With the work to get the CRL built as far as Wyndham St now effectively under way, it appears that Auckland Transport are starting to shift their focus on the rest of the project. They will obviously want to get as much of the planning and design work done as they can so that construction is able to start as soon as possible after the government confirm funding – as there’s a lot to do AT have said in the past that the earliest works could start on rest of the project is 2018.

As part of their preparation, AT are looking to develop their procurement strategy so they can get the best value for money and to do so they’re now sounding out the industry to help work out the best way of doing things. This means considering what type of procurement model they’ll use, what kinds of contracts they’ll use, how they’ll split up the project – if they do so at all and probably a range of other things.

They have broken up the CRL into 10 distinct packages of work and published information on their website about what each entails. In doing so it gives us a better understanding of just what will be involved in the project and how much each package is likely to cost. The packages are shown below with numbers 1, 2 and 3 being the ones part of the early works.

Market Sounding Map of CRL Packages

Further below I’ve included the information from the AT website explaining what is in each package but first the things that stood out to me.

  • At Aotea there is the possibility for future connections to Sky City and the planned NDG tower but I’m surprised they haven’t allowed for connection direct to the Council building. They are also future proofing for a possible rail line under Wellesley St – presumably this means by not piling/foundations in the way.
  • With lots of line closures and moving of lines the works at Mt Eden are going to be very disruptive for Western Line users.
  • I’m glad that they’ll also reconfigure Britomart. After the CRL is complete platforms 2, 3 and 4 will not be used as much as now and at present platforms 1/2 and 4/5 get very busy. Making the commonly used platforms wider will help deal with the masses of people that will use the station.
  • The expected cost of packages 4-9 is $1.89 billion while the enabling works add an extra $280 million. That means all up the tunnel itself is expected to cost just under $2.2 billion.

And the full list mentioned above. For most readers the majority of the details are not likely to be a surprise.

4. Aotea Station

  • Two-level underground station.
  • 150-metre platform directly under Albert Street between Wellesley and Victoria Streets.
  • Underground levels (mezzanine concourse and platform) will connect via lifts and escalators with entrances from street level at both ends.
  • Possible future connections from concourse level to Sky City and the future NDG building on the south-east corner of Albert and Victoria Streets.
  • Provision for future property development (circa 17-storey building) above the southern entrance on the south-east corner of Wellesley and Albert Streets.
  • Passive provision for a future line under CRL in Wellesley Street.
  • A number of plant rooms above the running tunnels north of Victoria Street ensure the station effectively extends from Wellesley Street to the enabling works contract at the corner of Albert and Wyndham Streets.
  • Provisions will be made to withdraw the tunnel-boring machines (TBMs) at the southern end of the station.
  • Cut-and-cover construction envisaged with heavy strutting or top-down construction. Vehicle and pedestrian access maintained to businesses on both sides of Albert Street.
  • Works area located in the Auckland Council carpark on Mayoral Drive between Wellesley and Myers Streets.
  • Intersection of Wellesley and Albert Street and Victoria and Albert Street cannot be closed at the same time.
  • Value of works: circa $300 million.

Aotea Station Design Exploded View
5. Karangahape Station and mined tunnels

  • A deep (circa 30-metre) station.
  • 150-metre platform from Mercury Lane entrance with provisions for a future entrance at Beresford Square (not in CRL project).
  • Inclined escalator shafts and lifts access.
  • Platform tubes (circa 11-metre diameter) mined from access shafts in Mercury Lane and Pitt Street. Work areas located on Mercury Lane and Hopetoun Alpha carpark (corner Beresford Square and Hopetoun Street).
  • Provision for a future property development above the Mercury Lane entrance.
  • Twin-bore tunnels (circa 7-metre diameter) will join with Aotea Station and the Western line.
  • Tunnels likely to be constructed by a tunnel-boring machine (TBM).
  • Boring will likely be downhill towards the north because the back-up area is at the southern end.
  • TBM likely to be extracted from the southern end of Aotea Station after the first drive and the second drive repeated (starting at the Mt Eden end).
  • Station and tunnels will not be constructed in separate contracts due to the critical interface between the running tunnels and the station platform tubes.
  • Value of works: circa $700 million.

K Rd - Full Station Cut Away

6. Connections with the Western line and Mt Eden Station

  • East and west, up and down line connections will be fully grade separated.
  • Reconstruction of existing Western line from Dominion Road to Lauder Road. Commuter rail and freight operations will be maintained.
  • Multiple blocks of lines required, relocation of track, overhead line and signalling.
  • Multi-staged construction including reconstruction of Western line platforms and a new Mt Eden station on the CRL line.
  • Station will be constructed by open cut with lift, escalator and footbridge pedestrian connections between the Western line and CRL platforms.
  • A new access road will be formed.
  • Significant number of properties have been purchased to create the works area around Mt Eden Station.
  • Value of works: circa $300 million.

Mt Eden Station Plan

7. Linewide systems

  • Consisting of trackwork, overhead-line, signalling, control systems, tunnel ventilation, communications systems, high voltage power and trackside auxiliaries.
  • Value of works: circa $250 million.

8. Britomart east

  • Rearrange trackwork in the “throat” area where the twin tunnels meet Britomart Station (between Britomart Place and Tangihua Street).
  • Reduce the number of platforms from 5 to 4 and widen the 2 existing outside platforms (1 and 5).
  • Provision of additional vertical access at the eastern end of the station from widened platforms with changes to the upper 2 levels of the station.
  • Work to be completed after CRL has opened and Britomart is operating as a through rather than terminating station.
  • Very significant interface with the operational railway.
  • Value of works: circa $40 million.

9. Station architectural finishes and building services

  • Architectural finishes such as floors, ceilings, walls and column cladding, builders works, low voltage power, escalators, lifts, station ventilation, hydraulics, fire protection, building management system, lighting.
  • Value of works: circa $300 million.

10. Client-supplied items

  • Ticket machines.
  • HOP card readers.


  • Packages 4 and 5 may be combined pending review during market sounding. Package 9 may be combined with the station contracts, pending review during market sounding.
  • It is likely that contractors responsible for delivering packages 4 to 9 will also be responsible for the design.
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  1. Re: the Aotea station: “Passive provision for a future line under CRL in Wellesley Street.”
    What does this mean? Are they going to leave a cavity in case they run a second line underneath the one they’re going to build? If so, it would be the perfect venue for an underground nightclub/music venue – can I lease it?

    1. Great idea! I imagine it will be for a future North Shore line with the tracks running perpendicular to the CRL.

      Unfortunately for you plan I imagine it will just be ensuring no foundation or other work compromises these future plans, so no cavity.

  2. The more obvious “missing entrance / exit” from Aotea station isn’t into the Council HQ, but into the Atrium on Elliot mall. That would link nicely into the Elliot St shared space, and provide a quick link to Queen St via the Midcity and Strand arcades. Plus it might provide an opportunity to revitalise the rather tired mall itself, which currently seems to comprise mainly “buy your way to a business visa” units, sorry I mean “specialty shops”

    1. I don’t think that one is possible as they are retaining that sunken service lane that is under the entrance to Stamford Plaza which is why I didn’t mention it in the post.

  3. Is there any way we can (asuming govt money doesn’t come forward) in c2018 just add Aotea station without the rest of tunnel added latter. This would mean just building stages 4 and 8, with small parts of 7 and 9. It could cost around $400m all up. Would this be unaffordable for the council?

    1. No, the site of Aotea station is pretty much the critical path for the entire project. The empty cavity is needed to support the tunnel boring works for the whole CRL route to the south. The station itself can’t be built until the rest of the tunnelling is done.

      Even if you could build just Aotea, how would it work operationally? Britomart already struggles, with five platforms, and only a very short length of twin-track before branching into the Eastern and Southern/Western lines. Aotea would have only two platforms, and a much longer twin-track section.

    2. There is only 2 years difference between AT’s plan (2018) and the government (2020) at worst anyway, no point putting in place compromising band aid solutions just for 2 years.

  4. With the reconfiguring of platforms at Britomart will there still be provision for intercity trains, few though they are?

    Optimists such as myself still hope for a restoration, one day, of abandoned long-distance services to and from Auckland.

      1. So what exactly apart from any inter-city trains, are platforms 2 and 3 going to be used for? Are there still going to be some trains terminating at Britomart? If not why are they bothering to even keep four? Why not just have two big platforms on the outside and keep the one in the middle i.e three total for any possible terminating service? Seems to me like half the platforms will just be sitting there redundant. What exactly is the layout going to look like? Quite frankly the 1-2 and 4-5 platform structures need to be made a lot wider as compared to similar stations overseas they are narrow. I’m actually surprised someone hasn’t fallen off leading to a fatality with how busy they’ve become. Hopefully the platforms at the new underground stations will also be built with plenty of room. Also are the station tubes going to be built long enough so that if in 30 years time we need to go 9 carriage train sets we will easily be able to reconfigure those stations? is that possible with Britomart?

        1. Some redundancy is good. It would be better if we had more across the network as outages do happen. The higher the efficiency of the utilisation of the network; the more unstable it becomes. Clearly there is a balance to be found but our little two track network is really very vulnerable, as there are very few opportunities for work-rounds. Third and forth tracks on the main line would be great, and another line to the port, or at least stretches of extra track with crossovers and wires, would be very helpful. A couple of extra slots at Britomart will be handy too.

          And no, triples, or nine carriage trains can’t fit. But with improved signalling, 48 trains per hour [24 each way] will be able to run through the tunnels. That’s pretty handy; a train with 750 to 1000 people [at crush] every 2.5 minutes each way is a fair bit of capacity. 40-50k people an hour will do for a while.

        2. Yeah Patrick some redundancy is good but two plaforms at Britomart? Redundancy is needed but in other places in the network. One platform at Britomart would be perfectly fine and you could have the two through-running platforms wider and including on-platform kiosks ala Japan. I don’t believe in any of the many cities I’ve visited across NZ, Australia, Asia, Europe and North America I’ve ever seen a main station with two platforms set aside just doing nothing in case there was an incident!

          Stupidest thing about the current project plan remains the non-build of the Beresford Square entrance. Honestly how dumb and short-sighted are the people who have made that decision?! It just beggars belief! I wonder if AT are going to continue to count people near that part of K Rd as part of the catchment? I used to live in an apartment just off K Rd near Beresford Square a few years ago and that area is much closer and connected to the beating heart of K Rd than the out of the way part that is Mercury Lane. I really just can’t fathom that decision. It needs to be challenged!

        3. Two is good, there’ll be plenty of room with just one track removed.

          I agree about Beresford Sq. A very assertive property owner was part of the problem. This is someone who has fought to have all of the disruption of the build on his doorstep but none of the payoff! Wants all those potential customers and staff for his tenants as far away as possible. What did he say when I tried to point this out: ‘my tenants are all car drivers- they’re not poor’. This is a significant inner city commercial property owner who can’t see the trends unfolding in the city. Even if they were all driving now [which they aren’t], they won’t be soon. I mean why suffer all that work without getting the benefit of station? He claims to have the stopped a bike lane on Pitt St too… very pleased with himself. Perhaps he thinks K Rd is Highbrook or something?

        4. I bet he has more tenants than parking spaces.

          Does one property owner have that kind of influence? That would be weird. And extremely harmful. If that would be the case, NZ urgently needs to lose some points in the Corruption Perceptions Index.

        5. Cost was the main reason, mined stations are expensive, we do almost anything to not spend a dime in this country [except on m’ways], taking the short term view at all times [is it because we are a country with a short history?]. Then a questionable reading of the surrounding landuse potential was added, plus a pushy landowner…. you get the picture.

        6. Unbelievable that such a short sighted and economically ignorant property owner could hamstring such an important project.
          The Beresford Square station entrance is highly visible in drawing in patrons and, in my view, is critical to the success of the K Road station.
          Lobbying is needed to get that entrance back into the main project.

        7. “we do almost anything to not spend a dime in this country [except on m’ways], taking the short term view at all times [is it because we are a country with a short history?].”

          Even after 6 generations Pakeha NZ has yet to make a commitment to Aotearoa. We are on the land but not yet of the land. We like to keep our option open – no point spending too much because we might be off elsewhere if this doesn’t work out. That’s why the bach concept is so popular with NZ architects – a tent on the beach is cheap, easy to dismantle and can be used at the next landfall.

        8. I assume stabling and the odd intercity train if they ever start again. As for 9-car trains, no it won’t happen. As it is the tunnels will have to be at about the maximum grade possible just to get up the hill, longer platforms would require steeper tunnels. I also don’t think it’s possible Britomart. Six-car trains it is with frequency the only option.

        9. If we can consistently fill six-car trains at 2-minute headways in each direction along the CRL, it might then be time to start thinking about digging the next tunnel, rather than trying to squish nine-car trains in.

        10. Assuming that there are just two platforms but with four sets of tracks through it only costs 2m of width on each platform to allow another slot

  5. Off topic I know, but it relates to AT and this mornings shambles.

    This mornings disruptions led to hundreds of people who stood on platforms for more than 15 minutes before all trains were cancelled being charged $1.70 on their hop cards for nothing.

    Apparently each person needs to raise a support case with AT to recover these funds, this case will be assigned to a finance officer to determine if a refund will be processed. ETA for this is 2 weeks. I doubt most people will bother.

    This morning was an omishambles on the network; staff weren’t kept upto date with what was happening and hid from customers. The comms to customers was non-existent

    1. I managed to get into work before the shambles, but what you describe regarding communications doesn’t surprise me at all.

      I think it is 20 mins rather than 15, but either way they need to communicate this clearly each time something melts down, so that people at least know to go and tag off.

      Would love to know the real reason one train breaking down caused the whole network to shut down, doesn’t sound like it should be happening.

    2. Hopefully AT will credit the $1.70 back overnight. If not, make a request for credit to AT. If you have no luck with them contact the Public Transport Users Association who will then take the issue up for you.

  6. I have a question .How long is it going to take for the RATE payers to see any sign of there rates stopping to pay for this .What is the cost of running the trains each year and how is this going to get paid

    1. Is there any sign of you asking the same for all the motorwaysand major arterial roads that are being paid from our tax and rates money, and which have exactly zero cost recovery, and Benefit-Cost-Ratios so low that our government has even stopped reporting them? Because they are negative?

      Ah, no. You’re just expressing anti-rail ideology, not really trying to make an argument. Sorry.

    2. Probably much cheaper than building a motorway with a comparable capacity as the extra capacity enabled by that rail link.

      I’d rather have them build the CRL with my rates/tax money than another motorway.

    3. Yawn. I heard that rate payers with the last name Sheerin were going to be charged twice as much as anyone else for their rates to help with the CRL construction costs. Still don’t know the difference between their and there do ya

    4. I like paying rates. It means my house is worth a lot.

      Same as tax. I’m lucky enough to earn a fair bit of money and more than willing to pay my share.

      If you don’t like paying rates, you can always sell and buy a smaller place!

  7. Liking the idea of a tunnel under Wellesley – would that be something like ponsonby to newmarket via vic park, aotea (connect to east or west line), tunnel under the domain, maybe.

      1. Continuing through Newmarket-Otahuhu-Airport.

        The question becomes what’s the best technology for the North Shore Line, heavy rail to join to the rest of the network or something else with more automation, reducing Opex and allowing increased frequency.

        1. Heavy rail I think would better to serve the NEX line. Would be more customer friendly to integrate it with the current heavy rail network. Plus NEX bus lane is perfect for heavy rail. Light Rail can be installed around the North Shore line (Takapuna).

        2. Don’t think heavy rail will ever happen, very costly and difficult to connect to anywhere east of Queen St. Also it won’t work on the busway as is and would need extensive and expensive works to enable i.e. rebuilding bridges, tunneling under Constellation and Albany. During that time (years) buses couldn’t use the busway. Similarly I’m not convinced the Wellesley St corridor will be used.

          Most likely now I’m my view is to extend the isthmus light rail across the harbour instead of terminating it at Wynyard like currently planned. The light rail planned has quite high capacity and 2 of the four lines could branch off to Glenfield and Takapuna.

        3. Could the rail come above ground where the Western Line comes into Newmarket? If there were a direct route to Newmarket you could save on opex by not running trains from Britomart to Newmarket; that route is already the source of a lot of lost time on the network.

      2. I can see why you’d want to appeal to the student segment by having a train stop right on Symonds St, but since UoA/AUT are only a couple of hundred meters from Aotea it would probably be inefficient to stop there. If you draw a straight line from Wellesley St/Symonds St to where the Western Line comes into Newmarket station, that would enable the highest frequency service between CBD/Newmarket, which doesn’t involve a detour to the hospital, which is already on the bus route.

        1. Yea, surely the time to discuss rail options to the universities are when Light Rail gains traction and we can start thinking about Wellesley Street and what happens there.

        2. If you really wanted to connect the universities it seems easiest just to put in a long escalator as a distant entrance to Aotea station rather than bother having a second station so close.

      3. The answer is automated rapid transport aka Metro like they are building in sydney. Fast like a heavy rail, high capacity however due to it being built not to frieght standards can handle tighter curves + harder grades. The answer is not to route it to Uni/Hospital as it is a small walk plus will have LRT. The answer is to run it to close to where Newton station would have been then up SH16 and 18 creating a NS, NW and Upper Harbour line.

      4. We could do that now with buses. There is a new bus lane on Wellesley Street. A Fanshawe Street – Aotea – Uni – Hospital bus service would make it a lot easier to catch a bus if your trip doesn’t start at Britomart or Symonds Street. Maybe it would also be faster to take that route from Fanshawe Street to the hospital instead of going around via Britomart.

  8. A train failure at Otahuhu, which we are told is the cause impacts southern and eastern lines. I don’t see why this impacts the Onehunga line unless we have trains backed up at Greenlane or Ellerslie, but sure in this case they’d just moved them out of the way at Westfield and let the Onehunga line run.

    Something doesn’t make sense

  9. I don’t understand “Rearrange trackwork in the “throat” area where the twin tunnels meet Britomart Station (between Britomart Place and Tangihua Street)” – the twin tunnels meet Britomart station at its west end, while the throat and Tangihua St are at the (single-tunnel) east end.

    1. There are two tracks in the throat tunnel that connect to 5 platforms at Britomart. They have to rearrange the tracks as in future there will only be 4 tracks plus I assume the trackwork will be designed to prioritise CRL movement to/from platforms 1&5.

      1. Thanks – that’s what I’d assumed, so what in fact AT means is “the “throat” area where the *eastern tunnel* meets Britomart Station”, not “…where the *twin tunnels* meet Britomart Station”. Slightly different!

  10. They must be able to keep the Western line open during construction, even if it’s just a single track to the south side of Mt Eden station. With 8tph that section wouldn’t causes delays with the right scheduling.

        1. I chuckled, but sometimes I worry that we actually give those ridiculous straw arguments/smears more mileage than they deserve by repeating them, even in jest.

      1. Even then, that’s 5 mins gap between trains, and a tiny section of single track. Does get tricky if the train has to stop at a station on the single track though. Then it would be tight.

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