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One-off Te Huia Rail Charter Service Cancelled

Press Release – Waikato Regional Council

Te Huia governance group partners have made the regrettable decision to cancel a weekend rail charter service proposed for January 2021. The decision has been made following news from KiwiRail last week that, as part of ongoing testing of the rail, …

Te Huia governance group partners have made the regrettable decision to cancel a weekend rail charter service proposed for January 2021.

The decision has been made following news from KiwiRail last week that, as part of ongoing testing of the rail, a section of track has been identified between Otahuhu and Auckland city which is worn and will need replacing during a temporary line closure.

Unfortunately, Te Huia’s proposed charter over the weekend of 16-17 January is one of the services that would be affected by that temporary track closure.

“It’s gutting,” said Waikato regional councillor and rail governance working group chair Hugh Vercoe. “But for the charter service to be successful we need to deliver a quality experience with people arriving by train in Auckland’s CBD. With this new track closure, that’s now simply not possible.”

The track closure would mean the charter service – proposed to run as a one-off to give people in the Waikato and Auckland regions a taste of the Te Huia experience – would have to terminate or board in Otahuhu rather than The Strand, with bus transfers.

Cr Vercoe said the group had sought feedback on the alternative from Leisure Time Tours and Hamilton & Waikato Tourism. They supported the decision not to proceed.

The request to operate the charter service came from Hamilton city and Waikato district councillors on the Te Huia rail governance group as an opportunity to experience Te Huia train travel and promote the start-up passenger service ahead of its launch. It was supported by Waikato regional councillors at their October meeting.

KiwiRail has been carrying out an urgent programme of work to replace and repair about 100km of worn out rail on Auckland’s metro network.

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