First Train in New Lynn Rail Trench

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The first train in the New Lynn rail trench is scheduled to pass through on Monday March 1, 2010 at the 5:56am. Yes I’ll be on board!

Update: Article on the new station in today’s Western Leader – LJH

Puhoi Wellsford Motorway

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Danielle Williamson’s well informed article on the proposed Puhoi to Wellsford motorway concluded that, mainly for reasons of road safety, the 35km stretch of road should be divided into a “proper motorway”.

However, doing so would be extraordinarily costly and technically challenging. Just the first section alone, between Puhoi and Warkworth, will not be completed for at least nine years, even if it were tolled.

We need to objectively consider the best use of an apparent budget of $2.3bn, rather than adopt an all-or-nothing approach.

For instance, the worst of the accident black spots could be upgraded to a higher standard far sooner than nine years from now. A Warkworth bypass could be built, perhaps to an expressway standard. The rail line to Northland could be repaired so that it is once again capable of carrying freight in a timely manner, reducing the number of large trucks on SH1.

It would be prudent to at least consider these alternatives, especially considering the likelihood of higher petrol prices in the next few years.

24/7 Shuttle for “logjam”

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The New Zealand Herald reports:

Householders face being transported to and from their homes in a shuttle vehicle as contractors widen North Shore’s busy Onewa Rd during a nine-month project starting today.

Why not catch a bus?

Capital Connection gets lifeline

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Some good news from The Manawatu Standard:

Palmerston Nroth MP Iain Lees-Galloway says the Capital Connection railway link has received a stay of execution.

However, KiwiRail is denying any firm commitments have been made about the service’s future.

Submission on SOL

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The fate of the Stratford to Okahukura line is up in the air.  Our submission to KiwiRail explaining why it should stay open is here:

 Submission on the Stratford to Okahukura Line.

Inland port for Waikato

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First Wiri, now Hamilton – The Waikato Times reports local iwi Tainui are planning an inland port, served by both rail and road connections:

A port operator has yet to be tapped on the shoulder, but TGH has had discussions with Transit New Zealand and KiwiRail, says chief executive Mike Pohio.

This is good news for Hamilton, and motorists in the Auckland / Waikato / Bay of Plenty regions. Inland ports, served by container trains, take numerous truck movements off the roads, decreasing the environmental impact of transport and extending the life of the road.

Auckland Transport Structure Announced

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Late last year the Auckland Transport Authority (now called Auckland Transport) structure was announced. Most alarming was the “Major Roading Projects” department, with no equivalent department for public transport infrastructure.

It seems the Transition Authority have recognised this, and the title has been changed to “Major Projects and PMO”. The explanation given is “Not all major projects will be roading, and the PMO will be an important part of this group.”  Hard to understand why this obvious shortcoming wasn’t spotted sooner!

The new organisational chart is below.  Click the image for a larger version.

Call to Reopen Rail Line

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The Campaign For Better Transport is calling on the Government to urgently reopen a direct rail link to the Taranaki region.

The 143km rail link runs from Stratford to Okahukura, near Taumaruni and has been mothballed since the end of last year following a number of derailments. As a result, Fonterra milk products now travel 200km further between Taranaki and the Port of Tauranga.

Spokesperson for the Campaign for Better Transport, Cameron Pitches, says it is vital the link is reopened.

“It would be incredibly short-sighted to close it. This rail link is a the only alternative route between Auckland and Wellington for the main trunk line. If there is a washout or a volcanic event, rail freight between these two cities will be stuck,” said Mr Pitches.

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