Last year we launched the Regional Rapid Rail concept, a staged approach to an inter-regional rail network in the upper North Island. The idea has proven popular and now forms part of the government’s transport plans.

As you can see in the map below, Hamilton forms the heart of the Regional Rapid Rail network, and it will be important to the success of the whole concept that we get Hamilton right.

The complete Regional Rapid Rail network in stage 3

Critical to making Hamilton work will be moving Hamilton’s station from Frankton, which is run down and out of the way, to a better more central location with better connections to:

  1. The bus network including the Hamilton Transport Centre the hub of nearly every major bus route except the Rototuna Circular, the Orbiter as well as a few minor ones (The Orbiter will be best served at a Te Rapa – The Base Station);
  2. Hamilton city centre;
  3. The cycle network;

Moving to an upgraded, more amenable and central station will be highly beneficial for the same reasons that moving from the Strand to Britomart was a great success for Auckland’s rail network.

Hamilton Bus Map

Regional Rapid Rail proposed two options for a Hamilton Central Station

  1. A new station just before the old Hamilton Central underground station;
  2. An upgraded underground Hamilton Central Station;

We believe that any trains terminating at Hamilton will need to do so without impacting on the important, and only single track, East Coast Main Trunk (ECMT). Intercity trains also generally require longer dwell times for servicing and recovery, and as such, both options would require multiple new ‘offline’ platforms.

Option 1 – Upgraded Underground Station “Hamilton’s Britomart?”

Many don’t realise that Hamilton once had an underground station. The former station still exists but is derelict and has only a single track and platform which must also accommodate all freight to and from Tauranga. Standing on an underground platform while a large and noisy freight train rumbles past wouldn’t make for a very pleasant experience. Furthermore, the station entrances have since been built over by the K-Mart building on the block fronting Bryce Street between Tristram Street and Anglesea Street and it would be infeasible to expand the former station to the required configuration without demolishing the buildings above.

This option would provide a well located central station within the city centre proper, linked directly to the bus interchange. Therefore, this represents the option for a comprehensive urban redevelopment, which would include demolishing the K-Mart building, constructing the new station and tracks in a trench below the site, then redeveloping the land above. Therefore, this option represents a high cost, but high return urban redevelopment plan, analogous to a “mini-Britomart” with benefits not just on top but for Hamilton’s City Centre as a whole. The new development could even be great for K-Mart with the potential for a flagship store on top.

Option 2 – New Station

This option would be to construct a new Hamilton Central station in an open cutting in the parkland alongside Bryce Street, between the Seddon Road overbridge and the ECMT tunnel portal under Tristram Street. This would locate the new central station one block west of the existing bus interchange, and two blocks away from the core of downtown Hamilton. It would also be within walking distance of the cricket and rugby stadiums, and the Founders Theatre.

This would require rebuilding Seddon Road overbridge with a broader span to clear multiple tracks, however, the rest of the station could be relatively cheap and simple to construct at this location, provided a strip of parkland could be acquired. The location in a cutting would allow easy concourse access from street level, with the main entrance at the corner of Bryce Street and Tristram Street. This would also require approximately 600m of double tracking from Frankton to the new station site, and the construction of the currently missing third leg of Frankton Junction for when services extend south of Hamilton. This simple option has been included in the capital development budget for Stage 2.

Option 1 & 2 – Blue, Hamilton Transport Centre – Red

With a new Government interested in Urban Renewal and Transit Orientated Development the potential exists to work with the owners of the land, which I believe may be Tainui, to deliver a fantastic urban precinct for Hamilton connected to both regional and interregional transit. (Tainui are also behind the Ruakura development)

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91 comments

  1. The Kmart at the shopping centre on Bryce St does OK, but I don’t know how any of the other shops in the mall break even. Foot traffic is quite low from the Kmart to the eastern entrance.

    The section on the northern corner of Bryce and Tristram (the old Countdown) is basically just a carpark and I suspect is the result of land banking. Both these sites offer huge potential for redevelopment. I hope KiwiBuild looks at opportunities in central Hamilton. For all the talk about revitalising the CBD, there is a lack of any vision apart from more and cheaper car parks and relandscaping Garden Place for the 78th time. It’s the same story in Christchurch – transport options are pretty good but there is a lack of people outside 9–5 and rebuilding central housing is the greatest need right now.

    1. I agree the carpark next to the refurbished Genesis (former Countdown) building could have an island platform station under it. It would be next door to the Transport Centre bus station and maybe it could extend part way under that too. Much cheaper to dig up roadways than buildings.

      1. Yep – close the westernmost block of Bryce St and cut-and-cover across Tristram to the car park.

        Britomart could only have succeeded as a terminus option – it would never have been built if it had been sold as a through route. It took 15 years for Britomart to prove itself to the point that government and developers were willing to vote with their diggers on a massive transport and real estate project.

        The cutting option presented here is like Britomart Mark I – allow the concept to prove itself, to set the scene for major redevelopment in the future. However I wouldn’t consider a station sitting in a green belt to be a halo destination and something much more attractive could be built on the carpark site.

  2. The old tunnel entry is where the Warehouse complex is, not K Mart. The Warehouse was built on the old Hamilton Transport Centre site in front of the K Mart building.

  3. A new station really needs to be built at Frankton to replace the current poorly located and difficult to find and access Hamilton station. This ought to be built on the vacant railway land alongside High Street adjacent Commerce Street – the main commercial street of Frankton:

    https://www.google.co.nz/maps/@-37.788973,175.2638688,3a,75y,320.5h,88.53t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1smZ1kPEgURW67loc7SiGp6w!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

    A long platform could be built on the existing loop track which would keep the main line clear, and a large park and ride could be developed next to it on the vacant land, which would make the train service much easier to find, access and use.

    1. The last thing that site needs is Park and Ride. That should be done at Te Rapa. But I completely agree the station should be moved. I have been considering a wider development there myself over the last few weeks.

        1. I think that there would. For much the same reason that an Aotea station is justified even though Britomart was built. The are about 1.5km apart and Frankton is ripe for some redevelopment.

          1. Frankton and Aotea aren’t exactly the same sort of land use intensity kind! Frankton has more in common with Westfield that Aotea.

          2. Westfield has a bustling town centre with over 100 retail stores and several new apartment buildings? Maybe K Road is the better example, tbh. So much development potential to be unlocked at both!

          3. If by that you mean a strip mall and some drive thru’s half a kilometre away across an industrial area, then yes, both Frankton and Westfield are very similar!

          4. You are right, and I stand corrected. When I took a look around Frankton (yes just driving through and poking around the rail lines) I assumed the strip along Greenwood Street was the ‘town centre’, Lincoln Road style.

            I actually had no idea there was a proper main street on the other side of the tracks.

            So I can now see a much better fit with Frankton and a suburban transit station. I would still question if the *regional* rail should stop there if it had a CBD station also.

            Generally I would say only ever one stop per city/town for regional rail, unless there is such a broad spread that a second stop to cover the suburbs on the way in and out. In the case of Hamilton I think that is Te Rapa, to have a northern stop rather than two central ones.

          5. Yeah, sorry for getting a bit ratty, btw. So many people shit on Hamilton, but it has so much potential.

            I completely agree, for me Regional Rail should only stop at Britomart, Puhinui, Pokeno, Te Rapa, Hamilton Central, Waharoa, Tauranga, The Mount.
            We should then have an Auckland metro service (Britomart to Pokeno) and a Waikato Regional Service (Pokeno to Rotorua and Cambridge to Te Kuiti). This will enable far higher speeds on the inter-regional services and far more stations on the intra-regional services.

            Frankton is a great place to develop a ‘second’ centre for Hamilton and a railway station at the end of Commerce Street would be a major catalyst. I think the government also needs to tell councils that they will only support stops where the zoning justifies it too.

          6. If running two tiers of train service I would cast the net a bit closer and the the regional rail do the real intercity stuff.

            In my opinion the “Hamilton S-Bahn” Should be Huntly to Cambridge, and Te Awamutu to Morrisville.

            Each line would be a little less than an hour end to end, or two hours return including stops and layover.

            With two patterns on four lines of about the same length, you could timetable the four trains to arrive at Hamilton Central at the same time (assuming you had four platforms) for a minimal-delay timed transfer between any of the lines. That would work well for freight because you’d have to periods of about ten minutes an hour when the network was busy with passegner trains, and two periods of about twenty minutes each hour when it was completely clear for freights.

            A fleet of eight trains + spares could therefore give half hourly service all day, not a bad start. Another four trains could round out a decent peak service.

            With that in place you might only need the two actual intercity lines, Tauranga to Auckland and Rotorua to Auckland.

          7. +1, a pretty similar proposal. I’m thinking of the ideal outcome (which may well be 30 years away). Whereas I feel like you system could be in in 30 years.

        2. Yes of course Frankton Junction would still be the station for long distance services. There is a reason why it has always existed.

    2. This would be a good spot for a new, quality station for intercity trains to use (ie Wellington – Auckland services) as I imagine there would be little appetite for these to enter a new underground station in Hamilton Central, only to have to reverse out again. And if the third leg of the triangle was built the existing station would be fully cut off. Just need to make sure these is sufficient short-term (max 60 minute) and coach parking provided to drop-offs and transfers.

      1. Many trains to the southwest of England do this exact thing at Bristol Temple Meads, on a far busier line and in a far busier station then anywhere in NZ; if there’s no issue there, I can’t see why the same can be done at Hamilton Central. It’s not as if “Dora” the Explorer is keeping a tight timetable is it?

        1. Until 1845 trains reversed at Bristol. Some still go the Great Way Round, but at 200kph that’s less of a disadvantage now. Elsewhere, as in Vienna, more recent work has eliminated reversals.

  4. The existing station is only about 1.5 km from the K mart mall/Norris Ward Park. It has a new cycleway/footpath connecting it to the CBD. The platform is directly adjacent to the access road so a bus stop would be 2m from the train. Also the platforms are on sidings so passenger trains waiting there will not interfere with freight services. It exists now and is entirely useable without having to spend a cent. Where the money needs to be spent is on upgrading the Hamilton-Papakura line to be competitive with the Waikato Expressway which will likely have long sections of 110km/hr. Fix the Whangamarino swamp, bypass Ngaruawahia, upgrade the line north of Mercer, build a new station at Te Rapa etc etc. Speed and reliability of the service are the keys to its success.

    1. Need both. Auckland’s old Strand station was *only* about 900m from the new Britomart underground station or bottom of Queen St and look how well that worked.

        1. Britomart has proven incontrovertibly that a central station is fundamentally more appealing and successful than one which is only 900m further away from where the action is. The proposal here has some challenges to work through around sharing lines with freight. If you don’t like it, what better options have you got?

          1. I don’t think you understand the difference between downtown Auckland and the wasteland that is central Hamilton.

          2. In 2013 14,694 commuted into central Hamilton, 10,746 into Te Rapa and 6,519 into Frankton. 20,607 commuted into Auckland Central east and 25,710 into AC west. So central Hamilton has roughly a third of central Auckland’s commuters – 2-car trains, rather than 6-car?

            So far no one’s suggested a line alongside the Expressway being built. That would cut over 10km off the Auckland-Tauranga rail route and leave the current line under Hamilton mainly for passenger trains. Is it too late to modify the Expressway to accommodate a freight line?

          3. You’ve left out Auckland Harbourside which is another 15k workers, at least at the last census, not to mention around 30k students that aren’t on the journey to work list.

          4. There’s no suburban rail system in Hamilton and given that they struggle to get any buses even half full at peak time, there’s not likely to be one in the forseeable future. This is strictly about trains between Auckland and Hamilton and the existing station is the best option given the huge demands on available resources. Just run bus services through the station access road. Or use some of that empty land behind the station to extend the carpark.

          5. To relieve crowding on some buses, Hamilton’s putting 85-seat double deckers on some routes, including Huntly, where the bus parallels the railway.

            At present only 36 freight trains run under Hamilton in the 9 hours between 8am and 5pm, Monday to Friday, so for a while, with an average of 4 an hour, there should be some space for passenger trains.

          6. @Compaq:
            Unfortunately Hamilton has had typically poor NZ urban planning and urban leadership that has allowed it’s CBD to decline and for developments near Te Rapa to rise.

            But that may not be for forever. At some stage there should be a CBD revival for Hamilton and it should become more attractive for white collar workplaces and possibly even residences.

            But to be honest; I can see Tauranga getting commuter/suburban railways before Hamilton or even Christchurch.

          7. @Compaq- I had a quick look at that report & although some wording talks of declining the actual Jan 12 mths has gone up .4%, since new contracts has gone up 2+% for 3 months.

      1. The old strand station was fine for long distance services. It was just less than ideal for Auckland services.

  5. Harriet, are you sure it’s not The Warehouse that is built above the underground station? I remember visiting the station when younger and it was definitely at the Anglesea St end of the block, not the Tristram St end.

    See for example:
    http://www.bettertransport.org.nz/2010/03/hamilton-underground-station/
    http://hamiltonheritagecollections.co.nz/nodes/view/932

    etc.

    As I recall there was some provision in the building permit (or similar) for The Warehouse that had to consider the possibility of the railway station being used again at some future point.

    Important to ensure we’re talking about the right building before plans get too advanced.

    1. I think she was saying where to gain access to have enough space to create new tracks to enable trains to pull up without clogging the single ECMT, so freight could pass through unhindered. Similar to Britomart Stn post-CRL when it will have two dead end tracks, and two tracks passing through the station(except Hamilton would have one track). Great article. The mayor and the DHB are presently digging holes so the work has already begun, demolish K-Mart, build some high rise kiwibuild apartments with swissrail style retail section underneath, and an on site catapult for anyone that mentions MPRs so they can drink from the Waikato. 😉

  6. Interesting station concept! Whatever happens, it is clear that more platforms are needed for the Hamilton Central Station, or another bottleneck in the system will be created.

    Interesting also that you mentioned Ruakura in passing. Does the RRR plan consider a station at Ruakura? The new development will be a massive employment and residential hub in its own right, plus the university and large existing residential area is close by… students will walk a km or so to the station to save a couple of bucks, and you’d think they would be big users of regional rail to Auckland. Worth adding to the plan?

  7. The easy way of incorporating Hamilton’s underground station into the proposed regional rail service at least in the short-term, is not to terminate trains there but run them all through to somewhere else. The proposed Auckland-Hamilton service should continue to Cambridge (some rebuilding work necessary to re-establish a station there). Auckland-Tauranga (Te Puke/Whakatane) and Auckland-Rotorua services will obviously continue through anyway. Dwell-times need only be a minute or so. To contemplate a massive new station development in Hamilton at this nascent stage of the regional rail strategy seems a tad premature.

    Frankton Station should remain as another stop for all trains and a potential interchange with NIMT-south services. Auckland-Wellington services will still need to use it, as will any other service proposals for Auckland-NIMT-south.

    1. The Hamilton Central Station is a stage two project for RRR, I don’t think there is any suggestion this work would be done before the first stage.

      I think it would make more sense for Auckland – Wellington trains to pull into Hamilton Central. A few more minutes on a long trip would be well worth pulling into what would be the busiest station on the trip.

      1. Yes, if you were catching the train from Wellington or Palmy or Te Awamutu to Hamilton, would you want your train to go to stop at Frankton or Hamilton Central?

        1. Yes I think this central station (central to Hamilton AND the whole of the RRR really – look at the map & as Harriet says in effect early on in the post) needs some proper money thrown at it from central govt. sooner rather than too far into the scheme. This is a good regional development proposal really and it needs a proper station to work best. Frankton Station area can be stabling as the RRR report mentions. Pull it down and save on money maintaining it.

          1. No keep Frankton Junction as the main station for long distance services and a station for the local area.
            Only reinstate the underground station for some services that serve Hamilton itself.

        2. It would be faster to ride a bike from Te Awamutu to Hamilton than to use a train. The trains have to go slow as they push a bow wave of steel across the swamp. Don’t go hanging your hat on any demand from TA to justify spending money on rail.

          1. It’s a shame that the actual track speeds don’t align with your statements, otherwise that would be a great point.

          2. General line speed limit over the Whangamarino Swamp is 80Km/h. However multiple curves near the northern end reduce allowable speeds to between 55 and 65Km/h for about 3Km.

      2. No I disagree. Spurring off to the Hamilton underground station and then reversing out again would NOT be desirable for overlander passengers at all.

        Frankton Junction is not exactly far from the Hamilton CBD anyway. It’s a fine station for long distance passengers. Keep it for the long distance services but reuse the underground dp station for commuter rail and any future Hamilton/Waikato commuter/suburban rail.

    2. The Cambridge rail line terminates at the Hautapu Dairy Factory, beyond that the old railway formation has been used to widen Victoria Road, buried under an embankment of the Waikato Expressway and used to provide space for a roundabout. The land where the station was is being covered with the “Lakewood” development. Forget about trains to Cambridge, it aint going to happen.

      1. The Waikato expressway left the rail corridor clear and the even build a huge span on the overbridge for the rail.

        There is heaps of room in the median of Victoria Road, and plenty of opportunity for a new station platform.

        1. Seriously they made them build a longer span to accommodate a rail line that will never be used? Someone needs to sort out our archaic designation system. First in seems to dictate terms regardless of cost or utility. NZTA got held to ransom with the motorway to Maioro St because the railways had designated land they will never need.

          1. Not sure which you think will be used, Hautapu to Cambridge or the Mt Roskill designation. But you are wrong either way. Eventually the Hautapu factory will close as Fonterra moves to fewer larger sites. at that time the whole siding will be closed.
            As for Mt Roskill, NZR, Kiwirail whoever have no intention of ever building it. they had no intention ever since the Pollen Island port option was dumped. Proof they have no intention is the AT LRT scheme. I think that project precludes the requiring authority ever using the designation.

          2. “at that time the whole siding will be closed.”

            If we have a government with no imagination whatsoever, maybe it would. Why on earth would you abandon a centre to cetre link between what will be the two largest towns in the Waikato?!

          3. One reason would be high costs and the other reason would be lack of benefits. The problem is that both people in Cambridge who want to ride on a train don’t want to go at the same time.

          4. You must be really upset about the GPS to be trolling this poorly miffy. If only two people in small towns near to major centres want to take the train then there must be two people in Pukekohe taking a couple of thousand trips a day!

      2. You clearly haven’t been under the Waikato Expressway, there is a large gap in the span that has been left for the railway line, enough to double track by the look of it.

        1. Clearly, the rail corridor has been preserved in and out of Cambridge. Does need a bit of work and road re-alignment, though, to establish tracks into Cambridge again. I live in Cambridge….

      3. That’s not true.
        The railway corridor will not have been removed. That occurs next to never. The corridor is still there and the railways will still own the land that the Lakewood development is being built upon and will be able to demolish whatever’s being built there and reestablish a station if they ever wanted to.

      4. Reiterating the comments above, the railway designation is intact, however it would need work and realistically would need to be trenched through the town

          1. Everyone thinks Cambridge is a sleep little town because it was quiet when they drove through on a long weekend 10 years ago. Cambridge needs to be trenched because I count nine at grade crossings in a little over 3km from the dairy factory. I don’t think it is feasible to have a twin track, at grade railway crossing every side road for 3 km on the main access road for a town of 30,000 people (projected 2050 population).

            http://www.waipadc.govt.nz/our-council/Waipa2050/DistrictGrowthStrategy/Documents/Future%20Waipa%20A4%20Booklet%20Single%20Pages%20Print.pdf

  8. perhaps build a bypass for tauranga bound freight trains from taupiri to ruakura, across open countryside. Once Hamilton central gets popular look at more tracks & platforms.

    1. Why go from Taupiri to Ruakura and not go roughly the same distance from Taupiri to Morrinsville (skipping the Hamilton Metropolitan area altogether)?

  9. Yes I think that the abandoned Hamilton underground station is a criminally unused asset.

    But just two things:
    1) As I understand it; the station’s ventilation for diesel fumes left a lot to be desired.
    2) It’s only single track, as is the bridge over the Waikato to the almost immediate east.

    But yes I think it would be an ideal location for a stop if regular railway services to Tauranga (and possibly even also Rotorua) were reintroduced.

    The surface station access may be long built-over but it could be an ideal motivator to redevelop commercial space in Central Hamilton; with the station access being part of retail and commercial real estate.

    I think that if this was achieved; the best idea for the next big project would be to build a rail link between Morrinsville and Taupiri for freights and passenger trains to Tauranga (and possibly Rotorua) that do not pass through Hamilton whatsoever.
    Why do this? To allow the network between Morrinsville, Hamilton and Tuapiri to be used for the basis of a dedicated commuter rail service for Hamilton and the satellite Waikato towns. Initially run services to Frankton Junction from Morrinsville, Taupiri (via Ngaruawahia) and Te Awamutu. If this gets established; funding can be justified for reestablishing services to Cambridge, extending services as far north to Mercer, as far South as Otorohonga and as far South-East as Tokoroa. Frequent connections to Tauranga can also be looked-at.

    In the long-term could be goals of; expanding the tunnel and replacing the bridge for double-tracking, electrification and a complementary tram/light rail system for Hamilton itself.

  10. It’s going to be a long long time before something like this is successful. In the mean time motorists will be whacked with fuel taxes. Good one. Not.

    1. SJC, how do you measure success?
      To me it all comes down to whether your fuel tax actually benefits you. If the public transport improvement paid for by your fuel tax takes only 10% of the traffic off the road you will find your road journey times will be much quicker, especially in city traffic.
      Taking traffic off major routes across the Waikato would be a major benefit to all motorists and trucking firms in the area.
      Usually you get what you pay for. A well funded public transport system with good connections will attract many ‘marginal’ motorists off the road. A crappy, poorly connected system won’t.
      SJC, as a motorist it may be in your interest to advocate a big petrol tax so that you can drive to where you want to go quickly.

    2. They’ve been whacked with fuel taxes to build roads that haven’t kept up with congestion and have done nothing for the road toll. Why the sudden concern now?

    3. I measure success at this stage, by what I encounter in my job in the rail industry, primarily operating trains between the said two main locations.
      Regional rail at this stage, I see as okay for planning in the long term future.
      In the immediate future, Ur, um, a good ten years of pain and agony.
      Surely there is better opportunity by getting much much more of the Auckland Hamilton freight onto rail.
      At the same time providing bus services from the Waikato/Bop to say for example Drury with the inclusion of extended EMU services to a park n ride at drury(yes extension of the overhead to Drury).
      I can’t see a massive reason, why these two scenarios can’t be implemented within two-three years.

      1. Agreed. As someone who has done too long in the rail industry, my take on things is that a lot of the Waikato-Auckland commuter traffic is more precisely to South Auckland (Manukau) rather than the CBD. Improving longer-range bus links is a quick win; especially as they could be run more frequently than trains. There is also a separate question as to the state of our intercity coach links.

        1. I can’t see how long-range coach links are a ‘quick win’. For them to be effective they would need some pretty decent bus priority on the Southern Motorway corridor, probably in the form of a Southern busway. This would be neither quick or cheap to build.

          1. I don’t see how that is any different that what we have already.

            And the ten years of agony?! Wow you freight rail folk really moan at the slightest hint of having to do anything slightly different.

            Imagine if the people redesigning and recontracting the entire Auckland bus network had baulked because it would be a long and difficult process. Or the ones procuring new EMUs and electrifying the suburban network had said there was a better opportunity to just put some more buses on. Or the ones building the busway and bus stations etc etc.

            Urban Auckland is not afraid of making bold plans and getting things done, but when it comes to interurban rail, man…

          2. Cripes Nick, it won’t be me who’s moaning. It’ll be the commuters that will moan. But I do sit back and repetitively see the experts screw it up, time and time again. Wasting $100m’s of ratepayer and taxpayer money. I don’t make these comments for myself, or for the freight industry, or my highly valued opinion on rail passenger operations either. Like how I raised many years ago that the platforms in Auckland need to be 9, perhaps 12 cars long. Oh, but no, higher frequency will sort that out. Yeah right. Now the rail freight slots are screwed Westfield – Pukekohe. Yes Pukekohe folks, don’t be fooled by what you read here, rail freight gets screwed at KiwiRail because of the agreement Auckland Transport has with Kiwirail Networks(well now all back under kiwirail in the last few months). Which has an unfortunate flow on effect to the southern motorway. Now we are having brain farts about an effective inter regional rail network, through already existant network(pukekohe – te rapa) that struggles to support freight trains at 80kmph. Big changes, cost BIG money there. I’m just merely coughing up realistic ideas that will fix and resolves issues a lot faster that we CAN actually afford. At the end of the day, we can’t afford it, simply because Hamilton and Tauranga are not big enough. I’m not a road backer, and I don’t think rail passenger should take a back seat to rail freight. But for crying out loud take a look at the trucks in the bludy road! It’s obvious the rail corridor needs to focus on freight to help give us all some well deserved relief…. That has a flow on effect for most of the country. Running a bus from Hamilton to Drury is an excellent idea, and it’s not mine. In fact I know the idea has circulated within Auckland Transport before. That Drury is an excellent place of transfer and could be a very effective method of rapid transport inter regional.

      2. Great idea SJC, coach from Hamilton to Drury then xfer to southern line emu. This will need overhead wire to Drury and a new decent transfer station right next to a new coach/bus terminal.

        1. Yes it would need an extension to the overhead. If the platform stop was at the north end of Drury there would be no bridge structures intervening with that type of project. And it’s a quick on/off from the motorway. When the expressway is completed – soon – The travelling time Hamilton to Drury would be near under an hour for a bus.

  11. I have been giving some thought to the ideal layout of the new Hamilton Station and surrounding track. I have included a diagram of my current ideas (link below). This layout would consist of 4 tracks in the station, accessed from 2 island platforms.
    The outer 2 tracks would serve all regional trains operating to/from Tauranga, Rotorua, and Cambridge. These tracks would also handle all freight trains operating on the ECMT, until the Ohinewai – Morrinsville Deviation was constructed.
    The inner 2 tracks would terminate at Hamilton, and be used for services operating to/from Te Kuiti, as well as services terminating at Hamilton.
    The primary benefit of this design is that passenger trains can operate all planned routes without crossing each other at flat junctions, reducing delays and maximising capacity.

    This design would require a flying junction at Frankton, a new track under Bryce Street and a second crossing of the Waikato River at the end of Bryce Street.

    I am interested to hear any feedback about how this could be improved/changed.

    https://i.imgur.com/MFyoR4F.png

    1. Sam, thanks for that. The second crossing of the Waikato would kill the scheme financially – you need to make it work using just the one existing bridge. But nice work. Keep going.

    2. I like it Sam, although the second crossing of the river is a long term thing. You might find it better to have the terminating tracks on the south side accessible from a third BiDi track from frankton junction, but the concept is sound.

      We did a similar concept for RRR, it was two tracks from Frankton to Hamilton Central, a Hamilton Central with two island platforms and four tracks, with the two southernmost joining together to access the existing tunnel and bridge going east.

      In the long run you could add the second tunnel under Bryce Street leading to a duplicate bridge, and connect that to the northernmost platforms.

    3. I had forgotten about that post on the Ohinewai – Morrinsville deviation. Definitely could see this needing to be done longer term if rail freight is to be increased to/from Tauranga etc in the future. I see in GA RRR report cost for double tracking from Frankton junction/ECMT Lake Road to
      Cambridge Branch Junction at $63M. I guess grade separation is included in this figure, it’s not clear or I couldn’t find it.

  12. If a cheaper variant of option 1 was wanted: stick with the current single underground platform, and build sidings for regional train layover, decanting etc somewhere on the east side of town.
    Regional trains need longer layovers, but that doesn’t have to be while standing at the platform. The few minutes needed to set down and pick up passengers at the Central station could surely be arranged without too much impact on freight schedules, providing the train has somewhere offline to do its main layover.
    Option 2 – a central station just far enough away from your bus station to be really unattractive for transfers with luggage – sounds undesirable.

  13. It’s been mentioned here and also on other forums. A new right of way Ruakura – Ohinewai, and also Mercer – Papakura basically following the expressway is the way to go. More direct route, faster transit times.
    From what work colleagues tell me, the current in service CAF EMU’s could easily ascend and descend the Bombay on the right alignment(even without a tunnel) They can also go ALOT faster than they currently travel at. Has it be considered what a running time would be with this equipment on such a route LS/EXP post extra mainlines Papakura CRL?
    This could also have an effect on a central Hamilton station location? Not to sure myself.

  14. I think we need to getaway with the luxury of calling it Regional Rapid Rail to a more realistic term – regional rail network using the existing track by upgrading the route from Papakura to Frankton as double track, include double tracking through the Whangamarino swamp and Ngaruawahia, Ngaruawahia is targeted to become a satellite town of Hamilton and needs to be connect to the BOP/Waikato regional rail network.

    I still think electrifying Papakura to Frankton is a must and possibility to Tauranga, for both regional, inter-regional and long distance freight and passenger train services, enabling EDMU or EBMU’s operations to Tauranga, Cambridge and Rotorua.

    Since Hamilton Central station is still there and depending on what the Waikato Regional Council is going to do with the Kmart Building, then use re-activate Hamilton Central Station as part of the Auckland/Hamilton/Tauranga regional service. If the plan is not to demolish the Kmart building and the entrance to the station is not available, then build a new Hamilton Central Station with 2 platforms with terminal siding at the beginning of the tunnel entrance as Harriet second proposal. The Route 8 Frankton bus service can be rerouted via the new station. Like most of the suburban routes, the Route 8 Frankton service connects with the Orbitor bus services. All Hamilton suburban bus services have a free 1 hour transfer capability for cash fares and Busit card users.

    The current Frankton Station be upgraded for regional and long distance passenger train services south on the Main Trunk Line.

  15. I’d love to be able to catch a train from Rotorua to Hamilton and/or Auckland. But it’s difficult to see how Rotorua rail could be revived easily for the Regional Rapid Rail from this end of the line. The Mamaku – Ngongotaha section is in good order, but only because it is under lease to Rail Cruising for tourist purposes. The redevelopment of Lake Road into a 4 lane divided road removed the bridge over the rail corridor, which now terminates there, at what would be a thoroughly inconvenient distance from the CBD to place a station. The Mall occupies the site of the old station next to the CBD and K-Mart and Mitre 10 have megastores built over the old rail corridor approaching it …

    1. I’m fairly confident that rail could pass under Lake Road again for a modest level of investment. From there, rail could continue down the old designation then turn east to run in part of the road reserve on Pukuatua Street, with the road narrowed appropriately to accommodate this.

      1. I can see that, OK. It only needs moving stacks of lumber from the lumber yards and bowling a holiday park and a childcare centre to realign the rail corridor onto Pukuatua St.. But where would you put the station? Particularly if you want to future proof and make it possible to link Rotorua to Taupo in the south and Te Puke and Tauranga in the north? And we’re still stuck with Rail Cruising holding a lease on a large segment of the track, while its owner pushes air travel …

    2. I agree. Rotorua lost itself any any way to reintroduce rail when it allowed the station to be closed in the late 1980’s.

      It’s not technically impossible to bring rail back to Rotorua, they could even have the new station in the same location as the old station and this time dig the line into a trench and have overbridges where the old level crossings were.
      But it would not have a good BCR so Kiwirail would not have a bar of it and fair enough.

      The funding would have to come from public money. It would make it a lot more justifiable if the one continued beyond Rotorua and into the timber mill South of Rotorua.

      But any way you look at it: It’s not going to happen for a long time yet and would not be any easy formality.

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