Should Auckland's electric train network be extended to Pukekohe?
Electric trains could run to Pukekohe if Auckland Council approves a $102 million upgrade to electrify the line past Papakura.
The electrification of Auckland's train system is already well underway and an Auckland Transport spokesman said today they were "looking at options" to extend the project to Pukekohe.
"This would see trains running from Pukekohe to Britomart every 20 minutes at peak times and every 30 minutes at other times."
The extra stretch is expected to cost $102.3m including buying two trains, creating park and ride facilities, new stations at Paerata and Drury and a major station upgrade at Pukekohe. Three bridges would be raised and the lowered.
Almost $19m has already been set aside in Auckland Transport's long term plan for the project, which is expected to save $2m a year by having electric rather than diesel engines.
Mayor Len Brown welcomed an investigation, saying it would mean people in Franklin would be able to make full use of the rail network along with the rest of Auckland.
"This would mean quieter, faster and more efficient trains all the way to Pukekohe."
Brown said Pukekohe was a key centre for residential and business growth, and there would be a rapidly growing need to move people to and from homes and jobs.
The area's population is predicted to more than treble in the next 30 years to close to 80,000.
Franklin Local Board chairman Andy Baker said electrification was something the board and community had advocated for for a long time.
"We are extremely pleased that the investigation is happening now as it makes sense to do the work while we have contractors and systems in place to build Auckland's electric rail network. "
The first electric train is due to arrive in Auckland from Spain in the third quarter of 2013 and will undergo significant testing before going into public service in 2014.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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