Takapuna is considered one of Auckland’s key metropolitan centres – which the Auckland Plan describes as:

Metropolitan centres, such as Takapuna and Manukau, will accommodate a large proportion of the city’s future residential, retail and employment growth. Generally these areas will serve a sub-regional catchment and be supported by efficient transport networks.

Outside of the city centre there are 10 existing or future (emerging) metropolitan centres across the region as shown in the map below from the Auckland Plan.

auckland plan development strategy

The comment about these centres being supported by efficient transport networks is interesting as one thing you may notice from the map above is that all metropolitan centres sit on the current or proposed Rapid Transit Network of rail lines or busways with the exception of one, Takapuna. This is also confirmed with the latest version we’ve seen of Auckland Transports proposed rapid transit network.

Rapid Transit Map

As I’ll hopefully explain below, I think Takapuna needs to be added to our rapid transit network.

As a major centre and urban area within Auckland, Takapuna is quite unique being situated next to both a beach and a lake and those factors help to make it a very desirable location. With the strategy of developing the area the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan allows for quite a bit of development by way of the Metropolitan Centre (pink & purple stripes) and Terrace Housing and Apartment Buildings (Gold), although we’ll have to wait till later this year to confirm the final zones and rules. Much of the area including most of the THAB has already been listed as a Special Housing Area.

PAUP - Takapuna

Zoning is one thing but we’re already starting to see a lot of proposals for the area popping up, particularly on and around Anzac St. Here are some of them:

Whether these exact proposals all go ahead remains to be seen but over 30 years many will and so it’s quite likely the area will look very different in the future. Regardless we can count on the centre itself looking quite different with Panuku Development Auckland looking to “unlock” it including developing some council sites such as the Anzac St carpark.

Takapuna Centre Plan - Anzac St carpark concept

Takapuna has the chance to become one of Auckland’s urban jewels but accessing it can be already mixed bag when it comes to non-car transport. Its geographic location means the highly successful busway sails by about 1.6km away. Currently the primary bus services linking the Takapuna and the city are made up of a number of routes from the mainly the East Coast Bays that funnel through Takapuna – although given they often have long windy routes and little bus priority it means trips to the city can have very poor timekeeping at times.

The new network deals with Takapuna by way of a frequent route (N4) that starts in Milford and a couple of routes that pass through Takapuna on their way to/from Akoranga Station. In the city the N4 route will go via the middle of town.

North Shore New Network Takapuna

Even with the new network, accessing Takapuna by bus from the city – like I do on a daily basis – can extremely frustrating. It’s not so bad for those that can start or end their journey in the middle of town but for those like me need to get to/from Britomart, the changes to accommodate the construction of the City Rail Link mean that it now requires two buses or one bus and a long walk. Some of the issues will be resolved by the completion of the CRL which will link in with North Shore buses along Fanshawe St giving a direct connection.

AT’s info on the services show that the N4 route would run ever 7-8 minutes in the morning and afternoon peak along with every 15 minutes during the day. With the level of growth planned that might not be enough and while more services could be added, just like in the city centre there are some real issues with not enough space on the roads.

When it comes to PT, Takapuna needs a better long term solution, and it needs to be a RTN in my view.

Using a bike to access Takapuna can be equally arduous. The main approach roads of Taharoto Rd and Lake Rd have painted cycle lanes (despite the former being massively wide) but those cycle lanes stop short of the centre itself leaving riders to brave the roads which can be particularly unpleasant on Anzac St. That of course could be fixed and along with Skypath and Seapath would provide a cycle route to the city or elsewhere.

So what options are there to include Takapuna on the RTN? We know that AT have recently been looking at RTNs to the North Shore but we don’t yet know what’s been recommended, or in fact any details about it. Despite that I think there’s quite a good chance some form of light rail will be seen as the preferred option to eventually be used on the busway and if we did that it could allow us the ability to send light rail spur off to Takapuna, perhaps something like the route below. It would require a little work and a bit of property acquisition but seems doable.

Takapuna Spur LRT idea 2

From Akoranga the route could head to the city then perhaps join up with one of the isthmus routes shown the RTN map earlier. We’ve suggested in the past that this spur could even be part of the first stage of any rail connection the shore with the second stage seeing the busway converted.

With Takapuna already a popular destination and that only likely to increase in the future with both residential and commercial developments this route is likely to be quite popular. Even today buses in the middle of the day can get very full, especially in summer.

So what do you think, should we start thinking about light rail to the sea?

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  1. I would say yes to a LRT spur from the current Akoranga Bus Station to Takapuna Metropolitan Centre in place of busses for two reasons:
    1) why shouldn’t our most viable Metropolitan Centre according to the Unitary Plan not be connected to the rail system (heavy or light)
    2) The spur line would also act as a capacity relief value for Akoranga and maybe Onewa Road Stations where the LRT trains coming further up the line from say Albany might be already full. Think of it like the old Otahuhu Train Shuttles that use to run ahead of a full Papakura-Britomart service.

    1. I would look at the Skycar light monorail system that was proposed many years ago as an alterative feeder system into the mainline for the North Shore. This would have the ability to go all the way to Browns Bay (in time) over the top of existing roads; not just a small link to Takapuna as mentioned.

      This system should also be looked at as a feeder to mainline services in other parts of the city as well; it was rejected previously because it was proposed as mainline which is not the right role for it.

      1. Is there any working application of this technology anywhere in the world? Why would Auckland want to be some money pit test case for a theoretical systems that has never been built or proven? Why not just use something we know works well, with decades of track record?

        1. Yes, I believe Tel Aviv is implementing such a system. All the hardware and software is available; but you are right there will be a cost to putting that together. On the plus side it will be considerably cheaper to roll out and a product that will be well marketable. Just need a little vision.

        2. Tel Aviv was supposed to have a system running last year, but naturally building a new mode from scratch has had huge cost overruns and delays and they don’t even have a working test track.

          There is no way this would every be cheaper than an existing commercial product, either to build, run or maintain. With conventional buses, rail and ferries you have plenty of suppliers on a huge market to chose from. With a skycab monorail pod thing you’ll be stuck with bespoke production from a single supplier who will inevitably go bankrupt.

  2. Takapuna needs a long term reap solution which is future proofed I.e. heavy rail as a key underground station from aotea station on a new north Shore tube like line.
    If billions can be spent on RONS to ‘unlock’ the Waikato etc. then instead money could be used to unlock auckland. If London can spend big on the 12th tube line Crossrail auckland needs to as well.
    The CRL will be transformational and so would heavy rail to the north Shore with stations at the town centre’s not just using the northern busway.

    1. Agreed. Let’s do it properly. PT advocates are too timid in their readiness to envision, due to decades of being beaten down by a funding regime that sanctions largesse only for roading. It does not have to be this way and urgently needs to change.

      1. Make it driverless light rail, more frequent, controlled by AT. Heavy can’t be driverless and by default will be controlled by Kiwirail, Wellington. The busway is already future-proofed for that. No other part of the RTN is as ready as the busway for driverless light rail.

        1. Train control for the upper north island will be relocated to Auckland around the same time the CRL is complete.

        2. Back to the future! Train Control in Auckland (and everywhere else) shifted to Wellington 20/30 years ago…

        3. Britomart wasn’t built as a through station, and yet by the magic of engineering, it is being made so.

        4. Magic of engineering costs. With CRL there is no choice, and actually when Britomart was built, a through links were considered and prepared as much as they could at the time. Running light rail on Northern Busway means capital can be spent on doing something better. I used to be in the HR camp, but I after seeing fast driverless light rail, I cannot think of anything better to fit to serve the North Shore.

    2. Stations at Takapuna and Onewa, with connecting buses.
      Run the tracks beside motorway, up the inlet behind the businesses on Barry’s point Rd, and cut & cover to Takapuna CBD on the run route

  3. My Dream would be a 2 line LRT “Loop” from Smales farm down Shakespeare Rd to Milford, along Kitchener, Hurstmere, Anzac and back up Taharoto to connect back to Smales farm. Plenty of road space with a bit of a roading diet, plus some footpath sliming. This would connect the Smales, Westlake, Milford, Takapuna and the Taharoto precincts nicely.

    1. Why on earth would we need to build an expensive light rail system like that to potter in a circle between a few suburbs. Doesn’t even make much sense as a bus route.

      1. Busway ( or future rail way) to smales and/or Akoranga then transfers for the hospital, Milford retail and beach precinct, metro Takapuna.

        1. You mean a route similar to the 803/804 single door small bus route? It’s probably better use of everyone’s money to do something that would serve more people.

        2. Correct. Most of these numbers is Takapuna – so that’s why talk about a spur line to Takapuna rather than a longer loop on Hurstmere & Kitchener through Milford.

  4. Good idea. Why not build such a corridor now and run our existing PT vehicles on it. That way we will get a solution in a few years rather than a decade or two.

    By the way is surface street median running PT officially considered RTN by AT?

  5. Check out Como Pl as a wasted street just sitting there set to be converted to LR; for now the line could terminate at the Lake Rd end and connect perfectly with the bus station as well as of course the Mall and the general area. Minimal impact on current road use otherwise.

    A bit more work to get from Fred Thomas to Como, but both the scrapy nature of the current landuse and the topography help with this: It looks like the line could go up Asda Pl, through some rubbish light commercial, under Barry Pt Rd fairly easily, and add a stop there, emerging through the far end of the Countdown carpark and by taking out the tatty motel on Greydene, get across to Como without impacting on the waterway there.

    A great opportunity to sort of the awful Lake Rd/Greydene traffic engineering, fix ped connections, and start over with commercial buildings on Barry Pt.

    For a built up area with no protected RoW this looks far from too difficult/expensive. Do it straight away as part of stage one [tunnel/busway conversion] and look at taking it Milford later.

    For people up Hurstmere or Lake Rds it would just be a matter of jumping on a bus or bike and an easy transfer to a very very direct and fast trip to Wynyard and then the rest of the city up Queen St….

  6. Why not build a steam tram from Milford to Bayswater via Takapuna? There is already a concrete slab in the road that is just the perfect size.

    1. Y’all are hilarious. It’s like you never met anyone from Takapuna.

      Takapuna doesn’t want to be “unlocked” for PT. They want to be LOCKED. If they could make that place a gated community and keep The Poors out completely, they’d do it.
      You’re ideas are all great, but you’re pissing up a tree. Takapuna wants to be Malibu – one bus in and one bus out an hour, bringing a few bathers for “fresh local color.” If they don’t want to be an urban hub, leave them alone, I say.

      1. Fuck them. Auckland is atrociously expensive, Takapuna is a stone’s throw from the center of it all, not to mention a center for the relatively isolated northern peninsular.

        If they want to see no growth, or slow decay, they can move out of Auckland to a nice rural area – hell, why bother with the quarter acre dream when you could live the quarter square kilometer dream for less than the price of an Auckland house.

        1. In theory I agree. But every large city has a snotty suburb like this. The residents are rich seperatists who will fight tooth and nail – and millions of bucks – to keep growth out, and never appreciate any money spent on PT in the area. So why not let the baby have it’s bottle?

        2. Why not? Because the suburb doesn’t belong to the current residents.

          I think a lot of the problems in Auckland stem from a weird outlook many people have concerning ownership, money and entitlement. i.e. I bought a house here so that gives me a greater right to dictate the future direction of the suburb, I bought a car so I have an entitlement to be able to use it and not be inconvenienced by traffic, I bought a house so have more right to park in the street outside than other people etc. It’s a very Auckland, or maybe very NZ thing I haven’t seen to the same extent elsewhere.

          What needs to happen is for suburbs like Takapuna to develop in the best way to suit the needs and desires of Auckland, and its future residents, wherever they may currently live. And particularly the ones that haven’t been born yet.

          I get your point that it’s a challenge, because of that ingrained sense of entitlement.

        3. We will see what the UP ends up looking like but the ship may have sailed in terms of allowing development.

        4. Tweeds, your view is simply bullshit. There are a significant number of people on the seaward side who are anti growth and then there are many others who are encouraging it. Look at the number of high rise developments that are occurring -most of them are largely sold and development if it hasn’t started (8 Pupuke) are only weeks away. Much of Takapuna will be transformed and I venture that it will happen remarkably quickly.

        5. Absolutely agree with bbqroast and Nick. Too many Aucklanders (dare I say it of a certain generation) treat their suburbs as if it is their gated community and they must keep any “undesirables” (ie: anyone who is poor) out. Auckland has so much more potential than being a haven for village idiots.

      2. Tweeds, Takapuna actually has plenty of growth potential which is allowed for under the planning provisions. So it’s not a question of people wanting to keep growth out, the growth is already allowed.
        A plan change was approved under the current District Plan a few years ago (http://www.propbd.co.nz/anzac-st-west-plan-change-gets-final-council-approval/), and we’re already starting to see some growth as a result of that.
        Then the Takapuna Strategic Special Housing Area was created, which covered a larger area and has allowed a number of other developments to get their planning sorted. Have a look at the area at http://greaterakl.wpengine.com/our-analysis/rcg-development-tracker/.
        That map doesn’t even show all the developments mentioned in Matt’s post above – I’ve generally steered clear of showing the ones which aren’t being marketed yet – but there is plenty planned for Takapuna.
        This will continue over the years to come, as it’s a high demand area and there’s plenty of potential under the Unitary Plan.

      3. Tweeds is wrong about Takapuna. While it is relatively exclusive it is not wanting to be “locked”. I think he is thinking of Devonport.
        BBQroast and Sailor Boy are of course responding as if Tweeds is correct which he isn’t.

      4. From Census 2013: “18.2 percent of people in Takapuna Central are aged 65 years and over, compared with 9.9 percent of the total Auckland Region population.” With an older population I’m sure they would love the Gold Card free travel by light rail & not have the hassle of driving/parking with their diminishing reaction times to avoid bad Auckland drivers. Pretty sure the oldies use the Gold Coast light rail, my Dad & wife does and he loves cars etc.

  7. Ultimate dream would be to have an underground ‘subway’ system-like heavy rail that runs from Wynyard Quarter under the harbour across to the peninsula – Takapuna – and joins the current busway with stations along it (e.g. Devonport, Belmont, Takapuna). But in order for this, the peninsula needs to dense up and build upwards.

    1. My ultimate request is driverless light rail, more frequent, controlled by AT. Heavy can’t be driverless and by default will be controlled by Kiwirail, Wellington. The busway is already future-proofed for that. No other part of the RTN is as ready as the busway for driverless light rail.

      1. Whether it’s light or heavy makes no difference to rail’s potential for driverlessness – both forms already exist. What’s important now (but may not be in the future, with the spread of automation) is segregation from other types of traffic, whether they be cars at level crossings or freight trains on the same track.

        1. OK. You’re correct. I assumed “light” because Northern Busway wasn’t designed and isn’t suitable for heavy rail. It’s perfect for light rail though – completely level separated all the way from Akoranga to Constellation; soon to Albany. And perhaps if government gets some kind of a divine a-ha moment, that will extend to the perhaps Wynyard Quarter by a means of AWHC tunnel or dedicated light rail bridge. From there, perhaps a Skytrain type elevated structures to connect with CRL at Aotea. A spur line to Takapuna would provide extra capacity for Takapuna and Onewa, with transfers possible at Akoranga. I would be tempted to suggest a name “Kaipatiki” for Onewa instead, as that would clearly indicate who would be served by that station (80,000+ people live in Kaipatiki, with only a handful able to connect with the Sunnynook, Smales and Akoranga stations) – a large percentage of PT passengers end up on Birkenhead Transport buses going down Onewa Rd.

        2. Have you got a source for the statement that the busway is suitable for conversion to light rail, not heavy rail? I hadn’t heard that.

        3. My understanding was the busway was to be built to be replaced with heavy rail but I’m not sure that it actually happened. By only putting LR on the shore removes one of the arguments for the CRL, it was always stated that there could be no rail on the shore without the CRL but as LR cannot directly connect with HR that ends up being irrelevant.

        4. To put heavy rail on the busway it would effectively need to be completely rebuilt. Structures on it simply aren’t strong enough or straight enough for it and HR can’t cope with the grades from Sunset Dr to Constellation and some of the ones around Albany.

          Ted, while it would be easier to replace with light rail it would always have had to deal with the city side issue too which is why HR was normally talked about in the past. The advent of AT’s LRT plans for the isthmus changes the equation a lot. Regardless of heavy or light rail, trains from the North Shore would never use the CRL as there isn’t the capacity. The CRL will be full of trains from west and south (not to mention there’s no way of connecting to it without bowling a heap of the city to build a junction). The Aotea station has been designed so a future station could go under Wellesley St and connect to the Aotea station

        5. Matt the whole selling point of the CRL was that it was required to get rail to the shore, the CRL will not be anywhere near capacity (just like Britomart would not be if AT used it smarter rather than intentionally filling it to push their need for the CRL) trains from Papakura will be coming in via MT Eden (about 10 minutes longer than the current trip) due to there being insufficient trains from the west to make it a through station (three lines in one side and one out the other don’t work for them) and that is why the north shore ones would also come into Britomart from the west side.
          When I was inducted onto the busway site when it was being built they said it would eventually have trains running from Albany to Britomart on it.

        6. From what I know is that 10% (4.5 degrees) for light rail is accepted as “steep”, whereas this number is half that for heavy rail – 5% (2.25 degrees). I remember this from a document when CRL was first discussed. I can’t find the reference right now, so please correct me if I’m wrong. From Google Earth – Akoranga to Smales is 5%, Sunnynook to Constellation is 4% and Greville to Albany is 7% – so these I think that that is considered “too steep” grade for heavy rail. With fast driverless LTR you have so many more options, and do we really need to have freight this way? With fast driverless LTR, the labour $$$ component of sending many more smaller vehicles is negligible, and high frequency in means freedom in public transport talk. So for a passenger service, you can’t go better than that. With LTR there’s usually no need for overhead lines, it’s cheaper to make a bridge for LTR, also cheaper to run it elevated if need be and most importantly it wouldn’t need to be controlled by Kiwirail!
          Hear me, I used to be in the heavy rail camp, until I tasted Vancouver’s Skytrain. They also have heavy rail, but it’s much longer distance (69km), and the stops are much further apart. So for the North Shore up to Albany – bring on driverless frequent rail! Plus I’ll mention that in Vancouver, even with their driverless LTR lot, their latest addition (Canada Line) is not compatible with the rest of their Skytrain network. It really doesn’t matter, as they still needed new stabling and the trains only travel on their own lines… Everything is cheaper with LTR, and there aren’t really many convincing reasons to push for heavy rail.

        7. @Bigted The CRL case or promotion didn’t touch much on the North Shore benefits – it wasn’t really mentioned much at all, I was very dissapointed that they didn’t try to convince the North Shorites that CRL is good for them too. The selling point really was and is that Britomart will soon be at capacity due to being a terminus station – turning around manoeuvring and cross points means no more trains can come in and out. I’m not sure what exactly you have in mind when you accuse AT of intentionally filling Britomart – do you mean that people are actually using the trains, and it’s actually busy? isn’t that a good thing? Once CRL opens – then Britomart won’t be the busiest station, instead centrally located Aotea will become the busy one. The travel time will be very similar to Aotea from southern and eastern lines – but you could always transfer at Otahuhu if you think the other is faster. Insufficient trains? Well then we’ll need to buy more! It would be best that North Shore line wouldn’t go on the same tracks, that’s why I like the LTR concept, and I hope it will connect passengers not tracks @ Aotea Station.

        8. Stranded on the North Shore, trains don’t turn in Britomart they just go back the same way they came just like Swanson, Onehunga, Manukau, Papakura and Pukekohe. The CRL will get trains from the west into brito faster but if they didn’t go into Newmarket (requiring a 6 minute turnaround on the way in and the way out) they would get there 8-10 minutes faster now. Not all the trains need to go into Britomart (70% of Aucklands workers don’t work near the CBD). The Onehunga line could go to Henderson instead of Britomart having the effect of doubling the capacity on the western line (much simpler than what they did on may 8) the trains from the west would bypass Newmarket (saving 8-10 minutes each way) those wanting to go to Newmarket or south from the west would get on the Onehunga train (that would be every second one) and there would only be 3 trains every ten minutes (during peak, 20 minutes inter peak and 30 off peak) into Britomart instead of 4.

        9. It is not the Britomart station that can’t handle the number of trains it is the busiest part of the network Newmarket to Britomart (slow speed and designed 100 years ago) but only having 2/3 rds of the current traffic will give many more years before the CRL would be required. There is so much more (that will increase the catchment) that the CRL money could have been spent on like making the Manukau station part of a loop to Panmure opening up the eastern suburbs. Mt Albert to Onehunga giving an alternative route away from the central city for the worker from the west to get to the industry in the south. Otahuhu to Puhinui via the Airport opening up Mangere and the industry around the airport as well as giving transport options to and from the airport.
          I don’t believe I will see rails on the shore in my lifetime (unless they come from west harbour) due to the need for the extra harbour crossing to get them from the CBD

        10. Stranded – heavy rail is limited to about 3%, CRL has a couple of short sections at the limit

          Ted – the capacity limit of Britomart is primarily not the station but the tunnel leading to it and the flat junction at Quay Park. If there was a way to increase the capacity of Britomart cost effectively without CRL it would have been done, especially as the government and its agencies have been desperate to find alternatives. Heaps of alternatives have been looked at and CRL comes out on top.

          Junctions are also what limit CRL and one of the reasons behind AT dropping the station at Newton as it allows them to have a grade separated junction. Adding another junction to CRL for north shore trains would make things worse.

          Other routes like out east need capacity to the city and if Britomart (or the tracks/junctions leading to it) are full then it’s pointless.

          Yes could potentially run services like West-south without CRL but the major demand destination is the city centre.

        11. Ted it seems you are wildly misinformed about rail in Auckland, a few examples:

          -The CRL is not at all about the rail to the Shore, rail lines to the Shore will be separate from it, connected by transfer, and is likely to be a different system entirely.
          -The City Centre generates the vast majority of trips on the network and is therefore the core of the system and capacity constraints there affect the entire network; unlocking the dead end there is key to improving service everywhere.
          -The City Centre has the biggest and densest concentration of workers and learners anywhere in the country which is why high capacity spatially efficient systems underground rail are required, the rest of the city does have more workers but these are distributed over wide areas.
          -To transform the network from a city terminus ‘inter-city’ model to a through routing ‘intra-city’ one is a significant reason behind the CRL and this cannot be achieved by, say, expensively tunnelling from Manukau to Botany through low density suburbia.
          -The CRL will quickly enable rail pax to more than double from 20m to over 50m+: no other changes to the network, even for $2B+ can achieve this. This will have profound land-use impacts everywhere across the system and the wider city.
          -The CRL does not ‘add 10 minutes to the southern line’. This is nonsense.

        12. Patrick Reynolds, how is it that sending a train further with extra stops is not going add extra time to it’s trip? It may not be a full ten minutes but how long will it take to go from Mt Eden then stop at K road then stop at Aotea (supposedly the new busiest station on the network) then arrive at Britomart? Remember the trains on the southern line go back that way too.

          Reducing the trains through the Quay junction would have the same effect for no cost.

        13. Matt L, AT wants the CRL they don’t care about the cost they just spend money they don’t need to worry about where it comes from.
          A junction allowing trains from the shore would be no different to the current Quay, Westfield, Wiri or even Newmarket junctions and as they would be installing basically the same thing at Mt Eden to make the CRL work. When the trains come from the shore the southern line trains will be able to go back to the direct route to Britomart freeing up that slot. Quay junction is the restriction on Britomart that will stay even with the CRL the trick is to reduce the traffic through that junction something that my idea cuts from 42 per hour to 24 per hour (during peak) the CRL cuts it to 21. Also it gives people that would not normally be on the train options to get out of their cars by opening up bigger areas.

        14. Ted you still don’t understand. Britomart is not in itself the key destination, the city is, Britomart, or any station is only a means to an end, not an end in itself. Britomart only seems so central now because that’s as far as the lines go. The weighting of the demand is further inland centred on midtown, so the key destination is Aotea Station. Travel times post-CRL from NM to Aotea via Grafton or via Parnell are similar, both with two stops on the way, with the Grafton route likely a bit faster. Southern Line users will get to the city quicker post CRL than now, because not only will the route be no slower, and more reliable, but also because they will no longer need to make their way on foot or via slow bus up Queen St.

          Additionally, these users will have the options of much better access to the hospital and Med School via Grafton [including a direct Middlemore to AK Hospital connection]. Uptown and Ponsonby via K Rd. And of course can sit tight for a stop to access Britomart or, of course transfer at NM to go via Parnell to avoid the CRL if that route pains them.

          The CRL is rational, urgent, and by far the best value investment of scale in any mode in Auckland, or indeed likely the country this decade, bar perhaps the SkyPath. But of course is much misunderstood.

          You need to drop your obsession with Britomart. It is about to become just ‘A’ station on the line not ‘THE’ station for the city, an important one, but no longer ground zero for everything. And you also need to grasp the city is only reason we can justify the kind of high-cost high-value infrastructure that is an urban rail system at all, there is no better value out in the burbs over the centre, yet of course it is the access from the burbs that will also prosper from the improved city connections of the CRL.

        15. Patrick Reynolds 70% of Aucklands workforce DO NOT work in or around the CBD, the area inside and including a ring of suburbs from Ellerslie, Onehunga, Mangere/Airport oaks, Wiri, East tamaki and Panmure far exceeds the total number of workers working in the CBD, an area badly covered by a handful of railway stations and bus routes. By getting away from the everything must start and finish at Britomart (in the CBD) the up take of public transport (and reduction of cars by default) would increase and the requirement for road and motorway building would reduce since more workers would be catered for.

        16. For the last time Ted. You flat don’t understand how these systems work. High capacity spatially efficient systems such as underground urban rail work best with dense concentrations of demand, these only occur in dense centres. Counting lots of people dispersed over wide areas is irrelevant. The city centre is the only destination that justifies this kind of investment because of the concentration of employment, learning, and increasingly habitation. It is not just about quantum but importantly about density. Again:

          -The City Centre has the biggest and densest concentration of workers and learners anywhere in the country which is why high capacity spatially efficient systems underground rail are required, the rest of the city does have more workers but these are distributed over wide areas.
          -To transform the network from a city terminus ‘inter-city’ model to a through routing ‘intra-city’ one is a significant reason behind the CRL and this cannot be achieved by, say, expensively tunnelling from Manukau to Botany through low density suburbia.
          -The CRL will quickly enable rail pax to more than double from 20m to over 50m+: no other changes to the network, even for $2B+ can achieve this. This will have profound land-use impacts everywhere across the system and the wider city.
          -However, leveraging off the Centre City will enable the outer centres on the network to intensify too, both in habitation and employment and learning. It is a dynamic system; but the other centres are still subsidiary to the main centre. Which also happens to the fastest growing place for all three sectors now in Auckland: Residential, employment, and education.

          Distribution of Regional Employment, in thousands, 2012

          Regional Employment 2012

        17. “70% of Aucklands workforce DO NOT work in or around the CBD”

          Then 30% do and we should be investing 30% of our budget for them by your logic. When you add in the benefits to other centres then the CRL starts to look like far less than the CBD deserves.

        18. Patrick Reynolds can you point out where a tunnel from Maukau to Botany was mentioned (other than by you)?
          I understand the mass transit network especially the rail more than you think, ask anyone working on the network and once you get past the need for AT to get serious about security and the removal of the free loaders you will find opinion very similar to what I have written.

        19. Sailor Boy you can get most of the benefits of the CRL by using the network smarter and with the money saved could increase the catchment/distribution of the network and now that it has been pointed out that rail to/from the shore is not reliant on the CRL there is even less of a benefit from it.

        20. “most of the benefits of the CRL ” Please explain how you can get most of the benefits of tripling the rail network’s capacity for less than $2b.

        21. Sailor Boy by reducing the number of trains going through the pinch point (Quay junction) and having them tun on the new lines that have a bigger catchment/distribution area.

        22. AKL Centre City is the economic engine of the wider city, in this AKL falls to standard city pattern, it is not a hollowed out hyper dispersed city like Christchurch. Furthermore this traditional pattern is in fact increasing, rather than weakening. Centre weakness peaked in about the early 90s, and has been on a gradual return ever since, and that is now accelerating. This is a good sign for the economy of the whole city and country; more chance of a high value urban services sector economy developing strength with this form.

          Just one example of the recent strength of Central AKL:


      2. Why the obsession with driverless transport? Don’t you like drivers? The RMTU will fight tooth and nail to have drivers in control and will jump on any incident involving driverless rail vehicles.

        1. Once you pop you can’t stop – if you ever have a chance to go on one yourself, you’ll know exactly why! It’s like riding an electric bike once. Or having SSD in your PC – you’ll never want to go to HDD again…. In a nutshell – frequency (=freedom) – you can run smaller cars more often off-peak early until late – thus less wait for passengers and transfers are quicker, additionally there’s almost-instant response to unscheduled extra demand, no accidents due to driver-error, less operating costs, but yes more capital expenditure. In case of breakdown/emergency at one station, the traffic can continue up to the station before on both sides, automatically going back – with shuttles provided in between. Screened stations are also possible because the train will always stop in the same exact place. Human labour is still required for maintenance, cleaning, control, policing – just no requirement for the most error-prone, boresome and tiresome job that is the actual driving. These level 4 automation driverless usually have provision to be driven by humans, and that’s what happens in heavy snow in Vancouver. Driverless rail is proven and working in many cities, unlike the handful driverless cars so why would you not want it?!

        2. So replacing the most reliable component (the human crew) is going to make it more frequent? I don’t think so.

        3. Humans are not reliable. Speaking from personal experience here. Human labour is expensive, that’s why manual rail only works with large number of carriages, carrying large number of passengers. This means that offpeak the train frequency reduces as then the trains would run empty. That’s less frequency. With driverless small trains, it is possible to keep sending a train every 5-10 minutes without incurring huge costs on labour. Vancouver metro is still busy during offpeak, and they can scale the network up and down constantly according to demand. Try that with humans – they want “guaranteed” hours last I heard unions complaining… So what else have you got up your sleeve to pick on?

        4. The train crews don’t go home at the end of peak, they just run less trains as there are less to run.

        5. Go travel @bigted. Try Vancouver or Dubai for starters. Make sure you go get to use their public transport system. And no taxis please.

  8. Why not go pretty much straight from Akoranga bus station under Barry’s Pt Road, across the mangroves to either Huron or Northcroft with the “Takapuna Station” located in the old Gas Tank storage area. It would be a straighter and slightly shorter route than the red line marked above.
    From the Takapuna Station in this location it is then only a very short walk to Halls Corner and then straight through to the beach if that is your destination.

    1. The gasworks is a terrible idea for a station, way too far from the existing development. Either take it straight into a pedestranised Hurstmere or Lake Road where the current stop is. Alternatively, if you take the line along Como have the station terminate where the current carpark is. Light rail stations can have an extremely small footprint.

      1. I don’t agree James, if the object is to construct a spur line to rail only harbour tunnels from Aotea Station. Halls Corner is about as central as anywhere you can get in Takapuna and the old Gasometer site is within the easiest of walks to Halls Corner.

        1. The development potential along the Esplanade and on the present carpark as well as the low rise buildings along ANZAC and Hurstmere is I feel greater than the potential around gasworks/Hall’s Corner area. Having the line terminate short of this would severely hamper this potential.

        2. On the bright side at least both sites could provide the potential for some not insignificant over-station development to help cover the costs of the project.

      2. over the next 30 years Takapuna will clearly start expanding away from the sea. The zoning is in place and Taka is really outgrowing it’s existing footprint.

      3. Not only gasometer is more likely to happen, because it’s closer to Akoranga (less $$$) but it also has a larger catchment of daily commuters (workers and residents). The corridor from there to the beach and retail sites isn’t significant, so it would probably win. I do like the current ‘carpark’ better – but I would be happy with either. Just build it 😉

    2. Why doesnt Transport Blog ask AT for a copy of the “Takapuna Centre Based Transport Study” which has been completed and recommends these very things!

      1. 1. How many plans or reports a year does AT or AC produce every year. How are we meant to know what reports even exist to ask for.
        2. If AT produce reports they should be publishing them somewhere accessible, not leaving them within the bowels of the organisation that no-one know’s exist.

        1. I think that was a tip Matt!

          Advocates such as yourself do a great service in shining a light on these sorts of things, and it is a necessary service – not every great idea or investigation can go public immediately, but effective advocacy does make the wheels turn faster 🙂

        2. MISTER PROSSER:
          “Well you found the notice didn’t you?”
          ARTHUR DENT:
          “Yes. It was on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet, stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying “Beware of the Leopard”. Ever thought of going into advertising? “

  9. I agree Takapuna as a metropolitan centre needs to be connected to the rapid transit network, but it’s not a viable option until the AWHC is built.
    [BTW its currently about a 15-20 min (pleasant) walk from Shore City to Akoranga]

    The entire Shore seems to have been largely ignored by planners when you look at the attached map. Very much the status quo except for pushing the busway north. As if AT are thinking it’s fixed already.

    While Takapuna needs a spur I think there is far more potential to be unlocked with some form of rapid transit looping to the west of the motorway, up Onewa and along the Glenfield Road ridge

      1. The only pleasant part of that path is the 350m of boardwalk from Barry’s Point Rd to Como St!

    1. great idea, I’ve got a high vis vest and shovel here! Citizens revolt and start digging and building rail themselves haha

  10. Agree with line to Takapuna but disagree with it being first stage for North Shore Line. Do we expect NEX passengers to transfer to LRT at Akoranga for trip to CBD?

    1. It allows the project to be staged probably a bit better. Doing to Albany in one hit means you’ve got to build and entire ~15km minimum route in one hit which would be both very costly and disruptive. Doing to Taka first would still allow buses to use the busway and then could use some temporary arrangements on the motorway while the section south of Akoranga is built so much less disruption. People could choose to stay on the bus or could transfer to faster train.

      Also while it’s a pain, I think people would be prepared to transfer for a few years if they knew it was a temporary thing while something better was built.

        1. People need to get over having to transfer as it is required on any efficient mass transit system.

        2. Yeah but un-necessary transfers are incredibly stupid.

          Remember each transfer adds a few minutes to the trip. Potentially 10+ with off peak frequencies.

        3. I’ve got zero problems with transfers but the proposed one is silly. The equivalent would be transferring from the Western Line at Mt Eden for a separate trip into the city.

        4. bbqroast if you want to from one place to another without transfers, catch a taxi.

        5. Bryce P or your trip from the west to the CBD taking an extra 10 minutes due to going via Newmarket, oh wait they already do that.

        6. Man! This post was so poor compared to what I normally expect from transport blog that I actually wrote another suggestion, with a critique of this one: https://properlyurban.wordpress.com/2016/06/17/response-to-transport-blog-be-a-bit-sensible-with-your-suggestions

          Given the Northern Busway is already 100% grade segregated, it seems ridiculous that you’d suggest expensive, manned trams instead of the far better North Shore light metro you already campaign on, all for a small suburban branch!

        7. BigTed, you take ~5 minutes longer to get to Britomart and 10 minutes less to Aotea where more people are going. Net time saving acquired.

        8. Sailor Boy as long as it is Aotea you are going to, it is a lot of money for the benefit of a very small portion of Aucklands workers.

        9. @bbqroast, I had a read of your article. It’s excellent because it creates more noise about rail to the North Shore – and when it is time, a solution will be analyzed and chosen anyway – it will be neither transportblog’s or yours or mine – it will be some kind of hybrid in between and possibly completely different. Your input is very valuable, and so are other’s – something good will come out of it. For example I think that single rail tunnel is another lost opportunity, but this is not that important right now, as there are no official plans for it anyway… Other thing I think is that cut and cover on Anzac is more likely than bored tunnel, even if it means a huge disruption in mean time. There is also the option for elevated. Keep it up, and share your ideas and opinions but also support anything from others that is positive to bring the rail to the North Shore. Time will come for final designs, and then it will be time to fight what is right 😉

        10. “small portion of Aucklands workers.”

          All K’ Rd, Mt Eden Station, Aotea Station, any western line station workers or residents?

          Does any other project benefit 30% of Aucklanders?

        11. Sailor Boy, less than 30% of Auckland workers. There is greater benefit to more workers spending that money elsewhere.

        12. And this project also benefits people living in the CBD, a lot of them will have much more convenient access to the rail network once Aotea Station opens.

  11. This is a fantastic idea and one that would be of enormous benefit to Takapuna and ultimately Milford as well. The Shore has such potential to really punch above its weight economically. Given the current make up of the local board and the councilors representing the Shore, there is bound to be a huge amount of resistance to any forward thinking. George Wood’s opposition to SkyPath and rail generally will cause headaches and Jan O’Connor’s bizarre opposition to the development of the Anzac Street carpark are two recent examples of how backwards thinking North Shore politicians tend to be. Hopefully the next generation of politicians will see some sense!

  12. Smales, Milfors, Taka, Akoranga could be a really good first step to build support for a cross harbour route.

  13. I think that the next Harbour crossing should include a heavy rail crossing under the harbour. The first station should be at Takapuna under the junction of Anzac St, Fred Thomas Drive and Taharoto Road. The second should be at Smales Farm to connect with the busway

    1. Once you get heavy (or light for that matter) rail on the shore there will be no busway as it will become the railway.
      The best start would to be a rail link from the CRL to Akoranga but it will only be a matter of time and the rails will cover the busway all the way to Albany.

        1. Unless you build LRT everywhere straight away it’s hard to believe there won’t be some bus services that will need to keep using the corridor.

        2. The buses on the busway are not generally suburban buses but exclusive to the busway so LR/HR would be fed by the suburban buses in much the same way the busway buses are fed now.

        3. @MatthewW, as it stands there is 1 route that would be affected. There are 2 express routes that both pass through Akoranga and so could simply terminate there for a faster trip to the CBD.

        4. You can’t run driverless light rail with any other vehicles. These driverless systems really work in practice and once you use it once, you would ask yourself why aren’t others doing it. Visit Vancouver. You’ll be sold on it in minutes on the train from Airport to CBD. They have the longest network of driverless light rail followed by Dubai. They’re made by Bombardier, and by Hyundai Rotem.

        5. I think we do need to ask why most places are not building Vancouver-like systems. They must have their reasons, and we need to know what they are before heading down what is very much a minority pathway.

        6. That is an interesting point Long Standing Mike. The driverless light metro in Vancouver sounds fantastic from a PT user point of view. High frequency. Long service hours from early to late. And from a provider point of view – low operational expenditure, makes a profit.

          It’s hard to imaging there are any reasons not to want the system. And yet it isn’t widespread. Is that because not enough cities have even heard about it? Or is there a problem with the system that is not immediately apparent.

          I have to say, it sounds like an excellent solution, so I’d be interested to hear if there are any downsides that haven’t come to light on this blog.

        7. There are over 80 completely driverless “Grade of Automation 4 systems” installed and running. These are not the ones like the London’s Docklands Light Rail – which is more like a toy going at walking pace. We’re talking driverless fast metro systems that can go 100kmh or more! All the latest metro construction in these cities are driverless:

          Kuala Lumpur

          There are plenty of airport transfer driverless LTR systems, but these do not qualify to be classified as urban metro.

        8. SotNS: that’s an interesting list, but I fear it confuses drivelessness with lightness. For instance, the only light metro in Paris is the decades-old OrlyVAL, more recent driverless operation being on the (heavy) Metro, and similarly I believe for Barcelona, Nuremburg and Rome, at least.

          Bevan: attempting to answer my own question, I think there are a number of factors here. Automated light metro requires a segregated stand-alone medium-density operation, so it occupies a fairly small niche in the BRT-LRT-heavy rail spectrum, requiring a lot of capital (but not as much operating) expenditure but not having the capacity for really large conventional-metro-type flows.

          But I suspect that the main reason is that Vancouver-type technology is proprietary: once you’ve bought it you’re effectively committed to it for the life of the system. That can be less important if you’re using, even showcasing, local Canadian, French or Japanese technology, but represents a serious risk for other operators. Would AT want to commit to a specific restricted technology for years to come, when conventional rail retains access to an open, competitive market?

        9. Auckland Transport would be silly not to go to CAF to get more trains for our current heavy rail network – think integration and all the work that went in to get them in the first place – so in reality they’re already locked. There are automated driverless systems that run multiple manufacturers on one line but they’re rare for the very same reason. So I’m not sure why “locking in” is a big problem. I’m talking about just one line – the North Shore, so the Dominion Rd line to Airport can be a completely different manufacturer and operator, although there was some noise that the North Shore line could go all the way to the airport – I don’t mind that, as long as it’s driverless because that means very predictable and frequent, but for it to be driverless, it would need to be grade separated – meaning elevated structures all the way along Dominion Rd, so I’m not quite sure how that would play out with the locals. Other option would be tunnelling – more expensive, and worst case it would need to have a driver, which really is a lost opportunity for the North Shore as a lot of the separation work is already done on the busway (thus less capital input) – now we have an opportunity to convince government to build a people-mover tunnel or bridge instead of a parking lot one – so another reason to make some noise.

        10. You’re confusing intent with limitation I think Mike. Most light metro systems are ‘light’ by intent, they are in cities that have specifically choosen automated operation for low operating costs and compact vehicles/stations and easy track geometry for low capital costs.

          However, that doesn’t mean they are light on capacity. Vancouver runs four car sets with 600 passengers every 90 seconds on the city centre twin track tunnel. That’s 27k people per hour, considerably more than the 18k of CRL running at full capacity of 24tphpd and all six car trains with 750 people each. So our so called heavy rail has only 2/3rds the capacity of their light rail.

          …however, Vancouvers limitations are by design. They chose to run four car trains and build stations four cars long. But there is no reason they couldn’t have specified eight car trains and stations with elaborate pedestrian measures and separate boarding and alighting platforms, and run those every 90 seconds for capacity of 50k per hour. Some arbitrary distinction between heavy metro and light metro doesn’t make any difference in reality.

          My main question is why we aren’t planning for these cheap to build and cheap to operate metro solutions in Auckland?

        11. In 5/10 years’ time it may be very sensible for AT to look at another rolling stock supplier for a better deal – operators around the world do it all the time. But if you’ve got a proprietary light metro, that won’t be an option – you’ll be stuck with whoever looked good that number of years ago, despite the world undoubtedly having moved on. That’s a significant risk.

          One light system that has got round this is the Docklands Light Railway, with several different suppliers. Perhaps that’s a model to follow – though with its now looking at fixed-consist six-car trains it’s becoming less and less light!

          And none of these options are cheap to build!

        12. Nick R – the great difference is the restricted proprietary nature of the Vancouver model. If it is as good as you suggest, why are none of the major metros of the world using it?

        13. The whole point of LRT to the NS will be to allow street running spurs to permeate the suburbs (or at least pick up the town centres). So if you cant run driverless with other vehicles, I am guess driverless is not going to happen.

        14. Cities all over the world use third rail powered, grade separated, automated operation, exclusive metro lines? What is the difference between Paris Metro and Vancouver? The weight of vehicles isn’t a difference in systems btw, it’s a difference in vehicle choice.

        15. @Matthew, these “street running spurs” will be most likely provided by BTL, Richies and NZBus for a long time yet. The new network model is clear – rapid spine, with flexible feeders. Rail does well in the “spine”, buses do well “feeding”. A spur rail line like Takapuna does make sense to provide extra capacity for a large town centre and Akoranga and Onewa stations. There could be one or two spurs before Albany, but we can’t have “spurs” to every street and destination unfortunately – the frequency would be compromised, and the network wouldn’t work well – in fact that’s what we used to have (lots of infrequent direct buses) and Auckland Transport is moving away from that model, the most recent is the 881 split, and ultimately the North Shore New Network in 2018.

        16. Stranded,

          Now that AT have included street running LRT in their RTN plans the waters have been muddied a bit, so to speak.

          I am not suggesting a spur down every road. The next most viable spur after (or even before) Takapuna would be Onewa/Glenfield and that will definitely be street running.

        17. Mike, they are using it. The Vancouver Bombardier system is also in use in New York, Beijing, Seoul and Kuala Lumpur, with equivalent systems from other suppliers used all over the world.

        18. Nick R: I agree that such proprietary systems exist, but their number is very small compared with the conventional open-source rail systems that continue to predominate in the vast majority of urban areas around the world.

  14. The extra spur capacity of LRT, being able to street & grade seperate run, seeing the LRT plans for Parra in Sydney flipped me from HR to LRT & seeing the Bosch anti collision LRT systems with them saying fully driverless is the next step for them. My conservative 30 Year plan would be the below network for North & Northwest using a PPP BOOT Model, diverting existing motorway funding & Land Value Capture.

    Stage 1 – Albany to CBD & Takapuna Spur (Hopefully Rail/Active Mode Only Bridge) Same opening date as CRL (Paid for with 3 billion of AWHC funding & Northern Corridor Money)
    Stage 2 – CBD to Westgate via median of Sh16 putting stations below flyovers which can be used as bus interchanges (if duel carriageway) & access points. 2024 (Paid for 2 billion of AWHC money)
    Stage 3 – Henderson – Westgate – Consti via SH18 & extension to Silverdale 2027 Creating a West-Northwest-North connection) (Paid for with 1.2 billion Puhoi-Walkworth & half of money budged to busway extension to Silverdale)
    Stage 4 – Extensions to Huapai (Would connect with upgraded station also running BEMU’s on NAL, Whangaparaoa & Devonport 2030 (Paid with money no longer needed for Northwestern Busway & the other half of Silverdale extension money)
    Stage 5 – Spur to Glenfield via Onewa 2035. (Assume at this point LRT will be universally loved and finding funding would be easy)

    1. You have missed an even bigger catchment area, the eastern suburbs somewhere that could easily be serviced by HR by making Manukau station a through station looping around past Botany Town Centre and back onto the NIMT somewhere around either Sylvia park or Panmure.

      1. In my defence I did say for North Shore & Northwest

        For South-eastern Suburbs I say the Southern connection to the Airport should elevate over NIMT so Puhnuni would have two levels, down Cavendish Drive which brings you straight onto Te I Drive with its massive median giving you a direct straight shot to Botany which can have its at grade car parks replaced with more Town Centre mixed used of course. Manukau branch line is kinda written off as a stuff up by not elevating it in first place or stopping it short at MIT to save a few bucks meaning you can’t extend it as its stuck under a foundation.

        After Botany I follow this guy’s saljen’s route which can be seen here http://www.bettertransport.org.nz/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=630&start=20

        1. Yes you did, but you had all the money spent without spending a cent on what is an area nearly as big but could be done for a fraction the cost.
          My personal opinion is that the Manukau via the eastern suburbs to somewhere near Panmure, Mt albert to Onehunga line and Otahuhu via the Airport to Puhinui should have been done before the CRL. The CRL is required to open up rail to the shore and I don’t believe that it is required yet to ‘unlock’ as they put it the rest of the network as not all the trains need to go to Britomart but AT is set to prove they need the CRL by intentionally clogging Britomart by sending everything there.

        2. I disagree, all the money comes from land value capture and money being diverted from planned NS and NW projects I didn’t take money from elsewhere.

          Panmure would be nearly impossible to connect to and if it were would very expensive this route using Ti R drive is great for Manukau and Botany but doesn’t come close to Howick, Bucklands, Highland Park etc. that the route I linked does, the advantage of this route is most of it required zero property purchases and very little tunnelling, it has more catchment as well.

          On your other points if rail went by Otahuhu they ruled it would be the only connection so it wouldn’t connect back at Puhnuni.

          If you mean Avondale-Southdown this would be the least important route and only becomes necessary really if the port is shifted to Marsden for Freight to bypass the NAL south of New Lynn.

          The CRL is needed you can only run 20 tph on the network which is expected to reach peak capacity with the current 57 sets in 2017. We are running 20tph ATM so where do your trains slot in.

  15. I understand that investigation of a route from Akoranga to the town centre has already been done and the preferred option was Byron at the town centre end. What is clear is that the acquisition of land will be very expensive. Currently the starting price for land is about 1.7 million for the average sized section (500 sq m).
    In my view the difficulty with this spur is that there is no population along the route and hence no option for a station apart from at the end. While Barrys Pt seems a nice idea for a second station it is currently not zoned residential and so walk up traffic would be extremely limited. It is probably quicker for those from the growth areas of KillarneySt and Lomond to go to the town centre.

    1. Hmm true. I dint see hey you couldn’t just run it through to Barry’s Point Rd and down Anzac Ave? It would be tight but there appears to be enough width.

    2. That’s one reason I quite like the route I suggested in the post. Could have a station near Barry’s Point which would be close to where a lot of that housing will be going.

      1. Could future proof a station between taka/ akoranga (around barry’s point). Alternatively we could do something very odd in NZ and actually plan a comprehensive new transport link supported by new land-use controls at the same time both of which would be mutually beneficial.

    3. It takes me 15 minutes to walk between Akoranga Station and Takapuna. That’s too short distance to put another station in between.

      1. Not if it’s a dense area, which if developed to the level suggested in the PAUP then it might be enough to justify another station. All depends on route and to a degree the mode

    4. Route would either be on street, or below (cut n cover in shallow trench) or elevated. All of those options avoid the need to purchase much land except for a station itself in small sections around Barry’s Point Road (which would then be redeveloped and sold afterwards making them cost neutral).

      1. I can’t see consent for elevated corridors getting past the current RMA so you are left with the far more expensive cut and cover underground option.

  16. Matt L, I struggle to see that route happening. It is hard to imagine tracks between the Shoal apartment block and medical centre.
    What about building light metro at elevation up Des Swann Drive and over Barrys Point Rd. With such a route there would be no land acquisition whatsoever that I can see. Countdown could connect into this if they developed upwards as they have in Ponsonby.
    Let’s rezone Barrys Point Rd. This must have the greatest concentration in the world of bike shops. Surely these would all benefit if we stacked 6 or 8 storeys of residential on top? Presumably it also wouldn’t harm the other predominant activity -car repairs? Some people in apartments own cars don’t they?

    1. For some reason people are often opposed to concrete elevated structures. They managed it in Vancouver, and lots of Asian cities, but there’s always the element of people’s preference and nimbysm. Considering that North Shore doesn’t have any current plans or funds of under-grounding existing powerlines, not sure if this would actually be an issue, but I fear it might. Land acquisition on that leg is probably more likely, but I’m speculating. However, I can perhaps see elevated potential from Wynyard Quarter to Aotea or partway.

  17. Most of the route that I am suggesting passes through currently commercial land and so aesthetics are probably less important (the rear of some Barrys Pt properties seem havens for rubbish and rats so some would say any change is an improvement).
    The one hurdle may of course be Countdown. If they choose to litigate then they will probably take it as far as the Supreme Court. There is still a bad feeling in many locals mouths over the customer who was seemingly so drunk that he barely made it to the checkout. Fortunately he was able to produce his wallet and so the sale was concluded. The legal skirmish that followed served only to show how deep the companies pockets were.

    1. Often big companies have a positive view on infrastructure, especially if there is a potential they might just get a customer or two – so I wouldn’t necessary say upfront that Countdown won’t play the ball. But I believe they would have limited recourse under the Public Works Act really, and they wouldn’t be anywhere as difficult as moving a church community in central city, which AC/AT now has some solid experience in.

  18. @ Matt L (somewhere above), stated that, “heavy rail is limited to about 3%”

    Examples abound of adhesion-worked heavy rail going steeper than this. Here are a few:

    • 1 in 28 (3.6%) – LGV Sud-Est high-speed line, France
    • 1 in 25 (4.0%) – Cologne–Frankfurt high-speed rail line
    • 1 in 20 (5.0%) – SOB Rapperswil – Samstagern, Switzerland
    • 1 in 18 (5.5%) – Flåmsbanen, Norway
    • 1 in 14.2 (7.0%) – Bernina Pass, Switzerland


    1. It’s not limited as per se, but… Flåmsbanen – avg speed 40 km/h, bernina avg speed 35 km/h. That’s with no stops in between… Anything over 5% makes locomotive sweating. Anything over 3% over means slow journey or special engineering to make it happen. It is much easier to go with LTR which can handle these with ease – up to 10% is good. So yes, you’re being technically correct, it’s not limited but it’s nowhere near ideal either.

      1. Stranded on the North Shore:

        I suspect the low average speeds on the Flåmsbanen and Bernina lines have much more to do with curve-limits than gradient. These lines are extreme mountain railways with sustained climbs of many hundreds of vertical metres and typical mountain weather conditions. It is disingenuous compare their operation with North Shore rail. I only mentioned them in my post above to counter claims often made here that heavy rail can’t handle the requisite grades.

        Now excuse me but. . . “Locomotive sweating”? “…Anything over 3% means slow journey. . .”?, “special engineering…”? – I believe you are throwing up nonsensical red herrings for reasons of your own.

        The SOB Rapperswil – Samstagern line I mention above supports normal, frequent inter-urban EMU services as well as longer-distance loco-hauled trains at a 5% ruling gradient.
        And the other examples I give of heavy-rail gradients over 3% are both on high-speed lines (300Km/hr), so no, steep grades do not automatically mean slow speeds.

        From Auckland Council’s GIS map viewer ( http://maps.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/aucklandcouncilviewer/ – with contours turned on), the most onerous gradient on the Northern Motorway I can find appears to be the climb of 50 vertical metres between Sunnynook Rd (25m asl) and Sunset Rd (75m asl) in 1260 horizontal metres. This gives an average gradient of 4%. This is well within the bounds of what heavy rail handles elsewhere, and I would be surprised if it were not within the capabilities of the CAF units as they are, with no “special engineering” required.

        I believe heavy rail along the Northern Busway alignment is do-able.

        1. I also believe that heavy rail is doable but it would use up more money than light rail for the same effect, if not worse. I do not pretend to be an expert in this, my numbers I got from google earth before you posted your post (see above): Akoranga to Smales is 5%, Sunnynook to Constellation is 4% and Greville to Albany is 7%. With all this, I still haven’t seen a good reason to continue heavy rail expansion from what is essentially passenger only ever going to be urban metro. Remember, I’m not talking about trams that are in Wynyard Quarter. I’m talking fast speed light rail – up to 90-100km/h. Heavy rail costs more than light rail. Heavy rail isn’t as good at steep gradients as light rail. With separated light rail, we can hide the traction in the track instead of putting ugly overhead lines. It’s cheaper to build elevated structures for light rail. Driverless light rail can be much more frequent than our existing manually driven HR. There’s so much more… I think there’s a big misconception about what “light” actually means – for Joe Bloggs the difference between HR and LRT can be indistinguishable!

        2. Here are some nonsensical red herrings from a company that knows a bit more about rail than me: http://www.networkrail.co.uk/aspx/10556.aspx (they maintain and develop Britain’s rail tracks, signalling, bridges, tunnels, level crossings and many key stations)… It really doesn’t take long to research this stuff even if you don’t know much about it… They say… “Gradients on the main line network may reach as steep as 1 in 37 ” – they are saying that 2.7% is steep. Not my words. Also author of this blog – Matt L – seems to agree – and he definitely knows more than me – see his post above.

    2. Why would you build a Heavy Rail line at the limits of operation when you could build a standard metro line for the same price?

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