I have asked various people from ARTA this question over recent times – “what’s happening at Onehunga, when’s the railway line opening?” I have received assurances on a number of occasions that the line will be opening in mid 2010. I must say I’ve been a bit skeptical of this, as when you visit Onehunga and have a look at where the station should be, you see this: This was taken a while ago, but I was in Onehunga briefly today and it didn’t seem like anything had changed. What is particularly concerning is to see the ProjectDART website now referring to the line opening in the first half of 2011, rather than in mid-2010 like has been repeatedly promised. Here’s what it says:

Work is now well underway on the rehabilitation of the Onehunga Branch Line, which is scheduled to open for passenger rail services in the first half of 2011.

I sincerely hope this is not the case. The Onehunga Line was meant to open last year. Come on ARTA, get it together.

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  1. Further down on the DART website you linked to it still says:

    “Passenger facilities plans
    Construction is now underway on the first of ARTA’s three stations along the route – at Penrose, Te Papapa and Onehunga. Work will continue over the next few months until the line reopens to passenger rail services in the first half of 2010. Visit the ARTA website for further details.”

    So they’ve clearly not done a good job of changing the date – but does seem to show it’s been delayed. Lack of money?

  2. The money to do Onehunga came from cutbacks to other ProjectDART upgrades I thought, so it should be there. I just don’t think ARTA have their heart in this project because it’s not one they came up with.

  3. The fact that they don’t have enough spare trains to run normal services at present could lead them to delay this as well, what trains would they actually use?

  4. There are three spare SA trains just sitting at Westfield waiting to be used apparently. You’d only need two 2-carriage ADLs to operate this service.

  5. Also with the western stabling being built it might allow for some better timetabling of trains that would free up a train or two.

  6. I work periodically in Onehunga (usually once or twice a week) there is work going on very slowly around the Penrose and Tepapa stations but little else, very slow indeed…

    This line will not be ready ready till 2011 unless someone pulls finger but to be honest with all the problems and capacity issues on the network and the stuff ups in the proposal around mangere feeders, the main bus station location, frequency and lack of intergration with Dressmart I think this could be a final straw breaking the Camel’s back and at the moment is possible it could be a pig…

  7. Well apparently ARTA’s applied for a resource consent for the station quite recently (why didn’t they do that 2 years ago I wonder….) The timeframe for the station probably depends on whether that consent is notified or not.

  8. It takes 6 to 9 months to build a new station, so considering the site work hasn’t even begun (in fact the old buildings are still there), there is little chance of a 2010 opening. My prediction is that it won’t open until the new signalling system is available, so as to avoid putting in temporary systems in the meantime. I think Onehunga and Manukau will open together during the first half of 2011. Add to this, a lot of people are passionate about the future design and layout of Onehunga in general. I don’t expect the resource consent process will be a guaranteed easy process. So probably early 2011 at the earliest, more likely mid 2011, and at worst, 2012.

  9. @Nick R – yes that’s what I was getting at, there’s no locos and therefore no trains to run the service. On CBT people mentioned that services were being cancelled before the day even started because of the lack of trains to run all timetabled routes.

  10. I’ve had confirmation from Sharon Hunter and Allen Bufton at ARTA that Onehunga services will be running by “mid-year”. To me, mid-year gives them until the end of July at the most. The CBT was pretty quiet when they missed the “end of 2009” target, but we won’t be so quiet if they miss this target.

  11. The one thing I will say is that if they put their foot down the platforms could be built in time. The advantage of Onehunga is they don’t need to worry about train movements while they build it so it should surely be able to be done faster.

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