The first improvement to the Waikato to Auckland Te Huia rail service is rolling out, with Saturday trains arriving at The Strand station in central Auckland from 24 July.
The announcement has been made by the multi-agency Te Huia rail governance group following a successful trial of the extended Saturday service last weekend.
“Te Huia has been operating just over three months and we’ve moved quickly to prioritise improvements, working closely with KiwiRail, in response to feedback from our communities and passengers,” said governance group chair and Waikato regional councillor, Hugh Vercoe.
“The Saturday service extension is the first of a number of impovements planned for Te Huia.
“Saturday services are already proving popular – we were at seated capacity with 215 up last Saturday and 180 back in the evening – and we are thrilled to get people directly to central Auckland without needing to change trains,” Cr Vercoe said.
“The Strand station is within walking distance of popular central Auckland destinations such as Spark Arena, Queen Street, the Downtown Ferry Terminal, University of Auckland and Parnell, to name just a few.”
Saturday services will still stop at Papakura, and Te Huia will travel directly to and from The Strand without stopping at other stations within Auckland.
Cr Vercoe cautioned that Te Huia passengers wanting to connect with AT Metro trains at Papakura should check before they travel, as planned track works will mean metro trains may not be operating to their normal schedules on some weekends. Passengers can check on the tehuitrain.co.nz website, use AT’s journey planning mobile app or call 0800 205 305 before travelling.
For a limited time, Te Huia ticket prices to The Strand will remain the same as those to Papakura – a $12 fare from Hamilton on Bee Card or $20 cash. The newly introduced Bee Card family pass will also be valid for travel through to The Strand. Children under 5 always travel free and passengers with a SuperGold Card concession registered on thier Bee Card will also travel for free on Saturdays.
Te Huia is timetabled to depart Hamilton at 7.41am and arrive into The Strand at 10.10am on Saturday mornings. It departs The Strand station at 5.40pm on Saturday evenings, arriving in Hamilton at 8.14pm.
The Te Huia rail governance group comprises councillors from Waikato Regional Council, Hamilton City Council and Waikato District Council, with senior leaders from Auckland Transport, KiwiRail, Ministry of Transport and Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency.