8 Jul 2010

Transport officials defend too-short rail platform

7:33 pm on 8 July 2010

The Auckland Regional Transport Authority is defending the building of a railway platform that is too short for some of the region's new trains.

The new station, in Onehunga, was built on land bought by the Auckland Regional Council, but the platform is 15 metres too short for the three-car electric trains being introduced in 2013.

The chairman of the Auckland Regional Council (ARC), Mike Lee, says a train driver alerted him to the problem, and the people who decided to build it are incompetent.

Mr Lee says he is unsure who is responsible for making the decision, as senior managers at the Regional Transport Authority and KiwiRail do not seem to know what is going on.

He says officials should have future-proofed the station for the possibility of public transport use increasing.

However, the Regional Transport Authority says passenger growth estimates indicate that two-car trains will provide enough capacity until at least 2016.

It says the platform length was constrained by the timeframe for construction and a resource consent that required it to end at least 14 metres from nearby apartment blocks.