Next week Auckland’s busiest rail line will finally have its frequencies improved to match the two other main lines in the region. The Western Line will change to services every 10 minutes at peak and every 20 minutes between the peaks which is an improvement from the 15/30 timetable we have at the moment. Early mornings, evenings and weekends remain at only 30 minute frequencies.

As a Western Line user I see first-hand how full the trains often get during both the peaks and off peaks, especially west of Grafton. In addition it’s also particularly noticeable how much more useful 10 minute peak services are when standing on a platform at Britomart having just missed a service and jealously watching multiple services arrive and depart on the Eastern and Southern lines.

May-16 Timetable poster

The improvement has been a long time coming after increases were originally promised to occur back in 2010 to coincide with the completion of double tracking of the western line. But that promise quietly disappeared – for what I understand are a variety of reasons such as there not being enough trains, signalling/junction limitations etc. In fact I understand there are still a number of people within AT/Transdev/Kiwirail who don’t want to see any improvement as they are concerned that Newmarket and the line between there and Britomart can’t cope.

I certainly hope that whatever issues there are but the best long term solution is of course the CRL which will mean that Western Line trains no longer need to clog up a platform at Newmarket while they clumsily turn around each trip.

It also appears AT are making a slight redesign to the timetable including just showing departures at peak as times past the hour rather than every individual service. This is something common in timetables in many cities.

May-16 Timetable western line

One thing that isn’t clear yet is just how much capacity this timetable change will add, if any. Currently most services at peak are 6-car trains however if they need to split some of those up to provide the frequency there won’t be any capacity gain.

There are a few disappointments with the timetable however.

  • There are a few positive/negative changes on trips between some stations but they largely balance themselves out, the one exception is between Britomart and Newmarket where an extra minute has been added. I understand one reason for this is to be consistent with the Southern and Onehunga line trains.
  • There is still no attempt to speed up services, especially at Newmarket where the driver end change is scheduled to take four minutes.
  • There is no change to the hours services run with the last service on weekdays still departing the city just after 10pm and still only terminating at Henderson

AT have been suggesting in the reports to their board that another new timetable is due next year for all lines which is when they’ll start making improvements to travel times. Presumably that’s also when they’ll make changes to improve interpeak frequencies which are required to be improved to match what AT have promised for the new network which goes live in South Auckland in October.

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  1. I am going to trial the train; I think door-to-station train-to-town town-to-work will be a little bit longer than the bus – but we shall see. I am pretty ruthless about this sort of thing. A minute or two, fine, 5 minutes, no

    1. Ride a bike to the station, then you can downhill Grafton/Mt Eden to wok. Morning will be about 20 minutes quicker than train + walk I think.

      1. Got over-excited at 10 min frequencies. I’d have to catch the 5:27; I’m a 20 minute walk to the station. Nope, not with a bus just 5mins walk away and more frequent

          1. The new trains are a lot nicer to spend time on however. So noticeable with the horrible bus I took from the airport to Papatoetoe Station last week. The bus was stuck in traffic the whole way (20b so overdue buslanes) but also one of the rumpiest ones of the fleet, bone shaking the whole way. So if the time is comparable, I know what I’d be choosing.

          2. Agreed Patrick (take trains on weekends when time less important) but…
            20 mins walk to station + 15 min or so from Britomart to work vs. 5 mins to bus stop and 5 mins from bus stop to work
            bring on the CRL
            And park and ride at new lynn…

          3. There is park and ride at New Lynn, right on top of the station. A bargain at less than 50c an hour!

          4. Although if you are catching the 5.27 then you could easily park around Fruitvale Rd or something. There is a mountain of unused parking capacity within minutes walk of many suburban stations.

          5. “8. The editors decide what is acceptable. We reserve the right to delete comments and suspend accounts as we see fit. Grounds for suspension include (but are not limited to):

            i. Obsessive arguing in a thread or threads

            ii. Repeated statements without supporting evidence”

            EC your comments about park and ride breach both of these user guidelines. Not to mention that they are really, really boring.

        1. Just curious Early, why are you ignoring all the suggestions to bike to the station and/or from Grafton? If you are leaving that early anyway, there’ll be good space on the train to accommodate your bike in the morning. What time of day do you head home?

  2. Looking foward for the next timetable next year.

    The success of New lynn TOD depends on the train service.

    At the moments the retail opposite to the train station are vancant, and people still need a car. I envision once the train and transit gets better, new lynn will be more vibrant.

  3. iirc the board papers posted recently stated “… the opening of Parnell station with the proposed early 2017 Timetable upgrade.”

  4. On the upside the regular timing pattern means users really won’t ever need a timetable again, at least at the peaks.

    If Newmarket really is too tight for full all day 6tph + O-line services then with the opening of Parnell consideration could be given to most western line services skipping NM station. Say a pattern of 4 direct to city and 2 or even 4 terminating at NM. Just pre-CRL. I know that it’s not just the station but the junction but intuitively this could work. And speed up journey times for the city considerably, more than making up for the addition of the Parnell stop. Anyone who found themselves on a service heading to the wrong stop would have very little time to wait for a transfer.

    1. Parnell is close enough to Newmarket that I wouldn’t object to that idea. Perhaps what AT could do is have a 30min frequency (departing Swanson at :23 and :53 past the hour as per current weekend timetable) for services stopping at Newmarket and run these services to the same time all week long. Then any additional services (e.g. :03, :13, :33, :43) can skip Newmarket. This means Newmarket-bound passengers who want the direct service have a memorable timetable, and everyone else will still benefit from a turn-up-and-go service to Parnell/Britomart.

    2. I would hope so, because I’m really not looking forward to Parnell slowing down that Britomart – Newmarket run even more.

      1. Note that post-CRL southern line trains will travel via CRL and then loop back onto SE to Manukau, while the western trains will run via city and then Parnell. Basically means that the delays caused by station at Parnell will switch from the southern to western lines post-CRL.

        1. Not really the Western Line as most passengers would have got off, more the Onehunga Line that will be affected. Not a lot of trains between Britomart and Newmarket post CRL actually.

  5. 10 minutes in the peak will be great, but when are they going to improve weekends? The other lines have half-hour frequencies on weekends but the overlap in the lines means stations south of Otahuhu and north of Penrose get effectively 15-minute frequencies. (Though Pukekohe, as usual, gets the short end of the stick.) Surely they could manage three trains an hour for the west? The weekend frequencies are a real pain if I’m going somewhere that involves a transfer.

  6. Have they considered stepping back drivers at Newmarket, as happens on some other railways where trains reverse? That way the driver gets on the next train and has plenty of time to walk down the platform and trains can be away as fast as at any other station.

    1. It would basically involve rostering on two extra drivers, which wouldn’t be a trivial expense. Also it would mean the driver would be out of sync with the train and train manager, which I can’t imagine would be ideal if there was a delay somewhere and one was due a meal break or something like that. Always better to keep a crew with a single train, plane, boat etc.

      1. Keeping the crew together is simple enough, just drop the role of TM and retrain those who are interested as drivers.

      2. A poster on another forum claims that they have already seen driver swaps happening at Newmarket. Must remember to keep an eye out over the next few days…

    2. It has been considered and I think it will happen, but it will be some time (at least 9 months) before there are sufficient (any) surplus drivers to actually do it. It will only happen when the minutes saved can be reflected on all other lines to maintain synchronisation at each junction/terminus. What people may have seen already is probably trainers/supervisors/TSOs hitching a ride to or from Britomart. Crews don’t stay together all day, mainly because there are different pre/post service duties that don’t require all members of the crew, so it’s more effective to run separate rosters than to have people standing around waiting for their counterparts to do their thing.

  7. Wondering about the whole Newmarket situation. Would sending every second train directly to Britomart during peak times be possible? Almost like a “Western Line Express” service?

    1. Short answer: Yes. It could be done and would offer significant benefits to many Western Line users. But it would be at the cost of reduced connectivity with Newmarket.

    2. It would make maintaining 10-minute gaps between trains impossible. To maintain 10-minute intervals along the western line they would likely have to arrive at/leave Britomart alternating between 5 mins and 15 mins apart.

      1. One possibly could be to have some trains stop at Newmarket and skip Parnell; and other trains stop at Parnell and skip Newmarket. This could reduce the overall time difference between the two stopping patterns.

        Or perhaps simply make it so that all Western trains skip Newmarket during the times there are 10min frequencies (since the Southern/Onehunga frequencies would be sufficient so that changing at Parnell isn’t too bad). Then when it drops to 15/30min frequencies add the Newmarket stop back in.

        1. Changing at Parnell for Newmarket would work if Parnell had a centre platform, or at least a foot bridge. Unfortunately it has neither.

        2. The advantage of a train skipping Newmarket is that it can ‘overtake’ a train stopping there. Hence the Western Express can leave Britomart shortly after the Western Stopper, get ahead of it at Newmarket, and then run limited-stop to Swanson, without likelihood of getting stuck behind the previous Stopper (unless it is seriously late). At a pinch, such an express service could even be INSERTED BETWEEN 10min-freq stoppers (though may need to eliminate all Western level crossings first).

          1. There are no more slots available at Britomart now with the increase to 6ph on the Western, this will bring Britomart to it’s maximum of 20ph in each direction.

          2. @ Jezza. That is correct. Britomart in its present form would struggle to handle more than 20TPH (possibly could manage 24TPH if the 4 ‘ghost’ Onehunga-slots in every hour could be used). Theoretically it could handle 30TPH (2 minute headways arriving and departing are possible), but the need to cross the throat to access P1/P2 or depart from P4/P5 currently prevent this.

  8. Anyone know what is happening with the Parnell Station and the Newmarket Level Crossing? Why is everything moving in a snail pace.

    1. There was some info in the blog post last week about the AT board meeting – iirc there was a recent meeting with opponents about the crossing replacement and the NoR is due to go out soon, and there was mention of Parnell station opening when the timetable is revamped in early 2017. No sign of any recent work on the site…

  9. Excellent. Better really, really, really, really, really late than never.

    Disappointing that it still drops to 30 minute headways just after 7pm, though. At the very least, why not 20 minute headways, same as interpeak?

    1. Totally agree with this. I know one shouldn’t generalise from personal desires, but I do hate having to sit at morningside station for almost half an hour because my regular thursday night thing finishes 4 minutes after one train goes at 8.26, and 26 minutes before the next!

    2. You’re lucky. In 2004, evening services in Wellington were thinned out to hourly after 9pm, last departure from Wellington approx. 11pm. Prior to 2004 they ran ½-hourly right up to midnight, at least on weekdays. This change was a major blow to the usability of the service.

      1. Well, swings and roundabouts I guess. The Western Line finishes earlier, at 10pm, but it’s half-hourly until then. (Until midnight on Fridays).

        Both that and Wellington’s trains are lousy levels of night-time service, though.

    3. Train drivers are really expensive to field. AT currently spends about $48 million on drivers and general labour (ticket staff, etc) for the train system. A back of the hand calculation says that that’s about 2,500 km of frequent (10 mins) suburban bus service!!

      This is on the AT agenda, and Wellington pays only $25 million. I guess the hope is that we can approach that, and hopefully spend some savings on better frequency.

  10. So Britomart will now be a 20 trains-per-hour operation (6 South, 6 Manukau, 6 West and 2 Onehunga), in each direction? That is impressive throughput for a plain line railway (i.e. like each of the tracks in the CRL will be), but is very impressive for a terminus station with the inevitable conflicting moves at the throat of the station. If they can keep the current on-time stats, it will be a good job. I would imagine this (as well as some conflicts at Newmarket) is why the extra minute has needed to be added between Newmarket and Britomart. Given since Easter, the linespeed on the Newmarket branch has been lifted by 50% from 60 to 90km/h (for ETCS fitted trains), it won’t be train speed that is causing this slow-down.

    [Guessing] They may also be padding to allow Parnell stop to be added without big change to the timetable in the future.

  11. I was hoping for better Western line weekend connections with the Southern & Eastern lines, but no luck. Most weekends I have reason to go to Southern destinations, but connections between the lines seem to be designed to be bad as possible.
    For instance, trains from the West are scheduled to arrive at Newmarket at 5 and 35 minutes past the hour, with the connecting train South
    arriving at Newmarket at 6 and 36 minutes past the hour. The usual result is the Southbound train pulling out just as the Western train is
    pulling in, so the dumb customer has to wait another 29/30 minutes for the next service.
    Same with weekend connections for the Eastern line – the Western train is scheduled to arrive at Britomart at 16 and 46 minutes past the hour,
    with the train going East leaving at 17 and 47 minutes past the hour – we usually pass each other in the tunnel. Doesn’t matter, dumb customer
    can wait another 29/30 minutes for the next one !
    Anyone have any ideas how we fix this one ?

    1. My take is that the timetable has up-to-now been designed to facilitate on-time-performance (on which the operator is judged), rather than transferability between services, etc (for which I believe there is no performance-requirement).

    2. As a regular user of the train from Papakura to Manukau (and return) It’s often the case with the southern / eastern line transfer at Puhinui … Manukau train is pulling away from the station as the southern arrives. It’s normally only a 10 minute wait, but when you can see the train you could have caught if it had waited 30 seconds, haha it does get frustrating.

    3. The worst part of Southern/Western Connecting is how they open the train doors on to the opposite platform for connecting, meaning anyone transferring south to west has to make a mad sprint up and down the escalators.

      1. Agreed. I’d heard previously that the old trains had to have the TM’s master key in one of the doors to activate which side could open and therefore couldn’t open both sides. I would have hoped that the new trains could have been able to just open both sides at once at Newmarket for the inbound services from Onehunga and Southern Line services to enable that transfer to Western Line services. It shouldn’t be rocket science and it’d make a huge improvement to the customer experience.

  12. Great to see you guys out west are finally getting the same level of peak service we have had for the last few years. My only two selfish concerns is that they don’t pinch any of the 6-car trains I currently catch and that it doesn’t cause significant delays at Newmarket. In reality now there will be a western line train on one of the platforms at Newmarket most of the time now.

    I wonder if it would make sense for two of the Papakura trains each hour to run through Panmure instead, the Onehunga trains would still mean 10-minute frequencies could be maintained through Ellerslie.

    1. This timetable had an opportunity to do something about the 3:18 to Papakura (I notice that the Western line has peak frequency from 2:30 from next week). I hope they’ve managed to make that a six carriage train because the train is generally /already/ full at Britomart, picks up a bucket load at Newmarket, another chunk at Ellerslie and, in general, is much worse to catch in terms of business than 7:18/28/36 (although the last gets close) services to Britomart and compares unfavourably with five o’clock trains to Papakura as well.

      Two years ago this wasn’t really a problem as the GI Papakura trains split the Britomart passengers across (iirc) the 3:20 and 3:30. I think returning at least one Panmure/GI Papakura train to operation at around 3-30pm (3:08-ish?) could work to avoid this.

      Alternatively, a six carriage train resolves the problem. (I don’t catch this train everyday, so possibly one runs some days of the week already.)

      It’s just so obvious as well at that a train after three is going to be busy.

  13. The 7-7 mon-Sunday minimum 15 min freq onehunga line excluded will defs be 2017 when most of the new network has rolled out. At the same time the efficiency program between AT Kiwirail and CAF on the trains and signalling will be complete bettering travel times. I think Parnell station will also be delayed due to the slowness of bridging sarawera which tbh with sky path shows why the current planning process under the RMA is a complete joke. I mean even with the slowness of the introduction of the new network already rolled out in Houston even though they started after it still won’t be good because the joke that is manukau interchange is so far behind schedule it’s a pre July 2015 western line train.

    It also shows the lack of planning Newmarket junction should have been partially grade separated during DART at the same time grade separating sarawera and the NBL tracks prepared for Parnell to be an island station allowing easy quick transfers and allowing the western line to skip Newmarket during peak making the junction seamless.

    For those complaining about crowded western line trains you are always welcome on my Citybound 5:58 Avondale departing train we always have room 😀

  14. Long awaited 50% increase in frequency on Western Line will be great but this will also bring increased delays at all the affected level crossings which still have zero funds budgetted for grade separation. In anticipation I have done an evening peak-time audit at both Morningside Drive and Woodward Road level crossings in April and will repeat the exercise once the new time-table kicks in. Very interesting how variable the gaps between cycles of the barriers/warning signals are – ranging from over 10 minutes down to a few seconds – and on occasion the inbound and outbound trains virtually overlap within an extended barrier cycle. Existing vehicle queues range from zero (unusual event) to 30+ (end of queue extends beyond observer’s view) – what will happen with 50% more services per hour?

    1. St Jude St would be another good crossing to monitor. Traffic may back up through the Blockhouse Bay Rd intersection and Gt Nth Rd roundabout.

    2. Morningside Dr can be horrendous, with the level crossing at one end, and St Lukes’ car park entrances at the other. I can almost walk that stretch quicker than people can drive it at peak.

    3. Why do people take Woodward road at all? Carrington, turn right onto New North, light controlled all the way.

      1. “Light controlled all the way” – exactly. Waiting for a traffic light adds time on to the trip. When we lived in the area. it was about 50/50 for Woodward vs Carrington/New North, depending on the time of day and the level of traffic. The whole area will get a lot better once Waterview is complete.

    4. I suspect the traffic lights are more of an impediment to traffic than both these crossings even with 5 min frequencies. For instance at Woodward you only have green lights 1 in 4 phases and at Morningside 1 in 3. Rough calculation would be crossing is open more than 60% even at 10 min frequencies each way.

      Graeme, would you also recommend grade separating the intersections along New North Road?

    5. A lot of the Woodward Rd traffic is traversing the “missing link” between SH16 and SH20 which will soon be filled in (or is that dug out?) by the Waterview tunnel, so traffic in this area should return to around its levels pre SH20 Roskill extension.

      Living in the area and along one of the associated adjacent rat-run routes I have noticed quite an increase in traffic, particularly trucks, along this route, since SH20 Roskill opened, which I expect will otherwise remain on the motorway once it opens.

  15. I am rather disappointed with the four-minute layover at Newmarket. I was hoping AT would try and push it in the other direction since I believe two minutes is doable (perhaps allocating 3 minutes only for services regularly operated by six car sets). I might experiment with getting off the train at Grafton and catching the bus down to Britomart and seeing if I beat the train more often than not. The new timetable gives 14 minutes via rail from Grafton to Britomart which is funnily enough more or less on par with buses. Might even experiment with doing it in the other direction as well.

    1. HOP data shows many more alighting than boarding at Grafton. Clearly lots of current users can’t be bothered with the delay at NM and the slow trundle around Vector, and ‘downhill’ from Grafton. But likely do the return journey from Britomart. Of course the CRL will solve this but meantime there is the opportunity to ease it with direct services. And yes a bridge at Parnell would be ideal for transfers there.

  16. It does seem odd the 3 minute Newmarket stop is changing to 4 minutes. Of course there’s no reason why they couldn’t run some peak services direct to Britomart, which would cut 5 minutes from the timetable.

    Also good to see they have adopted the 24 hour clock, bringing times into line with “railway time”.

  17. 1. Could a simple “Newmarket Park” station (platforms on loops on both sides of the through main lines) be added just north of Newmarket junction, to avoid the reversing fiasco?

    2. Could most of the roads that cross the railway on level crossings just be blocked-off (many of them seem to be minor roads); by my count there are already 19 grade-separated crossings (most of them for arterial roads) on the Western line between Swanson and Newmarket junction, isn’t that enough? (i.e., to reduce traffic conflicts between road and rail, and free-up capacity on the railway and enhance safety on the roads, couldn’t road traffic heading towards level crossings just be detoured to the nearest grade-separated arterial road crossing?)

    1. 1. No, my understanding is the physical limitations (corridor width, grades, curvature) aren’t conducive to to a station (I could be wrong).

      2. Yes this is always an option, and sometimes it is the only one. However I think it’s reasonable to try and maintain road network connectivity wherever possible.

    2. The problem with closing a level crossing and detouring the traffic to the nearby grade separated crossing, is that those alternative crossings will need to be upgraded to cope with a 50% increase in traffic. Example would be Metcalfe Rd – closing it and diverting traffic 1.5km to North Candia Rd or Sturges Rd will overload Swanson Rd and require upgrades of a number of junctions (e.g. lights at North Candia/Swanson) and local feeder roads (Pooks Rd, Hetherington Rd, Summerland Dr etc).

      1. Or, maybe the traffic will go away? This phenomenon happens elsewhere… Candia – Swanson Rd needs a roundabout anyway.

        1. I doubt the traffic will go away (although the extra congestion would incentivise more to use the train), however a local bus route to mop up the “school run” traffic would be a good idea – loop around Ranui (like the 097), then loop around Summerland area, then down Sturges Rd and Rathgar Rd to Waitakere College, Liston, St Doms, Henderson Intermediate, Henderson North Primary).

    3. “and free-up capacity on the railway”

      Grade separation of level crossings is a vehicle priority measure, and does nothing to speed up or increase rail capacity. Trains are not slowed or in any way impeded by level crossings (unless someone stops their vehicle on the tracks).

      Personally I’m against grade separations because the cost is 50% shared between road and rail, and I would rather not see any rail budget dollars go toward vehicle priority.

      1. Thanks for your reply Geoff (and thanks to all those who also gave replies). I’m not an insider or expert, however, I would have thought that the chance that someone might stop their vehicle on the tracks would affect the approach speed of trains, and the complexity of co-ordinating the signalling, etc., and that these factors would affect the throughput of trains. Perhaps Mike (the longstanding one) could comment on this, as he seems to know a lot about this sort of thing.

        Regarding blocking-off all level crossings, I was going for the “extreme” position; I accept that some of the level crossings for the busier roads could warrant grade-separating rather than blocking-off, especially where the detours would be unduly long or convoluted. For many of the more minor roads, I would think that it would enhance the neighbourhood to block hoons racing through local streets, and put an end to being disturbed by accidents and incidents on level crossings (I didn’t say it above, but I think walking and cycling over bridges or underpasses should be built at all these locations to retain local connectivity). In the case of Sherrybrooke Place in Sunnyvale, this is a rather odd situation where the only access to this isolated road is via a level crossing. However, it appears from Google Maps that it could be possible to connect it to the local road network on its own side of the tracks via a road or lane extending from either Waikaukau Road or Benita Place (at the ends of which there seems to be at least partial rights of way and large/undeveloped lots), or Woodbank Drive/Titch Place in the vicinity of Foundation Place or Albionvale Road/Tuck Nathan Drive (where there seems to be some large lots/undeveloped land). Has this ever been investigated?

        1. On their own, level crossings don’t affect train speed. A good example is Walters Rd in Takanini, where trains are free to traverse the crossing at 110km/h. When you have a level crossing right after a signal, and especially where there’s a platform, a signal and then a level crossing, that’s when the approach speed can be heavily restricted. Morningside Road is a good example – The signal is synchronised with the level crossing. Under normal conditions the level crossing is open to road traffic and the signal displays “stop” for trains. When a train stops at the platform, the level crossing barriers/lights are activated and the signal can then change to proceed when the crossing is properly closed. Because ETCS can’t detect that signal change until it crosses the signal, it restricts the approach speed to 15km/h – the speed at which it can safely stop the train clear of the level crossing in the event of the signal being passed while still at “stop”. This is one of the reasons that Sarawia St is the highest priority for removal. Not as much a safety thing. It’s proximity to the tunnel, the Newmarket home and departure signals, the crossovers and the junction means that it compounds the delays involved with those other features in both directions.

  18. I am back home in Auckland for a short time having been working within both the Shanghai and Hong Kong metro rail systems for the last 3 years. I have had a brief look at the proposed rail extensions within the CBD area of Auckland and find the CRL has a major flaw at each end of the new line.

    1. Britomart Station must remain a Terminus Station. Under Lower Albert Street construct Lower Albert Street Station. This new station needs to be linked to Britomart Station with one large underground pedestrian tunnel. Rail does not link the two stations. They are interchange stations where passengers transit between the two.

    2. Mt Eden Station is in a non-viable area. Construct a new station (Dominion Road Station) within the vacant land at the intersection of Dominion Road and New North Road. Dominion Road Station becomes an interchange station. Passengers must transit to and from the West Line to the Albert Street Line as rail does not link the two lines. The West Line terminus will be Newmarket Station.

    3. On land surrounding Dominion Road Station construct residential apartment buildings, carpark buildings, shopping centre. This area will become a modern and bustling locality and is an ideal location for a public transport hub. Light Rail to Eden Park.

    3. Depending on topography, rail lines that exit tunnels on the south side of K Road will be elevated onto a viaduct then surfaced and tunnelled to Dominion Road.

    4. Trains on this relatively short inner city Albert Street Line can easily run at 3 to 6 minute intervals during peak and out to 10 to 15 minutes off peak. No timetable required. Passengers will easily adapt to having to transit at interchange stations at both ends of the line. Passengers will have direct access to Lower Albert Street Station from Lower Hobson Street (viaduct area).

    5. As for alignment, future extension of the Albert Street Line at both ends is provided for, both Dominion Road (possible light rail) and under the harbour. This new line will also be totally free of freight trains.

    The current proposed rail layout for the CRL will not function correctly at all. Terminus and Interchange Stations are a must. Passengers must transit on an efficiently working rail network. Under rare circumstance rail lines may join though definitely not here in this situation. In the developing Auckland network, the connection of rail lines from the new Albert Street Line to the Main Line or the West Line will create station, timetable and passenger movement malfunction.

    1. Oh god not again… Stop the CRL quick! Let’s spend another couple of decades relitigating everything and producing another hundred studies.

    2. It is hard to make sense of your comment; transferring is better than through routing? Both Shanghai and Honk Kong Metros employ through routing. What do you mean CRL won’t work ‘correctly’?
      1. Why ‘must’ Britomart be a terminus? What is good about a deadend at one edge of the city?
      2. The new work and platforms at Mt Eden are aligned with intensification of that very area; it’s current poor use is a reason to do this work not to not do it.
      3. Fixing and intensifying this area is part of the plan, including LR.
      3. You don’t understand the topography
      4. Trains in the CRL will be able to run at 2.5 min frequencies.
      5. The CRL will be free of freight trains. Light rail will use Queen St, does not need tunnels. Complements the CRL; is not an alternative.

      Your last statement is completely without evidence and again makes no sense; why is terminating good? Yes transferring is very useful between high quality services with different destinations but only if you can’t reach your destination on the current line. Auckland is and will remain much smaller than the cities you mention, the resulting two line interlined [sharing track] network will work well for the 2020s, then additional lines or systems will be needed, the CRL does not foreclose on these possibilities.

    3. Darryl, the CRL stands for City Rail Link, not City Rail Loop, like some believe. The biggest problem with Britomart being a terminus station means that there is very restricted movement of trains into and out of Britomart. They need to cross tracks, drivers need to change the cab. So if the trains didn’t have to turn around, then the frequency could be increased significantly. I think I heard every 2.5 minutes each direction number before. Right now this simply isn’t possible. The Aotea station is also modelled to be the busiest station in Auckland, so most people coming into the city would disembark at Aotea station, rather than Britomart. Back to the “L” standing for “link” rather than “loop” is that no trains will actually go in a loop, instead they’ll whizz through the city and do the turning around manoeuvre away from the busiest place on the network. Britomart, Aotea, Mt Eden, Newmarket, Panmure, New Lynn, Henderson, Pakuranga and Manukau will all be interchange stations. With buses to start with, and light rail in the future. The potential North Shore line is supposed to interchange at Aotea. See this image on how it would all work: – hopefully that all makes sense… Your “no timetable” but “frequency” concept is exactly what the CRL will do, and intensification around stations is what should’ve been in Unitary Plan, but will hopefully naturally happen when people finally realise the potential of the frequent congestion-free network. In terms of the “details” of where the tunnels and viaducts will be, believe me, AT have been doing their homework very carefully, with the usual restrictions… $$$$.

  19. All these extra services and yet we still have the irritating 10PM curfew along with irritating Henderson short-runners (first & last service weekdays except fri and last service on Sundays). Surely they can afford 2 extra runs for hourly service until midnight or 4 extra runs for half-hourly frequency. A ton of twilight shift workers just end up having to drive in peak to get into work as they have no way to get back when finishing at 10:30pm/11pm/11:30pm/Midnight – some might suffer the bus back but for many rail stops especially those further than New Lynn the bus just takes too long for most people to consider… you wouldn’t be home until potentially 1am if you catch the later West buses.

    AT needs to up their game here, the new South Auckland bus network due in August requires trains to run until 12am or it just won’t work, AT planners spoke to me of rail replacement buses but how is that going to work!? Its not! It will take too long for anyone with the choice of driving to consider! Just get on with it and make the trains run to midnight already…

  20. What’s wrong with reinstating the Kingdon Street station and only sending , say, one train every half hour to Newmarket for those wanting to transfer to the southern line – save a lot of problems. By the way, I will be avoiding Woodward Street now – it is pretty slow now – and going up to Mt Albert Road from the Maioro Street interchange and down Carrington Road, until the Waterview Tunnel is opened, which is scheduled for next year.

    1. I wouldn’t re open that station, but having a majority of Western Line train bypassing Newmarket pre-CRL, should be looked into. Especially once Parnell opens, further slowing that service. Need to look at the number of NM passengers, and how many of these are transferring to the southern line. And a good quick and safe way of switching platforms at Parnell would be needed, for transfers.

  21. I was at Swanson Station at 9.50 am this morning. The illuminated sign gave the next service to Britomart as leaving at 10.02 am, on Platform 1 (the platform nearest the cafe). I checked the printed timetable which confirmed 10.02 am & platform 1. I went to get on the train at platform 1 but was waved away by the train crew – ” Sorry sir, the 10.02 service is leaving from platform 2, not 1″. Ok, so I wandered off to platform 2, which the train left a few minutes later.

    Trouble was, as the train moved out, I noticed other later arriving passengers, on platform 1, who obviously weren’t told of the change of platform. Never mind, next service is only 20 minutes away !

    1. Services were interrupted this morning due to a power loss causing signal loss in Takanini, I suspect that’s why you were affected out there.

  22. Went to get the train from Avondale to the Newmarket on 23rd May (2 weeks after new train times announced) but missed the train by a minute. Why? Because the timetable hadn’t been updated in the website – how difficult is it to update a pdf and have it ready when you change it? Obviously too much of a hassle for AT. They could at least have removed all links to them so I would have been forced to use the MAXX journey planner to get the correct information. Do AT have any customer service conscience?

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