Switch flicked on Auckland rail
Auckland's rail lines were electrified today, but a chap from Wellington was given the honours of making the switch.
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, a Wellington transport worker named Bryan had his finger on the on switch.
The $500 million project will result in electric trains replacing Auckland's ageing diesel fleet from April 28.
Prime Minister John Key said the new electrified lines would encourage more Aucklanders to use the trains.
"There's nothing magical about Aucklanders using public transport," Key said.
"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 said the painful delays of public transport were becoming a thing of the past.
"Travel in Auckland has sometimes been a form of torture," Levy said.
"We are, however, on the cusp of changing all that. So this is a real landmark time."
Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee said 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, providing spare capacity for future growth."