Hamilton City Council has given the third local body green light to business case for a start-up passenger rail service between Hamilton and Auckland.
The business case will now be submitted to the New Zealand Transport Agency for a final funding decision at its meeting on December 14.
Over the past two weeks the Waikato Regional Council and Waikato District Council also approved the Start-up Service Business Case (SSBC).
If funding is approved by NZTA, the HCC will proceed with developing a rail station and park-and-ride facility near The Base in Rotokauri, using funding allocated in Hamilton's 10-year plan.
However, unlike in the Waikato Regional Council and Waikato District Council votes, there was some stiff opposition when Hamilton councillors discussed the train service.
Councillor Garry Mallett said the service was completely flawed.
"It has an atrociously low expectation in passenger usage, any suggestion it will reduce congestion has been knocked off the block."
"I wonder how why we can spend millions and millions of dollars on such a pathetically low benefits, this astounds me."
"I was looking at the SSBC and I was thinking is that the Superbly Stupid Business Case, because this thing just does not work."
Councillor James Casson had concerns over the sustainability of the service.
"When I was a kid I use to love Thomas the Tank Engine, with this service here I do have concerns over the timings," Mr Casson said.
"The 8:30am and 9:30am arrival does not suit business people."
"To my mind the majority of Hamiltonians will not use this service apart from a novelty trip."
Councillor Leo Tooman said past attempts of a rail service had poor patronage, while saying busses would be a better form of passenger service.
"I have my doubts to whether the NZTA will approve the case," Mr Tooman said.
"I'm sorry I can't see that this stacks up."
Councillor Dave Macpherson said there was plenty of good support to fund the service, if NZTA signed off on it.
Mayor Andrew King said previous models of the service was not funded properly, which was a major difference this time.
"This is a start-up service, and it's the best we can have on the rail we have got," Mr King said.
"As Governments come and go we can target them and get them to improve the services, like electrifying."
Councillor Geoff Taylor said council has committed to providing a reasonable service.
"It is going to be a decent start-up service," Mr Taylor said.
"The Government has laid this on a plate to us and have made it as easy as they possibly could for us."
Mayor King, Deputy Mayor Martin Gallagher, Maangai Norm Hill and councillors Angela O'Leary, Mark Bunting, Paula Southgate, Rob Pascoe, Siggi Henry, Macpherson and Taylor were for.
Against were councillors Tooman, Mallett and Casson.
Councillor Ryan Hamilton was absent.