Well at long last construction of the Manukau Rail Link has begun. This will be the first new stretch of railway to be built in Auckland in around 70 years (no wonder we’re so auto-dependent), and is a fairly short link between the existing Southern Line and Manukau City Centre. It will fix a bit of an annoying situation where the centre of South Auckland is completely cut off from the railway line that services much of the area – largely due to fairly silly thinking in the 1970s when Manukau City Council decided to build their council headquarters in the middle of a farm, miles from anywhere.

manukau-linkBut anyway, today sees the start of work on this important rail link, that will hopefully result in the new Manukau City station becoming on the busier on Auckland’s railway network. This project has had a bit of a chequered history, and certainly what we’re getting (see image to the left) could be better. For a start, the train station should ideally be a few hundred metres further to the east – so it could be within easier walking distance of Rainbow’s End and the Westfield Shopping Centre. Secondly, it should have a link to the south – so that people can catch trains from Manurewa, Papakura and so forth to Manukau City. Hopefully the southern link will eventually happen. Furthermore, there are plans for a tertiary campus to be developed on part of Hayman Park – so that should be a pretty big patronage generator for the station and should also mean that it’s not quite so “in the middle of nowhere” as it current is.

But for now I guess I can’t be too grumpy, we are at least seeing some investment in the rail network (although the current government certainly cannot take any credit for this, as it’s been planned and funded for many years). It should be a pretty popular link and will hopefully lead to more people using the rail system (and therefore more pressure on government and local councils to further improve it).

Once again, the big question is “when will it be done?” Seems like by the end of next year:

Ontrack project manager Paul Crawford says the rail link is a real milestone for the network.””This is the first new rail route to be built in Auckland in nearly 80 years. It’s also exciting because we’re extending the reach of the network into a community that hasn’t yet experienced the benefits of rail transport.”Mr Crawford says the main construction is scheduled to start in August and trains are expected start rolling by the end of 2010.

2010 is shaping up to be a pretty exciting year for Auckland’s railway system – with Newmarket station opening, the Onehunga Line opening, the New Lynn station project being finished off and now this. It should also be the year we see a lot of the electrification works take place.

Share this


  1. Great News! I live in Manukau and think this will be a VERY popular station. I think the design of the station nneds to be groundbreaking to attract more use. This should be a ‘benchmark’ station for Auckland alongside Newmarket, Britomart, New Lynn (and possibly Onehunga).

    One thing that I dont like about this plan is the LOCATION. Hayman Park is like the abandoned part of the so called CBD that no one wants to go to. It is suurounded by huge roads (such as Wiri Station Road) which are a nightmare for pedestrians. Would have been more nice of its location was more to the east around Great South Road-closer to the residential areas. Right now, its smack bang in the middle of a semi-industrial area-unless ofcourse MCC encourages high density residential development in the future.

    1. I saw that as son as I looked at it .. some boof head boffin thinking Auckland is a busy place forgot that people live to the south .. what a PISS for thosw living on the southern side. What a disgrace for the designers .. why has this been allowed? What is being done ?

  2. What’s the point is a good question. Manukau City is likely to be a destination for journeys, not an origin – as there’s hardly any residential in that area. I would have thought the most common users would be people from further south catching the train to Manukau City for shopping and/or work.

    Hopefully the southlink is built.

  3. AR, one concession to the less than ideal location is that there will be a pedestrian underpass to the station from the east side of Davies Ave, so there should be reasonable pedestrian access along Putney Way.

    The station would be best located in a cutting between the MCC offices and the square, but the MCC was to cheap to stump up $10 million so the underpass of Dvies Ave was cancelled. Oh well, such is life in Auckland.

  4. Regarding whether the station will be destination based or origin based, I think there was HUGE potential to make it a HUB for South Auckland/Manukau. I live about a 25 minute walk from the proposed station, and if I have to catch the train, I (along with many from South Auckland/Papatoetoe) would have to catch a connector bus (which there is no current provision for). A more useful location would have been near Great South Road which is very accessible as there are many buses that travel through there. You could walk easily along Great South Road to Manukau City Centre. You would then also have the potential to intensify land use along Great South Road (which is currently car yards and drive-throughs) with apartments and high-density housing. Then this would have been very successful because you would have people coming from Manurewa and Papatoetoe to catch the train.

    I can tell you from experience that the Puhinui Station is virtually non-existent. It is in the middle of nowhere and feels abandoned. And since Papatoetoe is so big, it only serves the western part of the subburb, so the new Manukau Station would have been really popular if it was along Great South Road, rather than being in Wiri.

    Thank God though that something is going ahead. All we usually get is talk, talk and more talk. Hopefully they can extend the link through to the eastern suburbs. Why cant they just get on with it? Considering how important it is for the region, they are being really slow. I guess the priority is still roading.

  5. The station will be a transport hub for the area. I’m pretty sure all the buses that run through Manukau City at the moment will divert to the transport hub that will be built next to the station. So once (cross fingers) we get integrated ticketing one’s monthly pass will cover train rides to the city and any bus ride you need to take to get to the train station.

  6. As I understand it, the southern link of the Manukau spur is planned for, it’s just not being constructed at the moment. The regional transport model has fewer trips on this part of the network and it’s partly an economic decision – based on limited funding and loads of other rail work at the moment – not to build it at this point.

    In addition to the station there will also be a bus/rail interchange on Davies Ave. The interchange will occupy Davies Ave between Wiri Station Road and Putney Way. ARTA plan to migrate all bus services from their existing routes along Leyton Way to this interchange – providing excellent bus/rail and bus/bus interchange.

    The location for the station should probably be seen in the context of Manukau in the future, not as it is now (building for the future, how novel). Manukau City is a growth node and high density residential will be needed to provide for the predicted growth. So although in a perfect world the rail would have come further into the centre it’s current location isn’t too bad. If it’s there or nowhere, I’ll take there! The combination of the rail and the park edge are a great attraction for investment. If MIT do end up building here, and it seems pretty positive at the moment, this will be a great anchor for further development (not to mention a great driver of patronage for the station!).

    It’s also worth noting that in early to mid next year (April-ish) the new SH20 to SH1 connection will open, reducing the traffic volumes (particularly heavy trucks) on Wiri Station. This will change the function and nature of the road (and the wider network including Davies Ave). So hopefully we’ll end up with a much less CAR-CAR-CAAAAR! environment around the City Centre.

    Nick, as I understand it there’s no underpass (under Davies) planned at the moment. The intention seems to be to make Putney Way and Davies Ave an area where pedestrians have the priority.

    The latest Manukau Matters (http://www.manukau.govt.nz/uploadedFiles/manukaugovtnz/Around_Manukau/Manukau_Matters/MM68.pdf) has more info on all the projects. However, the pictures of the station and interchange should be considered warily. If MIT build here the station design is likely to be completely different. Given the floor space MIT are wanting this will probably mean a ground floor station integrated into a multi-storey building above.

    Lots of good stuff happening in Manukau, now we just have to pray to the integrated ticketing gods…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *