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Published: 2001-06-28 00:00:00

Environment Waikato is concerned about the cancellation of rail services through the Waikato Region – but wants to take a closer look at community demand and funding options.

Deputy Chairman David Peart said the Council believed that axing the Waikato Connection service with Auckland would waste a chance to lessen road traffic between Auckland and Hamilton. It was also concerned about the loss of the rail connections with Rotorua and Tauranga.

Tranz Rail is selling its long distance passenger services, Tranz Scenic, which includes the Waikato Connection service, as well as the Geyserland and Kaimai Express services.

“We will be looking at options, assessing alternatives and funding, but we must also take into account what the community wants and whether there is support for rail services. We have always advocated strong links between Hamilton and Auckland.”

Staff were preparing a paper for Councillors’ consideration on alternatives.

“Rail is an integral part of Environment Waikato’s overall transport strategy but we need to look at how it can be funded. Because this is a commercial operation we do not have access to passenger numbers and we need a better understanding of the issues before any decisions about the future can be made.”

“The service must be what the community wants and is willing to support,” Cr Peart said.