Waikato councillors back Auckland-to-Hamilton rail

Train tracks.
Train tracks. Photo credit: File

It's an anxious wait for Waikato councillors, hoping to get Government backing for a passenger rail service to Auckland.

A business case has got the backing it needs from the regional council, but it won't go in front of the Transport Agency until next month.

Around $76 million is needed to fund the rail line, which will take an estimated 200 passengers every day.

Waikato Regional Councillor and transport committee chair Hugh Vercoe says the next steps depend on the Government.

"The immediate action that we want to take if Government give us the money, is for us to purchase rail carriages that are currently owned by Auckland Transport, and KiwiRail will take them on and refurbish them."

Mr Vercoe said the council has high hopes for the service, which he wants to eventually go electric.

"The vision that we're looking for is to have an electrified rail service going between Hamilton and Auckland continuously," he said.

Mr Vercoe believes bringing in the train could dramatically change the way people get around the region.

"It would allow the people in the Waikato to go to Auckland when they go to meetings, it will also allow Aucklanders to come down... and all of the people living in the middle of the area to access either Auckland or Hamilton," he said.

The first train will roll out in 2020, if Government funding is received.

Newshub.