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New commuter services starting next month from the two outer extremities of Auckland's rail network - Pukekohe and Helensville - will mean timetable changes for passengers throughout the region.
A doubling of peak-time trains running between Swanson and Henderson, to four an hour in each direction, will coincide with the launch of a trial daily passenger service from Helensville - the first in 28 years.
These will boost the week-day capacity of the largely double-tracked western railway line by about 18 per cent, says the Auckland Regional Transport Authority.
That follows the completion of most of a $45 million Henderson-Swanson duplication project by Government rail agency Ontrack, which has also improved the line as far as Helensville for trains to make the trip of about 70km to Britomart in just over 90 minutes.
After leaving Helensville at 6.32am each weekday morning, the commuter train will call at new temporary platforms at Waimauku and Huapai, and then at all stops between Waitakere and New Lynn before becoming an express service to Newmarket and Britomart. A train will leave Britomart at 5.30pm for the return trip.
Pukekohe will also gain two extra morning services and four in the afternoon travel peak, requiring adjustments to timetables along the full length of the southern and eastern lines. That will mean six trains each morning and eight in the afternoon peak.
Other improvements will include:
* The return of Saturday trains between Henderson and Waitakere, where replacement buses have run for the past year to allow weekend track duplication work;
* New "flexible" monthly rail passes, usable for a month after the first trip is taken, and no longer expiring automatically at the end of a calendar month.
Although the new timetables do not come into force until Sunday, July 13, the transport authority intends publishing them this morning on its public transport website maxx.co.nz to allow commuters to become familiar with them...
...Authority rail contract manager Gareth Willis said the extension of duplicate tracks to Swanson would enable a more regular phasing of trains all the way to Britomart, to one every 15 minutes at peak times.
Rail patronage grew in Auckland for the 12 months to April to 5.485 million passenger trips - an annual increase of 14.2 per cent.
Rail expansion from July 13
* Peak-period services double to four an hour between Swanson and Henderson.
* New daily Helensville service.
* Two more Pukekohe morning services, four more in the afternoon peak.
* Reinstatement of Saturday trains between Henderson and Waitakere.
* New "flexible" monthly rail passes.
For the full story, go to:
The New Zealand Herald
Friday, 20 June, 2008
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