No extra Melling trains for Rugby World Cup action

NICHOLAS BOYACK
Last updated 13:19 09/08/2011

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The Rugby World Cup is the biggest sporting event in our country's history but if you want to get a train from Melling to watch matches at the stadium, forget about it.

Graham Watson, who manages three bars at Station Village, has been lobbying for special trains to run on the Melling Line on the two Sundays and a number of Saturdays on which games are being played at Westpac Stadium.

He is planning a number of events around the World Cup but says that if people cannot use public transport, he has a major problem.

Under its resource consent the stadium is required to provide special trains for major events.

It's doing that - but not on the Melling Line.

Mr Watson says he has contacted the Hutt City Council, KiwiRail and Greater Wellington Regional Council, asking for extra trains.

GWRC's public transport manager Wayne Hastie sent Mr Watson a reply, which he says was unhelpful.

"No extra trains are planned for Melling - the stadium trains only run on the Hutt, Johnsonville and Kapiti lines. People living in that area wanting to use the trains will have to drive to Petone and catch the train there," Mr Hastie said. "The Melling line doesn't operate on weekends anyway and this will not change during the Rugby World Cup."

Mr Watson says the World Cup is a once-in-a-lifetime event and he expected a better response from GWRC.

He says moteliers are also worried about the issue.

Western Hills resident and train advocate Sandra Greig agrees the response from Mr Hastie was unsatisfactory.

She feels the issue has slipped under the radar and GWRC simply did not think about Melling.

She assumed that Mr Hastie had raised the issue with Cr Peter Glensor, who chairs the relevant committee.

Not having trains will paint the city in a bad light but Cr Greig says it is not only overseas visitors who will be disadvantaged.

The council has a public duty to provide Western Hills residents, particularly those wanting to have a drink after the game, with a public transport option.

She plans to raise the issue with Cr Glensor but suspects it is too late to do anything.

Cr Glensor told the Hutt News that he does not see Melling as a priority.

With the stadium sure to be full, he says a bigger issue is making sure KiwiRail provides enough trains for the main Hutt Valley line. Despite the importance of the World Cup he said he sees no reason to change the fact that GWRC does not run trains to the stadium on the Melling Line.

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