A series of new train timetables have been released, and will take effect from Sunday September 19th – the day the Onehunga Line starts running. The timetables are here:
Onehunga Line (yay – it actually exists!)
Here’s the Onehunga Line timetable – I just have to post it to remind myself that it’s actually happening. We’re finally getting another railway line in Auckland: As you can see, it will be half-hourly frequencies during the peak times and hourly frequencies at other times. I still think it’s a missed opportunity to not run half-hourly frequencies during the day time at weekends, as I think there could be a lot of people using the train to go shopping at Onehunga – particularly at the Dressmart which is notoriously short of parking. Hopefully over time the demand for weekend services means that half-hourly trains becomes a formality.
In terms of the other changes, there are some interesting amendments. Most of the express services have disappeared – I think because frequencies are getting to such a point where it become difficult to mix stopping patterns as some trains start catching other trains. There are a couple of remaining southern line limited stop trains in the morning peak, but that’s it. I wonder whether that will annoy passengers, or whether the higher frequencies will placate them. Other changes include the introduction of six-car trains on many of the services, which will be a welcome increase in capacity: particularly during peak times. The fact that Baldwin Ave on the western line is yet to be lengthened means things will be a bit messy there – with only some trains stopping. Western Line trains also run at 15 minute frequencies for a significant chunk of the day now.
Another good change is that the very popular Eastern Line has had its frequency boosted. Looking at morning peak time arrivals at Britomart for trains on the Eastern Line there are services arriving at 7.18, 7.26, 7.34, 7.44, 7.55, 8.02, 8.12, 8.25, 8.32, 8.47 and 8.53. That’s 11 trains in just over an hour and a half, or around one train every 8-9 minutes.
One last positive change is that the colouring of the Onehunga Line on the rail map has changed from brown (shown on many of the insides of the trains) to blue. I like this change because the brown was very similar to the colour of the Southern Line and the blue shows that the line runs from water to water, harbour to harbour. Our rail map is also starting to look half respectable. So all up it’s good to see all these extra trains running, and to see the Onehunga Line just about ready to go. I guess the interesting pay-off will be to see how those who currently catch express or limited stops services respond to their trips taking longer than before. Will the increased frequencies and longer trains make up for the slower ride? I guess we’ll have to wait and see.