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May be Auckland's project but Wellington man flicks switch

Last updated 05:00 04/04/2014
John Key at Britomart
SWITCHED ON: Prime Minister John Key at Britomart for the electrification of the rail network.

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Politicians gathered at Britomart Transport Centre in Auckland to launch the city's new electrified rail line.

However, with the control system based in the capital city, it was a Wellington transport worker named Bryan who actually had his finger on the switch.

The $500 million project will result in electric trains replacing Auckland's ageing diesel fleet from April 28.

Prime Minister John Key says the new electrified lines would encourage more Aucklanders to use the trains.

"There's nothing magical about Aucklanders using public transport," Key says.

"If it's there and it's efficient they will use it."

Rail commuters made almost 11 million trips across Auckland in the past year.

Auckland Rail chairman Lester Levy says the painful delays of public transport were becoming a thing of the past.

"Travel in Auckland has sometimes been a form of torture," Levy says.

"We are, however, on the cusp of changing all that. So this is a real landmark time."

Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee says upgrading the train system meant 10-minute peak frequencies for passengers.

"This will play a big part in tackling congestion, and will also substantially increase the size of the rail fleet."

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- Auckland City Harbour News

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