If you’ve come here as a result of the Herald article then welcome. You can find the original article about how rail was saved here (has some different images to what the Herald added)

We specialise in discussions about transport and other urban issues so if you’ve ever wondered about something related to either of these then there’s a good chance we’ve covered it at some point. Ask about it in the comments and we or our regular readers can try to answer it for you and/or provide a link to posts we’ve written on the topic.

While you’re here why don’t you check out the Congestion Free Network we’ve developed. It’s a plan to deliver a network of high quality rail lines and busways across Auckland decades faster than currently planned and does so while saving around $9 billion. It’s an idea we’ve managed to get support for from a wide range of people and the council have asked Auckland Transport to investigate it further (which we understand is currently happening).

CFN 2030A

For existing readers something I’ve wanted to do for a while is to put together a resource that people stumbling across the site can read that covers off the key things we talk about/advocate. As such please suggest some of your favourite posts on the various topics we cover.

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  1. The post with the graph showing the capacity of EMUs vs current rolling stock is a really good one. The post costing Skytrain-style light rail to the shore and indicating frequencies is really good.

  2. Really good piece by AT Chairman Lester Levy in the Herald too:


    And even an editorial which even manages some enthusiasm and is largely factual:


    But does toss in this unsupported bit of editorialising ‘Current patronage is, however, far short of demonstrating the ability to reach 20 million by 2020, one of the Government’s stipulations for an early start to the rail link.”

    An opinion which is at the very least debatable: http://greaterakl.wpengine.com/2014/03/29/20-by-2020/

    1. I still don’t understand why a patronage level of 20 million is a necessary minimum condition that must be met before action can be taken. Where did this figure come from? Is it supported by any rational analysis of transport infrastructure requirements?

      Maybe the government thinks suburban rail should become as congested and inefficient as the motorways first in order to prove that expansion is needed.

      1. It’s a political stunt to appear like they are supporting the CRL but have an out to actually starting to fund it. No motorway ever has any demand hurdles, and as Cam has shown here recently for projects like the Holiday Highway they haven’t even bothered to prepare a business case, and likely could never get a positive one.

        Furthermore the two hurdles for the CRL are vague and open to wide interpretation. I have seen the MoT’s take and naturally their assumptions basically make them unfulfillable. Just a game.

    2. I’ve rarely seen such a strong editorial in favour of public transport and against the short-termist road-focused thinking that predominates at top levels. It is arguing that we can get to 20m in a matter of years if we back the services in the way they need. I agree entirely.

    3. Your second link is good in that it also talks about what might help to get us to 20m, particularly off peak frequencies will be the key. Britomart won’t manage 20m peak CBD journeys so it will need to be off peak and outer suburban trips that do it.

  3. “Subsequently, and for far too long, passengers have had to endure these 60-year-old bone-shaking hand-me-downs”

    Statement in respect of the ex-Perth units. They are nowhere near 60 years old, so where does this figure come from?

    1. ADL’s were commissioned in the 1980’s in Perth with the ADK’s in the 1960’s. So that put the respective units at 35 years and 50-55 years respectively. I believe the SX that was retired on Friday (thanks for the point out Alex) might be slightly older.

      Still, going to be a more “interesting” moment when the ADK’s themselves retire. The memories of those units will be one not easily forgotten.

          1. Yes, and they’ve been heavily refurbished and rebuilt. Not what most people think of when they imagine a 30-45 year old machine.

        1. The BR rolling stock was originally built 1971 to 1975 and extensively rebuilt after arrival in NZ. The extent of the rebuild was such that, in effect, they were new.

        2. When I caught the 7:40 from Papakura to Britomart via the Eastern Line in my final university days it was always ADK 688 and ADK 684 before it got swapped out to an SA-5 car set owing to heavy loadings.

          688 was nick named Old Reliable and for good reason. Of the entire fleet 688 would get us to our destination more reliably then even the SA’s and ADL’s.

          Sure ADK 688 is 46 years old and as noisy as hell but it was a good unit. Much as I am looking forward to the EMU’s next year there will be some reminiscing of that particular ADK unit.

      1. SX set would be 53 years old, the ADKs slightly newer. But point well made. The first of Brisbane’s 1979 built EMUs, which in most respects look and feel reasonably modern, are being retired soon. in Australia all jurisdictions are getting rid of 1970s stock, and some have started on 1980s.

        1. Even though Sydney is having problems with its State Government I do believe they are replacing their old double level EMU’s with the newer Warratah (spelling) Class units which I rode while I was in Sydney last year.

          Was a nice unit to ride even when we had our luggage

    2. I took the comment to be about the age and disposition of the politicians and traffic planners who created the mess, rather than the trains we had 🙂

  4. Well done on getting noticed by the Herald and it being republished so quickly. It shows their editorial staff are now regularly checking the posts on this blog.

  5. Yes, there seems to have been a bit of a change of editorial policy at the Weekend Herald, at least for this edition. What I found most startling was the editorial’s acknowledgement that the decision to proceed with electrification was made by the previous Labour-led administration.

    In terms of a transport resources might I suggest a link to Paul Mees and Jago Dodson’s 2001 paper ‘The American heresy’ as essential reading for anyone even vaguely interested in Auckland public transport issues. Although it’s now 13 years since it was delivered, it remains a compelling piece of advocacy that’s both accessible and properly researched. And most importantly in demonstrates how precisely the citizens of Auckland were misled and befuddled and their environment trashed through a noxious combination of self-interested, vision-free, politicians and their roading engineer stooges!

  6. Let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves, the same edition has an article on traffic lights. Apparently we have some 70s software, all we need to do is upgrade our software and traffic will be free flowing…to be fair though the article do point out that we have very undeveloped public transport.

    1. I’m sure I can recollect an occasion one or two years ago when there were widespread power failures and consequently no traffic lights. Many junctions and crossroads around the city just carried on functioning pretty well as most drivers observed the give-way rules and were generally polite with each other.

      As an unplanned experiment it does seem to suggest that traffic lights aren’t nearly as essential in many places as the traffic engineers would have us believe. I wonder if anyone in AT would dare to conduct the experiment properly and just turn off the lights in an area to see what actually happens?

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