The much-anticipated restart of the Te Huia train service launched on Monday 24 January, coinciding with the last week of the summer school holidays.
Late last year it was announced that Te Huia would now terminate at The Strand, providing passengers from Hamilton direct access to central Auckland. In addition, the train will also now stop at Puhinui station, a short electric bus ride to Auckland airport.
Councillor Ewan Wilson, representative of Hamilton City Council on the rail governance working group, highlighted the importance of the service’s recently announced improvements.
“We have quickly worked to incorporate feedback and prioritise improvements, to make Te Huia a fantastic service for both regions,” Councillor Wilson said.
“Beyond the additional stops, the new schedule offers Aucklanders a same-day return to Hamilton – this opens the service up beyond commuters and into the leisure market.
“We anticipate a welcome return for previous passengers, but also for many more to jump on board as an alternative to hitting the highway.”
Chair of Waikato Regional Council, Russ Rimmington, was excited to welcome passengers back on the train.
“I’m really excited to welcome passengers back on board, I know there are many as keen as I am to see it back on track,” said Councillor Rimmington.
“Te Huia is only eight months into a five-year establishment period. It got off to a good start, with about 15,000 boardings through to August when the service was paused due to the Auckland COVID-19 border.
“Since then, we’ve agreed on significant improvements to deliver the services our passengers want, and we’re confident we’ll see on board numbers increase as a result.”
Transport Minister Michael Wood was also positive about the restart announcement.
“The Waikato and Auckland regions are among the fastest growing in New Zealand, and this means more people and cars on our roads,” Minister Wood said.
“We know we can’t build our way out of congestion. But Te Huia will support a shift to public transport and, as passenger numbers grow, will help to support growth and reduce emissions.”
To celebrate the service restart after its hiatus, for the last week of school holidays – Monday 24 to Friday 28 January – one child aged 18 and under will travel for free with every paying adult.
Waikato Regional Council, which manages Te Huia, has also confirmed that from 1 February, Bee Card holders with their SuperGold Card concession loaded will be able to travel free on all Waikato services – not just those operating during weekend and other off-peak times.
Timetable changes to the service have extended the service beyond those commuting from Hamilton to Auckland: there are now two weekday services, departing Hamilton at 6.15am and 2.07pm. The service will also depart The Strand at 9.18am and 5.15pm each weekday.
Te Huia stops include Frankton Station, Rotokauri Transport Hub (The Base), Raahui Pookeka Huntly, Papakura, Puhinui, and The Strand station in central Auckland. Further details on timetabling and fares can be found on the Te Huia website – tehuiatrain.co.nz – or via phone on 0800 205 305.
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.