yes we may get a rail service but the greens ever getting into power - well I ask you - they have shown themselves to be a dishonest club who will support any criminal as long as it suits their agenda - what a miserable laugh they are and thank goodness they showed their true colours before any naive young person thought they were on the right track to continue growth of this great country.

Think big

Posted on 18-08-2017 11:19 | By maildrop

Agree with Active. This proposal is a waste of time. 4 hours to Auckland? May as well put horse and stagecoach on.

@Kaimai

Posted on 18-08-2017 11:07 | By Papamoaner

Realistic observation mate - me neither.

Hmmm

Posted on 18-08-2017 11:06 | By philiphallen

If only this would happen. The truck lobby are too powerful and are only interested in ripping up the inadequate roads, and ripping off the tax payers repairing the damage. Nothing wrong with the narrow gauge system, its cheaper to lay and maintain.

@Active- God forbid Chinese investment

Posted on 18-08-2017 11:05 | By Papamoaner

Do you want it to fall apart 5 years down the track? I've had a gutsful of Chinese investment thanks. Lathes and mills that bits fall off all the time. So-called 316 grade Stainless steel fasteners that you can pick up with a magnet and others you can't! The list is endless. If you want Asian, go South Korea. Just ask any Earthmover who uses Hyundai - move over Caterpillar! Guess who's building our biggest warship HMNZS Aotearoa as we speak - Hyundai of course! Our guys did their homework. Quality quality plus plus. Measure twice, cut once. Do it right - do it once! (and I have no conflict of interest)

Forget it

Posted on 18-08-2017 10:26 | By Kaimai

"3 hours and 30 minutes from Tauranga to Auckland" - not for me.

@ Active

Posted on 18-08-2017 09:44 | By MISS ADVENTURE

Sounds great but changing the gauge means changing the entire rail track system, all engines, wagons, Ferry's. That is a massive undertaking and indeed you would need to come back to it in 30-50 years for that to happen. A more practical option maybe to build a second tunnel and second track. There is a tunnel boring machine residing in Auckland for the just completed tunnel?

Think small, to start

Posted on 17-08-2017 20:19 | By waiknot

A rail link with park and ride. Te Puke, Baypark and The Strand. Starting with peak hours

Wide Track Bullet Train

Posted on 17-08-2017 18:51 | By Active

Put invite out to Chinese investment to build Bullet train to Hamilton and Tauranga. Get rid of the stupid small gauge rail. People will use car or bus to terminal on edge of City. Plenty of parking. Work in Auckland live in Hamilton or Tauranga. Night time to move frieght. Solve a lot of Auckland Housing problem etc. Will transform the country.

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