The Hamilton to Auckland rail service is gathering speed with a proposed name and its four carriages under refurbishment in Wellington.

However, its start date has been pushed back awaiting parts from overseas.

On Monday, a group of local elected officials, including Hamilton city councillor Dave Macpherson and Labour list MP Jamie Strange visited the KiwiRail's Lower Hutt Workshop.

Mr Strange told Hamilton News the exterior paint works of the carriage have been completed while work has begun on the interior.


"There will be a cafe in one of the carriages and we can confirm now that there will also be Wi-Fi," Mr Strange said.

"Some of the seats will also have pull-out tables so you can begin working on your way to Auckland which I think is the major pull of this project."

Mr Strange said there has been a delay in getting certain parts for the carriages from overseas, which means the start date of the service has been pushed back to mid 2020, rather than March 2020.

A name for the commuter service is also being discussed.

At a Hamilton City Council Growth and Infrastructure Committee meeting on May 7, councillor and and chaiman Dave Macpherson told councillors of the four proposed names.

'The Tron Express' has been the name with the most limelight, although other names on the shortlist include H2A, Waikato Link, Tron, and Tuhono Waikato (Connecting Waikato).
Mr Macpherson also informed councillors that he held an informal poll on his Twitter account to find out the most popular name.

Of over 1200 votes, the favourite was 'The Tron Express'.

The second most popular was the Waikato Link, which won 30 per cent of the votes, while Tuhono Waikato had 19 per cent of the votes.


The last of the names 'H2A' took out 12 per cent of the votes.

Since March, NZ Transport Agency has confirmed additional funding (from $3.5 million to $8m at 100 per cent subsidy rate) to allow the rolling stock refurbishment to keep progressing through the pre-implementation phase as this is a critical path activity.

Hamilton City Council will build a park and ride and a Rotokauri train station behind The Base at Te Rapa, while also making upgrades to the Frankton train station.

The Waikato District Council will also upgrade Huntly train station, the last stop before Papakura.

Waikato District Council's strategic projects manager Vishal Ramduny said, "Waikato District Council recently engaged a planning and engineering consultancy to work on the design concept for the Huntly railway station, and we're confident that the design and construction will be completed in time for the proposed passenger rail service start date next year," Mr Ramduny.

"We've committed $240,000 towards the cost of the above platform works, including shelter, a park and ride facility, lighting and security cameras, and this will be supported by a 75.5 per cent subsidy from the NZ Transport Agency to allow for a total budget of $960,000 for this work.

"We're working with KiwiRail to ensure that the station design is aligned with any work required on the track, and we're also liaising with Hamilton City Council to achieve any efficiencies that might be available for work required on both the Rotokauri and Huntly stations."