May be Auck­land’s project but Welling­ton man flicks switch

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS -

Politi­cians gath­ered at Brit­o­mart Trans­port Cen­tre in Auck­land to launch the city’s new elec­tri­fied rail line.

How­ever, with the con­trol sys­tem based in the cap­i­tal city, it was a Welling­ton trans­port worker named Bryan who ac­tu­ally had his fin­ger on the switch.

The $500 mil­lion project will re­sult in elec­tric trains re­plac­ing Auck­land’s ageing diesel fleet from April 28.

Prime Min­is­ter John Key says the new elec­tri­fied lines would en­cour­age more Auck­lan­ders to use the trains.

‘‘There’s noth­ing mag­i­cal about Auck­lan­ders us­ing pub­lic trans­port,’’ Key says.

‘‘If it’s there and it’s ef­fi­cient they will use it.’’

Rail com­muters made al­most 11 mil­lion trips across Auck­land in the past year.

Auck­land Rail chair­man Lester Levy says the painful de­lays of pub­lic trans­port were be­com­ing a thing of the past.

‘‘Travel in Auck­land has some­times been a form of tor­ture,’’ Levy says.

‘‘We are, how­ever, on the cusp of chang­ing all that. So this is a real land­mark time.’’

Trans­port Min­is­ter Gerry Brown­lee says up­grad­ing the train sys­tem meant 10-minute peak fre­quen­cies for pas­sen­gers.

‘‘This will play a big part in tack­ling con­ges­tion, and will also sub­stan­tially in­crease the size of the rail fleet.’’

Switched on: Prime Min­is­ter John Key at Brit­o­mart for the elec­tri­fi­ca­tion of the rail net­work.

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