Demand for Rail: transport options for the Waimakariri District
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
The purpose of this research was to investigate the feasibility of a passenger rail service operating on a current rail line in Canterbury, known as the Main North Line, which connects the Waimakariri District to Christchurch. The Main North Line runs through the two main urban areas of the Waimakariri District: Rangiora and Kaiapoi. The need for research into the potential use of the Main North Line for passenger services has arisen due to increasing car congestion on arterial roads between the Waimakariri District and Christchurch. All traffic coming from the Waimakariri District into Christchurch must cross the Waimakariri River, creating a transport bottleneck. An assessment of the location of the Main North Line was conducted with respect to the travel needs of Waimakariri District residents using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to investigate how far residents live and work from the line and resident surveys to determine whether people would use rail as their main mode of travel into Christchurch. Assessment of the infrastructure was with regard to the locations of potential railways stations and the capabilities of the infrastructure for supporting different levels of passenger service. National and regional transport strategies are placing more importance on the transportation of people and freight by way of rail. A potential rail service for Canterbury will therefore likely include national and regional stakeholders in co-operation with a private service operator, as currently occurs in Wellington and Auckland. An average of 71% of Waimakariri District residents stated they would switch to rail as their main mode of transport for the journey into Christchurch. GIS analysis found that the number of journeys which start in the Waimakariri District and terminate within 1km of Christchurch stations is around 610 which increases to around 4,300 if connecting bus services were utilised in Christchurch.