KiwiRail has begun work on the refurbishment of carriages for a new Hamilton to Auckland passenger service which is to begin in early 2021.
This will be the second regional rail commuter service operated by KiwiRail, alongside the daily Capital Connection from Palmerston North to Wellington.
The services are a major part of our commitment to stronger connections for a better New Zealand and take vehicles off congested city roads while reducing carbon emissions.
In December 2018, the New Zealand Transport Agency approved a business case from the Waikato Regional Council for a five-year start-up trial of the service, funding the fit-out of the rolling stock and design of the stations and infrastructure needed along the route.
At this stage, the rail service will run between Frankton Station in Hamilton and Papakura Station in Auckland, where passengers can then transfer onto the city’s metro network.
There will be four stops along the route including The Base on the outskirts of the city and Huntly. The total running time for the service, which will run Monday to Saturday, is expected to be 88 minutes.
Transport Minister Phil Twyford and KiwiRail Chief Executive Greg Miller visit Hutt Workshops in May 2019 to see progress on refurbishment of the carriages.
KiwiRail is refurbishing former Auckland Transport-owned SA and SD cars which will become the KiwiRail SR class.
When fully operational it is expected there will be two consists of four carriages, each with capacity for 147 commuters with a café car, wheelchair accessibility and a licensed café.
The trains will be serviced daily at Westfield and Te Rapa maintenance centres.