A pretty important day in the process of seeing the City Rail Link through to reality today as the notice of requirement (the application for route protection effectively) has been notified for submissions. The process of securing the designation for the project’s construction, maintenance and operation is pretty similar to the process for gaining resource consent for a proposal – so is a critical hurdle for the project to pass through. There has also been a lot of technical details about the project released which we’ll post about in more detail later – they can be accessed here. For now, some interesting quick observations:

  • It’s interesting that Auckland Transport has chosen to go through the ‘traditional’ path for securing this project’s consent rather than the option of a ‘fast tracked’ Board of Inquiry like the Waterview Connection project did.
  • It seems that the Inner West Interchange has been removed from the project, while the East Facing Connection will be built. This is excellent as it enables the full capacity of the CRL to be realised.
  • The station design drawings still seem to be missing the obvious entrance to Aotea Station from the corner of Darby Street and Elliott Street, though an entrance from Victoria Street (presumably in the proposed linear park) is shown, which is good.

Submissions (including those in support of the project) can be made between now and March 19 – including online submissions. Let’s get those supportive submissions in!

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  1. This sounds promising. Except looking at some of those documents I still can’t work out for sure what (if any) connections to the NAL will be grade separated.

    1. If I’m reading that plan properly it appears that all the links to the NAL are grade separated, but there is one flat crossing between two of the CRL movements. Should still be able to get very high frequencies depending on the signalling and service patterns.

  2. Can you explain to us mere mortals where exactly the stations are now (any changes? anything more definite?) and what happened to the plan to be able to swap to other train lines easily? is the junction station between Kingsland and Mt Eden not happening now?
    Those of who not used to reading such technical documents (I did try) would appreciate a dummies explanation. Thanks in anticipation.

    1. Britomart station stays as is. The next station is proposed underneath Albert Street south of Victoria Street West (next to the reverse bungy). The next station is K’Road, though it may in reality be slightly more Beresford Square than K Road. The Newton Station is proposed underneath / just west of the corner of Symonds Street / Mt Eden Road.

      We haven’t seen detailed plans for any of the stations yet, but they are likely to all have “metro”-style accesses, i.e. entrance stairs / lifts at various locations dotted around the area, so one can access directly down rather than first have to cross the road etc…

    2. Actually we shall be glad that the Inner Western Interchange is not happening. I was at fairly every information meeting of AT to figure out what this station should be for. Turned out they want to do a reversing system similar to Newmarket. What means the train comes out of the Tunnel, in the station, the driver jumps off, runs back, and reverses the train either in the Tunnel or on Western Line towards Grafton. Happy, that they propose now a proper connection in each direction.

      1. Yes, it seems especially useless seeing as you can make those connections at the next station along anyway (Newton). Plus not sure why they would want to run every train back from the Inner West Interchange into the city tunnel. Half the runs through the CRL would be as good as empty, unless they were planning on some very intensive development around the IWI.

  3. Just to clarify, under the RMA only the Minister for the Environment can send a notice of requirement to a board of inquiry or the Environment Court and then only if it is, or is part of, a proposal of national significance.

    1. And of course, the CRL is of national significance to them like, say, stronger unions and better environmental protections – they be thinking that as mere frippery the lefties want to waste money on…

    2. My understanding is that Auckland Transport could have chosen to get consent via a Board of Inquiry process (like Waterview) but they preferred the lower risk traditional approach. Makes sense as there isn’t a HUGE hurry to get the designation in place as it’s not like the project will have funding until there’s a change of government.

      1. I can understand that reasoning. Going for a Board of Inquiry is a pretty ballsy move. You have to be really confident your project will pass as you only get one chance.

  4. Is there a time limit on designations like there is for resource consents (as in, an RC lapses after 5 years if you don’t start building, right?). If so, does that mean building will have to start after a certain time regardless of funding or they lose the designation?

    1. The Avondale-Southdown line has been designated for about 60 years so I don’t think there’s necessarily a time limit.

    2. A NoR is also much more powerful than a RC application from the pov of the Requiring Authority in that the responding council can’t refuse to approve it (they don’t have that right) although they can request changes. As Mr A says below, an appeal to the environment court may follow. That situation usually only arises when the RA and the council can’t reach agreement so council lodges the appeal, although another objector with deep pockets can do so also. I see that KAB comments that only the Minister can appeal, but I believe those provisions have been repealed (could be wrong though, I’ve lodged a few NoRs on behalf of clients but am not a legal expert).

      Of course council must also lodge NoRs with itself, in this case via AT, but that’s how the RMA works.

    3. from http://www.mfe.govt.nz/publications/rma/everyday/designations/

      “Lapsing, time limits

      A designation has been ‘given effect to’ once work is largely completed within the stipulated time. A designation that hasn’t been ‘given effect to’ lapses five years after the date it was included in the district plan, unless the lapsing period has been extended.

      A requiring authority can apply to the council to extend the lapsing period under certain conditions. The requiring authority can also lodge an objection if the council refuses to extend the lapsing period.

      Once ‘given effect to’, a designation remains valid for the life of the district plan, or until the requiring authority removes or alters the designation.”

      it is hard to see how just design and build of a major project like the CRL can be “given effect to” within five years, so logically an extended period would be part of the designation

    1. Public hearing, decision then the potential for Environment Court appeals. May be some appeals in relation to property effects but generally the project is a tunnel so the environmental effects should be relatively minor.

      1. transport and disposal of fill from the tunneling could possibly be a significant effect, if the boring began at the Mount Eden end (where there’s a lot more room in the future triangle for a works site), then concievably the fill could be taken away by rail, otherwise it’s a lot of truckloads

        coming out from under the ridge, it shouldn’t have a lot of contaminated material until the tunnels get down to the waterfont

        1. But at the other end of the tunnel we have this thing called a port! Build a covered conveyor belt and dump it all in barges to be shipped away. No trucks, and no needing to burden the local commuter rail with spoil trains.

          1. That only works if you DIG from the western line. I would assume that the tunnel would be bored from both directions, or from the port, because the boring machine is delivered there? Or is that unrealistic.

          2. starnius the plan is to do a cut and cover tunnel from Britomart up to Wellesley St. At the southern end it would be cut and cover till just after Mt Eden then bored in between. The TBM will drill northwards to the Aotea station site where it will then be pulled back through the tunnel to the Mt Eden end (maybe missing the cutting head/shield) then send back north again on the other tunnel.

  5. A few questions:
    I asume the route is the same as that identified here (on 3 July). Are 210 propoperties still going to be purchased (and presumably demolished) or is this number reduced (if so, by how much) by not building the inner west interchange station? Secondly, what will happen to the existing Mt Eden station once the CRL is built? And the map shows that the Britomart-Aotea section will be built as a cut and cover tunnel under Albert Street, and the western line? Is Albert Street, all those streets that go east-west across Albert Street (such as Customs Street West) and the western line going to be closed during the construction period, and if so for how long? If this is the case I imagine major disruptions during the construction period

    I actually guess I should probably email Auckland Transport my questions 🙂

    1. No, a bunch of properties, which would have been affected by the Western Interchange are not needed now. Thus they should be better in the budgets.

      1. Unless you kept cross-town trains that DON’T go through Britomart (could be useful, but not high on the priority list) you wouldn’t need Mt Eden. As Nick says, the station is close by. Heck, seeing that they are doing cut & cover, they might simply put a pedestrian access tunnel next to the tracks, save the people coming from the south a trudge up the hill.

  6. Mmmmh, large amounts of cut and cover at the southern end. Wonder why that is – seems that a mined tunnel would reduce the property impacts. Maybe they aren’t sure the remaining distance to the surface would be sufficient…

    1. Presumably once you get close to the surface the tunnel collides with the water, sewers, and other services. So you can’t bore, but need to dig down from the surface anyway to reroute the services.

    2. From memory there was also an issue with a change in rock type at the southern end so it ended up easier just to cut and cover the whole thing than go though and change the TBM setup for another couple of hundred metres.

  7. They also seem to show pretty large underground passages indicatively for the stations at K Road and Newton. Wonder if those are required for passenger / fire reasons, or whether they are intended to be subterranean shop passages etc…? Would think the latter would be too expensive for a mined tunnel.

    BTW, they told us during an IPENZ event that at Newton, they are thinking not doing escalators, but using massive elevators. Vertical difference is too great apparently for escalators being the best option.

    1. Max, the underground passages at K Rd and Newton are the stations themselves. Because of the depth they will have no concourse, no station ‘box’ nor will they have a single platform. Instead the two rail tubes will be slightly larger with platforms facing the tracks on each, while the cross passages will be dug between the two tubes to form the circulation and access space. It will function as a single island, except made from a series of tubes and caverns.

      Parliament station in Melbourne is exactly the same. Two platform tubes, a central tube in parallel with access above, and a series of cross passages linking them.


  8. The big elevators work quite well at Heathrow terminal 5 – they’re used for both train and tube: doors on both sides, capacity of at least 50 people, fast and automated….not bad. Two or three of those would cope at Newton and K Road I’m sure.

    Aotea should have elevators, and probably be a double-ended station with two exits. Or a central deck above, but then with lots of different access (like Sydney’s Town Hall, but not as horrible!)

    1. how do those lifts work with fire regulations? Can the rail tunnels themselves be the alternate exits? Or do there still needed to be a couple of staircases, just not generally used.

      1. During an IPENZ meeting, the project team mentioned that they are discussing this with the fire service, as the current NZ codes don’t seem to cover using elevators as fire access (that’s what I remember at least). I.e. they are intending to at least consider whether elevators can be used for fire egress, which of course would mean some pretty significant extra costs in upgrading them to the relevant (non-NZ) standards.

    1. We will likely find out the preferred route, some more accurate costs and perhaps a business case but designation won’t likely happen for another year or two. Basically it is at a similar stage to what the CRL was 2 years ago

  9. If the council purchases the land needed for the CRL, will it be within its’ rights to redevelop that land? Because surely it would be within the council’s interests to redevelop the land close to the link (particularly, land that is close to the stations) to reflect the changes brought about by the construction of the CRL?

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