The Waikato enters a new era for public transport with the launch of the new Te Huia passenger rail service to Auckland today.
Locals will get a chance to board the carriages and talk to staff about the service across three open days this weekend.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Kiingi Tūheitia, Transport Minister Michael Wood, Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta, MPs, and many others from KiwiRail and local mana whenua were among guests for today's event. Formalities started at the new Rotokauri transport hub in Hamilton, followed by a blessing of the Raahui Pookeka station in Huntly.
The Prime Minister takes a ride on the new Te Huia rail service. Source: Facebook/Jacinda Ardern
“The Waikato is about to enter an exciting new era in public transport, with Te Huia set to roll out for the first time on Tuesday, April 6," Waikato Regional Council chair Russ Rimmington said.
“It will be a crucial connection between the two major centres of Hamilton and Auckland for up to 300 people each weekday,” Rimmington said. “It will help to make roads safer, give people the stress-free travel and reliability they need between Waikato and Auckland, and the opportunity to either work or relax between destinations.”
Rimmington said the service had been “a long time in the making and is a triumph of collaboration. Led by Waikato Regional Council, we have worked closely with our council partners, as well as Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency and KiwiRail to deliver a comfortable ride at the right times, with all the bells and whistles passengers want – free wifi, USB and power points for charging devices, and a café bar”.
Today H.M Kiingi Tuheitia Pootatau Te Wherowhero Vll officially launched the Te Huia Rail Service at the Rotokauri...Posted by Kiingitanga on Wednesday, March 24, 2021
The Kiingitanga gets to do the honours. Source: Facebook/Kiingitanga
Public open days
People can get a chance to see a sneak peek of the new Te Huia train service by getting a Bee Card and AT HOP Card and jumping on the train to have a look at the following stations and times this weekend:
- Saturday, 27 March: 10am-12pm, Raahui Pookeka | Huntly.
- Saturday, 27 March: 2pm-4pm, Frankton.
- Sunday, 28 March: 12pm-2pm, Rotokauri transport hub.
For the first few months, Te Huia will operate on select Saturdays only, starting with 17 April due to limited availability of the rail track as a result of the Auckland rail project and metro maintenance work.