There has been renewed discussion of a southern rail connection into Manukau Station over the past few days. The catalyst for this discussion seems to have been the Council rejecting a funding bid by Auckland Transport to double-track the north-facing rail connection, with a possible reason for the rejection being some confusion about the proposed north-facing connection and the much desired south-facing connection. If you’re not quite sure what I’m talking about, hopefully the diagram below resolves any confusion, with black showing the existing rail links and red highlighting the missing, but future-proofed, southern link:manukau-rail-connectionsThere is something intuitively logical about having the southern link in place, when you think about Manukau’s role in Auckland as the commercial hub for southern Auckland. For a start, Manukau station is likely to be the destination of more trips than it is the origin of them – because of the proposed (although now on hold) tertiary campus, the shopping centre and the employment in the area. Once the bus station is built that might change to some extent as people catch a feeder bus and then transfer onto the train. But even then I think as many people are likely to be connecting between buses or simply catching a bus to Manukau as they are to be making bus to rail connections. In summary, at least in my mind Manukau city probably serves the area to the south of it more than to the north of it, so providing a rail connection to the north but not one to the south seems counter-intuitive at best – rather silly at worst.

However, looking at how Auckland’s rail network will function in the future the north-facing link at Manukau starts to make a bit more sense – enabling Manukau to become the southern terminus of the eastern line while southern line trains (i.e. those going via Newmarket) will bypass Manukau and head further south. Certainly as I understand it, that will be the post-electrification service patterns with 6 peak trains per hour on the three main lines and two on the Onehunga Line:service-pattern-post-electrificationSo there’s a logical role for a north-facing connection at Manukau in our future rail network. But how might things work in terms of providing a southern link? In my mind there are a couple of options:

  • Continue the eastern line trains from Manukau south to Papakura and potentially onto Pukekohe
  • Run a shuttle train from Papakura/Pukekohe to Manukau with the train terminating there and returning to Papakura/Pukekohe

Let’s look at each option in turn. Firstly with the proposal to continue to run eastern line trains from Manukau to Papakura or Pukekohe. This option would effective mean that the trains simply “detour” from the main trunk line into Manukau before returning to the trunk line and continuing their journey – much like how the 233 bus along Sandringham Road detours down St Lukes road to the mall before returning to Sandringham Road and continuing its journey. The option is shown below as an edit to the earlier diagram:-east-line-to-puke It’s hard to know exactly how long the detour would take but to be reasonable there’s probably a couple of minutes in, then a couple of minutes for the driver to change ends and then a couple of minutes out – perhaps a six minute detour overall, fairly significant.The other disadvantage of this option is that you potentially end up running more train service south of Manukau than you actually need – because you’re running both southern and eastern line trains (with 6 tph on each) all the way down to Papakura. I’m not entirely sure of the loading profile on Auckland’s trains but it seems that most lines slowly build boardings at they head towards the city (the Western has a couple of blips at New Lynn & Mt Albert due to school kids) with maximum loadings on the eastern between Orakei & Britomart, the southern just south of Newmarket and the western just before Grafton station. Needless to say, we’re unlikely to need 12 trains per hour just north of Papakura.

The other option is to run a shuttle between Papakura/Pukekohe and Manukau. Immediately this seems like probably the more viable of the two options – because post electrification the current plan is to run a shuttle train between Papakura and Pukekohe because the wires are only going as far south as Papakura. Extending the shuttle train north to Manukau would provide a service that makes use of the southern link – something like this:puke-man-shuttle
I will get onto analysing the likely cost-effectiveness of extending the shuttle northwards in a minute, but the initial obvious problem with this option is the question of what to do once electrification is extended to Pukekohe – as is currently proposed to occur potentially in the not too distant future. Then we won’t have a diesel shuttle at all – in fact we shouldn’t have any diesel trains on the entire rail network – and therefore this interim solution no longer makes sense and we’re back to either the first option or continuing the shuttle as a duplication of the newly electrified direct service into town. In fact those are pretty much the same thing, come to think of it.

In any case, I think we need to look a bit closer at the cost-effectiveness of additional rail service south of Manukau if we’ve made the decision to not inconvenience those wanting to bypass Manukau (i.e. those travelling from Papakura to Newmarket or Britomart) by forcing them to detour into Manukau. For the shuttle option in particular, we need to look at whether it’s worth running the extra service kilometres between Papakura and Manukau for the number of additional passengers likely to catching the train. In essence, our potential “market” for the southern rail connection are the stations of Homai, Manurewa, Te Mahia (which mysteriously isn’t shown in the RPTP maps), Takanini, Papakura and Pukekohe. In particular, I guess the key point is what would a train service from the south to Manukau offer which is superior to the proposed bus network in the south:manukau-south-bus-network-2016The map above is the proposed 2016 “all day network”, with lines in red indicating the rail system, blue indicating “frequency services” which will run at least every 15 minutes 7am-7pm, every day of the week and the green lines indicating the connector/secondary network that will operate at least half-hourly most hour of the day, every day of the week.

It’s a bit difficult to pick out routes individually but overall it seems like most places are covered fairly well by the all-day network (this is supported by a number of lower frequency routes not shown above) and it also seems like pretty much all the routes feed into Manukau city at their northern end. In other words, pretty much anywhere within walking distance of one of the train stations which form the ‘market’ for a southern connection into Manukau is already proposed to be served by a fairly high frequency regular bus service doing the same thing. Everywhere outside the walkable catchments of the train stations also manages to be served by these bus services that can take passengers to Manukau (which is why we wouldn’t want to do away with those services) as well as feed passengers into the rail network if they want to take trips to areas north of Manukau.

I think I’m finding myself coming to a couple of conclusions here. The first is that Manukau is simply in the wrong place. The idiots who chose to build a new city centre a few kilometres east of the railway line create a geometrical problem that is incredibly challenging to fix – do you divert trains away from where seemingly most people want to go in order to serve the important centre or do you terminate trains at the important centre, creating inefficient outcomes or missing connections?manukau-locationThe second conclusion here is perhaps a recognition of the different roles of buses and trains in the public transport network. To over-simplify a bit, trains work well for longer-distance trips where speed and capacity is of the essence – but at the cost of coverage. Buses work really well for shorter trips because it’s much cheaper to spread them out and cover a wider area, yet they’re pretty slow and relatively low capacity so you don’t want to be running them on incredibly long and high demand routes because that becomes inefficient.

As a result of this second conclusion I think that there is a way to make a southern connection to Manukau work because there are important trips for it to serve – quite long distance trips where speed is important and coverage perhaps less important. That is a shuttle between Pukekohe and Manukau – however I think it is only after the significant greenfield development occurs between Papakura and Pukekohe and we see new stations at Paerata, Drury and perhaps somewhere between the two. Until then I think buses can probably do a better job at providing connections between Manukau and the hinterland to the south than a train can – and probably for a much lower cost.

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  1. I guess it also worth mentioning that there will be a highly frequent Southern Link in 2015ish. Will be 10min frequency on Manakau line, and Papakura line so if people really prefer the train to the bus they can transfer at Puhinui with an average 5 minute wait, with possibility of timetabling it less, say 2-3 minutes.
    A Manukau south service would only have the patronage to run at 30 min intervals, so most people would find it easier catching the 10m indirect service.
    The main disadvantage of those buses is they take 40 – 50 minutes from Manukau to Papakura, and a train only takes 17 minutes from Puhinui, about same time as a Manukau service.
    However I would wait to see what things are like with 10min frequencies, with the Puhinui connection well advertised, and we will be able to get some good HOP data how many people are taking this journey. Once this has built up can launch a direct service in a decade or so, especially with more development around Takanini and Papakura.

    1. A very important point. With ten minute frequencies and an average five minute connection there is no need to run extra services on the southern link to get a southern link, one can simply connect like the might do between the western line and the southern. All these proposals for extra routes are based on yesterdays lumbering system, not tomorrows fast and frequent EMU network.

      Throw in the fact you’ll have high frequency bus services between every station on the southern part of the southern line and Manukau and there really is no need for a third level of service duplication.

      One extra thing to note with the buses. Manurewa obviously has the direct blue line, indicating a minimum frequency of one bus every 15 minutes all day seven days a week. But if you look carefully, Homai, Takanini and Papakura are serviced by two green lines each (although Takanini is a bit of a stretch either side of the station). This means that from the bus stop next to these stations there will likewise be minimum 15 minute headways all day every day straight to Manukau by bus.

    2. Was waiting for that.

      There is one clientele missed here that would have potential for high patronage: Pukekohe and Papakura to Botany via Manukau as families and kids from the south head out that direction to go to work, shopping and movie watching.

      Thus with the South Link if trains (PUK MKU) kicked in immediately at 20 minute frequencies we have this situation:

      At the moment and in the future (frequencies increased) we have buses running from Homai and Manukau Stations out to Otara and Botany Downs out in the Eastern Suburbs. The Botany Rail Line from Manukau to Botany via Te Irirangi Drive is not due to be built for at least 25-years if at all, so in its place a very frequent bus service would be running in place of that line. We also know passengers don’t like transferring more than once (most will not mind a single transfer) in a single given trip to their destination. Now with Botany, Manukau, Papakura and Pukekohe all due be hubs; and cross city commuting due to increase because of this – this is where the sole Manukau North Link situation falls over no matter how frequent the trains are from that direction.

      This is an example journey that I know happens already:

      Current Situation (no south link in position): Pukekohe or Papakura -> Puhinui (transfers trains) -> Manukau (transfers to bus) -> Botany and vice versa

      If we run the ADL’s only on the Papakura – Pukekohe stretch AND no South Link is built: Pukekohe -> Papakura (transfers trains) -> Puhinui (transfers trains again) -> Manukau (transfers to bus) -> Botany and vice versa

      The South Link is built and ADL’s run the PUK MKU route: Pukekohe -> Papakura -> Manukau (via the South Link) (transfers to bus) -> Botany and vice versa
      Looking at that trip I see two transfers in the first one, three transfers in the second one, and one transfer in the last trip. For ease of journey I know which one I’d prefer before the journey becomes to complex and the car becomes a better option.

      As you said train is faster than bus (Takanini Interchange stuffs everyone up good and proper in Rush Hour and no plans to upgrade that until post 2020 (Thanks John Key 😐 ) so there would be a natural draw to the trains – but not with double or even triple transfers. And yes Cross City Commuting happens…

      1. Not so, you can simply catch the bus to Manukau and then the second bus to Botany. One transfer.
        If you prefer train travel, then catch the train to Paptoetoe and the bus from there to Botany. Also one transfer.

        A southern link doesn’t make it any easier.

        1. Nick – did you miss the bit from Luke about bus times from the South to Manukau by bus?

          Also I just checked the journey planner for Papatoetoe Train Station to Botany – heck you have a bit of a walk there (800m is is the max distance considered in “walk to station” routes where as using the South Link its off at Manukau Station and straight on to a bus at the station entrance.

          While not accusing people of laziness people might not want the 800m 12 minute) walk if they can walk (in their eyes) 3 minutes via an escalator from the train to a connecting bus…

          1. No I didn’t miss it. Both the time comments and your talk of 800m connections are based on the existing system, not the new network.

            And anyway, Papakura to Manukau is currently timetabled at 20 minutes during peak time and 15 minutes off peak. Not sure how a streamlined replacement route is going to take 40 or 50.

          2. Ok those original times arent right, not sure what I did to the journey planner. However for southbound I get 30min peak after midday, and 25min before midday, while northbound is 25min all day!
            However currently Great South Road has a 20 min frequency, this is proposed to be reduced to a 30min frequency, although I see there is now an alternate eastern loop linking to Addison and stations which is excellent. However this is still a reduction in frequency on this section. If we are talking about how easy it easy for people to catch the bus to Papakura instead, then there really should be 15 min frequency down this route.
            If that section has low patronage (which may have led to downgrade) then having a service that starts and ends at Manukau will greatly increase reliability. Currnetly Manukau is in the middle of a very long route with unpredictable traffic along the way, so I would assume reliability and timekeeping at Manukau is very poor.

        1. Preference – I am not dictating people’s choice in where they want to go. They just make that choice for what ever reason…

          And hey Sylvia Park doesnt have an ice rink now or a Cock and Bull does it 😉

          Oh and I see some nifty new schools along Te Irirangi Drive that some in my area send their kids to – just saying. PKA – MKU by train then bus to Botany happens

  2. Nice post sir.

    Having written the an initial proposal for the Manukau South Link while the ADL shuttles are running post 2015 – but still writing up the a proposal for post Pukekohe Electrification I am nodding at this post here.

    In sight of this all I wonder if we do the “Bang for your buck move” that Councillor Mike Lee suggested in the Transport Committee meeting in I think November (?) (Where the Pukekohe Electrification extension was tabled). That is while we have all the human and capital resources working on the current electrification to Pukekohe; why not continue once this first round of electrification is complete continue the electrification to Pukekohe before we lose that gained human and capital resource.

    If AT get the money needed to continue electrifying to Pukekohe (in time) to allow continued work post first stage electrification, should we in the same regard while Pukekohe is being done BUILD the Manukau South Link at the same time (seeming the human and capital resource is already there).

    It does not mean (and I’ll concede this if this shows up in the Business Case for the Manukau South Link) having to run trains through the South Link immediately after completion of it. As you said when the Greenfield development in the south occurs then the Pukekohe – Manukau Shuttle could start running but at least the link was already in position (can we try some forward planning for once please)

    But with the link already built (by 2016) it means we have that piece of track ready to rock and roll rather than assemble all the resources again to build the link some five years later (2021) when by then IMHO it would be too late. Also cost savings getting built the same time as Pukekohe Electrification rather than 2021?

    In any case after the RPTP submissions at the Manukau Civic Centre on Thursday; if the three Local Boards (Manurewa, Papakura and Franklin), residents, associations (I heard someone from a Grey Power association down Pukekohe way throw their support behind the South Link) and the Transport Committee who all gave our presentations (except the Transport Committee :P) are anything to go by – there is strong support for that link. Just letting readers here know that as the South Link is a project I keep a very close eye on.

    Oh as for Te Mahia as a side note. After giving my presentation to the RPTP on Thursday it seems AT might very well proceed closing Te Mahia and building the Glenora (Walters) Road Station next to Addison and Southgate. Which means if AT goes with the plan this is your market for the Manukau South Link.

    Pukekohe – Paraeta – Drury – Papakura – Glenora Road (Addison) – Spartan Road OR existing Takanini – Manurewa – Homai – Manukau via the South Link

    1. Ben, I think you are fighting the wrong battle. By all means I think the designation for the Southern Link at Manukau must be kept in case it is indeed required in the future but firstly, in the interests of the many as opposed to the few, there needs to be continued pressure to make sure Pukekohe does get electrification asap and secondly, the delayed busway from Pakuranga – Botany – Manukau needs to get built. I don’t believe your proposed schedule for Pukekohe – Manukau services is frequent enough for most people. Manukau needs more frequent services and I think the way to get that is to combine it with the Eastern line. This, in conjunction with the regular southern line services would give a very frequent service into Manukau station with just the single transfer at Puhinui much the same as anyone needing to go to Onehunga from the south.

      1. Funny enough I had a question asked by the AT RPTP panel on Thursday at the Manukau Civic Centre (Mike Lee was present of course) on capital allocation to which I had pre-empted in my presentation.

        The question was asked why did I bump Pukekohe to Priority Three, Manukau South Link to Priority Two, and Glenora Road Station to Priority One.

        My answer was this: For Pukekohe there is a plan as well as Papakura Station already having being built for this – Platform 4 to run in the interim ADL class shuttles between Pukekohe and Papakura. You might as well bring those ADLs to Manukau via the South Link to get better bang for your buck out of the ADLs and serve a clientele in and out of Manukau from the south.

        With Pukekohe at $108m something tells me no reallocation would be done within the 2012-2022 LTP which is in operation but we can get reallocations for the South Link and with some luck Glenora Road.

        My thinking was to the RPTP Panel, get everything ready to go for Pukekohe electrification and when the 2015-2025 LTP comes up – go like the clappers to get NEW money from a NEW LTP for that project which IMHO would be rather straight forward.

        A Targeted Rate on Pukekohe, Paereta and Drury would cover the $108m “loan” over a 25 year period minimising the pressure on general rates from the rest of Auckland.

        We cant get the targeted rate now in the current LTP but we can in the upcoming LTP (2015) so fight for it then.

        2015 the human and capital resource for Pukekohe will still be there (hopefully the South Link and maybe the CRL will still have the resources available to carry on with this new large project after the first stage of electrification and the South Link)

        Pukekohe will happen but not within the current LTP (long term plan).

        The RPTP Panel was inclined to agree and I (myself) will seek an opinion from the Transport Committee on Pukekohe being placed in the 2015-2025 LTP for financial stability (for lack of better words)

        As I conceded somewhere else in the comments department as well as conversations I am willing to get the South Link built at the same time either Pukekohe gets electrified or the North Link is up for duplication to pool and use the resources available rather than having to start from scratch again BUT run no trains over it for the interim (five years say) until further demand is there. But least for once we have forward planned a section of Manukau seeming the rest of the project was not.

        Fighting a wrong battle – history will mark that in time depending on what happens with the South Link

        In any case the Business Plan is under way for the South Link – lets see what comes of it

        1. I don’t think a targeted rate is the correct option as electrifying to Pukekohe actually serves all of Auckland in a few ways. Reduced running costs on the EMU’s compared to the ADL’s and more land available for housing for a start. (And don’t get me started on rates as, while everyone else is complaining about theirs going up, ours have not been reduced by the maximum amount, just the capped amount. Combined with the water bill etc, we are subsidising those who have had their rate rise capped).

          1. Then I suggest making your opinion known to the Transport and the Strategy and Finance Committees ASAP about the Targeted Rate as it has come up for serious consideration for when the 2015 – 2025 LTP will come up for discussion.

            Bryce you live in South or West Auckland? (Might of asked it before) As I am in the same boat as you rates wise – capped on the 5.56% rates decrease – while still having our water paid quarterly thanks to Veolia Water. But as you said – lets not get started on that aspect – this is Transport Blog, not Rates Blog 😉

          2. The way I look at it is that there is no longer North, East, West and South, just Auckland. While Local boards can distribute some funds to local projects, I see the PT network as an Auckland issue and as such, subject to overall city spending. PS. I’m in Te Atatu.

  3. Not sure if this works

    However enter into the AT Journey Planner for Papakura Train Station to Botany Town Centre for after 9am on a week day and see what crops up. A heck of a load of Mickey Mousing around and journey times taking any where from 55mins to well over an hour.


  4. Pukekohe to Botany with only one change ..could be done via Panmure? Well at least once the new transit interchange and bus lanes along Pakuranga Highway are built. The eastern on-road part would be counter to the main traffic flow.

    Saying that, the AT Journey Planner doesn’t seem to recognise “Panmure” at all..

  5. What an informative post. Will have to re-read it all but it brings up some concerning issues for me on a first pass.
    Firstly general comment – as a South Auckland PT user I recall keenly reading in the local rags about the new track to
    manukau as it was proposed to be built and the council of the time (Manukau pre super city) deciding not to add additional
    investment themselves in it to make the track go a little further to the heart of the centre. A move at the time
    which I thought was short sighted in the long term but could understand their conerns at the not insignificant cost.
    I was also reassured by the fact they kept harping on and on about the tertiary campus that would be so wonderful for the area
    and make the new station a place to go itself rather than something tacked onto the back of a park and quite deserted.
    INteresting the campus is now on hold – I see it has been partially constructed – do you have more info about that ?
    Now from a practical point of view your post info means a logistical pain in the butt for many of us SOuth of Manukau!
    If I understand correct – Auckland transport intend the eastern line (Via Sylvia park etc) trains to terminate at Manukau and originate
    from manukau. By that logic that halves the number of trains serving Manurewa, Te Mahia (which should be kept – revamped and moved slightly perhaps as future proofing for the Manukau golf course developement!), Takanini and Papakura – what ann utter disaster move that would be ! These trains are really well patronised
    and people south of Manukau do use them to go east ! Not to mention the rush hour crush being increased. And this is an interesting move when south is
    about to loose a number of direct busses to the city and other bus routes. Feeding those into Manukau to a half built tertiary campus in the middle of no mans
    land to crush everyone onto a couple of trains going to town via the eastern line sounds like a set backwards for public transport for south aucklanders not
    a step forward ! From a personal note on the times I choose to say train to Sylvia Park I would not want to sort myself and kids for the short bus trip to manukkau then
    wait around there (safety also being a consideration) to connect to a train – hopefully you can see that is not going to be an improvement on a non-transfer 20 min train trip !
    Thanks for these blogs – if I listed to the hype from the official information I might be tricked into thinking things were actually being improved !

  6. Mr A I think there needs to be a bit more analysis. Currently there are only ~20k people working in the Manukau area which also includes areas surrounding Puhinui and Homai. That isn’t that much in the overall regional context. Next there is something like 100-150k people who live south of Manukau (including Puke) however very few of those actually live close to a train station. Put simply is there really enough people to justify dedicated service to Manukau, let enough a service with high enough frequency to make it attractive enough?

    To look at further at it, the existing (or soon to be) solution of having 10 min frequencies with a transfer at Puhinui would likely result in similar travel times on average compared to a direct connection. More importantly that would occur without any extra OPEX needing to be spent. This only gets more competitive once you include the increase in frequencies that are likely to occur due to the CRL.

    You also mention about perhaps a shuttle from Puke however an service from there will almost certainly need to go to the central city to get the time savings needed to make that service really attractive. Diverting to Manukau would more than remove the savings gained by electification which means you need to have a duplicate shuttle to the services going to the city. That is a lot of capacity heading out of Puke.

    Lastly on a different issue. I went to the AT board meeting in December when the doubling of the northern link was raised with them. The board found it really odd the way the issue had come up to them without a business case. They only approved it as they were told it was part of the original business case and that the issue was just bringing the construction forward to get cheaper construction prices. The AT staff didn’t really provide that much info which caused a lot of confusion and it sounds like something similar has happened at the Strategy and finance committee. I get the impression that the person running this particular project has dropped the ball on explaining what is actually needing to be done.

    1. Geez Matt reading that it seems South and Counties Auckland is getting a back end of deal here.

      “however very few of those actually live close to a train station.” That is the current situation however Homai, Manurewa, Papakura and Pukekohe have Park and Rides and (apart from Pukekohe) have bus interchanges nearby which extend the reach of those stations somewhat considerably. So I am sorry Matt – you are wrong there as those stations are heavily utilised through there PnRs and bus interchanges. To add further weight to the situation there is intensive lobbying which AT is seriously considering at the moment for Glenora Road (Walters Road Location) Station which will have Park and Ride and bus interchanges serving the Takanini, Conifer Grove and new developments near the Mill Road Corridor.

      As for Manukau herself – bit peeved with MIT and Mainzeal but hey it happens. However that area is still to under go significant growth so no writing it off now or ever…

      As for this: “Lastly on a different issue. I went to the AT board meeting in December when the doubling of the northern link was raised with them. The board found it really odd the way the issue had come up to them without a business case. They only approved it as they were told it was part of the original business case and that the issue was just bringing the construction forward to get cheaper construction prices. The AT staff didn’t really provide that much info which caused a lot of confusion and it sounds like something similar has happened at the Strategy and finance committee. I get the impression that the person running this particular project has dropped the ball on explaining what is actually needing to be done.”

      Last I heard from some Councillors, AT’s request for the North Link duplication was rejected at the Strat and Finance Committee with AT being told to go back to the Accountability and Performance Committee with a Business Plan for North Link Duplication.

      As a reminder the Transport Committee moved last year for Council Planners to undertake a Business Plan for the South Link – and we are waiting as a result for it.

      Also just a reminder – be careful with Pukekohe at the moment. We do not know when the cheque will be signed to get the line electrified that far south. So for now the original plan of having the ADL shuttle running still stands – oh I have gone into this at my own post – easy enough to find…

      1. Ben my understanding is the park n rides are already extensively used by people going to the CBD area, how many are realistically going to drive to a station, park then catch a train to Manukau instead of just carrying on in their car. Not to mention that we get much better economic benefit from those taking longer rail trips so these shot ones deprive someone of doing that. And don’t suggest expanding park n rides as that is a pretty costly exercise.

        1. I am of 2 minds about park’n’rides. On one hand I can see that they appear to cost a lot of money, money that could be used elsewhere. On the other hand, if park’n’rides can offset the need for roading projects of the sort that have been discussed over the past few days, then they are very much an affordable option. There is also no reason that a portion of park’n’rides cannot be charged for on a day rate to assist with the business case.

          1. This should be AT’s plan now:

            Parknrides for rural and semi-rural catchments [land is cheaper at these stations and people have fewer workable options than driving from highly dispersed locations]; and bus transfer for the rest when:

            -new bus pattern is in place
            -proper integrated fares are operating
            and a
            -big marketing campaign to sell this new [for Aucklanders] idea of making transfers for better, faster,and more cost effective journeys is underway region wide.

            Once those three are in place start pricing PNRs properly but only of course for those stations that do offer good integration with feeder services for the majority of their catchment.

            Also I reckon station design should generally [depending on location] maximise convenience for [in order]; walk-up > bus transfers > bike storage > ‘kiss and ride’ car drop off > car storage [PNR]. Even further; fee paying PNR > free PNR [ie pay more for proximity to station].

            Waddayareckon Bryce?

          2. That is basically the plan in the RPTP Patrick, new interconnected transit network for the suburbs and park n ride only out on the fring to serve the semi rural catchments.

          3. Hey guys, that plan is the only feasible plan in my opinion. Park’n’rides in town are too expensive to build due to land prices (not to mention a waste of land that could otherwise be better used) and out in the more suburban areas, where land is cheaper and it is less practical to run the frequent feeders that are needed, park’n’rides are a ideal way of getting people onto trains but at the same time leave the land available for other uses once there is enough density and patronage to justify more frequent feeder services.

        2. And to echo Matt above, why not keep driving to Manukau as we have recently invested millions in additional roads there and new over-supply of subsidised parking as well, insanely?

          Of course this spending, planned by the same people who think the southern link will solve Manukau’s problems, make the place a much less appealing vast road-and-parking fest so the other question is why are you so sure so many will bother with Manukau at all…..

        3. I am not asking for any park and rides to be expanded on any of the stations including Pukekohe. However it seems AT are going to rebuild the Park and Rides at Papakura and Pukekohe within the life of the current LTP.

          If Glenora Road is built at Addison then I would be at a hazard of a guess but a Park and Ride AND a bus interchange would be built for that station if the LTP document was anything to go by. That Park and Ride would widen the catchment of that station into the new Greenfield area along the southern end of the Mill Road Corridor as well as where I live.

          But that is digressing

          “Not to mention that we get much better economic benefit from those taking longer rail trips so these shot ones deprive someone of doing that”

          Umm Onehunga Line would be a third of the length of a PUK – MKU shuttle via the South Link so where you going with that argument?

          And dont say higher loadings on Onehunga as that line gets most of its peak passengers from Ellersile which is technically on the Southern Line.

          And you would be surprised by those at Pukekohe, Papakura and Takanini rocking up to the respective stations and attempting to get to Manukau by train. Reason? The Takanini Interchange and that stretch of motorway to the Hill Road Interchange is a total dog and wont be upgraded this decade…

  7. ok missed the bits about peak trains at 6 per hour (and informed by hubby the campus was a mainzeal development) ! thats a bit less alarming
    (the train rate rather than the mainzeal part)- whats the current train number per hour peak servicing South of Manukau -comparable I guess ? .
    But speaking as someone who has experience using the trains south at off peak
    (and busses for the long haul during peak!) I would not underestimate the
    load at each of the stations – esp Manurewa and Papakura and Homai. Peak has been so bad that
    I do prefer the bus due to the crowding with the little one etc (discalimer being since i was put off the train I have
    not had so much experience with recent peak loads – my sister in law used to do the trip peak
    and said it was standing room only from Manurewa many days – and that was before they got rid of the limited stop and express trains).
    I do know from recent experience though off-peak this mode of transport is still popular and there’s lots of bums on seats on
    the trains I have travelled on anyway (and thats with both southern and eastern line running the trains through here to terminate in Papakura).
    And a LOT of school children use the train as well.

    From a practical perspective as a user my thoughts are that people use PT for a variety of reasons but uptake is greater if its not too difficult
    to use – simple and direct wins hands down to a complicated schedule with many connections. For me for e.g. a journey on a train to
    get where i want to go with the kids in tow etc is ok but a bus then train trip
    and waiting in between for those connections (in a place that may or may not be that safe) and doing the same thing back again becomes
    a strong disincentive – so from a personal perspective I am them more likely to wait to do that trip until I have the car or consider
    buying a second car. And less likely to want my children when they get to the age they can go solo to take that trip.
    I am sure I am not the only one who will think that way.
    Add to this a lot of the train users esp off peak do have kids, prams or maybe older or perhaps have disabilities
    that mean they can’t drive the hassle of several connections when once upon a time they could do direct is going to be unpopular.

    I guess if the first option you suggested was taken theres nothing stopping them only running half of the eastern line trains past manukau
    rather than all ?
    I guess the next year will tell ! 🙂

  8. I agree “Manukau is simply in the wrong place” as a transport hub. Like regional buses diverting 1.5km off the main route to transfer passengers.
    But I think you are looking to far south for a fix, it does not need to be a green field site. Just 6km south you pass over the main commuter rail line and great south Rd with over a dozen commuter buses pass ever hour. How hard would it be to add BRT type lanes on SH1 through this location (2km north / 2km south), with transport hub on & under SH1 between, Great south Rd and main rail line.

    1. You are right PeterH good point – I have often thought Manurewa (just a bit south of the point you are talking about) would make an excellent transport
      hub – the mall (Southmall) and carpark area around though old and in desperate need of repair could be revamped, there is the trains station and bus stops
      on the great south rd and connecting to the train station. All in all the site could have a lot more made of it – it is the perfect location for a Southern transport
      connection hub. Even Te Mahia ( just after the point you refer to) and the area around it (or a bit further south to tie in witht he new
      building that will go on at the golf course site – could be feasible.

  9. What are the implications of not double tracking the junction leading into Manukau:
    – does this mean less frequency service to and from Manukau and on the eastern line;
    – does it mean that extra train sets are required because they will need to run to Papakura a longer distance that Manukau;
    – does this affect the overall reliability of the whole network as the junction become a pinch point;
    The implications of the failure for Council to fund this Auckland Transport project could be the biggest recent failure in the region. There is a real risk Central Government will use this against the CRL as it clearly shows that the local politicians are not willing to make the investment to achive 10 minute frequency on the regions’ rail network This is a far more serious issue than the location of the station at Manukau or silly suggestion of a southern link into Manukau.

    1. I wasn’t there but it sounds like the AT board and the Council’s strategy & finance committee mainly chose to not fund the double-tracking of the link because there was no justification put in front of them. I’m sure that AT will actually do the necessary work to get the funding approval eventually.

  10. Ok, here’s how this affects me.

    I work in Pukekohe, live in Pakuranga.

    Earlier timetables enabled me to get a train at Panmure and get to Pukekohe with a change involving (usually) 8 minute wait at Papakura. Return was via a direct train to Panmure. Timetable now requires a change both ways. I now drive.

    Comments on development Drury to Pukekohe.

    -A number of Wesley College students travel south from Auckland and Manukau by train to Papakura and then take a bus to the college near Paerata. A rail station at Paerata would decrease the distance for bus travel to about 1 km. This situation has potential to increase the number of students using the line. A bus schedule meeting each south-bound train likely to carry Wesley College bound students and a bus taking students back to the station in the afternoon would be required to meet this likely demand.

    – A Paerata station creates an opportunity to use the Glenbrook steam museum trains to be a tourist attraction reachable from the Auckland rail network. A platform could be erected to keep the steam trains separate from the main line at Paerata, and as well as being a tourist attraction the steam museum’s line all the way to central Waiuku provides potential to be a commuter feeder – using either steam or diesel.

    -if you fill all the land from Pukekohe to Drury with houses full of commuters, where are you going to get your onions and potatoes?

    -Tuakau and Pokeno are in Waikato, but electrification of the line past Pukekohe would seem to be logical and could be continued on directly once Pukekohe is reached. I am sure Pokeno and Tuakau to Pukekohe numbers would grow rapidly as well as traffic onto Manukau and Auckland.

    -Why isn’t the line from Auckland to Frankton Junction all electrified? It surely will have a higher benefit to cost ratio than most roading projects in this country.

  11. Nicely argued Mr A. There is a longer term case for considering the continuation of the eastern line service to Man City south to say Papakura assuming the southern line services service Pukekohe depending on demand, but it is not there in the near future. Money better spent elsewhere for now.

  12. It’s important to remember that the Manukau Branch was built specifically to overcome that awkward placement of Manukau City, and get it onto the increasingly popular Southern Line, so that Manukau wouldn’t be left out of the rail renaissance.

    It was a Manukau City Council project, and in the early 2000’s mayor Sir Barry Curtis, and head planner Leigh Auton, outlined plans to build the line with both north and south facing links, and for trains to link the four big employment and business centres of Auckjland, Newmarket, Manukau and Papakura. They were successful at getting it started.

    Unfortunately, later inheriters of the project decided to drop the south link, as they believed the focus for the Auckland rail network should be Auckland CBD, with all lines tailored to that end, rather than tailored for their own purpose. Manukau was dropped as the focus of the new line, and treated instead as merely another contributor to Auckland CBD patronage.

    There can be no doubt that this was a mistake. Proof is in the pudding, and as opened, without the Manukau focus, the line is a disaster. It doesn’t work. It will be redeemed somewhat when the campus opens and new bus network established, but it will not be the success it would be if the vision held by those responsible for getting this line built was instated.

    There’s little advantage to spending $3.6m putting in a second north track at the junction, as conflict with NIMT trains will still result in Manukau trains stopping there anyway. But there’s plenty of advantage to spending a similar amount on completing the original vision. More people will take the train to Manukau from the south, than they ever will from the north.

    1. Papakura is not a major regional centre. If you look at the area south of Manukau most population is north of Takanini, and not concentrated along the rail line. Those areas all have good direct bus services to Manukau. This southern link is therefore mostly of use to people travelling between Papakura/Pukekohe and Manukau. There may be quite a few of these, as Manukau has the primary mall for a very large area. However as the rail services will be dramatically improving with electrifcation, best to wait and let the new system settle, see what demand is, and build the south link in 10 years or when we can justify running 15min frequncy on it, any lower frequency is a waste of time. Will have also been substantial new development in that time, probably with everywhere west of Mill Road being filled in.

      1. See my comment to Matt on the Park and Rides and Bus Interchanges extending the reach of the southern stations while Glenora Road Station is currently also being considered which would serve the Addsion and Mill Road Corridor area

        1. Why would people park n ride at a local station to go a few stops along to manukau, when there is an abundance of cheap and free parking at Manukau as it is. If they are already driving, what would compel them to stop driving to park at a station to take a train briefly when they could simply drive slightly further and park at their destination.

          And likewise with the ‘feeder’ buses. Those buses are the same ones that will go to Manukau. Why would anyone catch a bus to a station to transfer to a train when they could simply just catch the same bus to their destination.

    2. In full agreement with you Geoff. Its all about customer service and proper patronage of the Manukau branch line will come from the completion of the south facing link. Leave the north facing link in the config it is now. No further work needs to be done there. South is where the priority lies to achieve ROI.

    3. Geoff – the advantage of spending $3.6m on double tracking the entry / exit to and from Manukau is to remove one of the conflicting paths in the system. Without this we have probably condemend our rail system to it current poor reliability as any delay to one train will create a ripple effect throughout the network. A network is as only as strong as its weakest point, the weakest point is currently the entrance to Britomart, not building a double entry into and out of Manukau creates an even weaker point in the network. Ideally the junction out of Manukau should be grade separated but there is not the funds.

  13. An example look of a proposed timetable using the PUK – MKU shuttle while the ADL DMU’s running the services (pre Pukekohe electrification) I drew up. Still working on post electrification however I have noted there is a 5 minute “gap between” Papakura and Homai on trains. Something not to phased about at the moment (makes it interesting for freight trains though) as I am sure the spare capacity will be consumed over time…

  14. I haven’t gone to look at the MIT construction but was under the impression it was over the station? Once built will this prevent diesel trains?
    When looking to future service patterns, how does the airport line fit in? At what point would the junction need to be grade separated? How would transfers operate? Would all trains operate north-south / manukau-airport-CBD?
    How much of the future population growth in the Pukekohe-Drury area is centred on the Glenbrook branch line? Potential for another future station? Has the line been extended to Waiuku yet?

    1. Anthony, the Ontrack plan from 2008 that I viewed, for the Airport line junction at Wiri, showed a north-facing line only, opposite the Manukau Branch junction (see link below to a sketch of what I saw, from memory). As shown, Manukau-Airport trains wouldn’t be possible, but I suppose with some tinkering of that plan, a flyover of the NIMT may be possible. However, I would rather have airport trains run from Pukekohe or Papakura, so hopefully the Airport line designation process will enable some of these alternate/additional options.

      1. Geoff – What map service did you use for that image as I haven’t seen any of the aerial maps so far that shows the new wiri depot building in the images yet that one does.

          1. Yes that is what I am saying Patrick, in Geoffs image you can see at least the foundations for the depot however that isn’t present on Google maps, google earth or the GIS viewer from what I can see. I’m wondering where Geoff got his images from.

          2. Matt, if you go on to Google Earth and click the year (2002 or 2005) at the bottom the slider in Geoff’s image will appear. Slide it to the right to select the most recent image which was taken on the 5th of March last year. It is strange that Google choose to use old (2009) imagery when they have 3 (!) sets of newer images for Manukau at least.

          1. I was wondering why the image seemed brighter than in GE. I though it must have been a setting inside GE.

  15. Have said this over and over again,
    people north of papatoe go to sylvia park,
    people from Puhunui to puke prefer Manukau,
    currently the wait at puhinui is usually 40 odd min,
    and still people waiting there,
    south connection is a major for future of the Manukau line and cant
    believe Manukau City Centre themselves havent screamed about it.
    In school holidays every puke train usually takes 20-30 people to Slyvia Pk.
    this is just the shoppers and movie goers when Tech ever gets built and
    better timetable in place south link will provide 2or 3 times the pax
    arriving from the north.
    The south link needs to be done NOW!!!

  16. At such time as rail is linked through to the Botany area, a southern link at Manukau will be essential because being constrained to only delivering trains to and from the north would be unacceptable. Until then, though, I struggle to see a real need that can’t be filled with bus transfers via Homai or Papatoetoe. Homai in particular is well-placed to service the Manukau centre if there’s a little bit of thought given to bus priority.

  17. Another option to get to botany – as alternative to above (or it used to be as I could catch a bus direct!) is get the train to
    Southmall (Manurewa) and travel from there on a Howick and Eastern bus to Botany. Though they may have changed that recently ??

    And yes point about Botany is taken – people do travel from South of Manukau to shop, work play etc and they
    also patronise Sylvia Park for the same reasons. Currently with a direct train from South of Manukau to
    Sylvia Park, Panmure, Glen Innes (think the Tamaki Campus too here!) that is a viable life choice for a lot of
    South Aucklanders. Remove that – add another transfer (ok to say in theory we just accept transfers a lot
    different to have to put up with waiting around for ages and the ineffiencies in the system/connections and the safety issues etc
    etc) you mean a lot more people have to either move or decide the car is worth taking.
    Ok so it appears no-one really thinks its worth the money having both Southern and Eastern line trains run South of Manukau
    – why can’t the new services terminate half of the Southern line trains and Half of the Eastern line trains at
    Manukau and the other half of each at Papakura. This is supposed to be a smart system, with smart people running it
    surely thats possible ?

    Regarding buses between Manukau and Papakura- am I right in understanding that there will be a reduction from the comments
    above ? As a users of these busses – this reduction cannot be based on patronage stats (unless those stats done on Xmas Day!)
    those buses are PACKED off-peak (and worse on peak from what I have seen). Some standing room only – most certainly at least the get
    up close and snuggly with your neighbour status 🙂 Though that takes into account numerous prams and young kids.
    Not such a comfy way to travel (does not help half the busses are the old ones with no wide seats and often we have a guide dog and strollers
    in our entourage !). And this is even taking into account there are a lot of feeder buses going various ways that travel down the Great South for a bit
    – they are very well patronised (workers, school kids, Mums/Dads with prams, older people etc etc).

    1. I hate to think how many transfers it would take to get to Botany from Te Atatu if I tried to use the train not to mention total journey time.

      1. Maximum of three transfers: bus to nearest Western Line station, transfer to train. Transfer at Newmarket to either rail or bus; if bus there’s a direct service to Botany via Newmarket, if train then transfer to bus at Ellerslie.

        Time could, if everything lined up, be around 1:10 – 37 minutes Henderson-Newmarket, 10 minutes Newmarket-Ellerslie, about 25 minutes Ellerslie-Botany. However, it doesn’t line up, or even come close. The Western/Southern transfer could be as much as 23 minutes, for example, and the Ellerslie transfer could be up to 20 minutes (I think the Botany bus is three/hour).

        1. Nice work Matt :-D. I think what your research, along with Ben’s example, show us is that Botany was a MCC halls up from the start and was always supposed to be accessed by the motorcar.

  18. Could Manukau not become a through station, with trains running in a loop through say Tamaki/Howick area and linking in at Glen Innes/Panmure. This would provide some interest communting options and increase the reach of the network. Get a TBM or some prisoners and start digging!

  19. The 2008 ontrack plan is quite old.
    Page 3 of this document dated Aug 2012 shows the line running beside Puhinui Rd consistant with the document below.
    Page 2 of this document shows the airport line having a south facing connnection, north of the manukau branch. This would allow airport-manukau operation, or airport-south operation.
    Auckland Transport say the aligment is likely to be confirmed first half of 2013
    A page on this site similar to whats been done for the City Rail Link showing the latest information and links would be useful. This is the councils #2 rail project, and is popular with the public.

    1. The maps in your links only show “dumbed down” drawings of the approximate routes though. For example the Onehunga-Airport line is shown ploughing through houses all the way, but in reality it will be alongside the motorways. Likewise, the Puhinui Rd alignment is unlikely, as it would require bulldozing many homes and businesses, so in reality its likely to be back at Wiri, to run alongside the motorway. There must be some proper plans somewhere, as AT have looked in depth at the routes. Anybody know of any, that we could view?

      1. AT are currently looking at detailed alignment options for the general corridor, there is no preferred alignment yet. Not all of those include just sticking right to the motorway corridor FYI.

  20. From the map in the link above, I’d be guessing Puhinui Station would move south to Cavindish Drive and become an interchange station.
    Trains would either run south-airport & manukau-north, or south-north & manukau-airport. For either of these arrangements, a Manukau southern link would not be required.

    1. Well the only pattern that makes much sense with that track layout would be MC-Airport-Onehunga-City, leaving the Pukekohe service to head directly to the city, and as Anthony says there would have to be an interchange station probably at Cavendish Rd, otherwise everyone from MC is sent on a long Mangere loop to get anywhere further north. Horrible set of conflicts between these lines unless the MC-Airport line is separate from the NIMT; a flyover.

      Much more likely is that the this direction is better served by buses from southern line stations [and MC] and the airport line is, at least at first, built only as an extension of the Onehunga line. This serves the primary demand as well as the poorly connected suburb of Mangere itself. Here is a para from the doc linked to by Anthony:

      However, the packages are not mutually exclusive and the way forward is likely to be a combination of more than one package, involving a progression between the different elements of the packages over the study period. For example, the improved public transport services might initially be started using buses on the existing state highway network, with a rail connection to the South or North being added later, ultimately leading to the completion of the rail loop as demand continues to grow.

      Don’t want to double guess the SWAMP committee but it’s not unlikely there’ll be more opportunity for you all to feel outraged and neglected as they propose an Onehunga-Mangere-Airport rail line only, with perhaps some route protection for a future southern link….?

      Also as Geoff says above wouldn’t any line be more likely to follow the SH20 right of way than somehow try to carve it’s way along Puhinui Rd which kills the Cavendish Rd interchange plan?

      1. Personally not too likely to feel neglected if the link south to the airport doesn’t go ahead – the Onehunga link might
        be better patronised for airport users anyway ? (Having said that I did direct a rather confused looking gent the other day at Manukau City to
        the airport bus which was luckily the bright orange bus opposite from the stop I was at -so I know it is used 🙂 !).
        I will continue to feel antsy however about the impending loss of our direct express buses to the part of the city where I work
        coupled with the downgrading of the frequency of the well patronised Great South road buses that I use coupled with the fact that, should
        we loose the Eastern line trains south of Manukau post-electrification, future peak train frequency will be no better than it currently is
        but (since a number of direct buses are going to go to get people onto trains) the number of people on the train is likely to increase.
        Also I will loose easy access to the Eastern line trains that I also used to get me places I cannot go using the Southern line.
        Since we deliberately choose to live in a place in South Auckland that was not necessarily our first choice but was a good compromise that
        enabled those of us in the family who were unable to drive or choose to use public transport
        decent walking distance to both trains and main route buses I am somewhat frustrated that those options are about to be less appealing.
        And though its ok for me I can choose to buy a second car – the other members who can no longer drive are not so lucky 🙁
        Anyway these blogs have been an excellent place to keep “mere users” informed of these changes as well as entertained by the intelligent and we thought out debate
        so thanks – keep it up 🙂

        1. Not clear why you think it’s going to get worse. The rail network is going to ten minute frequencies everyday on all lines in new faster lovelier electric trains…. this is worse?
          The buses will also be more frequent and less duplicative of the rail service and coordinated with it; worse?
          You will be able to transfer between these modes without additional cost and with the speed and convenience of one pass? Worse? Really?

          1. well I guess time will tell – I am not convinced that the connections and co-ordination will be as wonderful in reality either based on prior experiences but we won’t know till it happens and we try it out – there will be a time period at least of adjustment and the south is the first lot to get rearranged from my understanding. I certainly loose the bus that I have used to get to work on with no issue for the last 10 years – a bus that “duplicates” the rail except that it services Symonds Street and K-road etc etc patrons – now a little walk each day from Britomart not necessarily a bad thing – but it means the 45 min bus trip direct becomes 40 mins plus 15 – 20 min walk so it increases my commute (and actually for me with pram and toddler in tow is likely to be longer than that).
            And I am thinking at the moment with both lines running our peak services are running at about 10min-15 min intervals already for the South southern line ? So that if we are to get a 6 per hr peak (no idea what the off-peak will be) then thats comparable – but with more people on them (though they might be greater capacity?). For me with the stroller etc I do not find our peak-hour trains so wonderful to travel on – but again time will tell what the new trains are like – you see if its standing room only and you have a little one in peak time and its squashy people tend to be a bit annoyed with you for taking up more space than a single person (add to that the little one for all the space he takes up also does not pay a fare and perhaps we are justifiably unliked!).

            I did however gather from a comment on this post that the frequency of the Greaat South Rd buses to Manukau was acutally going to be reduced though ? Yes there is no rail connection South ?
            It could be that is not the case – you seem to know differently – the Great South Rd buses Papakura to Manukau will increase in frequency ? In which case thats better – can you send me though your source on this – probably better that than basing my info on comments ?

            Anwway I think personally for me that the changes may not make my life using public transport any easier -but I will be extremely happy if I am wrong and it is!. I would love the Southern link from Manukau to be built (you would be surprised at how many people who know they will need to use the trains soon have just assumed there is a Manukau South connection already actually) but of course I know that there is limited money etc and other priorities – but for me as a South of Manukau user I think it would be my personal preferred option.

          2. The RPTP actually proposed a train every ten minutes all day, not just at peak times. The new trains will have much larger capacity and have been specifically designed to accomodate prams, wheelchairs and bikes. They can also be run in a double unit six carriages long. Each of those could handle about 750 people comfortably and perhaps a thousand in sardine tin situations.

            Can I ask specifically which bus you take, from where to where? You might find that there is an easy alternative, or a quicker one under the new network.

          3. Happy to say what bus but would have preferred to do it private message esp from the where to where 🙂
            Guess theres not a way to do that ?

      2. My gut feeling is that the ‘Puhinui’ section of the airport line between the airport and Manukau city (or wherever it joins in) would see only a minor fraction of the patronage as the Onehunga leg, because it really only just adds one station at the airport itself. The northern section however picks up stations at Mangere Bridge, Mangere Town Centre and presumably the industrial estate to the north of the airport too. So it would have commuter traffic going in both directions, plus traffic between the city centre and the airport.

        Yet the Puhinui section would be an major fraction of the cost, not least because of the issues connecting back to the southern line.

        I think they should look at it as two projects, get the Onehunga branch extension to the airport and pair that with extending some of the frequent buses that terminate at Manukau to the airport via Puhinui. If there is still justification after that then look at the second rail extension.

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