I went out to see what progress there has been on construction of the New Lynn train station today – and while there’s still a reasonable amount of work left to do, a lot of the scaffolding has been removed from when I was last there, so it’s now possible to get a bit better of an idea about what it will all look like when completed.

Starting off though, it’s good to see that a number of information signs have been added to entrances to the station, that will (eventually) show up how many minutes away the next train is:

As a slight gripe, I still can’t believe that we can’t get real-time information to inform what these signs say. If it’s possible to track buses in real-time to inform signs at bus stops, and the MAXX website now, I truly cannot understand why it has taken so long to get real time information for the trains. This should be so simple.

You can see from the photo below how the station will really stand out as a landmark for New Lynn. I personally really like the design, and the integration of the red bricks is a great link to New Lynn’s history as a brick-making area:

The next photo shows how the station will integrate with the new bus interchange, that will be shifted slightly so that it’s right next to the train station. While it’s great that the two are right next to each other, if there’s one thing that I’m a little bit worried about, it is that the station might end up being a bit like an island surrounded by a sea of roads. I hope there will be some good pedestrian priority for people trying to access the station!

As I was leaving, a westbound train passed through the trench. I must say that the two-car ADL set looked utterly tiny compared to the massively long New Lynn station platforms. I wonder when we’ll need to start running longer trains on weekends? Perhaps more importantly, I wonder when we’ll have trains at half-hourly frequencies on weekends – as hourly frequencies is pretty embarrassingly pathetic.

Most of the remaining work to do on New Lynn seems fairly minor, although a decent amount of construction work remains to change the bus interchange around. It seems like we’re probably still on target to have everything finished and opened by September/October.

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  1. The station is really starting to come together and in a way the sea of roads actually helps it to stand out even more. I believe the station building actually comes into action from Monday which is good but it does mean the platform will get even longer again as it carries on quite a bit past where the temporary stairs are at the moment. I think everyone will be happy once the whole thing is finished as they have been working on the area for a few years now.

    I also completely agree with the call to increase the weekend frequencies to half hourly at least but this also needs to happen at nights as well. The services are pretty well patronised these days, as an example, on Thursday night my wife and I caught the 8.33 train home after staying in town after work to see a movie. We had a 4 car SA set but the TM closed off the back 2 cars. When we left Britomart all seats were almost all gone and at Newmarket people were left standing because there wasn’t a single seat left.

  2. I visited the area on Thursday and part of the new structure will open and the escalators and stairs to the platforms will be open from the 2nd of August.
    I guess that means the rail development is complete.

  3. Wow so it’s much closer to opening that I thought. That might explain why it seemed there were so many people on the site today.

  4. Pedant’s corner: the station is clad in tiles, not bricks; more Renzo Piano than Tom Clark! And I quite agree with your observations about the PIDs, the frequency of the weekend services and your concern about its potential emergence as an island in a sea of roads. Hopefully these are teething problems rather than permanent features.

  5. Very exciting that it will be partially operational on Monday… I might have to visit! I am liking that they are putting a reference to the areas these train stations are in, such as the wall map at Newmarket, the Murals at Grafton, the pictures at Morningside, the tiles at New Lynn and of course all the allusions to things like volcanoes and weaving at Britomart… these are all high quality works which aren’t necessary from a functional point of view, but could potentially draw people to the trains because they’re a nice place to be and actually part of your outing, rather than just a means of getting to a destination. Public transport can potentially be so functional, dull and impersonal, and they are really doing well at countering that. Its especially important in Auckland, where so many people think PT is for people who don’t have a choice- these works clearly say that we are aiming for a different audience. I think some information boards about the displays might be nice at those stations though too… give people something interesting to read while they’re waiting for the train, whilst highlighting that the tiles aren’t just there to look ‘pretty’ for those who don’t make the connection.

    I think weekend trains really do need to improve… its far harder to get a seat in the weekend at any time of day than it is during the week off peak. more trains rather than longer trains do need to be the priority though. Weekend leisure trips should play a major part in capturing patronage as people who don’t take trains seriously may still catch one in the weekend with their family to the sky tower etc (and rainbows end soon!). People are a lot more curious and adventurous in the weekend than on their way to work during the week when they have rigid timetables I think… we need to make it as easy as possible to catch the trains for them.

    1. Also at Henderson there billboards on one side with stories and pictures about famous locations, people and events from out west. Its not as nice as the stations you mention but better than nothing.

  6. Definately weekend frequencies need to improve, i caught my first train on the western line for a long time today from Morningside after my sons league game at Fowlds Park and the train was almost full and considering that it was an SA set, i’m glad it was.

  7. What I’ve heard from ARTA is that they’re hesitant to bump up Western Line weekend frequencies because over the next few years there will be quite a few weekend track closures as the infrastructure works for electrification are undertaken.

    I can sort of see their logic, but I reckon it’s a huge missed opportunity at the moment.

    On a brighter note, I understand that weekday inter-peak frequencies will be improved to a train every 15 minutes on most lines in the not too distant future. That’s a massive improvement from the once an hour inter-peak we had on the Western Line just a few years ago.

  8. Great to see the inter-peak being improved, however I think we a missing opportunities with the later train frequencies and weekend frequencies, even if they improve them till the posts start being erected would be great, at least that way we will improve patronage on the line’s, which will be a good push for further development. However as you say, can see their logic, however I believe it would also have a positive effect on weekday services, so lost opportunity indeed.

  9. Also I’d like to thank you for posting updates, unfortunately I’m immobilized at the moment, and I rather enjoyed getting out and about to see the progress on the network.

  10. may be should have free travel for two or three months(in the weekend) so people can see what really rail infrastructure has to offer

    1. yes, I agree some free rail travel should be on the agenda after the frequency increases… but maybe only for a few days, including a couple of week days too. There could be a lot of people out there who plan to give the train a go ‘one day’, and just need a bit of an incentive to actually do it now.

      If the free period was too long, not only will it be more expensive to run, but the urgency would not be there.

      1. I’d say one week would be good, however ARTA have made it clear in the past that it would be to expensive. Although I tend to disagree, with the extra continued patronage I expect you would make up that money pretty quickly.

        1. Probably the smartest thing ARTA could do would be to have cheaper off-peak and weekend fares, and slightly more expensive peak hour fares.

          Getting better utilisation of off-peak services and taking some pressure off overloaded peak hour services would probably save ARTA money (as extra peak hour services are the most expensive to provide as you need more buses/trains/tracks/etc.)

      2. I agree with a free period and have said so in the past that once New Lynn is opened and the works have finished it would be a good time to do it. It might help bring back some of those that used to use the train but stopped after getting so annoyed with all of the faults and disruptions.

  11. Many places offer an after 9 pass which is a bit cheaper than the pass valid for the whole day – ARTA should look to provide the same. That way people will plan to leave a little later (if they can) to benefit from the cheaper fares.

    1. ARTA does offer an after 9 pass… it’s part of the integrated fare structure currently in use on the Shore. It gives a 20% discount off the price of a day pass.

      I’m really wondering why ARTA can’t hurry up and roll out the Northern Pass city wide. Would it be so hard, it seems to work just fine on the Shore?

  12. The station was open this morning although I didn’t get a chance to have a look around seeing as I was already on the train.

  13. it is still hard to believe ARTA saying it will loose money by offering free travel for a limited time. may need no or less ticketing staff. we have seen huge amount of money poured into promos like, LETS MAKE A CHANGE, BLINE, WALK/Bike to WORK, if well crafted promo is done (as admin said targeting fares) long suffering Western line can be brought back. by the way the western line is starting to look really good with double lines and new stations really disheartening to see so less passengers

  14. Maybe the issue is that by offering free fares, they will actually have to SPEND money (reimbursing operators and such) and they have no wriggle room in their budget for it? We all know that ARTA’s budget is massively “oversubscribed” with all the stuff they are doing and wanting to do.

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