'Fed up' customers prompt new rail stop
TRANSPORT AND METRO REPORTER
Paraparaumu has been added as a stop on the new Northern Explorer rail service after it was controversially dumped along with old Overlander train earlier this year.
KiwiRail announced today that the Northern Explorer, which runs between Wellington and Auckland, will now stop at Paraparaumu and Papakura to accommodate the large catchments of people living just outside the two main centres.
The two new stops will be factored into the train's timetable alongside pre-existing stops at Palmerston North, Ohakune, National Park and Hamilton.
Paraparaumu was one of 12 stops that were scrapped when the Overlander re-branded itself as the more tourism-focused Northern Explorer in June.
Stops in Levin, Taihape, Marton and Feilding also fell off the schedule, shedding 30 minutes off the 12-hour journey.
The move caused outrage and protests from those living in smaller communities.
KiwiRail General Manager of passenger services Deborah Hume said that since then, the rail company had received a number of requests from people living just outside Wellington and Auckland who were fed up at having to travel into the city centre to catch the train.
"KiwiRail has previously stated that it would be happy to increase the number of stops on the Northern Explorer should there be a demonstrated demand for it," she said.
"We believe the number of people wanting to catch the service from both south Auckland and north Wellington warrants this."
The Paraparaumu and Papakura stops will be introduced on October 15. Fares will not be affected.
KiwiRail said it "is not anticipated" that adding two more stops will have any significant impact on the service’s current timetable.
The Northern Explorer runs from Auckland on Monday, Thursday and Saturday and from Wellington on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday.
- The Dominion Post
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