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Auckland's regional leadership has big plans for electric trains to be ready for the 2011 Rugby World Cup - but just how 60,000 fans will converge on Eden Park remains sketchy...
...Transport planners have yet to finalise details of infrastructure upgrades around the park, for which Auckland City has an indicative budget of about $21 million.
But regional council chairman-designate Mike Lee yesterday said although he was not responsible for Transit projects' timing, he felt electric trains could be running in time.
He said the region wanted to do better than meeting a goal set by the Government of electrifying Auckland's rail network between Papakura and Swanson by 2013.
"We intend to focus all our efforts on getting electrification in place over a key part of the network [by 2011] - that's our goal, not our promise."
He said Government rail agency Ontrack had indicated it would be feasible to electrify the core network, from Britomart to Otahuhu and to Henderson, before the cup kick-off and the Auckland Regional Transport Authority would also have time to order enough trains.
Even if that target was not met, there would be enough diesel trains available to carry the 15,000 or so fans expected to travel to Eden Park by rail.
Transport planners also expect up to 18,000 spectators to arrive by buses and coaches, including shuttle services from a wide patchwork of "park and ride" areas.
City events group manager Rachael Dacy, a recent recruit who headed Melbourne City's planning for the 2006 Commonwealth Games, expressed confidence that Auckland would be ready for the multitudes due to converge on the park.
She said Auckland was "absolutely on track" to host the rugby cup, and as advanced in its organisational planning as any other city at a similar stage of preparations for such a large international event.
Park development board chief executive Adam Feeley said the $190 million-plus redevelopment would include reducing the number of access points, and increasing chances for fans to move within the ground rather than relying on surrounding streets.
A bus transport hub within the park was included in the plans.
The New Zealand Herald
Wed Oct 24, 2007
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