We have been extremely critical of Auckland Transport for how they have undersold the City Rail Link to the general public through vague statements that suggest things like that services will actually be worse than they are now or will be with electrification. So it’s good to see them starting to take some of that feedback on-board in their latest video to explain the project. A couple of points I really like:

  • That the CRL is described as the heart of the transport system.
  • That it is explained that Britomart is a dead end.
  • That the CRL doubles the number of trains and that we will get really good frequencies as a result.
  • That the CRL greatly increases capacity, especially compared to a motorway lane.
  • That the CRL enables the rail network to be expanded in the future.

While there are probably a few minor points, all up it is a much improved effort from AT so well done.

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  1. Great video I must say, simple but effective and fun illustrations. The only thing I wish they said at the end would be something like “without the CRL, rail to the airport or north shore won’t be possible” as a lot of people still don’t know that, yet they’re the ones who want airport rail prioritised ahead of the CRL

    1. Well the video does say “the CRL makes it possible to expand the rail network to the airport and to North Shore (via Wynard Quarter)” at the end, so thats already stated.

      I got to say though that the lame comparison of 1 lane of traffic carrying 2400 an hour (compared to CRL with 30,000), needs to be restated along these lines:
      “a motorway can carry 7,200 people per hour across 3 lanes – we would need to add 9 further motorway lanes in each direction to deliver those same 30,000 people without the CRL” – that will make them sit up and notice – 9 more motorway lanes – each way!,

      I also think their examples of giving times e.g. 27 minutes from Onehunga to K’rd is contrived – only those who live in/near Onehunga would know the meaning/goodness of that number or know the convoluted path the train and car takes now from Onehunga to K’Rd – most people I am sure imagine driving directly up Manukau Road from Onehunga arriving at K’Rd in “15 minutes” by car, so a 27 minute train trip seems much slower by comparison.

      Be better to say with CRL, Otahuhu (or some well known point south of Otahuhu, but near the motorway) to K’Rd by train will take XX minutes, which will be XX% quicker than if you drove there on the motorway.

      Anyone who has driven the southern motorway knows the train and motorway run alongside each other, so they can imagine that route even if they never drive it themselves and can thus grasp how much faster the train will be with CRL.

      The 20 minutes from New Lyn to K’Rd example should also state that the 20 minutes time will be XX %quicker than a trip by either car or express bus.

      People can quickly grasp simple concepts like “the train from Otahuhu to K’Rd with CRL is 25% faster than a car” – or better yet, “with CRL the trip from New Lynn to K’Rd will take only half the time of driving by car”), than giving a (to them) more abstract number such as “with CRL the train from New Lynn to K’Rd is 20 minutes”.

      Also the comparison time for New Lynn is with the current (slow as) journey time, which is nothing to write home about, what AT need to sell is the fact that the train will ace the car and buses, making it a no brainer for people to understand why the train system is better with CRL.

      1. All of that would simply be over complicating it. 27mins to krd is still much quicker than bus. I don’t think 15mins in peak time is possible from onehunga by car or even out of it.
        As for my point, a lot of people have the misconception new rail projects are possible without the CRL and this video doesn’t dispell that myth in my opinion

        1. Its not the bus you’re competing with here – its people thinking that the car is *always* quicker.

          (most people think buses are slow, smokey things – that stop too often, so comparing the train to the bus is comparing lemons to limes – they still suck.

        2. “people have the misconception new rail projects are possible without the CRL”

          Thats not a misconception – its the truth – because these other new rail projects *are* possible without the CRL – but they won’t be integrated to the existing rail lines without CRL.

          But a “lack of joined up thinking” is not unique to trains round here as you’d know
          – like those original West, North and Southern (and South Western) motorways – that didn’t link up to each other for quite a long time.

          That never stopped them planning a few more while they were at it or selling the ideas to the public in the meantime.

        3. ” don’t think 15mins in peak time is possible from onehunga by car or even out of it.”

          I picked 15 minutes as an arbitrary number – but even so you’re wrong about “can’t do it in 15 minutes any time”

          – Google maps shows I can drive right now (11pm weekday night) from Onehunga Mall (the middle of it) to K’Rd (right at Hopetoun St where the K’Rd staton will be) via Campbell Road/Greenlane and the motorway in 14 minutes). With local street knowledge and knowing how to avoid some slow-changing traffic lights, I’m sure you could manage it in 12 minutes or less – all without speeding on the 50Km roads – its only 9.8km by road after all and half of that is at motorway speed.

          Peak time, maybe not, but people still **think** they can drive it in 15 minutes at peak – as they implicitly guess you could drive it in that time off peak.
          Thats my point they think they can do it in 15 – if all the lights went their way, no slow drivers, and the motorway on ramp lights were not working etc etc – ain’t gonna happen at peak but we’re all optimists in our cars when it comes to estimating times…

  2. Yeah it’s a good video and shows the benefits but what’s the point? Is it being built? Do they want public donations to build it? Or was it an exercise to give a team at AT something to do.

    1. 1. To show the many people without a clue what those benefits are.
      2. No. You’d notice if it was being built. Albert St would be closed.
      3. Yes, that will be through taxes and rates, which goes back to question 1.
      4. I imagine they have plenty to do, promoting the key component of a future public transport system for Auckland would be one of those things.

        1. We seem to talk a great deal about projects that aren’t 4+ lane motorways. There seems to be no end of funding for those. No matter what might be the best use of those funds.

          1. “There seems to be no end of funding for those (motorway projects)”

            Yep, thats because, there *is* no end of funding for those- they’re government funded, from all those fuel taxes, road user charges and other levies and so there is an endless stream of $$ to build new shiny motorways to nowhere…

    2. Central government has committed to their half of the funding, but I don’t believe that Auckland Council have announced how they intend to finance their half. Until they do, this isn’t an approved and scheduled project. I guess that the Council and AT feel they need to build up support so that people will be prepared to pay for the tunnel.

      It’s a good video, but the bit about needing to upgrade the rail system to handle 30,000 people per hour sort of undermines the rationale for the project. By the time the tunnel is complete, pretty much every one of 1.5million Aucklanders will be on the move in a two hour window every morning. Four percent of those will take the train, which makes it almost a footnote in Auckland’s transport planning. I know that it is a much higher percentage for CBD travel and I understand the transformative effects. But for 96% of Aucklanders, your daily commute will be via bus, car, or walking.

      1. Yep, as a society we (and most of the rest of the planet) invest a lot of time and a lot more money in peak demand management by having everyone being forced to do their moving around all at the same 2 hour window each morning and night.

        Personally I blame the earths rotation – imagine if we didn’t have that pesky sun rising and setting each day – we’d have much better travel demand management mechanism right there.

      2. You are dividing 10 by 2 and getting 1 Obi!
        That is 30,000 per hour in any one section, not across the whole network.
        We are already hitting 45,000 a day, could double and then triple this with CRL.
        And 1.5 million is waaay to big a number. In 2006 only 479,000 people worked in Auckland according to stats NZ. Retired people don’t need to travel in the peak hour (and are discouraged from doing this), also add young children, beneficiaries etc etc.
        All trips are also not created equal, rail has a much higher trip distance than others modes, i.e. has a high mode share from Papakura for example.

        1. Indeed, the 30,000 per hour capacity is to any one station, actually it’s more like 40,000 if you assume a reasonable level of standees and slightly improved signalling. So for a start that is 80,000 delivered to the city centre in the morning peak. But add in all day travel, travel in both directions (currently the counter peak is quite strong, about 1/3 of the peak direction), and the “churn” of people getting off at intermediate stations and being replaced by others going further, the capacity of the rail network is far higher.

          The CRL network could handle a quarter million trips a day easily.

  3. The big question is how the information in this video can be communicated to a much wider audience than visitors to Auckland Transport’s website or this blog. Do they have a TV expenditure budget and will any such exposure unduly aggravate Brownlee, Joyce and co?

      1. Clearly it’s on Youtube already and by appearing on this blog on FB and Twitter at the very least. I think the point Warren is making is how to get it ‘out there’, which generally involves promoting it somehow.

        1. Word is slowly getting around in spreading the new AT CRL video. I’ve noticed a few larger blogs picking up the vid and sharing the link around with their readers.

          In saying that and as noted above AT should be running the video at some of our major train and bus stations as well

      2. Or how about a “Life without a loop” protest – where Auckland closes the City Center motorway entrances for a day. And all cars must enter through Newmarket and then drive dow Parnell rise to the city and then back out through Newmarket for a real life example of how transport works without a loop.

  4. Nice little video, I hope they show it on TV to get the message across, although it’s a pity it sounds like its voiced by the Briscoes lady.
    I travelled on most of the Auckland rail network the other weekend, and must say I was surprised at how many level crossings there were, at grade with the road. For a rural, infrequently used train service that is probably ok – but for a inner city metro system, it’s plain crazy. What plans are there to bury tracks / bridge over intersections?

    1. I believe in the CRL budget there is an ‘other’ category of about $200 million which is intended for grade seperation amongst other things.

  5. Great video for sure !!
    I hope they take the key points from the video and create posters for them, and get the word out that way as well.
    Also there other oppuntinties, like tonight there is an Auckland Conversation – why not play it just before the event starts? Even if the conversation has nothing to do with transport it would not hurt to proute the CRL.

      1. And perhaps Studio Ghibli influenced too?

        See this video

        (a Japanese kids song called “Dore Dore no Uta” – The Let Me See Now, Song by Meiko Heigo and animated by Studio Ghibli.

        (warning – its a catchy song), the caterpillar “train” in the opening few seconds strongly reminds me of the trains in the CRL video.

    1. I doubt they would have 100% confirmed the running patterns at this stage, however there isn’t much choice: it either goes that way to Newton first or it goes the other way to Britomart first. Either would be equally good in my opinion.

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