This post isn’t about the Taniwha in the way of the City Rail Link but those projects and services that have been talked about or promised by various agencies for years but never seem to come to fruition. Some may even be able to be crossed off the list shortly but until they officially happen I will leave them on there.

Seeing as I already mentioned it I will start with the CRL which is probably the most prominent of all of them having been suggested and investigated at various times since at least the 1920’s but there are plenty of others on the list. Things seem to have gotten fairly quiet on this from both the council and Auckland Transport in the last few months

Manukau Station with Campus

Manukau Rail Link – This was originally meant to open in late 2010 but has yet to see a paying passenger after it quietly slipped to 2011 and was then put off till 2012 to avoid clashing with the RWC. It was then meant to open this month and was again quietly pushed back until March but there are rumours it has slipped yet again.

Those following the project will probably know that the Manukau Instutite of Technology is building a campus above the station, the eye on Auckland blog has some pictures of what this is meant to look like but here is one of the building that will eventually rise above the station

Integrated Ticketing – This has been wanted for possibly decades yet we are still waiting for it. It has had so many false starts that it would have been disqualified had it been a sport in the Olympics  and still it plods on with only vague dates as to when it might eventually see the light of day for real

This was from during the Christmas closure

Real time Displays for trains – Another long time coming project and something that has continually been promised but has yet to be delivered. It is made even stranger by the fact we have had the technology (sort of) for buses for ages yet trains which one would think was easier to implement still can’t be done. Electronic displays have now be installed at a quite a few stations and the format of the messages have now been updated to make them easier to read but still no sign of real time information which AT promised would be live by the RWC.

Recently extended Henderson Stabling Yard

Strand Stabling Facility – This might not sound that glamorous but could be quite important in helping to reduce our operating costs.  The intention is to build a stabling facility on the rail land near the strand where trains not being used could be stored during the day and night. The advantage of this is it saves them having to travel all the way back empty to Westfield and in a few years Wiri. It means less fuel used, less driver time needed and better use of our assets. I have found references to designs for this from the earliest ARTA reports I can find (around July 2007)

Extenstion of the NW Cycleway – In early 2010 the latest extension of the NW cycleway was opened which extended over 1km which provides an almost continuous path all the way from Bond St to Te Atatu. At the time of opening this the NZTA proclaimed:

With the Kingsland section nearing completion, the NZTA is now focussing on extending the Northwestern Cycleway further into central Auckland.

An investigation is underway to find a suitable route through Upper Queen Street, the Central Motorway Junction and along Grafton Gully to the Auckland University of Technology and Auckland University. The NZTA plans to have the 3 kilometre long-extension completed in 2011.

Well 2011 has been and gone and there has not been a squeak out of the NZTA about any plans to extend it further.

Extension of B Line services / high frequency servicesB Line services are meant to be high frequency corridors with a guaranteed level of service and while this it was just a trial and not something that was never actually promised to be rolled out further I still think it should be on here. It was trialled on Dominion Rd and Mt Eden Rd and from some of evidence that came out it had quite a positive impact on patronage numbers but since then we haven’t heard anything.

There are probably heaps of other projects out there that have either disappeared into the either never to be heard from again or have seen their timeframe continually slip so what are they. Also I think it we should give a name for these projects so in the comments please suggest some names of mythical creatures to associate with these mythical projects.

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  1. Wow you’ve really hit the nail on the head with this post Matt. What on earth happens to all these projects? It is particularly concerning to see Manukau station’s opening date being pushed back to after March, the busiest month of the year.

    Is this just incompetency from Auckland Transport?

    1. I should stress it is only a rumour but based on past experiences I wouldn’t be surprised if it is true. My guess is they are nervous about opening it and it getting overrun with people at the busiest time of the year leading to bad publicity. There is also the issue of not really having enough trains to run enough services out of it.

      Just wait for them to roll out their tried and tested excuse that they seem to use for a lot of things these days “we’re just following worlds best practice” or some variation of it.

      1. Heck I am really going to put my head on the block here but I can confirm out of the powers that are the Manukau Line will not be opened until AFTER the Easter Blocks of Line.

        As for the reasons…

  2. Auckland Transport is also apparently reviewing the entire public transport network, with the assistance of Human Transit’s Jarrett Walker ( There are all sorts of scattered references to network reviews in council and local board meeting minutes:

    This comment from a report in July last year seems fairly typical of the process you’re describing. No doubt the “early 2012” deadline mentioned will be quietly forgotten

    At the Papakura Local Board workshop on 2 June 2011, Auckland Transport’s Public Transport
    Network Planning team gave a presentation on the Great South Road Corridor Bus Network
    Review and sought initial feedback from the Board before wider consultation is undertaken later
    this year.
    The aims of the review are to increase patronage by making the bus network more reliable,
    making routes simpler and easier to understand, and providing services to new urban areas, and
    to achieve better value for money by removing duplication and removing poor performing services.
    The strategy for Great South Road is to focus on rail for long distance journeys, remove
    duplication (between both bus and train services, and different bus networks), split services at
    Otahuhu and Manukau to improve reliability, and ensure local bus services link residential areas to
    a train station, a local town centre and Manukau city centre.
    The next step of the review will be to consult on the proposed bus route changes later this year,
    prior to confirming the new network in late 2011 or early 2012 and ensuring facilities (eg bus stops
    and concrete pads) are put in place to support the new service pattern. The new system would
    then be implemented in early 2013 to tie in with the opening of the new Manukau Interchange.

  3. Would it be worth having a non-blog extension of the site where projects like these could be listed and tracked? One page per project. I know tags sort of achieve this anyway, but I’m thinking something like this .

    I’m glad if the Strand stabling has been ditched. Using CBD edge land to store trains is a huge waste IMHO.

    Other projects that may or may not eventuate: Rail to Mangere, the airport, and Manukau. Rail to Hamilton. Extension of the tram-to-nowhere to somewhere. Rail to the North Shore. The last of these was a Brown election promise but since then even he has stopped mentioning it, but there has been no announcement that the concept has been dropped.

    1. The Strand stabling site project was designed to provide storage close to Britomart for trains during the interpeak period, so as to reduce the amount of empty stock working back to Westfield at the end of the AM peak and then again at the start of the PM peak. This is similar to the EMU sidings outside Wellington Station. Therefore, rather than being a waste of city fringe land, it would provide operation efficiencies. However I think the project foundered because of opposition from KiwiRail freight to releasing the land currently used for sidings outside the entrance to the Port of Auckland.

  4. Welcome to Auckland Politics – where nothing “good” is ever done since the defeat of Mayor Robbie – ok that is harsh on former Mayor Fletcher for getting Britomart off the ground but I think we all get the main point.

    It seems third rail and port of auckland transit stuff is also confined to the lame duck ranks.
    Stuck behind a crapped out DL class hauling 50 wagons to Port of Tauranga for another 20 years while trying to go home…
    No wonder why the car is so tempting especially when one can get free parking in town…

    1. The third rail is extremely important, and relatively cheap. And we know it will have to be done at some point. But in the meantime we have the ridiculous (by the standards of anywhere else) situation of having rail freight being moved on passenger lines which are almost to capacity. A great number of the delays in the system eventuate from having relatively short and fast trains trying to negotiate long and slow trains. Even at 7.50am on weekdays.

      Not a sexy project, but until it’s built it’s one of those little tragedies.

    2. Some sections of triple-tracking shouldn’t be too expensive either. Like between Westfield Junction and say Middlemore. Then push further south progressively. You can have sections with two tracks if they would be costly to triple-track – and just get your timing right so there’s no conflicts around those areas with passenger trains.

      The big cost will be on the inner section of the eastern line, between the Purewa tunnel and Tamaki Drive. But it’s the Westfield to Wiri section that’s most urgently needed. Surely this should be part of KiwiRail’s turnaround plan?

      1. I believe the third track is part of KiwRail’s turnaround plan. Pretty sure I’ve seen mention that recent works at Wiri had created a new siding that is to become the start of the third track.

  5. Chimera, Griffin, Taniwha, Sphinx, Manticore, Unicorn, – who want to match them with the particular projects?

    On a positive note- an Executive Summary of the CC Masterplan feedback arrived in the post this morning, courtesy Ben Parsons & Associates.

    Of particular note to this blog’s readers is page 5 “Feedback on Move 5, the City Rail Link”-

    “From the submission forms, 71% of submitters felt the CRL and the development of the the three new stations should be “done now” and a further 18% felt it should be “done soon” (i.e. within 3-10 years).”

    I think “done now” means 0-3 years?

    If my maths is right 89% of submitters want the CRL withing 10 years.

    That’s got to be a mandate right? Gerry? Gerry?!

  6. Obi – That’s not a bad idea, might take a bit of time to do though so if anyone wants to help out by pulling the details together that would be really useful.

    Geoff – 89% is a pretty strong level of support, the question is, will the government politicians listen?

    BBC – I’m sure it’s still going but that doesn’t change the fact that it has slipped, something that happens to pretty much every PT project yet motorways have been getting opened months and months early.

  7. @Matt L – agreed, it has been delayed for what feels like years now. I would be interested as to whether NZTA plans to allow the old offramp which has been closed off since the spaghetti junction work to be converted to a linear park with a cycle lane as proposed in the Auckland Plan. Perhaps the delays will allow this to happen. In any case, they’re dragging their feet whereas 100 million dollar ‘fixes’ for congestion after things such as the Manukau Motorway were opened were rushed through, funded and constructed within a few months.

    1. Ministerial pressure. The big guy makes it clear what he wants to see and how soon, and everything else has been starved of capital and attention. And much of this has been round the electoral cycle. The only cycle these big men will ever pay attention to.

  8. My understanding is that integrated ticketing is on track, and hasn’t missed any milestones in the last 1-2 years since the current overall schedule was announced? The complaint here should be (if you want to make it) that it is taking so long – not whether or not it is happening (it is).

  9. Does anyone know why we are now removing all the street BUS arrival display signs and are replacing them with a silly little box on the street side which is way harder to read and only one person at a time can see what it says instead of everyone on the footpath?

    1. I’d like to know too, the new ones are ugly and look more like pay and display machines – feels like a case of a contractor building to requirements at minimum cost.

  10. the answer to the new bus display boards according to something I dug up on Maxx is that they are cheaper and are being used as a second level of display boards in areas where it does not warrant the bigger overhead displays. Not sure if I but this or not without evidence of costs etc.

  11. On another subject Integrated ticketing. Was interested to read of the release of personal details to Snapper in this mornings Herald.
    Can we get some assurance that when the new Thales card comes to fruition that there will not be a snapper chip embedded in it. If Snapper want to sell a purchase card let them do it themselves and not have it embedded in the new Auckland City Transport card.

    1. @Ron – the previous Hop card was simply a snapper card and was merely branded as a hop card, the new hop card will be the Thales system and snapper will have nothing to do with it.

      1. If you are telling me that Infratil(Snapper) have spent all that money on setting up agents around Auckland to accept the Hop card and they are then going to walk away from it come the Thales card then I don’t believe it. They wangled Auckland Transport into taking the Snapper tie in after threatening all sorts of action after losing the Integrated contract. I cannot see them missing out on the money stream with the new card. Unfortunately the new secret service called Auckland Transport will not give up any information on just what is happening with Integrated Ticketing. Try and find out when Ritchies are going to get access to system is impossible. I get dates ranging from late this year to late next year. Ritchies do not seem to have any intention at present of installing the machines likewise Birkenhead Trasnport. It will be interesting to see just what happens

  12. Add to the list- the ferry terminals at Hobsonville and Beach Haven were promised to be completed in 2010- still no sign of them.

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