It’s been a long time coming but Auckland Transport has finally announced that they will improve the abysmal weekend frequencies on the Western Line. Currently trains only run out west hourly on weekends and on Sundays don’t go past Henderson meaning people like myself who live further out have had no options. The changes will come into operation after the long weekend for labour day. In addition there are a couple of new services and changes.
Auckland Transport says it is increasing commuter train services particularly on the Western Line at weekends.
On Tuesday 29 October new timetables will be introduced for train services including doubling weekend services to the west to cope with demand.
Auckland Transport’s Group Manager Public Transport, Mark Lambert, says “Public demand for enhanced Western Line schedules has been evident for several years, and now that electrification work is nearly complete it’s a suitable time to improve weekend schedules.”
The Western Line will get half hourly services on Saturday and Sunday between Britomart and Swanson westbound from 8am to 6pm and eastbound from 9.20am to 7.20pm. Currently there is an hourly service on the weekend (and only as far as Henderson on a Sunday).
These changes will also extend Sunday services to Sturges Rd, Ranui and Swanson stations.
And there are changes on other lines including:
- Earlier services from Papakura on the weekends (currently first service is 7.10am, new services at 6.15am and 6.45am on both Saturday and Sunday). These earlier services affect Papakura, Takanini, Te Mahia, Manurewa, Homai, Puhinui, Papatoetoe and Middlemore.
- Onehunga services are re-timed with some services leaving earlier than currently. This follows improvements to service delivery over the past nine months and will help to further improve punctuality across the network
- An extra night service to Onehunga on Saturday and Sunday nights:
- Sunday departing Britomart 10.11pm, arriving Onehunga 10.51pm. Currently the last service arrives at 9.06pm.
- Saturday departing Britomart 11.41pm, arriving Onehunga 12.06am. Currently the last service arrives at 11.06pm.
- An extra service to and from Onehunga mid-morning Monday to Friday.
- An extra service from Manukau departing at 9.08am Monday to Friday.
As well as the timetable changes, buses will replace trains on some weekends and evenings to enable KiwiRail to continue to prepare the Auckland rail network for the arrival of the new electric trains. Auckland Transport asks train users to please check the timetable before travelling.
I’m guessing it is most likely a funding issue but it would have been nice to see some improved off peak frequencies during the weekdays too. Again out west we only get a half hourly service during the middle of the day while on the Onehunga line it is hourly off peak.
The next timetable change will be in April when our electric trains start running on the Onehunga line and we are also likely to see another change later in 2014 when they start on the Manukau line. Those electric trains will also free up some of the old diesels which can hopefully be used to boost the frequencies out west during the peak.
In other news it appears that the rollout of AT HOP to buses is about to recommence with Northstar switching over on Sunday. About time we saw that rolling out again.