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Ask Phoebe: Train to Swanson, then onto the bus

By Phoebe Falconer

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The new electric trains will not be running past Swanson station. Photo /  Sarah Ivey
The new electric trains will not be running past Swanson station. Photo / Sarah Ivey

Q. What is the future of trains on the Western Line? The infrastructure is in place and passengers are waiting to respond to a service with reasonable frequency. And what about further afield on this line? Richard Brown, Muriwai.

The answer to this has been a long time coming, but Auckland Transport announced last week that services between neighbouring Waitakere and Swanson stations (a distance of 2km or so) would be replaced with a regular bus shuttle service once Auckland's new electric trains were operating on the Western Line.

The Western Line is electrified and double-tracked only as far as Swanson and no funding is available to expand or cut through the Waitakere tunnel to extend the electrified network.

Auckland Transport's decision to provide buses in place of a diesel shuttle service was based on several factors, including the high cost of operating and maintaining a diesel service in comparison to a bus service, low demand for public transport services at Waitakere, capital cost savings and comparative travel times (seven minutes by bus versus five by train).

Studies show that many people from the Waitakere/Bethells area forgo Waitakere Station to park and ride at Swanson, where rail services are more frequent.

Residents will be invited to give their views on the proposed bus services before all electric trains are in service by mid-2016.

Given the decision to go with buses, it seems unlikely a commuter train service as far as Huapai and beyond will be provided.

Q. In January, part of Tanekaha Rd in Titirangi subsided because of a water leak. The leak was repaired by WaterCare but the half of the road that had subsided was blocked off and stop lights put at each end to control the one-way traffic lane.

The usual bus service has been temporarily stopped until the road is fixed. After much telephone to-ing and fro-ing we were told it was WaterCare's responsibility and an engineer from there told us it would start the repair in two weeks. As that was quite some time ago I am wondering if you would be able to find out when it is going to be done. Jeannie Fletcher, Titirangi.

The section of Tanekaha Rd affected by the failure of the water main in January was left very unstable, and has required a high level of repair and design work to ensure the repairs are suitable and will endure.

The work site has other high-priority utility services nearby and that meant consultation and joint planning on repairs and design.

Because of the size of the project and its estimated cost, it had to be tendered on the open market.

The wet weather during May arrived as work was due to start and there were concerns about further damage.

Site works are now in progress, and Auckland Transport has undertaken to keep local residents informed on progress.

- NZ Herald

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