Another press release from Auckland Transport yesterday, this time confirming that the Manukau line and station will open on April 15.

First stage of Manukau Station opens soon

The first stage of Auckland’s newest train station and the first rail line since the 1930s will open in Manukau on 15 April.

When passengers begin using the first stage of the Manukau Station development they will enter through a temporary station entrance to the completed platform areas in a rail trench below ground level.

Construction will be continuing above ground on the second stage, a $95 million integrated transport hub and tertiary campus at the Manukau city centre site next to Hayman Park.

When complete in 2013, the new station entrance will be on the ground floor of the Manukau Tertiary Centre. When this second stage opens it will have high quality facilities, including a ticket office, with easy connections between trains and buses leaving just outside the station entrance.

Auckland Transport and Auckland Council have partnered with Manukau Institute of Technology in the development. Kiwirail have built the 2km rail line from the Southern Line to Manukau city centre.

Auckland Transport, train operator Veolia Transport and Kiwirail are working together on the start of new services to Manukau.

For initial services Manukau Station will have three trains an hour in peak times and one train an hour at other times.

Buses from Botany, Flat Bush and Redoubt Rd will be extended to Manukau Station, providing a connection between buses and trains. Further bus services will be extended to the station next year, with it expected to eventually become the main bus hub for south Auckland.

In the future, about 600,000 passengers a year are expected to use the train station, a similar level to Newmarket, only Britomart will be busier. About 1.2 million people are expected to eventually use the bus station each year.

Auckland Transport Public Transport Operations Manager Mark Lambert says passengers can expect a similar standard of station to New Lynn and Newmarket when the Manukau transport hub is fully complete next year.

“What is opening soon is just the beginning of the station development and train services in preparation for the arrival of new electric trains.

“Auckland Transport, Veolia and Kiwirail have agreed on a phased introduction of rail services to Manukau. We are continuing to review with Veolia the timetable to see what improvements can be made on other parts of the rail network.”

Veolia Transport Managing Director Graham Siberry says says “Everyone is delighted to be helping add a new branch line service and we will work hard to continue to deliver an excellent rail service and grow the network. It’s wonderful to see customers choosing rail in increasing numbers.”

The Mayor says it is great news that trains will soon start running to Manukau city centre.

“People can also look forward to a really high quality station building opening next year as part of the Manukau Tertiary Centre.

“The Manukau Station and rail line is a classic example of the transport infrastructure that would be built from revenue generated from the Council’s Alternative Transport Funding Sources programme.

“Existing funding sources fall well short of what is required to provide the facilities and systems to move people and goods efficiently and in a co-ordinated manner by road, rail and sea in greater Auckland.  At least $10-$15 billion of alternative funding is required to meet the transport needs of a rapidly growing population, estimated to be 2.5million in 2030.”

I find it interesting that they persist with calling it the first new rail line in Auckland since the 1930s as technically I would call Britomart a new line and that opened in 2003. As I said the other day, I am quite concerned about only having 1 train per hour in the off peak, especially if Manukau is meant to be one of the key transfer stations and hubs on the network. I am also disappointed that Auckland Transport have gone back on their promise to have 10 minute frequencies out west, some they advertised heavily late last year would happen at the same time (they were first promised for the September 2010 timetable).

Here are a couple of images of what the campus and station will look like when they are all finished.

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  1. Well Matt, to continue your pedantry alittle, the lines to Britomart in fact replace ones that were there way back before the Post Office was built on that site…. There has long been a terminus station and lines on that site [with more than two I’m pretty sure]. So strictly speaking like the Onehunga Line this route is a return of lines not a new line…..

      1. With money the line could be extended, you just have to look what happens when a motorway need to be widened/extended – nothing can stand in the way of the plans.

    1. I may be wrong but I don’t think it has been future proofed that well, if at all. The station has been designed with a Britomart style area at the end of the platforms and you can see it in the second image. Also have a look at this one satellite image of the station and you can clearly see where the tracks end and how it will be almost impossible to extend.

      Manukau Station

      1. It’s not impossible, it will simply cost more and be more disruptive than if they have built it with such an extension in mind.

    1. Funnily the display show two trains to Britomart departing in 5 and 17 minutes, i.e. ~6 trains an hour, someone didn’t tell the illustrator…

  2. When did AT renege on the 10 minute frequency out west? Or are you referring to 1-in-3 terminate at Henderson? Have they announced the new timetable yet?

  3. While hourly services are disappointing, they do say it’s “initial services” of a “phased introduction” of what will be, but is not yet, a transport hub.

    What I want to know is, what about weekend west line services?

  4. @Bryan: The long awaited “mature diesel timetable”, which included additional Onehunga and Henderson services, has actually been canned for now. The April timetable change is only the addition of the Manukau trains, extension of Sunday trains beyond Henderson, and a few adjustments of existing services.

    @Patrick: Manukau station has not been designed for through running. Deep piles for the building above have been installed beyond the end of the tracks, and the platform access is all wrong for through running. The Botany plan has always been for light rail, which would presumably connect with trains at Manukau, at street level like buses.

    @George: In my opinion 1 train per hour north is the lesser part of the problem. The frequency being offered is;

    Peak: North 3tph, South 0tph.
    Off peak: North 1tph, South 0tph.

    This is despite the government spending approximately $20m fully completing the formation and infrastructure for the south link at Wiri. AT have totally wasted that effort due to their Britomart-focussed blinkered vision that causes them to miss the obvious patronage opportunities.

    AT can hardly complain government isn’t investing in rail, when the government spends that much money enabling AT to run more trains and gain more patronage, only for AT to ignore it. This is where Manukau has been stuffed up, and where a few questions should be asked of AT’s true committment to Manukau being a proper transport hub. The railway goes north and south, so where are the south trains?

    1. He means that is is physically impossible for a train from south of Manukau to get to the station unless they change direction like western line trains do at Newmarket to head down the branch. The reason for this is only one link has been built to the main line and that is to the north. In the image below the grey curve to the north now has tracks installed on it but you can also see the brown curve to the south with is designed for tracks but hasn’t been built (the NZTA even designed the motorway to allow for the link). The other issue that Geoff has raised in the past is that Kiwirail have built their inland hub at the bottom of the picture and it looks like they have built the concrete hardstand right over the path of where a link to the south would go.

      Manukau Link

      In terms of services I would have thought that having a service that went from Papakura or even Pukekohe into Manukau could be quite popular

      1. The current aim seems to be to move towards a simple, frequent, legible metro style system (yes i know the frequent bit isn’t quite there yet).

        Having a variety of route options makes the network map complicated.

  5. Ok, then I don’t get the rant at AT if KR have failed to build a southern link, or is this AT’s call. At least it isnt impossible to achieve in the future. Yes I agree about Papakura, Pukekohe or even Hamilton to Manukau. But we seem to have manpower and rolling stock issues….?

  6. It would seem logical to take advantage of the two line layout in the south to send one line via Manukau and one direct. So say they both start at Papakura, but the eastern goes via Manukau and the Southern doesn’t. That way you have a choice between speed and access, and in any even if you’re just headed to Britomart you can simply hop on the next train that comes along and get there in roughly the same time.

  7. KiwiRail has built the line to accomodate AT’s operating plan. AT has never proposed south services, so the track wasn’t laid. KR blocking the path is another issue, but I’ve ranted about that many times already. The bottom line is that the total cost of the south link has been largely paid for. The actual track and signals would have been little more than another million. Probably 2-3 million now that KR have blocked the path, but even that is small compared to the $20m or so spent building the formation and infrastructure.

    People who work (and who will study) at Manukau will come equally from north and south. Manukau will be the destination more than the origin, so the north services only approach is the wrong one to take. Even if south patronage is less, say 30 or 40% of the total, that’s still a lot.

    Running some Papakura services via Manukau makes sense. Manukau is essentially going to be a major stop on the Southern Line, so it should be linked to rail services serving Manurewa, Papakura and Pukekohe without making people transfer and wait at Puhinui for the final 2km.

  8. The Manukau spur is short so with a minimal dwell time the delay to services deviating there wouldn’t be too bad and the added utility would be a pretty good trade off, no? Could only be by electric units once that building is built I presume so from Papakura. Can still be added, likely this is another sign of trying to stretch minimal capes funds.

    I still struggle to see why they have left no possibility of future extension, on a green fields site, and knowing the projected population growth further east. And considering what we have been going through with Britomart the whole time this has been planned. I know the old MCC planners hated rail and never wanted to see it near their ghastly road fest, but they weren’t involved in this were they?

  9. Hi Patrick – as per your quote:

    ‘The Manukau spur is short so with a minimal dwell time the delay to services deviating there wouldn’t be too bad and the added utility would be a pretty good trade off, no? Could only be by electric units once that building is built I presume so from Papakura. Can still be added, likely this is another sign of trying to stretch minimal capex funds.’

    This is the way to operationally deal with the Manukau branchline in future when electrification is complete. Run most if not all Papakura services into and out of Manukau City. I would have thought that the operational efficiencies gained will more than offset the capital cost to put in the southern leg to the Manukau City junction. Network capacity and efficiency will be enhanced by making all the services currently planned to operate Britomart – Manukau City extend to Papakura. Remember that Manurewa and Papakura are two of the key southern rail stations from a patronage point of view. The further upside is that Manukau City station will be better used as a destination station by commuters from the south.

    A win on all counts.

  10. the whole point being missed here
    is all people to manukau come from south
    ie m/rewa,papakura.
    all people north of manukau go to slyvia park.
    line to north is complete waste of time until
    the tech is built.
    should have opened south line first!!!!

    chhers Grant D

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