Elec­tric rail set to con­nect Pukekohe

Franklin County News - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - RUWADE BRYANT

Pukekohe will get elec­tric trains as part of the Na­tional Party’s new $267 mil­lion trans­port in­vest­ment.

Over the next three years, Auck­land and Welling­ton com­muter rail net­works will be im­proved to sup­port fu­ture pas­sen­ger growth in their sur­round­ing ar­eas.

The pack­age, an­nounced on Sun­day, in­cludes the elec­tri­fi­ca­tion of the Pa­pakura to Pukekohe rail line, which Na­tional has said will cost $130 mil­lion, and adding a third main line from Wiri to West­field, which will cost $100 mil­lion.

Hunua MP, An­drew Bayly, said that the third main line from Wiri to West­field would pro­vide a ded­i­cated freight line that would in­crease the ef­fi­ciency of this cor­ri­dor al­low­ing for greater fre­quency, im­proved travel times and pro­vide more reli­a­bil­ity for Pukekohe com­muters.

‘‘The real is­sue is be­tween Wiri and West­field be­cause of the ports ... freight trains are given pri­or­ity over com­muter trains which causes con­ges­tion,’’ said Bayly.

‘‘With the ad­di­tion of an ex­tra lane, freight trains can stop on the sep­a­rate line, which frees up the other lines for com­muter trains.’’

The elec­tri­fi­ca­tion will re­sult in an 11 minute travel time-sav­ing for peo­ple from south of Papa-

‘‘It is much-needed. It is a hugely grow­ing area and it is recog­nised by ev­ery­one.’’

kura, and re­plac­ing diesel trains with elec­tric trains will re­duce the amount of emis­sions com­ing from the city’s pub­lic trans­port sys­tem.

‘‘I am ab­so­lutely de­lighted with the new plan,’’ said Bayly.

‘‘It is much-needed. It is a hugely grow­ing area and it is recog­nised by ev­ery­one.’’

South Auck­land in par­tic­u­lar is pro­vid­ing a sig­nif­i­cant part of Auck­land’s growth with 21,000 more new houses planned in Drury, Pukekohe and Paer­ata.

The two Auck­land rail projects will help cater for that growth, Na­tional said, with two new train sta­tions in Drury South and Paer­ata part of the plan.

The trains will be fully funded over the next four years through the Gov­ern­ment’s over­all 2017 cap­i­tal bud­get, which is an ad­di­tion to the $450 mil­lion Ki­wiRail cap­i­tal bud­get an­nounced in bud­get 2017.

While con­cept de­signs for all track, sig­nalling and elec­tri­fi­ca­tion have been fi­nalised, com­ple­tion of the de­tailed de­sign will take ap­prox­i­mately 6 months.

Work on the lines are set to com­mence be­fore the end of next year but that will be de­pen­dent on re­source con­sent and pos­si­ble prop­erty ac­qui­si­tions.

Prime Min­is­ter Bill English, flanked by Hunua MP An­drew Bayly, left, and Trans­port Min­is­ter Si­mon Bridges, at Sun­day’s rail in­fra­struc­ture re­veal. Photo: GETTY IM­AGES

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