Yesterday we saw the feedback on the first consultation from the Transport for Urban Growth piece of work that AT/NZTA are currently undertaking. Now the next more detailed round of consultation has started and they’ve released their draft preferred transport networks. By in large the networks are very close to including most of what was initially consulted on. One thing that they haven’t given any indication on is what the timing will

The websites for each of the three main areas also gives a little bit of information as to how they’ve responded to the feedback received and for each of the key areas there is also a more detailed map which is on the AT website. In all of the maps below the mode/intervention uses the same colour scheme, Red = Rail, Green = Bus, Blue = Road, Gold = Safety improvements.


In the south it’s good to see AT specifically mention electrification to Pukekohe as that was something no mention was made of in the earlier consultation. It’s something we can only hope gets the go ahead soon as it seems fairly critical to some of the other parts of the plan for the South including a bunch of new stations and better services. On the roads the massive Mill Rd corridor is set to march on all the way to Pukekohe. The biggest omission from compared to the first consultation seems to be an east-west route from Pukekohe to SH1.

In this transport network, a key focus is increasing access to public transport, with more capacity and a well-connected rapid transit network at its heart. This would include electric trains to Pukekohe, express trains, new stations and rapid transit links, for example between the airport, Manukau, Flat Bush and Botany and a high frequency bus route between Drury and Manukau.

The plan focuses on great access to jobs, town centres and recreation within south Auckland and links to the wider region.

Another key focus for the south would be an extension of the Mill Road corridor from Manukau to Papakura and Drury. This would help improve safety, provide improved access to new growth areas and provide an additional north-south route. Connected to the Mill Road corridor is a new route to Pukekohe to improve safety or reduce congestion on SH22. An interchange with SH1 will also be further investigated at Drury South.

We’ve also identified further work is needed on how better connections between Waikato and Auckland can be provided.

TFUG - Draft Preferred Plan - South


The North looks like a much bigger roads fest compared to the with almost all of the proposed roads from the earlier consultation included in this consultation. For PT the busway will be the heart of the system in the area and s being both physically extended by going to Grand Dr but also and with more stations too.

At the heart of the network is the extension of the rapid transit network (RTN) by linking Albany to Dairy Flat, Silverdale, Wainui and Grand Drive.

Additional stations along the RTN would become hubs for extended public transport services into the growth areas and Orewa, providing fast and efficient access to employment, town centres and residential areas.

Dedicated walking and cycling networks linking to public transport hubs would provide a range of options to get to work or for leisure. New and upgraded arterial roads running both eastwest and north-south would improve connections and safety through the area as well.

Capacity would also be increased on State Highway 1 (SH1). An interchange incorporating both Dairy Flat and Penlink will be investigated to see if it would alleviate access from bottlenecks at Silverdale further north.

TFUG - Draft Preferred Plan - North


Like the others it appears that almost all of projects from the earlier consultation have made it through to this round. Perhaps the most interesting aspect is AT say they’ll do some more to look at the costs and benefits of extending rail to Huapai – although the website also suggests it could be compared to electric rail.

A key focus of the draft network is on providing high capacity public transport networks to move people efficiently and reliably between the places they want to go. This includes a rapid transport network (RTN) adjacent to the SH16 and SH18 to and from Kumeu, Westgate through to the city and the North Shore. Park and ride facilities are also identified to provide access to these services.

Further investigations are proposed on the extension of electric trains to Huapai to assess benefits and costs. Initial work shows a RTN along SH16 will have faster journey times and serve a wider catchment.

Another key focus is improving the safety and capacity of SH16 north of Westgate and the major arterials that intersect it. To help address congestion as the area grows and keep the Kumeu and Huapai centres as safe, local community-focused environments, an alternative through-route to SH16 is proposed.

A direct motorway to motorway connection between SH16 and SH18, improvements to Brigham Creek Road, and upgrade to the Coatesville-Riverhead Highway and arterial road networks in Whenuapai and Red Hills are also identified. The feasibility of a range of different types of interchanges at Northside Drive and Squadron Drive will also be investigated. Dedicated walking and cycling paths connecting to public transport and existing cycle routes also feature.

TFUG - Draft Preferred Plan - Northwest

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      1. I went through the consultation report earlier this week and this was the top 5

        1) Effectively the Botany Line – a LRT between Botany, Manukau and the Airport. Heck even Dick Quax said yes to well a bus way (it is a start) for that Line and depending on demand you would start with a bus way first. That said depending on demand I would be tempted to LRT it right from the bat.

        2) Express services: Well this is a given but can only be done once the Third Main is built.

        3-4) I can see where the roading connections issue comes from given quite a lot of trips are within the South including freight.

        5) Easy transport from Manukau to the south. If AT bothered to read the report given they even said the South prefers rail over bus it meant the Manukau rail South Link. Not some long winded bus service they are proposing now that would take longer than the train and even the Southern Motorway jammed up.

        This as someone said to me a sham and doing it for the sake of it not for the sake of the community, just like the Manukau Interchange which 67% did not approve of the design but AT went with it any way.

        1. The problem with that sort of this is it is just asking people for a wishlist without any idea of costs or impacts. Its like a Christmas list to Santa written by a six year old that doesn’t know dad just got laid off and all their savings are spent just paying the mortgage.

          Case in point, light rail costs somewhere between $40m and $80m a kilometre, or more depending on the situation. Botany to the Airport is 17km. You do the math. I’m not saying its necessarily a bad project or poor use of funds, but it’s not as simple as just building it because it’s number one on the fantasy list. How you pay for it, and how many people would actually use it needs to be considered first!

          Likewise with express services on the rail corridor. A fantasy in isolation, the reality would be asking the question “Do you want to cut train service to one every half hour, with one third the capacity and chronically overloaded trains, so that you can fit express trains into the timetable?” if the answer to that is no, then the question is “Do you want the council to spend half a billion dollars and put your rates up by two grand a year to pay for quad tracking the southern line to run express services”.

          If you don’t want huge compromises or special rates levies, then these wishes all have to go into the pot for contestibility against all other regional projects in terms of benefits gained for budget spent.

          A wish list without any discussion of cost or impacts is a useful indicator of the sorts of things people like, but it’s no way to pick an infrastructure development plan.

          1. Bruce the whole idea of the third main is to allow freight trains to travel in a way that does imped metro trains. It’s not available to run metro services on.

          2. A south link out of Manukau City, non-electrified, would not appear to be in the same sort of cost basket as the other top five.

            I understand that the general formation for south link for the Manukau branch line onto the NIMT line has been constructed. What is missing is rails, points and signalling.

            Once such a link was completed it would enable the diesel shuttle from Pukekohe to Papakura to be extended to Manukau. Such a link would open up the rail system for Pukekohe residents. They would be able to get to Manukau without changing trains and they would be able to get to Sylvia Park with only one change. Such a link would attract a significant number of Pukekohe area motorists out of their cars and onto the rail.

            It would also enable Auckland Council workers living in Pukekohe who commute to Manukau to leave their cars at the Pukekohe Council offices, where there is plenty of parking, compared to the increasingly tight parking situation at Manukau.

            I realise there might be timetabling issues and that a train from/to Pukekohe using the link might not be that frequent, nonetheless I feel it would significantly increase rail patronage out of Pukekohe. I think Pukekohe residents would see a south turn out of Manukau as far more useful to them than the central rail loop.

          3. Thing is Lloyd: Is it worth spending money building a southern link to Manukau now just for the diesel Puke shuttle, or rather waiting a few years until electrification is extended south from Papakura, at which point EMU services can continue from Pukekohe into the city?

            Because you wouldn’t really do both, unless you were thinking that Puke’s long term rail service should operate to Manukau and terminate therr. This is something I’ve pondered in the past, as there’s (increasing) demand to get to Manukau from further south. Direct (frequent) city services would then extend to Papakura, and anyone boarding between Puke and Papa would then have to transfer if they were heading to the city.

            Just an idea. Main point: There’s little benefit in developing the southern link at Manukau unless we are planning to run services from Puke to Manukau post-electrification.

          4. After CRL just transfer at Puhnuni where there will be a Manakau thing every 5 mins. Solved, I would rather a flying junction at wiri than a southern connection.

          5. “Its like a Christmas list to Santa written by a six year old that doesn’t know dad just got laid off and all their savings are spent just paying the mortgage.”

            Still, if people want multi-billion dollar busways, it’s their right to request them. Ultimately if money is tight, cheaper projects can be looked at.

          6. Lloyd/Stu, my preferred southern express pattern does involve a south facing branch, not east but west. So instead of the current diesel shuttle a Hamilton-AIAL express stopping at Puke and Papakura, requiring a new branch line west from the NIMT south of Wiri to the Airport. Of course this presupposes a number of things such as a Airport/Mangere northern RTN, rail or LR, and ideally electrification of Ham to Papakura. People heeding between AKL-HAM transfer to/from this service at Papakura so it provides a HAM/AKL service but leverages off existing services within AKL but doesn’t add yet more service complications to crowded core of the network, and gives people south direct access to AIAL.

            [*new line alongside new freight route to any new port in Manukau Harbour]

          7. Of course Geoff, people have every right to ask for what they want, and should do so. But they shouldn’t expect it has to happen just because they ask. I cringe whenever I hear “they’re not listening to the community” from people that don’t get their demands delivered immediately. They are listening alright: listening, hearing, understanding… but listening to and understanding bad or unaffordable ideas doesn’t make them good ones. Those doing the requesting need to be flexible and open to alternatives too!

          8. Excellent plan Patrick, makes perfect sense.
            For the sake of a few hundred metres of track, couldn’t a south-facing junction also be made east for intermittent (post-electrification to Pukekohe) Pukekohe-Manukau services (as I understand it, the overloading of the Southern Line really only occurs north of this point)?

            Nick, are we to trust the experts who only provided for single track for the Mangere bridge duplication, and then again didn’t provide for proper double track for the Kirkbride Road underpass? (I thought the idea of this blog and CBT and Gen0 was that the experts can’t be trusted, they have to be yelled at (i.e., “nudged”).)

  1. Why would Auckland intensify when the govt will subsidise our inefficient sprawl?


    In which NZers piss and whinge about spending money on a social safety net for ‘dole bludgers’, all the while getting their unaffordable lifestyle paid for by other people.

    Zero vision, the status quo will be it. I see the future now; shitty, ugly, sad, fat suburbs for hours in all directions, all stuck in traffic, all wondering how it happened, but all certain that they are living the quarter acre kiwi dream with their weedy lawns and overgrown rock gardens that they get to see on weekends (when they are not in a carpark traffic jam at the new a handy mall just a few km away (in Hamilton or Whangerei)).

    They sure as shit won’t be able to drive into the CBD – I’ll be here making sure they can’t – the refuge in a sea of shit.

    1. The government isn’t doing this, this all Auckland council. Auckland is spending $17billion to create sprawling exurbia.

        1. NZTA are currently spending $268m widening the Southern Motorway. Obviously AT don’t think this is going to help, so are planning to spend what will be billions on a bypass road.

          1. A bypass of a motorway! That’s a novel idea (or, as economists would say when they’re being catty, “heroic”).
            Motorways in the UK started being built as bypasses of congested arterial roads, now AT want to build arterial roads to bypass congested motorways. Wow. Irony.
            But seriously, will they never learn?

        2. If you read the releases without an understanding of costs you’d think that we are about to spend a fortune on PT solutions, and a tiny bit on roads. The quote you have for north makes it sound it’s all about RTN and some trivial road improvements. The later will be where the costs are.

        3. We wouldn’t be needing robust coverage to extremis exurban growth, if our Auckland Council had not decided to outsource suburban growth to the extremes.

          We could be just adding outwards from existing Auckland infrastructure and have the added bonus of not creating infrastructure for a century’s worth of new sprawl. Each of these exurbs are centres allowing future sprawl to leapfrog out to and around.

      1. Go back to the top and re-read it. It is an Auckland Transport and NZTA consultation. So yes, government are involved.

  2. “Creating well connected and accessible urban areas”

    By making massive exurbs totally unconnected to urban areas, that merely exist to create anchor points for another century of sprawl?

  3. When I was at the South consultation and asked about electrification to Pukekohe – I was told the reason it was not included was that it was assumed to be happening regardless and as such didn’t need to be consulted on.
    All the proposals assumed the electrification had already been happened – and the consultation was on was happened next.

  4. As always, short-sighted proposal. Havent they already figured out that cars are not the future? This old age thinking will again hinder Auckland from its full potential.

  5. Quick review of the thing called the internet and you find a previous article posted on transport blog from 2010.

    yes we have grown in size since then both population and urban sprawl, but compared to how the rest of the world is doing, we aren’t in a horrible place, we are sitting relatively well. So yes improvements to all forms of transport are needed – I would say more so in the public realm, but don’t just let the private vehicle form stagnate and breakdown – and that’s part of this. making sure that the reason the first items on the proposals are all PT related shouldn’t just be a PR stunt to show “sustainable decisions” by the council but rather the public and private view that we NEED better PT in Auckland.

    also of note this research report,d.dGY

    in saying all this – why is Penlink really a thing, surely there is multiple alternatives to building a new highway to a congestion centre ?

    1. Because more and more housing is being built there and in the overall HBC area. This is putting massive strain not only on Whangaparaoa Road but also on the surrounding roads (HBC Hwy causing congestion for other residents in the area). It is not just a matter that there is more development to go, the fact is that Penlink should have been built years ago.
      Some examples of planned new developments:
      (200-300 apartments)
      (60 town houses).
      Then there is Gulf Harbour and Army Bay which both have the ability for thousands of new residents. Much of the Peninsula has not been sub-divided (due to infrastructure concerns – roading and wastewater primarily) so there is potential for thousands more residents from that also.

        1. It’ll be fine. For a couple of years. And then there will be the inevitable calls to upgrade Whangaparaoa Rd as it will be congested still, but in a different way. The problem will be the junction where east and west traffic come together. By then the tail on SH1 in the morning will be past Oteha Valley Rd.

          1. It already is past Oteha Valley Road many mornings.
            Either way that’s going to grow but at least with Penlink the average journey time for someone on the peninsula will be 10-15 minutes less than without it. I don’t know many pieces of infrastructure anywhere in Auckland that can reduce average journey times by 10-15 minutes for thousands of people….
            That’s not even counting making the actual area more productive for those that work in the area who currently have to sit in traffic with commuters.

          2. If there’s lots of people who will benefit by a large amount then the tolling should be sufficient to pay for it.

            Oh wait … so tell me why we should subsidize this particular piece of road infrastructure given the limited (in the context of Auckland’s growth) development potential of Whangaraparoa peninsula?

          3. That 10-15 minute time saving will be eroded very quickly. Building a busway along Whangaparaoa Rd will create a long term solution and give consistent travel times right into the city.

          4. And yet the rest of Auckland gets infrastructure without having tolls on it Stu. Penlink is going to be tolled do what is your problem? Yes the toll is going to be at a reasonably affordable level so that people can afford it… Or is that your problem? Can’t have people that can’t afford million dollar homes in Auckland central having infrastructure? How Elitist of you.
            Let’s put it another way… Whangaparaoa peninsula is more populated than Papakura yet has 1 road in/out. Papakura has 2 highways and plenty of other smaller roads. It also has rail. HBC is rapidly growing.

          5. Hi Bruce,

            I’m aware Penlink will be tolled. Even with tolls the project is estimated to leave a funding shortfall of approximately $141 million. I’m also aware that Whangaparoa peninsula is expected to grow by approximately 10,000 households by 2041, which means Penlink would impose a net cost (on Council / NZTA ) of $14,100 per additional household.

            I’m glad you mention Papakura: I note that the areas to the south of Papakura are expected to grow by 54,000 dwellings over the next 30 years. I think you’ll find that when you exclude many of the planned road improvements, e.g. Mill Rd, which this blog has questioned, the costs of meeting growth down south is much less than Penlink.

            Basically, the blog has consistently opposed fast-tracking road upgrades in lieu of developing Auckland’s underdeveloped public transport network first. In the case of the south, that means extending electrification and frequent service to Pukekohe (with a couple of new stations and P&R in between), which is expected to cost say $200m, or $4k per additional household. In the case of the north, the blog has advocated for extending the Northern Busway north and improving connections with local services, e.g. via the Silverdale bus interchange.

            The key thing is that we think PT upgrades should be prioritized ahead of road upgrades. This is not to say that Penlink might make sense in 2020, once the PT upgrades have occurred. Do I support construction on Penlink starting now? No. Might I support construction starting in, say, 10 years time? Perhaps.

          6. Thing is Stu, even if it got the go ahead today it probably wouldn’t get underway for at least 2 years which takes us to 2018 so only 2 year short of 2020. It would take a couple of years to build also so the funding wouldn’t be needed immediately. And yes the tolls won’t cover it all but at least half of it is unlike every other roaring project. It is not just for the 10,000 newbies either. The existing residents will benefit massively from it as will businesses on the coast.

          7. Yes existing residents will be benefit but same applies to electrification to puke. Indeed I suspect there’s a lot more potential catchment south (which could be collected with p&r) than there is north. So if you’re looking at wider benefits then penlink doesn’t rate very highly compared to other projects.

            Again my take on it: 1) not a terrible project if it was integrated with pt improvements but 2) quite expensive and not a strategic priority right now.

  6. I think this all doesn’t look too bad. I could moan about the overuse of roads too, but the reality is in the more rural areas people will use cars. I’m a pro HR rail person but can see building a kick arse road with bus lanes through to Huapai would provide more catchment where the rail line misses. I’m slightly impressed they actually did prefer stations in both the Drury areas and Paerata, though seems a no brainer.

  7. There is a great deal to be concerned about here. I suspect this whole business is simply to rubber stamp business as usual for our road/sprawl minded wings of our agencies. Here’s why it musn’t be so: Booms like we are currently will shape the next chunk of the city for half a century or more. Once the infrastructure is committed that will drive the urban form: in particular its level of auto-dependency. To be building more autodependent suburbia now is a huge mistake, likely leading to stranded assets at the next correction. So how to proceed?

    First the quality PT systems must be not only vaguely planned now (not just ‘futureproofed’) but actually built BEFORE the need, before form of the new suburbs are determined on a driving access only model. Then real TOD town centres can develop. And terrace and apartments with all social amenity in walking distance can reasonably be expected to work: around the stations.

    Form follows transport.

    1. +1

      Hear hear!

      (Hopefully someone in AT/AC is listening to the evidence of international experience over many many decades, as concisely put by Patrick here.)

  8. Thanks Matt. If it wasn’t for Transport Blog, this consultation would be completely unknown. But then my guess is that was what was hoped for.

    1. Bryce that’s shocking 4 parallel highways up north!? And why does SH16 need a parallel route; are these highways hopeless? How many billions can be saved by building and serving fast, frequent, and direct RTN routes paralleling the existing vast highways instead?

      1. Holy crap. I missed SH16. That’s 10 northbound lanes from Auckland to the North. Without 6 laning SH1 or an additional arterial! If built, that is 14 lanes to Silverdale from Auckland. ROFL

  9. Upgrade Dairy Flat Hwy, Upgrade East Coast Rd, 6 lane SH1 AND build a new north – south road? That’s 12 lanes (or more if the ‘upgrades include more lanes) of north – south roading. To go to the same places. What on earth are they smoking?

    1. Extend the busway/RTN to another fkn paddock (Park n ride) at Grand Drive? Whatever happened to taking RTN’s right to where actual people are, not just to where they can drive to? This is lunacy.

      1. Because half of the people who fill up the Park n Rides are coming from places like Puhoi and Warkworth! There aren’t many spaces leftover by the time locals get there. Local buses would be great but they don’t go everywhere or very frequently and as we can see new clusterf*ck subdivisions with completely retarded street layouts like Millwater are still being built. On the edge of the urban boundary in a satellite part of the city it makes sense to use relatively cheap land for park n rides. In places like Takapuna – not so much.

        1. So extend bus services to those areas. NEX stations need to get into areas where people can walk or easily ride to the stations. Rather than following SH1, the busway needs to run down Hibiscus Coast Hwy, to Orewa. An actual destination. And add a busway along Whangaparaoa Rd to connect to a station at Silverdale town centre.

          1. +1

            Yes, that would make much more sense (and is what I naturally thought was what they would be proposing).

  10. Getting the RTN’s sorted should be P1

    Express services would have less frequecy at first but if done at same time as CRL doesn’t matter. 35 min to CBD from Puke would get massive long run patronage. The service would be all stop to Homai and express the rest. 4tph express at peak post CRL still leaves 8tph to Newmarket plus ota to puh you have 12tph eastern as well. My system long run would be 2tph starting Pokeno and 2tph starting waikiu all stops to Homai then express down third main.

    Northwest I think should be LRT down centre of SH16 using retrofitted existing flyovers upgraded flyovers to provide access plus interchange. Easy to also extend to huipai or consti via SH18.

    North: Driverless Metro would be best however I would use LRT and link it to NW LRT using Sh1 to Whangaporoa extensions could be Glenfield or Taka-Devonport creating a LRT network reaching most of the North and NW in 30 years. For CBD the LRT can street run or we could build a tunnel so choice.

    1. How are these express services going to operate given the lack of any provision to pass stopping services? Absent 2 new express tracks (the planned third main is not going to cut it) the best they can manage is an improvement in travel time of the current interval between existing all stops trains less 1 to 2 minutes. The line from Paerata to Waiuku is low-speed single track and is around 25 km in length. Putting aside freight trains on the line and the private ownership of the Glenbrook-Waiuku section, an express passenger service of 2 tph would require a train to cover 50 km in around 25 minutes allowing for stops at Waiuku, Glenbrook, Patumahoe and maybe Helvetia. Not feasible with the current track arrangements. A passing loop could be built at Patumahoe but that sort of operation isn’t really compatible with the objectives of an express service so that leaves double tracking. It’s all possible but at considerable cost.

        1. Considering trains run to Pukekohe with a population of around 30k and Waiuku has around 10k, it’s probably not out of the question to continue the diesel shuttles further out. I beat a large number of cars commute into the city or south thereof already, clogging the southern motorway.

          1. That’s going the wrong way and creates yet another branch. What a really expensive service to operate. Buses from Waiuku to Pukekohe, or another station, is far more viable.

  11. Small problem with electrics to Pokeno – it’s in the Waikato, so you would have to get the Waikato authorities to come to the party – good luck.

  12. Third main would cut it because it’s peak direction only at peak only.

    1. I’d only have to stop at Waiuku park and ride works here.
    2. its a long term plan 30 years not a tomorrow plan it has a track that can be electrified and adding one passing loop can work as its 2tph at peak not 12tph.
    3. Upgrading the track their means we can have more greenfield their rather than places like Walkworth etc.
    4. The private railway is an attraction mostly running on the weekend 2tph 6-9ish @ 4-7ish weekdays won’t annoy them especially if the track and stations get an upgrade.
    Pokeno is easy AC and Government go to Pokeno if you join Auckland you can get the trains. Waikato comes to the party or Pokeno will no doubt join AC due to it becoming more Auckland Focused over time.

    1. The whole of the North Island should become the Auckland Super City! Seriously though, I think Pokeno should of been part of Auckland, pretty “Aucklandish” even years ago.

    2. The third main is for freight trains only, to separate them from the subbies. It is not available for express passenger trains, because then where would the freights go?

      And why would the Glenbrook *Vintage* Railway want its track and stations upgraded?

      1. Because its for a few hours a day 6-9 & 4-7 & it would only really effect non peak direction freight traffic. Until Homai the express trains would use the existing double track transferring to third main after. Once on the third main it runs express so freight trains going the same direction wont get caught up, only freight in the opposite direction would.

        Also there is suggestions that westfield to wiri should be quad tracked anyway which removes the issue. The budget for the third main according to the ITP all the way to Papakura is 520m with Westfield to Wiri being the easiest part as no traffic level crossings or tunnels plus lots of rail reserve. Being conservative it would cost 600-620 million to third main plus add the quad between westfield junction & wiri junction. So for 750 million you could have electrification to Puke including extra trains & stations at Drury & Pareta, fully segregated freight + express services that could do Puke to CBD in 35 odd mins a bargain really, I would work this to open around same time as CRL 2021-22 meaning it requires just over 100m budged each year.

        Because the station & track don’t have to be done up modern, they just have to be done up. You can upgrade the station while keeping with the historical character, same with the track, with them upgraded they will have more money in their pocket to spend on the trains and staff which I guarantee they will support. Also I believe Kiwirail still own the track they just lease it.

        1. You may be able to fit a freight train counter movement through the gap into & out of Southdown between the trains as it takes 16 mins to clear westfield to homai on the current southern line including those awful dwell time stops & line speed restrictions, so an express new track would be less. If we changed express to 3tph then the 20min gap makes it easy if no quad track.

        2. Some facts for you:

          1. “only a few hours a day” is precisely when freight and passenger demands conflict, and resolving these conflicts is the sole reason for the third main;
          2. EMUs and freight trains have very different operating characteristics (eg freights have a lower top speed and slower acceleration and braking), so would still get in each other’s way even if running in the same direction;
          3. in the evening peak, southbound express trains would have to cross the northbound track twice on each trip, thereby reducing northbound capacity (counter peak, but needed for stock balancing purposes);
          4. the GVR owns all its infrastructure – KiwiRail has no interest in it;
          5. all Auckland stations have things like departure screens and Hop card readers, which I very much doubt that GVR would see as an “upgrade” to its carefully restored vintage facilities;
          6. you can “guarantee” GVR’s support? Sorry, but you really are in fantasyland there.

          1. Resolving these conflicts are important because we are running 12tph each way between Westfield junction & Wiri Junction with it likely to be 28 tph all stop services (though three would terminate in Otahuhu as part of the cross town purple line) each way after the CRL. That is completely different than talking 3-4 tph one direction only, Kiwirail were not asking seriously for third mains in 2000 when passenger trains were running low freqs. Southdown is really the primary concern because eventually this Government and 100% the next will develop a proper national port strategy and POA will not be high on the list, it will be moving to Thames, POT or Marsden.

            Freight has lower top speeds because of 40 year old rolling stock, any new freight vehicles procured could be designed for 110km/h line speed same as EMU’s. In fact there has been many reports about upgrading narrow gauge track for above 100 km/h freight. Your argument was that express trains would get in the way of freight trains not freight trains in the way of express which is what your point is above says, if the express has to slow to 80km/h on parts of track still better than all stops at around same anyway.

          2. Wrong since my plan is for post CRL when through movements are easy, an Express train in the morning can just change with a flick of a button into a Western Line at Brit or a Western Line etc. into a Express. A few counter peak all stop services since it can still stay at high frequencies become the next expresses.
            It doesn’t matter if Kiwirail have an interest in it,

            AT just need to ask Kiwirail to add it to the track lease agreement Kiwirail won’t turn down the money. The stations, railyard & trains are owned by GVR but the land & most of the tracks I believe are still state owned not privately owned. The mission bush branch has heavy steel trains running on it. Why would GVR basically a rail enthusiasts society object to 2 tph and AT paying lease/upgrade parts of their track & stations if keeping with historical character. What is the downside to them most of their business is school holidays & they open at 10 So what would GVR lose? If by chance & tbh may be easier if they put up a fight we just put a station on the Mission Bush branch near the steel works and put a massive PNR/Bus Interchange like Hibiscus Coast Station which they can’t do anything about since that line is state owned. GVR is Glenbrook to Victoria Ave (Waiku). They don’t need departure screens its not a law that says they are needed, anybody with phone connected to the internet can look at the real time board times anyway. You can put an old fashion looking time table up. Hop Card Machines can be put in the parking lot behind the Victoria Ave Station so not to interfere with the character.

          3. Harriet, the third main is planned to run as far north as Westfield. If your 35 minute Pukekohe-CBD express services were to use it (and that is debatable) they could overtake stopping trains between Homai and Westfied. The current schedules show that as 16 minutes. allowing for a safe separation distance the best that will realistically be achieved is that one stopping service will be overtaken (10 minute gain) plus maybe catching up with the next stopping service post Westfield (7 minute gain). Assume that Pukekohe-Papakura is electrified but stops added at Wesley and Drury. Currently scheduled for 20 minutes including 5 minutes to change at Papakura. Let’s be generous and say a 5 minute gain and let’s assume that there the express services get priority at the Junctions at Manukau and the 2 junctions (third main back to northbound and Eastern/Southern) . Add up the gains and it is 22 minutes (and that is being optimistic) better than the present 1 hour 20 minutes ie. 58 minutes…so where does your 35 minutes come from? And that is assuming that they go to Britomart and no further.

            Where do these trains go once they get to the CBD? With the section of third main that they use essentially being run as a tidal flow the would presumably return to Pukekohe under the stopping train timetable so around 2 hours 20 minutes after setting off on the first express service (allowing for reversing at each end) they would be ready for the next service. Assume the first at 6.15 and that train will be back for another express service at 8.35 getting to Britomart at 9.33…not so popular I think. In essence each train would achieve one express service in the morning and maybe 2 in the evening. Seems like poor equipment and crew utilisation (ie. expensive) for a 22 minute saving and a negative impact on the stopping services (since they would not get priority at the above-mentioned junctions) and freight trains.

          4. To reliably run express trains south at the peaks I suspect at least four tracks on the NIMT to Westfield and a third on the eastern line would be required. But then remember PoAL are proposing to greatly increase the number of freighters between Quay Park and Wiri and beyond, so maybe even three on the eastern wouldn’t be sufficient, unless all freight traffic is suspended during the express service period?

            Which perhaps is doable; AT have proposed 3tph express services, over what I assume is a 2 hour period each end of the day? So that’s 4 hours out of 24 for expresses to use the additional track and 20 for the exclusive use of KR for their freighters. It isn’t clear to me why KR run anything in the peak of the peak, other than it presumably suits them and they have little interest in passenger services?

            Rail experts want to comment on that model? Seem reasonable?

            A post CRL proposed running pattern from AT, showing express trains:

          5. Harriet: so your proposal is simple – all we have to do is upgrade KiwiRail’s entire common-user freight fleet (both new and old) from 80km/h to 110km/h; buy back the GVR (KiwiRail owns none of it); suspend the laws of physics over the rates of acceleration of heavy freight trains, and over northbound and southbound trains crossing each other on the level without affecting each other – and Bob’s your uncle!

            PR: KR is contracted to supply paths to AT. Freight and passenger paths conflict on the Southern Line because of the needs of the respective ultimate customers (passenger and freight), so KR is building the third main to allow its freight trains to operate without that constraint. Reinstating that constraint by denying KR access to its own third main would be a whole new ball game, potentially jeopardising freight traffic (KR’s core business) on its busiest sector. That’s not to say it would be impossible, but the potential ramifications across the network of such scope creep could well be significant. I would expect the depth of analysis, the length of any negotiations and any consideration involved to reflect that.

          6. Yes, indeed, but things do change, even in the railway world. One thing that could easily happen is that PoT could be persuaded to move their MetroPort further South, or indeed may choose to do so in order to get a larger less constrained site.

            In fact it is beyond me why we are spending $1.85 billion on an otherwise entirely unnecessary and destructive new motorway [East West] instead of just using a fraction of this figure to buy PoT a brand new facility south of the city.

            PoAL is harder destination to shift therefore a third main to Quay Park looks just as necessary if we are to run more freighters to and from there.

            But still is it really beyond KR to run all their trains in the 20 hours out of 24 that are not the passenger peaks? Haven’t seen a good answer to that yet.

          7. PB: “is it really beyond KR to run all their trains in the 20 hours out of 24 that are not the passenger peaks?” Why should they, when freight is their core business (and this line is the busiest part of that business), and the provision of access for other operators very much secondary. Would you expect Fonterra to willingly agree restrictions on access to milk, hydro companies restrictions on access to water, TVNZ or Radio NZ restricted access to the airwaves at peak times? If not, why would you expect KiwiRail to do similar?

            Talk about the tail wagging the dog!

          8. Wrong the third main is planned between POA and Papakura not just to Westfield.

            The Kiwirail rolling stock average age is over 30-40 years we are going to have to replace it eventually. Also as I have already said 80km/h expresses is better than less than 80km/h all stop services.

            Kiwirail isn’t building the third main at the moment they are begging AT for money because they can’t afford it. The third main would likely be partially paid by AT and MOT so we have the right to some use.

            Kiwi owns the land and PART of the track GVR built the Victoria Ave extension, I also said which you have ignored we can build the station on the mission Bush branch which GVR have no control over if GVR don’t want to work with AT

            I answered this question CRL allows through running. When the express reaches Brit it becomes a Swanson or Onehunga service. Since expresses won’t run counter peak but we will still have the 12tph counter all stops running. Since only 8-9tph is running counter peak the other trains can become the new expresses.

            Sorry 35mins should be Papakara not Puke still the time savings are massive.

            Thanks for being so condescending though Mike typical kiwi it seems to be the culture here always the attitude of how things can’t be done and heaven forbid we have to work around things can’t push anyone’s buttons they might email the herald. This negativity this country has is the thing we need to change first because until the debate becomes how we can do things not how we can’t this country will stay the country of small idea whingers.

            Agree Patrick the quad track should be done it’s an extra hundred million the cost of a single flyover or 1/30th of our yearly defence budget.

          9. And this is how rail declined, failing to understand that it’s just a service for the community not an end in itself. Why should they? Think about it. Rail is hardly even the tip of the tail; it certainly isn’t the dog!

          10. Sorry, Patrick, but KiwiRail is charged with making a profit from the railway. It is not about providing a service to the community, except when someone else pays and it can do it without prejudicing its core business. I’m sure you’re aware that KiwiRail’s directors legally have to act in the best interests of their shareholders.

            It may well be that KiwiRail should be the very different body that would focused on about providing a service, in which case it would have to be asking which would be the more important service to provide, meeting Auckland’s commuter needs or the country’s freight needs. KiwiRail does (and must) currently judge this on the costs and benefits to KR itself – it has no other option.

            So the last paragraph in my posting of 4.26pm will continue to apply until someone changes the rules – and that can’t be KiwiRail.

          11. Harriet:
            1. KR is already replacing its freight rolling stock and locomotive fleet, all with 80km/h equipment. It seems highly unlikely to me that ratepayers and taxpayers would be prepared to spend many, many millions for the sake of increasing the speed over a short stretch of line, and imagine how long such an upgrade would take! (And, of course, a 110km/h timetable would work only if all equipment to be used on the line had been upgraded.)
            2. For the third time, KiwiRail owns none of the GVR’s track, and I’m pretty sure none of the land it occupies either.
            3. I didn’t comment on your idea of an Hibiscus Coast-type station at Mission Bush because I don’t think it warrants any comment.
            4. You still haven’t explained how southbound expresses crossing the northbound line twice each would avoid reducing the capacity of the latter (which counter peak will be carrying up to 21tph, not 8-9tph – see the diagram in PR’s 1221 response) – the CRL is irrelevant to this.

          12. I think we can agree on that, Patrick – and it’s they who need to provide the strategic environment within which such trade offs can be decided. Are you holding your breath?

          13. “But still is it really beyond KR to run all their trains in the 20 hours out of 24 that are not the passenger peaks? Haven’t seen a good answer to that yet.”

            Patrick, parking up trains to wait until after the peak results in poor utilisation of rolling stock. To use the old addage – time is money.

            It’s the freights that are driving the economy and keeping trucks off the road, whilst the suburban passenger trains require millions in subsidies, so be thankful the passenger trains get priority.

            In regards to the third main, it still has no funding. If any funding is ever made available, it’ll be spent on Wiri-Middlemore only. Papakura-Wiri, and Otahuhu-POA probably won’t happen for a long time, unless funded as part of the CRL supplementary projects package that KiwiRail has warned AC to ignore at its peril.

            As for the need for four tracks eventually, I agree. Unfortunately the proposed Orakei Point development only leaves space for three. Something maybe TransportBlog could take up as an issue worth lobbying for (space for four tracks that is)?

          14. Oh Geoff how you let your passion and nostalgia for rail cloud your understanding. Rail freight, like road freight, is subsidised too. And while it is indeed preferable to road freight where possible, that can never be at any cost. The fact remains that all transport is quite literally a means to an end, and that end is the continuing success of society in the boardest terms. To that end the maximum utilisation of our transport networks is a key efficiency, so whether the foamers are happy or not the shared use of our little rail network by both freight and passenger trains is vital. And this means as efficiently as possible. It appears KR do yield the Eastern line to AT at the peaks, while still running a few freighters to Metroport (Westfield) using, or soon to use, the nearly complete 3rd main.

            I still maintain we need 4 tracks to Westfield and 3 to the port, to increase the frequencies of both systems. And, of course, smart cooperation between the two users.

          15. Patrick, if I were into making such personal remarks I could say that your passion for Auckland’s passenger rail transport is blinding you to the potential wider effects on freight. There’s no hard evidence yet either way about whether use of the third main by passenger expresses wold actually be worth doing, particularly considering the resulting loss in contra-peak capacity, and (unmentioned so far, I think) how the third main would need to be modified at the complex tangle at its northern end to be accessible by passenger trains as well as freights, or equipping the third main with ETCS and overhead.

            Freight and passenger trains have been sharing infrastructure for over 100 years, as have cars, bikes and buses. Many cities, including Auckland, have decided that separation at key locations in both of these cases is desirable. If for the sake of efficiency (whatever that means in this context) you want to turn the clock back with respect to train separation, doesn’t the same apply to bike- and bus-specific use of transport infrastructure?

            And did you really mean to say “it is indeed preferable to road freight wherever possible”, or is Freud alive and well and living in Auckland?

          16. The debate is stupid because we all believe in quad tracking which is chump change anyway.

            I believe we can work it with just the third if we have to with a little positive innovative thinking.

            I’m going to end my role in this thread section because you just seem to be overally negative not being very contructive. Easy to attack a point harder to actually like Patrick does for example add and come up with ideas of your own.

            Also loved the line about personal remarks then you made one about Patrick. It’s a bit like going no offence you are a C**t but I said no offence so it’s ok lol

          17. “Oh Geoff how you let your passion and nostalgia for rail cloud your understanding”

            You’re a condescending one aren’t you?

            No, KiwiRail’s freight trains are not directly subsidised. The company makes an operating profit each year. 100% “farebox recovery” so to speak.

            You mention maximum efficiency of the overall network should be the goal, yet you also insinuate that freights should yeild to suburban passenger trains. That’s hardly efficient when you consider the ramifications to NZ Inc of holding up major supply chains in New Zealand’s largest city, and greatly lowering asset utilisation.

            If AT are concerned about freight trains, then perhaps it’s time for them to bring some funding to the third main project? KiwiRail put up their share some time back, but are still awaiting AT’s contribution. It might even be too late – wouldn’t surprise me if KiwiRail reallocated the funding after being made to wait so long.

          1. Northbound won’t be effected since the express trains are express on the 3rd main, and won’t run on the third main until wiri as can just run on the existing double track till Homai as its all stops at that point. they will be faster than the freight so if anything the freight will slow down the express slightly not the other way round.

            The only concern is counter movement from Southdown which is possible to work into the timetable due to the spacing between the express.

  13. I think Auckland, Tauranga and Hamilton should become its own country. Hamilton can have the capital and Tauranga can have the superport. Electric tilt trains running 160kmh between the three cities.

    1. One other thing to keep in mind: while freight is KRs largest source of income nationally, I’ve never seen income broken down regionally. In auckland’s case i understand AT pay KR $30million in track access fees per annum. I also understand this makes AT one of KRs largest customers. I don’t know how much freight business KR does in Auckland, but I’d be interested in the comparison. Basically i don’t think the contribution of akls passenger rail services to KRs bottom line is as negligible as sometimes made out. But happy to be proven wrong by someone who is closer to the figures!

      1. For a regional breakdown of rail freight, see, p36, which shows that in terms of tonne km the Auckland region is by far the largest single generator (over a quarter of the national total) and the second-largest receiver of freight, and the largest generator and third-largest receiver of inter-regional freight in terms of tonnes. Southdown is also KiwiRail’s largest freight terminal, and KiwiRail’s main growth area is the Auckland/Hamilton/Tauranga Golden Triangle.

        So how much freight business does KR do in Auckland? Lots – much more than $30m pa.

          1. Sorry Patrick, but your logic baffles me. Why is income derived from providing and maintaining infrastructure any better or worse quality (whatever that means in this context) than income derived from running trains? What information do you have on their respective profitability?

            Whatever, for the infrastructure owner Auckland passenger trains are of regional significance, freight trains of national (and greater financial) significance. How the tensions that that creates are resolved is currently entirely up to KiwiRail and ultimately its owners – whether you like it or not!

          2. Because crossing regional lines increases the significance. Under your logic a road between Nelson and Blenheim is more important than the CRL because it serves more regions.

            Financial debatable economic maybe not

            Patrick’s point is valid under AT they only have to maintain infra/signalling the latter which they should be fired for because the they have set terrible limits that AT & CAF have to fix. Outside Auckland they need to maintain rolling stock, infra, drivers etc.

            So yes AT pays less but the overheads are less so profitability can be the same or even higher.

            Kiwirail’s owners are the government and the quicker the tracks are given to the a reformed NZTA which works on economic business cases not financial ones which can invest in any mode and Kiwirail just owns the trains the better. Even Kiwirail want bridges to do this which he quietly supports + the opposition defs support it.

          3. “But Mike that’s $30 mil (or whatever) without KR having to run a single train. That’s a different quality of income. Turnover is one thing but profitability is another.”

            The freight trains are not just earning money for KR, they are earning money for NZ Inc.

          4. Geoff you may not believe in cities or the urban economy but they do have significant value too to the country as a whole. The 60k people moved on a weekday on the AKL rail network help keep the city’s and therefore the country’s economy working in much the same way as the stuff moved on the freighters. Both movements enable the road networks to be freer of vehicles and therefore function. And yes I do think it is obvious that these two uses of our rail needs to be intelligently shared, and what do you know they largely are. It appears that freighters aren’t run to PoAL during the peaks, and the nearly completed 3rd main will obviously assist movements to and from Metro port with less conflict with other services.

            On the real issues I don’t think we disagree: all our rail networks have been unwisely starved of investment for decades and the potential to exploit the rail right of ways for all possible uses is frustrated by operational constraints that this limitation imposes. So specifically in AKL more track is needed on these contested routes.

          5. “It appears that freighters aren’t run to PoAL during the peaks”

            There’s four trains a day for Tapper Transport, and six a day for Conlinxx, and they are all local shuttles, not general freight services requiring schedules that suit multiple customers, nor have to factor in such things as meeting the ferries in Wellington.

            The 40+ freights a day south of Otahuhu is a whole different ball game, and they are already held up by the passenger trains. Let’s not make it worse for them.

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