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  Services » Regional Services » Transport » Hamilton-Auckland start-up rail service

Hamilton-Auckland start-up rail service

Passenger train carriage

Establishing a passenger rail service between Hamilton and Auckland is a transformational project for the Waikato region.

It is being led by the Waikato Regional Council, with partners KiwiRail, Hamilton City Council, Waikato District Council and Auckland Transport.

The NZ Transport Agency is the primary funder.

The development of passenger rail aligns with the Government’s new Policy Statement on Transport which is committed to creating an efficient, modern and resilient transport system across all transport modes.

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The service

Train times

The times the service will operate are still to be confirmed. Indicative times at this stage are below.

Two weekday return services will leave from the Hamilton train station in Frankton at 6am and 6.40am, arriving at the Papakura train station in south Auckland where passengers will then connect with Auckland’s wider rail network.

One Saturday service will also operate in each direction.

The refurbished carriages will have air conditioning, heating, a café bar and toilets, and be able to carry 150 passengers. They will initially stop at The Base and Huntly stations, before arriving at Papakura.

Travel time

The start-up service will have an estimated running time of:

  • 88 minutes from Frankton to Papakura
  • 80 minutes from Rotokauri to Papakura
  • 57 minutes from Huntly to Papakura. 

The total journey from Frankton to Britomart in Auckland will take an estimated 2 hours 30 minutes.

The likely return services would leave Papakura between 5pm and 6pm.

Travel cost

The cost of a one way fare from Hamilton to Papakura will be $12.20, with a trip into the city costing a total of $18.40.

Inter-regional passenger rail service

When the service will start

Getting a rail service up and running involves aligning a number of different projects managed by different agencies.

When we announced the service we had the ambitious start date of March 2020. Any delays could impact this timeframe.

We’ll have a better idea in mid-2019 when the service is likely to start – but at this stage it is expected to be by mid-2020.

Extending the service in the future

We’ll continue to monitor the start-up service and improve it over time as passenger numbers increase and rolling stock improves.

We know this service might not deliver what some people had hoped from the outset.

So future enhancements may include interpeak services and operating the service north of Papakura after the completion of the Wiri-Quay Park third main line project in 2022.

Consideration is already being given to introducing one Sunday and public holiday service in each direction once the Papakura to Pukekohe electrification project has been completed.

How the service will be funded

The start-up service will be funded through passenger fares, a NZ Transport Agency subsidy and Waikato Regional Council rates.

Through Waikato Regional Council’s long term plan, it was decided that Hamilton ratepayers would pay a $20 uniform charge, plus $1.68 per $100,000 of capital value capped at $2.5 million.


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