The date has been decided by a multi-agency rail working group. A ceremonial launch of the service will be three days earlier.
Waikato Regional Council chair Russ Rimmington said the time couldn’t come soon enough for the passenger rail service to roll out of Hamilton on its journey north.
“Now there’s a date the countdown can start!” Cr Rimmington said. “It’s a major turning point for the project and will give commuters certainty so they can plan their future travel.”
Hugh Vercoe, chair of the Regional Transport Committee and the rail working group, said: “There’s a lot of work to still be done, but I’m excited about the progress that’s been made to the fitout of the carriages, as well as the work on the train stations in Hamilton and Huntly.”
Work which started this week on the Huntly station and associated park and ride facility is expected to be completed in time for the launch of the service.
Construction of the rail platform, park and ride facilities, bus interchange, roading upgrades, passenger bridge and stairs at Rotokauri will be complete when the service starts in August. However, the lifts will not.
Cr Vercoe said the working group had been told at its meeting last week that delivery has been delayed of the three elevators required for the new transport hub being built by Hamilton City Council.
Unfortunately, several aspects of the supply chain – including the availability of personnel in the manufacturing process and availability of logistics providers – has had a flow on effect, delaying the delivery of the elevators to site.
“It’s not what we had hoped, but in Hamilton the station at Frankton is accessible and we’re working closely with the regional council’s public transport team on options to make sure people with mobility issues can use the new service.”
From day one there will be two return services on weekdays timed to get commuters to Auckland in time for the start of the work day, with one return Saturday service. It will start in Frankton, stopping at Rotokauri and Huntly.
About the service
Each of the two trains will be made up of four carriages. The carriages will have wifi, air conditioning, heating, a café bar and be able to carry 150 passengers. There will be a toilet within each carriage and there will be plenty of tables, power and USB points on board to allow for productive working spaces.
The start-up passenger rail service project is being led by Waikato Regional Council, working with partners KiwiRail, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency, Hamilton City Council, Waikato District Council and Auckland Transport.
A passenger rail connection between Hamilton and Auckland is one of a number of priority projects of the Hamilton to Auckland Corridor Plan, a joint iwi-council-central government initiative.
More information about the service is available at waikatoregion.govt.nz/rail