With Christmas upon us tomorrow this is just a few reminders

Public Transport

From tomorrow through to 4 January (and till 11 January for the Northern Express and Western Line trains) a holiday timetable is in effect that will see fewer services available to use.

The holiday season is almost here and that means there are some changes to public transport services over the next few weeks.


From Christmas Day, Thursday 25 December all trains will be replaced with rail buses. We’re putting on replacement buses so we can carry out important improvements on the rail network particularly around Newmarket.

For the first time replacement buses will run on Christmas Day and the other good news is you can now use your AT HOP cards on-board all planned Railbus replacement services as well. You will need to tag-on and tag-off the rail bus like any other bus service.

You can buy a cash ticket for your entire journey on board the rail bus from the driver.

The reduced timetable runs from Christmas Day, Thursday 25 December through to Sunday 4 January. The closure on the Western Line will run through to the following Sunday 11 January.


Most bus services will be operating to a Christmas/New Year Holiday timetable from Monday 22 December to Sunday 4 January, for the Northern Express the holiday schedule will run to Sunday 11 January.

Some additional NiteRider services will be operating prior to and on New Year’s Eve. Please check timetables carefully.

If you’re heading to the airport, Airbus Express and Airporter services will operate as normal over the Christmas and New Year period. They will run on a Sunday timetable on the public holidays: 25 and 26 December and 1 and 2 January.


If you’re using a Fullers ferry, a special timetable will run from Wednesday 24 December to Sunday 4 January.

Other ferry services will be running special timetable, check out our website. All ferries will be back on a full timetable from Monday 5 January.

Christmas rail shutdowns are always a contentious issue and at least this year AT have explained what is being done.

Thursday 25 December 2014 to Sunday 4 January 2015:

Full network closure – a bus replacement service will operate on all lines. This is to allow for significant track maintenance at Newmarket, Penrose, Westfield, Wiri and Papakura, sleeper replacement on the Eastern Line, station work at Otahuhu and NZTA motorway work at Takanini and Ellerslie.

Monday 5 January to Sunday 11 January 2015:
Buses replace trains on the Western Line. Normal train services will operate on all other lines. This is to allow for track upgrades at Morningside and Kingdon Street and sleeper replacement works at level crossings.


The annual resurfacing of a few lanes on the harbour bridge is taking place, this year it will be the Northbound clip-on lanes and the closure of those lanes goes from 7am on Friday through to 5:30am on 8 December.

Around the Te Atatu Interchange there will be a number of disruptions due to work to raise the Te Atatu Rd bridge over the motorway.

  • Te Atatu Rd will be reduced to a single lane in each direction over the bridge between Te Atatu South and Te Atatu Peninsula 4am Saturday 27 December to 5am Monday 5 January
  • The Northwestern motorway will be reduced to a single lane each way under the Te Atatu Bridge during the day, and then closed under the bridge from 10pm each night. All lanes on the motorway will be open on New Year’s Eve night (31 December) and New Year’s Day (1January)
  • The Te Atatu city bound loop onramp will be closed from Saturday 27 December to Monday 5 January

And let’s not forget the annual “don’t drive north on Boxing Day” reminder. What’s more even the NZTA are saying the road is only busy because of holiday periods

Traffic on Boxing Day (26 December) will be heavy on regional highways and roads and the NZ Transport Agency is advising motorists to plan for a safe journey and to avoid delays.

“This is one of the busiest times of the year on our highways,” says the Transport Agency’s Highway Manager Brett Gliddon. “We’ll have all our teams working to help manage traffic flows and keep everyone as safe as possible and informed about traffic and road conditions.”

He says one of the busiest highways will be the Northern Gateway Toll Road on State Highway 1 north of Auckland. “Last Christmas holiday, there were an average of 20,600 trips a day – the busiest day being 2 January when there were more than 24,600 trips.

“This tremendous increase in holiday traffic on the toll road indicates just how busy the highways will be in Auckland and Northland and why we need everyone to plan their trips, allowing plenty of time for a safe journey.”

Expect to see an image like this in the Herald at some stage

Most importantly if you are out on the roads please be drive safely and I hope you all have a great Christmas.

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  1. Looking at that photo why not close to southbound altogether and double capacity north. They talk about managing flows?Too late now but also direct a large team of buses using hop card to go to Whangarei. If we had a large rapid fleet could do that also and similar south. We aren’t really trying that hard yet to solve congestion are we?

    1. Because shortly after that tunnel you are back to the highway, so instead of two lanes into one it would be four lanes into one.

    2. I was thinking entire highway even if only am then back to normal pm and told everybody. Or another option doesn’t need much notice is maybe 45 minutes both lanes north, 5 minutes open southbound lane and keep rotating.Traffic control on adjoining roads.

      1. Actually my rotating idea won’t work taking travel time southbound into account too far
        Close entire highway to southbound during morning on affected days and broadcast. What extent of highway would be required to make workable north?

  2. What other city in the world closes its train services for 11 days a year? And how many sleeper replacement crews will be at work on Christmas Day?

    1. Wellington is shutting down the entire Kapiti Line and part of the Johnsonville Line (Johnsonville to Khandallah) until 5 January. Then they’re shutting Upper Hutt to Trentham during interpeak until April while they start rebuilding Upper Hutt station.

  3. @Patrick… The difference is that for every line that is shut for maintenance over there, there are usually another 2 or 3 PT options to get you to your destination. In London for example there is the Underground, there is also the Overground, then there are the variety of intercity National Rail lines (with various operators), not forgetting the Heathrow and Gatwick Express trains and the DLR. Also soon they will have cross-rail. Then there is the massive bus network where you can travel half way across the (very large) city for £1.45 ($2.90).
    For Auckland I could only imagine how many people would use PT if they could catch a bus or train from Albany/Henderson/Manukau/Pakuranga etc to the city for $3 or even $4 rather than the $6 it is for most. If they could do this and get more people using it then buses etc would be fuller (more economical to run) and more services could be put on (but due to the improved economics it wouldn’t cost much more for the taxpayer) this in turn would encourage even more people to use PT as it would be more convenient with the increased services.

    1. I would agree on both points. The rail and the bus network need to work together better
      If there is maintenance , extra resourcing to the same spec needs to take over. I think also highlights that we need a full rapid network (2030 CFN plan) even if not class A spec but extra buses to make up for that so public transport is always of high standard and can compete with cars. If rapid rail is down, rapid bus takes over this line. Rapid bus not 1 every hour. Next point fares agree if other cities like London and Calgary are about 50% why not Auckland. We are overpricing this car alternative meanwhile it is costing us $1.25 billion in congestion per annum let alone environmental damage and wasted car projects of another $1 billion per annum. Do these 2 things and rail/bus will be primary mode in record time. Make this new bus network a rapid, frequent and a cheap one and soon easier to count what isn’t on the network.

  4. When is AT Metro going to realise that people need to use trains during the holiday period ? Every time we visit Auckland the trains are not running for some reason. In any other international city this would not be acceptable !

    1. They shut them down over holidays to do major track maintenance. That way the least number of people are inconvenienced, as there are few commuters, while they (usually) get good weather and long hours of daylight to get plenty of work done in as short a time as possible.

      Rail replacement buses are running instead.

      1. And how many will be working on Christmas Day? How do overseas cities do track maintenance when they appear to only stop the trains overnight?

        1. Other cities do precisely the same for heavy maintenance, they shut down the line for several days while they lift the tracks.

          What exactly is the problem, they are running replacement buses to exactly the same stations, to the same timetable, for the same cost. Can you not catch one of those?

        2. I think the Christmas shutdowns are becoming a joke. I can understand them when there are massive works on such as double tracking but it seems that they are being done in one go because that’s most convenient for Kiwirail more than anything else. They simply don’t want to re-engineer their operating practices. Also rail buses are joke from the ones I’ve caught in the past.

          Also rumours are that part of the shut down is to enable the private redevelopment above the Newmarket Triangle.

        3. Are they running rapid equivalent down the motorway. Right now they could. Bus mode is still in clapped out, take a back seat to car mode. We need a dedicated rapid fleet that can double team with rail at a moments notice. At the moment rail is tagging to a 1 year old but you are up against the rock and hulk hogan getting pulverized, ok some rapid landing blows, but bus needs to be a force. Get 400 buses dedicated to a rapid service, sure might only need 100 right now at xmas but at least get the firepower. What is going to happen when rail at 100% , bus you need to step up so you can take on the rock and hulk hogan both together and ideally with rail get a 3 count and clear the motorway so you can run rapid down the motorway at any time and free Auckland from this mess before that happens.

        4. And also cyclists at edge of ring ready to use spokes when the ref not looking.And the walkers to put a boot in.

        5. Probably the wrong post, but do you see how far bus mode needs to improve for the sake of the whole city. Rail has the most capacity no question but citizens need access to this and what is planned is that bus rapid links go first in the majority until they warrant an upgrade to rail. The entire rapid system is the core of the entire public transport system. Rapid bus is going to be key over the next 30 years and it’s mode share will sky rocket and needs to. Then you add the collector bus network. This entire bus fleet is so critical to the success of the whole network and costs approx 1000 x $600k or $600m. City Rail Link in 2021 is really going to boost this rail top tier of the network and the rail plant investment is really starting to give back in droves. Now we desperately need to phase in an entire hybrid bus fleet with a rapid focus first.This on it’s own will reduce emissions then with this fleet and rail unclogging the network, will reduce car and truck emissions and save $1.25b in congestion delays . Having AT in full control of this fleet will create numerous advantages too many to list.

        6. When I was in Singapore this year they announced one day that the line would be closed from 10pm to 7am for sleeper replacement. I think Kiwirail/AT think passengers are not important.

  5. Travelling down South in the real world in what passes for holiday traffic, along with many single lane bridges over Arthurs Pass, also crossed the shared single lane road/rail Arahura bridge near Greymouth. Understand Kiwirail are sadly replacing it after just 120 years. Thing that struck me was how well the one way system works. In theory you give way as indicated by signs and of course everyone gives way to the trains, which is a reasonably natural instinct for those who’ve lived beyond 40 and retained good memory as well as physicists. It all works very well with a cheery wave and perhaps such a system could be extended to other major arterials around New Zealand, including perhaps the harbour bridge to satisfy drivers from the Shore. In fact apparently this wonderful system is already well advanced with the NZTA reducing perfectly serviceable two lane bridges to one, lest two of the increased limit trucks happen to be on the bridge at the same time and collapse it. Increase truck size before sorting bridge limits. Cart before horse?

    1. Depending on your point of view I suppose. If you’re in the business of building and upgrading roads, it makes perfect sense.

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