Hamilton Central – three rail routes

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Let’s say we want to plan for a high-frequency mass transit route through Hamilton central that runs independently of rail freight.

The 2015 Hamilton Central City Transformation Plan tells us that ‘19,440 people are currently employed in the central city’ (p8) and plans for a ‘10% increase in the number of employees working in central city by 2023’ (p11). That’s over 20,000 people travelling to/from central Hamilton each morning and evening.

A Greater Auckland  (GA) post from July 3, 2017 tells us that Auckland’s current network runs at a maximum of 20 trains per hour (TPD), 6TPH on the Western, Southern and Eastern lines and 2TPH on the Onehunga Line, with the capacity to move 14,000 people per hour. When the City Rail Link (CRL) opens, we can expect 36 TPH, lifting capacity to 27,000 people per hour. By increasing this to 48 TPH, and adding 200m*-long platforms suitable for 9-car high-capacity trains, the ultimate potential capacity of the CRL could be as high as 60,000 people an hour. The Mayor of Auckland puts it at ‘a peak hour capacity of 54,000’. (GA post July 25, 2018 ‘City Rail Link to be Future-Proofed’)

*comment Nick R July 3, 2017 at 11:43 am 

Hamilton Central is a long way from needing 48 TPH. The EPA* hearings for the Ruakura Inland Port ‘expected to increase train volumes from 1.25 per hour to 2 per hour’*(para44). Let’s say we have 200m-long platforms and want to move a modest 2,700 (13%) employees by rail per hour using 9-car train-sets carrying 450 people each (50 people per carriage). We would need 6 TPH + 2 freight = 8 TPH. This may not justify double tracking, but at an at-grade road crossing ‘driver[s] could experience up to 4 minutes of disruption’*(para49), 8 times per hour. The crossing barrier arm will be down more than it is up. This may justify grade separation at crossings.


*Statement of Evidence in Chief of Anna Wilkins on behalf of Tainui Group Holdings Ltd and Chedworth Properties Ltd 26 February 2014 – page13

  1. The evidence of Tony Boyle is that train volumes are expected to increase from an existing volume of 30 per day to 48 per day when the inland port is at full capacity. This is an increase from an average of 1.25 trains per hour to 2 trains per hour. This change is expected to occur over a period of approximately 30 years as the inland port develops.

  1. My analysis shows that a driver could experience up to 4 minutes of disruption when a 3 minute barrier time coincides with evening peak hour traffic. This compares to around 3 minutes 40 seconds of disruption under base conditions for the same barrier time.  


Final Report and Decision of the Board of Inquiry into the Proposed Ruakura Development Plan Change Volume 1 of 3: Final Report and Decision – Rail capacity page 88

‘ECMT is used to transport freight with approximately 24 to 28 freight trains per day … At the inland port’s notional capacity of 1 million TEU movements a year, the potential exists for 12 additional train movements per day to and from the Ports of Auckland, with similar volumes to and from the Port of Tauranga.

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8 comments on “Hamilton Central – three rail routes

  1. Thanks John
    If we look back to Resolution Drive, in the early 1970s earth works was started as part of Hamilton’s bypass, only now 50 years later are we making use of this early start.
    The same could be done for rail. A third rail line may not be needed for another 50 years, a second rail line sooner, grade-separation of Heaphy Tce crossing maybe a decade.
    The government could begin ground works for rail projects now, just as 50 years ago the government started on future motorway projects.

  2. 6 tph is far too low. We should be aiming for an absolute minimum of 2 tph from Cambridge, Morrinsville, Huntly, and Te Awamutu. That’s 8 tph + freight. We might get away with platform turnouts at the city centre, Claudelands and Ruakura stations, but if we are doing that much then we should just double track the whole thing (and triple track any tunnels or bridges to future proof for separate freight and passenger operations).

    • If we’re going for that level of investment, as we should, then a cut-off line from Morrinsville to Taupiri should be part of it, to allow most freight and some passenger trains to cut some 25km off the route.

      • I’d actually go Ohinewai to Newstaed (but the same idea) this could then be used by the Auckland-Wellington service. However, this isn’t necesary to get a metro service running, it would simply be the next step.

  3. It would be good to have start up money now from the Government, in 2022 we can move most of the $186,000,000 from Boundary rd widening project to a mass transit project.
    What we need from the Government is funding towards projects like the 1990’s Victoria Bridge widening where ‘initial investigation to completion took less than 9 months’, or like the Peacocke bridge Preliminary design to start construction date of about 18 months.
    I am subjecting the Grey/Heaphy Tce rail grade separation project that would meet the safety and efficiency threshold. Let’s say the Government funds the projects initial investigation to completion so it is done in less than 24 months.

  4. Would the rail grade separation mean removing the claudelands railway crossing and go under the road

  5. agree with this!

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