Trains: Are the Fastest Solution to Alleviate Traffic Congestion in Kumeu/Huapai?

2 June 2022. Trains to Huapai have become imperative as the fastest solution to alleviate traffic congestion through Kumeu/Huapai. 

Traffic issues on State Highway 16 through Kumeu have become intolerable due to the rapid housing development in the area.

There is only one obvious immediate fix – to use the existing railway line to get passenger commuters to Swanson where they can then bus or train to their places of work.

Overwhelming support has come from the Kumeu-Huapai community wanting this train service and it needs to be trialled without further delay.

The alternatives of upgrading SH16 between Kumeu and Westgate/Redhills to allow more buses, and a bypass road around Kumeu are decades away with no immediate solutions being offered by Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency to fix the diabolical traffic congestion. 

There is a real feeling of inequality within the local community. We are watching billions going into rail services across Auckland, yet we have an existing freight rail line for which adaption into a much needed passenger service has been rejected.

Auckland Transport spokesman Mark Hannan has previously said rapid transit via the SH16 corridor would better serve the “projected demand” for the area so priority work is underway to improve bus services infrastructure.

He told me investing into two modes of transport by including a rail service is not affordable nor good value for money, stating the single track would need to become a double track, the Waitakere tunnel would need further work, and potential electrification would cost around $300 million.

However, the Public Transport Users Association disagrees, saying a shuttle service could run from either Swanson or Henderson to Huapai.

Public Transport Users Association co-ordinator and Trains to Huapai partner Jon Reeves says the proposal has regional benefits.

Reeves believes this project would complement any longer-term light rail proposal to Westgate and create a closed loop rail/light rail network, while addressing the immediate needs to the far-North-West communities, for transport to all points on the western line and beyond.

He says it would integrate with the regional cycle network, and provide quicker journeys to key western work, study, health care and shopping destinations than any other mode.

I agree that the train service is the only way to relieve traffic congestion in the short term.

Auckland Transport had once considered purchasing battery powered trains for use in southern Auckland, but decided it wanted its rail network to solely use electric trains. There is currently no interest from Auckland Transport to use diesel trains (they say for environmental reasons – but look at all the idling cars, trucks and buses along SH16), or battery powered trains. 

The longer term solutions (10 to 30 years away) being worked on collaboratively by Waka Kotahi NZTA and Auckland Transport through the ‘Supporting Growth’ unit (Bypass and/or Rapid Transit Corridor, etc) can be found at this link: