Investigating the potential for a new rapid rail service between Hamilton and Auckland.

What you need to know

The Hamilton-Auckland Corridor connects two of New Zealand’s fastest growing cities. The parallel road and rail alignments, as well as the Waikato River, make it New Zealand’s most significant transport corridor.

From December 2018 to July 2020, we developed an interim indicative business case on the potential for rapid rail to help deliver the Governments aspirations for growth and economic development in the Corridor. This responded to a recommendation of the Shared Spatial Intent (known as Hei Awarua ki te Oranga) for the settlements between Cambridge, Te Awamutu and Papakura. The Shared Spatial Intent was produced in February 2019 by the Future Proof Partnership, recommending that that fast rail services between Hamilton and Auckland be considered to help integrate and strengthen the two economies.

The Minister has released the findings of the business case and Cabinet has agreed that we initiate a process to develop the next stages of the project.

The work to date

Hamilton-Auckland Intercity Connectivity Business Case developed and released

December 2018-August 2020

From December 2018 to July 2020, we worked closely with central and local government, and the Future Proof Partnership to develop the business case.

The business case offers four possible scenarios for a rapid rail connection between Hamilton and Auckland, including extending electrification of the existing route, to building an entirely new corridor.

On 25 August 2020, Hon Phil Twyford, Minister of Transport released the findings of the business case. These present a strong case for further investigation of rapid rail in the Corridor.

Further work on rapid rail initiated

July 2020

Cabinet agreed on 29 July 2020 that we initiate a process to develop the next stages of the project.

The next stage of work will include:

  • understanding the extent of the costs and benefits,
  • aligning rapid rail with other proposals and work happening in the Corridor,
  • stakeholder engagement, and
  • developing a framework for the funding and implementation of future investment in rapid rail

Cabinet also included a mandate to initiate an investigation of a separate indicative business case for extending rapid rail to Tauranga, and how that would fit with the proposal.

We will continue to work with Treaty partners and other agencies such as the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, the Treasury, KiwiRail and Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency to progress this work.

Hamilton to Auckland rapid rail indicative business case initiated

December 2018

Cabinet agreed to initiate a business case process on the potential for rapid rail to and asked for this process to consider a full range of options for rapid transit. 

More information

Urban Growth Agenda

The Hamilton-Auckland Corridor is an initial priority area for the spatial planning pillar of the Government’s Urban Growth Agenda (UGA). The UGA programme is designed to address the barriers to land supply, development capacity, and infrastructure provision, to enable cities to grow up and out.

Urban Growth Agenda(external link)

Future Proof Partnership

Future Proof is a joint project set up to consider how the sub-region (Hamilton City, Waipa District and Waikato District) should develop into the future.

In February 2019, the Future Proof Partnership produced Shared Spatial Intent (known as Hei Awarua ki te Oranga), that identified growth challenges and opportunities along the Corridor. Its vision is to support sustainable growth and increase connectivity in the Hamilton-Auckland Corridor for the settlements between Cambridge, Te Awamutu and Papakura. 

Future Proof(external link)

Hei Awarua ki te Oranga – Hamilton-Auckland ‘Shared Spatial Intent’(external link) 

Te Huia

A Hamilton-Auckland start up passenger rail service – Te Huia, has a tentative launch date of November 2020. The service will leave Frankton in Hamilton and then stop at The Base in Rotokauri before going onto Huntly and finally stopping in Papakura in Auckland, where passengers can transfer onto the Auckland Transport metro southern line.

Te Huia – Hamilton-Auckland start up passenger rail service(external link)