25 April 2017
The reality of a regular train service between Hamilton and Auckland is one step closer as The Rail Opportunity Network (TRON) moves to go public with its plans this weekend.
Speaking on Free FM this morning, media spokesperson and passionate rail advocate Susan Trodden explained how the group intended to get the issue ‘up close and personal’ with decision makers. ‘’This weekend TRON is inviting the public to come and hear what we have been doing in the background over the past twelve months’’ she said. ‘’We want people to come and learn about the plans to move this project forward, and answer the many questions that both proponents and naysayers have been challenging us with’’.
When questioned on the viability of a commuter service, Ms Trodden was realistic. ‘’We know that in the short term a rail service might not turn a profit – but it’s important that the bigger picture of viability is understood by our decisionmakers’’ she explained. ‘’We know through a recent extensive survey that there are in excess of 3000 car trips being made each week between Auckland and Hamilton by regular commuters. That’s a lot of wasted time that employers are missing out on, a whole lot of stress for the drivers who are completely at the mercy of Auckland traffic, and we haven’t even started on the conversation about the health and safety , or social impact aspects of people spending so long getting to and from work’’.
There has been much discussion and misinformation surrounding the viability study completed by Waikato Regional Council and this will also be addressed at Sundays event. A panel of experts will be present to answer questions including explaining the technical requirements of a train service, and the group will also be presenting a petition for Central Government that already has more than ten thousand signatures on it in support of commuter rail.
‘’Key organisations such as the University of Waikato, Kiwirail and Tainui Group Holdings are also keen to see conversations progressed ‘’says TRON Chair, Rob Weir. ‘Our role is to be advocates for the service and we look forward to seeing real progress this year’’.
The TRON launch event will be held at the Frankton Hotel in Commerce Street from 3 pm until 5 pm. At four o’clock there will be the opportunity to move outside and greet the Northern Explorer as it makes its way from the Frankton Railway Station to Auckland.