Yesterday we launched CFN2, the second version of our Congestion Free Network. It has been great to see your response to it, and already we’re getting serious support by key decision-makers. Our detailed report runs through how CFN2 works across different sub-regions of Auckland, and over the next days and weeks we’ll put some focus on our key initiatives, and the reasons behind some key choices that we have made.

A good place to start is with probably the biggest “change” that CFN2 makes from what’s in ATAP (the Auckland Transport Alignment Project) – in the Northwest, where we propose a major new light-rail line running from Waimauku through Kumeu, Westgate, along the State Highway 16 corridor to the city and then over to Takapuna on the North Shore. This forms Line B of our network:

By way of comparison, the ATAP “strategic PT network” map shows a line out to Kumeu/Huapai, but talks about the “Northwest Busway”, initially from Te Atatu to Westgate and then eventually extending in both directions along the entire route.

Why Light Rail

Three key factors sat at the heart of our decision-making on busway vs LRT for the Northwest corridor:

  • Growth and Capacity
  • City Centre Bus Constraints
  • Connection Opportunities

Let’s work through each of those in turn:

Growth and Capacity

The Northwest is expected to undergo significant growth in coming decades from a couple of key areas in and around the SH16 corridor.

  • Significant greenfield growth is planned north of Westgate and in and around Kumeu.
  • Within the existing urban area, especially on the Te Atatu peninsula, substantial development is also planned, especially on the Te Atatu peninsula
  • Closer to town, the Great North Rd corridor is already experiencing a building boom and this is expected to continue.

All up the corridor is likely to be home to at least 150,000 people in coming years, possibly more. Light rail was chosen due to its ability to provide appropriate long-term capacity to the area.

City Centre Bus Constraints

Similar to the issues faced by key bus corridors serving the city centre from the isthmus (Symonds Street) and the North Shore (Fanshawe Street), over time growing bus demand from the Northwest and inner west is likely to lead to bus volumes that the city centre cannot easily and efficiently cope with. The ATAP Supporting Information report noted this likely long-term issue:

Like with most elements of ATAP, we think they’ve underestimated the demand for PT and that capacity constraints will likely occur sooner than projected. Furthermore, the impact of large bus volumes along Karangahape Road, down Albert Street and then having to turn buses around in the downtown area undermines a lot of desired outcomes from the City Centre Master Plan.

Connection Opportunities

Current thinking for the Northwest Busway envisages that services would terminate downtown, probably in Lower Albert St like the Northern Express currently does. Through routing services through the City Centre not only removes the issues of terminating services, but can provide useful new connections.

As you can see above, ATAP also agreed on the need for a spur of the strategic network to Takapuna, but the question for us has always been how that would operate. Given the demands suggested in various reports, there would be more service coming to the city from the North Shore than there would be from the central isthmus. Thus, we thought about where the logical places were that these Takapuna services could go after passing through the city and linking them up with the Northwest route felt the most appropriate.

This still leaves a couple of questions though:

  • What’s the best way of providing a “congestion free” corridor between Pt Chevalier and the city?
  • Even if you did eventually go to light-rail, would it make sense to build some busway first?
Pt Chevalier to City Section

Most buses that currently run out to west and northwest Auckland use the Great North Road corridor from the city to Pt Chevalier. This runs almost parallel to State Highway 16:

Great North Rd works pretty well for buses currently. It has extensive bus lanes along most of this length, and just a couple of bottlenecks around the St Lukes Rd motorway interchange and through the Grey Lynn shops. For the short and potentially medium term this would likely continue, with the focus on providing congestion free improvements further west. However, growing demand will likely drive the need for faster and more reliable travel times along this section, and eventually (ATAP schedules it for the second decade) an upgrade is likely to be needed.

The route could shift to stay on SH16; however, that gets tricky around the St Lukes interchange and as it gets closer to the city centre where SH16 is hidden in a gully, away from the massive growth that is happening along Great North Rd.

Our first preference though is to keep the route where the people are, on Great North Rd and in doing so where the potential benefits of light-rail come through by allowing for greater capacity.

Should we still progress the Northwest Busway?

We have long been supporters of the Northwest Busway, in fact arguably this blog came up with the idea. Compared to other constrained bus corridors in the city centre and on the main routes feeding the city centre (especially from the isthmus and the North Shore), the problems highlighted above are undoubtedly lower priorities. Yet at the same time the Northwest is growing like crazy, faces a future with declining employment access and needs a way to provide its bus services much more efficiently.

Therefore, we definitely think the first phase of the Northwest Busway – from Westgate to Te Atatu – still needs to happen as soon as possible. There are huge gains to be made from this first stage but it is critical the busway is designed for an easy upgrade at a later date.

The rest of our network in the Northwest matches up with what ATAP proposes perfectly. The Henderson-Westgate-Constellation bus rapid transit corridor has been long-planned and is able to occur in a staged and sensible way over time, especially as growth occurs along the State Highway 18 corridor.

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77 comments

  1. So two main points in brief.

    1. Busway first, built with later conversion in mind (as with Northern Busway)
    2. NW likely to be Light Rail after 1. Queen/Dom/Wynyard 2.Mangere/Airport 3. Crossing/Shore/Takapuna

  2. So, a question: does busway / light rail way go down the middle of the road or the side of the road? It’s a small point, but one worth discussing – obviously the big picture is the route itself, but currently many of our NZ bus lanes go on the outside edge of the road, so that bus passengers can easily and safely enter/exit from the pavement. But then LR does not benefit from that placement.

    Seems to me that the better placement of BRT and LR would be right down the centre of the road, with a protected route (i.e. barriers to stop cars) and sheltered station stops between the tracks and the cars. Very common overseas. But needs to start to be implemented now before it gets too far down the wrong route…

    Or – are you proposing a new route, across the water?

  3. Why not make the Northwest line go through Whenuapai Village and Riverhead too? Both of these areas are earmarked for future growth and currently suffer from a lack of good PT. Arguably it would be better to serve these areas where more intensive growth is planned and terminate the line at Huapai rather than continue to Waimauku.

    Plus, train to Hallertau for beers anyone?

  4. I like the idea of the congestion free route following the layout you detail, but I still don’t get why it should be light rail and not heavy rail?
    Yes a heavy rail would cost more, especially if tunneling is involved in places like around the city, but it would be future proofed, carry more people & be quicker.
    I have used modern light rail overseas and they are a nightmare during peak times especially with prams & wheelchairs
    If London who has over 10 heavy rail lines, can invest in another line (Crossrail) – i.e. they can see the value in yet another heavy rail line we shouldn’t be short changing ourselves.
    A 10 minute rail trip from the City Centre to a major amazing beach like Tapakuna is going to be so incredibility popular – it needs to be serviced properly, plus meeting the fast access to the city needs of those moving to the new housing out west.
    Build it once, and build it right.

    1. Where does your the heavy rail on the NW connect in the city? The CRL is already flat out with its current lines. And don’t say Mt Eden, and therefore bypassing the centre of demand. If we do that we will have spent many billions on a flash new railway but will still be running a gazillion buses into the city… LR adds another high capacity route to the heart of demand- and most importantly out the other side too.

      And in general, its horses for courses: Heavy Rail is great, Light Rail is great, Buses are great. But none are the best answer for every situation.

      1. I’m no engineer, but I thought Aotea Station would work, especially as the CRL station is just a covered over trench – so a deeper platform could be constructed?

      2. Patrick while I see your point about houses for course, what is the centre of demand that is being bypassed?
        The graphic shows no stations between Arch Hill and K rd, a HR line running along the bottom of the hill (basically along the northern side of the motorway) still allows for a station for Arch Hill before crossing the motorway to link in to the current western line. If you saw my comment on the post yesterday I can see (others may not) as a natural continuation to the current western line by this going through the CRL around Parnell, Grafton (by pass Newmarket) and back to Swanson.

        1. And then where? Straight into the flat Newmarket junction? That has every other service through it. HR will be full, and the cost to add capacity to it can not match the value we get from investing in another separate network to complement it.

          1. Year like it does now, post CRL the Swanson trains will go via the CRL and most terminate at Newmarket, this just has then go back out via Grafton (without stopping at Newmarket). The western and north western lines would join up one (probably easier for the NW line) go via the CRL and the other would go via Grafton to join up. So, Swanson to Grafton, Parnell, Britomart, up the CRL back to Mt Eden then out to the end of the NW line (where ever that may be).

          2. But the western line is still there, the CRL will be used to its capacity, if you’re adding another service you have to reduce the frequency of the existing ones… also you’re wanting to add another junction… What is better about this than adding another network?, as that means you still have all the capacity of the current one plus the new one, whereas in your scheme we’re just dividing up the current capacity and distributing it to more areas…

          3. Yes the existing western line is still there and the north western line becomes its other end.
            Post CRL trains run from Swanson to Newmarket via the CRL, two an hour continue to Onehunga and trains run from Papakura via Grafton and the CRL to Manukau. Having the North western line just has those Swanson trains skip Newmarket and go via Grafton to Mt Eden then out to the end of the North western line. There are no more trains than is already planned (12TPH each way during peak), there is just a far greater HR catchment.

        2. If it was to be Heavy Rail, wouldn’t you want the alignment to be different:
          Pt Chev, Ponsonby, K Rd Station (Interchange), Hospital, Newmarket, Remuera Rd, Stonefields, Panmure (Interchange), Pakarunga, Botany

          This creates a different route and adds resilience.

          Yes it would be tunneled and yes it would be expensive, but one day we’ll need to start tunneling to get more heavy rail in.

          1. That is where the street running LR comes in, except the Pakuranga and Botany that will be covered by HR from Panmure to the Manukau through station.
            Queen St, Dominion rd LR to New Lynn. Pt Chev, Ponsonby KDrd (or Aotea) Hospital, Remurea, Stonefeilds Panmure. There are other examples for LR but the heavy lifting (so to speak) needs to be done by heavy rail.

          2. Yes, one day we will need proper heavy rail/heavy metro rail (maybe when Auckland has 3+ million people).

            What the CFN 2.0 is about is addressing what is needed now, and soon (which in NZ seems to mean about 30 years!).

            Let the LRT along the middle of Gt North Rd etc provide for the interim and build the patronage and land use changes to make things ready for proper heavy rail/heavy metro rail in the future (which as you say will mainly be in tunnel, and as Patrick points out, will require CRL 2, 3, 4, … n, and will require Newmarket junction to be a flying junction, probably underground (since they sold too much land there at ground level) etc).

          3. Patrick, Who says the CRL will be at capacity? Are you using TPH figures based on current signalling and emu performance? This takes no account of improving control technology and the likelihood that ETCS 2 and ETCS 3 will be implemented to maximise the potential capacity of the HR network.
            Driverless metro and LR will be here soon enough…

          4. Can I just get one of you rail-or-nothing doods to explain why you are so against an additional rail system for AKL? No one is planning (anymore!) to rip up the current one, it is and will continue to be at heart of the network: The CRL will be running trains every 3mins, even 2.5mins with lots and lots of further investment on the network. It’s spine will be full of freighters, and is likely to get new intercity services…. so why is it you imagine it can ‘easily’ (which means cheaply) carry an endless amount of additional services from every point of the compass?

            It is demonstrably going to to be cheaper, quicker, and better to add an additional network than to try to keep stuffing more and more trains onto our current little two-tracker. It’s a simple geometry question. Two is simply better than one. It’s also an efficiency and resilience one. Again two networks is better than one.

          5. What you propose sounds like the Parsons-Brinkerhoff metro proposal:

            https://www.greaterauckland.org.nz/2009/10/31/the-parsons-brinkerhoff-study/

            In this light rail proposal, the street running sections can be seen and designed as a ‘pre-metro’: i.e. when the street-running sections start to reach capacity they can be bypassed by tunneled upgrades and the original alignment re-purposed for more local demand.

            In that scenario its important that the off-street sections are built to accommodate a metro standard of service.

            In this case I think Gt North Rd may be too sinuous, steep and clogged with interchange-bound traffic to provide a timely route to the NW. Better to get off at Newton Rd.

    2. If its suggested to future proof a Busway so that it could easily upgrade to light rail then what about future proofing from light to heavy rail? maybe using tram-train hybrids such as being implemented with the extension of the Sheffield Supertram to Rotherham in the UK. Of course there its used because the trams will share an existing heavy rail line, a very different use case to here where I assume the bulk of the implementation cost would be the track and not the rollingstock.

    3. HR vehicles aren’t immune from capacity issues during the peak. Here in Budapest Tram 4-6 is essentially a street running metro line with separated ROW. It uses 54 meter long vehicles that have a greater capacity than Metro 1 which is technically HR (but has major constrictions due to its age). If you need to get a pram on and off in the peak it would be difficult, but it would be just as difficult to do it on the modern HR cars on metros 2 and 4 because every part of the system is rammed. Even when trains are 2 minutes apart I have had trouble getting on one due to the loads. I think it is more important that the load is spread across a wider network than finer details of mode.

    4. Light rail has ample capacity for the sort of population envisaged in the North West. Running 2 x 33m consists you could get a capacity of 13,000 passengers per hour per direction – equal to a ten lane freeway. That is less than heavy rail but still plenty. The advantage LRT would have is its ability to negotiate a tight alignment to get the corridor into the city. With heavy rail you would have to go to tunnel, then get it under CRL (so deep subterranean stations), at pretty high cost, and not very accessible. Also it would need more space in the corridor, and be less able to climb above or under freeway ramps. So it would have the same problems as heavy rail to the airport. In both cases, if somebody had preserved a corridor suitable for heavy rail 20 years ago, it would be a great solution. Unfortunately, that never happened.

      I am curious which LRTs you have used regarding the crowded at peak times argument? Any system gets uncomfortable when crowded, as anyone who has been stuck in a crowded European or Asian heavy rail train knows. The solution is more capacity, not changing mode. I have traveled on modern LRTs in France and Germany and found them very comfortable. Also they tend to be run more frequently, typically every six to eight minutes all day, so waiting time was minimal.

      1. Sure, in istanbul and Athens.
        More than once from the heavy rail line in instanbul from the airport which was fine and changing to the light rail system which had carriages every few minutes put were packed so full I ended up in different carriages from my family. .
        I have taken full tube lines on london but the trams in Istanbul were even worse

        1. Clearly transport options in Istanbul have moved on. Last time I was there I took the train into Istanbul… from Athens, which, yes, was not a clever thing to do. The carriage was heated by steam. Not entirely sure, but the loco might have been steam too….

          But Light Rail? No, twas all very heavy back then. Do they still have the Dolmus ? They were a great way of getting round….

          1. Istanbul opened a modern LRT in 2006 (Tram Line T1). It is the most heavily used LRT line in the world (310,000 passengers per day on one line). So yes it is modern and crowded, but far from typical. That is like judging heavy rail systems by the Tokyo Subway.

  5. I think this makes you the only people who have done any planning whatsoever for the northwest sector. Ignoring of course that transport for growth nonsense that was just a pre-existing projects stuck on a plan.

    1. I thought Waterview and the $4bn Western Ring Route were meant to fix it all!

      The Northwest could be a really great place to live – pleasant coastal places, proximity to the west coast beaches, and relatively good access to the growing North Shore employment areas. In the long run, if it’s done well it should be quite a bit more attractive than the inner West Auckland suburbs. But transport’s really the make or break point. Rapid and reliable public transport journey times to the city centre and Northern Busway is important.

      In general, one of the things that I think is smart about CFN2 is that it thinks about how to get the RTN into new growth areas in advance of development, or at any rate not too far behind. We really need to stop playing catch-up on providing transport choice.

  6. One question I have is (and I know this is early days so the finer details wouldn’t have been worked out), how will the Northwestern Line (if it uses Great North Rd and presumably K’rd) meet up with the Dominion Rd Line, considering that the light rail line along Queen Street is proposed to go under K’Rd with a potential station there.

    Really interested to hear your thoughts on this 🙂

      1. If not on Mayoral Dr itself what about down Greys Ave and along the side of the town hall where Grey St used to be?

        Otherwise you probably need a ramp on K Rd down into the station for Queen St.

        1. Actually, Greys Ave works much better than Vincent Street. then the LRT tracks can either run through Aotea Square, or along the one side of Mayoral Drive.

        2. Yes that would be quite cool bringing it right into Aotea like that. If it’s going to be the faster, benefit those outer areas better version, going along SH16, slink it up to New North Rd about where Bond St is.

  7. I still wonder about the fine details of the possible alignments, particularly along the causeway and further towards the city. Could the LR be put right in the middle of the motorway (use ramps to get down to motorway level at Te Atatu), Sunnynook style station around Patiki off/on ramp and further along the middle all the way to Pt Chev. Somewhere before Carrington Rd to go up onto Great North Rd or alternatively go down to Great North right in the middle of the interchange (and then climb up along Great North to Pt Chev)?

    On one side I like the idea of the LR on Great North Rd, but on the other the large number of intersections and traffic lights would make this section a slow slog. Perhaps having it to one side (northern) and capping off some side streets could make this better.

    1. RE: Pt Chev, I was thinking that the Light rail could become elevated west of the Carrington Rd intersection (as Great North Rd slopes down to pass underneath the motorway, so the Light Rail could actually remain fairly level as it becomes elevated) and then pass to the north of the new waterview connection ramps and over the eastbound Great North Rd off and on-ramps and then either remain elevated or come back down to motorway level once well clear of the interchange.

      1. Yeah, that would not be cheap. But then again – NZTA didn’t leave any options for PT along SH16 so no surprise that fixing this will be expensive.

        I still think that going down Great North rd and then right (west) through a tunnel to emerge in the middle of the motorway might be slightly cheaper.

        1. I think the main problem with your tunnel idea is that the westbound ramp from SH20 lands right where you’d want your tunnel portal to emerge, although I suppose you could then shift the eastbound lanes of SH16 slightly to the north, and have a tighter turn on the eastbound Great North Rd on-ramp to make it all fit.

  8. Underground tunnel from Devonport to Judges Bay please?
    Yes it would cost squillions.
    Build it along with proposed new waterfront stadium wherever that’s going to be, move those rusting steam locomotives somewhere more dignified.
    It’s so heartbreaking seeing Edward, Henry & Gordon sitting on the bones of their arse as you pull into Britomart.

  9. I would love to know finer details of this too like where it would be built so land can be designated now. I thought light rail would take up less space than a busway and can be elevated.

    Also would love this light rail to some how connect better to the heavy rail network out west so people from kumeu can get to Henderson, new lynn, etc easier.

    At the moment I hate catching the bus from out west that goes along Great North Road with the amount of stops it takes in. Makes the journey twice as long. And also there’s never enough express buses to avoid this issue but then again there’s no buslane from Pt chev to the city so the express buses get caught in the traffic too.

  10. On your maps it really isn’t clear whether the red line stops at Remuera or Greenlane and whether the Upper Harbour bus route stops at Royal Heights.

    a) do they?
    b) can this be made more clear somehow?

        1. Yes. In that case you are looking at an LRT and a BRT route in parallel, with the BRT running express on motorway bus lanes and the LRT line next to the motorway.

          For the BRT to stop at Royal it would have to exit the motorway, make a stop somewhere nearby, then get back on the motorway again. There aren’t even the ramps to let it do that, even if you wanted to accept the extra delay and unreliability.

          Its a pretty simple transfer at either the station before or the station after.

          1. I think that for the sections where BRT and LRT overlap we could run them on the same corridor. Gothenburg in Sweden does it quite well that also makes possible for things like express buses to use the same corridor.

      1. I don’t think having skip stop through Remuera and Greenlane will be viable. I’m still yet to have travelled on an Onehunga service that hasn’t crawled along this section, presumably as it has caught up with a train ahead.

        If each of these lines has 5 min service, there will be 2.5 min headways on this section, so I can’t see skip-stop working in the future.

        1. It’s not skip stop, its express running (there is a difference, express is harder to do!).

          Lets break this out.
          With 2.5 min total average headways, you are actually talking five minute headways on your all-stopper line and five minutes on your express line. Given each of those is at five min headways already there isn’t much to be gained by combining them for an even 2.5 min headway.

          So this means you have a window of five minutes between successive all-stoppers in which you could express run the other line. In other words, you have a bit under five minutes to save before you catch up to the train in front.

          If the line expresses two stations it would save around three to four minutes run time, so this is all consistent.
          Provided you can keep your trains within one to two minutes f the timetable, the express train will have a clear run regardless. Yes it requires reasonable reliability, and yes it only works for a few minutes gain. However for the southern line this is one of a number of things proposed to take a total of about 13-14 minutes of the run time from Papakura.

          Another thing to consider is that except for a few peak hours a day, each of those lines will be running every ten minutes. So that is a heap of time to skip two stations.

        2. Sorry, got my terminology wrong but my point still stands.

          This looks like something that might just work on paper but would have little chance of working in reality.

          If I’m right the red line would leave Ellerslie say 2 minutes before the following green line service, it would then be 2 minutes quicker so it would get to Newmarket 1 minute ahead of the previous green line service. Any small delay in this green line service and the red line service is running late and is going to have issues with it’s CRL slot, putting the entire network out of whack.

          As I’ve said they appear to be having spacing issues with the current Onehunga express catching up with the Southern line service at the moment, even with 10 minute frequency.

          1. Yeah that’s the idea, although it would arrive at Newmarket 1 minute behind the previous green line service. Not that with the CRL there will be three platforms to do the work of two, so there is flexibility to adapt a bit more using the spare platform to manage delays.

            To be fair, in practice this would mean holding the green line trains at Newmarket or at the Onehunga branch if there was a delay that couldn’t be dealt with otherwise.

    1. If it is going to finish up at ground level in the city it would have to have a driver. It would then make sense to run it along the SH16 corridor at ground level, only grade separating to avoid freeway ramps. Similar to the Perth heavy rail concept or Seattle LRT?

  11. Running NW LR along Gt Nth Rd is too greater distance on a 50kmh rd for a route that travels all the way to Waimauku, along the the dogleg through Grey Lynn shops. I think it will need it’s own dedicated RoW along this bit.

    1. I’d bring it into Newton Rd. If it is going to be as similar to HR as possible then it is only going to have stops every ~ 1.5 – 2km anyway so stops near the over-bridges would be sufficient. Picks up people living both sides of the motorway as well.

      I can understand street running in the CBD, but if it is going to start running on street in the suburbs then it is really hard to say it is a good substitute to HR.

      1. That definitely reduces the catchment of those stops – majority of the development around Grey Lynn to Arch Hill is right off Great North rd. If you put it down the gully it becomes too far to be useful for those destinations (also no easy way to run ‘feeder’ type service to it).

        1. Yes, of course it would reduce the catchment, but this is a line coming all the way from Waimauku, it’s purpose isn’t to get to everyone on GNR.

          The Eastern train line would probably pick up more people if it ran down Remuera Rd than passing through Meadowbank and Orakei, however it would be a slower journey for those of us who live further out.

          While that is of course a more dramatic example, the principle is the same, this is a long distance (in urban terms) rail line not a local tram. Buses can provide the necessary service on GNR.

          If I’m right we are asking these LR lines to be the spine, much like the current HR network, not the local collector.

          1. Yes looks hard to get it off the motorway up onto Gt Sth Rd with WRR interchange in the way etc. Could possibly curve around north side of the whole WRR interchange to bring it up onto Gt Sth but looks expensive. Yes Newton Rd looks wide as too. Good point re catchments either side too. Good to get a west K’Rd station before hanging a left somewhere eventually, but I wonder how much this will conflict with other bus movements & bike paths along here. That’s why I’m thinking put the line from the motorway up the other side to then run along NN rd. hmmm nothing quite ideal it seems.

          2. I dont think that is a valid argument because that is exactly the raison d’etre for the airport-dom Rd to cdb LR, to catch as much traffic on the multi-stop Dom Rd section. EVen though its a long distance line going out to the airport.
            If the design criteria is not the same for the NW LR and its not to get maximum patronage on GNR but instead go via motorway trench so that its main function is to deliver passengers from the more distant NW areas then why bother using LR for this link?
            Use HR instead and get some decent express speeds into the CBD.

          3. Ahh yes the report does just say running along SH16 & joining the central line through the city ctr. All a matter of balance & not necessarily one or the other of catchment / speed / convenience etc. Don’t think you would get much more capacity and speed with HR if you are going to run it very dedicated right of way with LRT anyway, but then you can get into the CBD a lot nicer/easier than with HR…..but we won’t argue capacity here? been done over many times on the airport line debates.

          4. Speed is a function of the RoW, the number and spacing of stops, etc not whether its Heavy or Light Rail. A new Light Rail line won’t be any slower, and should be faster, in practice than our heavy rail system.

            And certainly a whole new network will enable speeds on both networks to be faster for more users than trying to cram more trains to more places on our two track railway.

          5. Further to my own comment above: ” That’s why I’m thinking put the line from the motorway up the other side to then run along NN rd”, could give options for a stop in the dead void of no PT zone of Newton that would give an airport transfer point.

          6. Dgd – that’s a valid point. However, the two lines are a little bit different, as the airport line has an anchor at each end, in that there would be a number of people on Dominion Rd looking to catch a train to the airport. This wouldn’t apply to people on GNR looking to catch a train to Kumeu or Waimauku. A bus would cover their transport needs to the CBD.

            Also Dominion Rd is such a straight line, that it somewhat negates the lower speeds on an urban street, which is why it has a similar time to CBD than the HR route.

            Incidentally I still prefer HR to the airport, which ironically this CFN allows for a running pattern that would make this viable with 12 trains per hour. However, I think LR is a perfectly acceptable alternative.

      2. If we’re going to run it along the motorway as far as Newton Rd we may as well figure out a way to elevate it over the CMJ and directly connect it to Upper Queens St at the intersection with Canada St. This would avoid a couple of sharp corners and simplify how it would join the Queen St line that is proposed to have it’s K’ Rd station be trenched through the hump at the intersection.

        1. Pretty high up structure/difficult, but yes miss a direction connection with the K’rd station otherwise. I think the idea of motorway then up Newton is actually quite good for inner city connection there, giving a stop or two, given it will be hooting along up to that point & then Sailor Boy’s (see comments above) idea of “Greys Ave works much better than Vincent Street. then the LRT tracks can either run through Aotea Square…”. For Airport, transfer to the Central A line at the Civic on Queen St. People wanting to quickly get to the shore from more outer West areas may be better to go the other way around via the Upper Harbour BRT route.

          1. Not sure what side of the NW motorway it would be on, but if it was the south side it could just pop up to Ian McKinnon Drive and join the Dominion Rd line there.

          2. Could be center running / elevated (couple of lanes taken out I guess?). In any case love the “could just pop up”, sounds easy, lol. Thinking more about if come in Gt Nth Rd & down through to Aotea Sq: Sounds kinda cool having a station that side of town hall/give extra loading splitting station with line A’s Queen St Civic one if capacity maxes out etc but would just confuse simplicity & probably stuff up the ped amenity around there, means u miss K’Rd station,and creates two crossing points on Mayoral Dr for general traffic. Also could have problems with loading on Civic car park & heritage issues with town hall?

  12. Why aren’t we looking at putting the light rail back where the trams used to be?

    The roads have the width already and the adjacent street networks allow for easy access to the LRT network.

    As a case study, the currently in construction cbd & south east light rail in Sydney is using the same alignment as the previous tram network for the majority of it’s route.

    1. A few differences:
      – distance travelled (original network went only to Pt Chev (about 5km), CFN2 – all the way past Westgate (16km) to Kumeu 23km)
      – size of the vehicle (LR units go to 30m, original trams were a few m long, that affects stop sizes, intersections requirements, gradients etc)
      – speed and acceleration characteristics – LR does operate much better in a dedicated corridor.

      1. Also there didn’t used to be many cars on the road, pre WWII traffic congestion didn’t really exist as most people didn’t own cars. Those trams just rolled along in the lane and people wandered out into the street to get on one.

        It’s different circumstances today. If you look in Melbourne they have some old school tram type routes rolling along in traffic and they are useless to be honest, worse than a bus. Let’s not build that back in.

    2. Modern Light Rail is not trams, or streetcars. It operates with the most grade separation possible, slipping out of that condition only when the advantages of doing so are compelling; particularly to deliver people to the front door of our densest centres, yet at a fraction of the cost and disruption of full grade separation, tunnelling or elevation.

    1. Whether it goes all the way to Waimauku, or when it does, will simply be a function of Greenfields growth. If the growth out there doesn’t show up, I doubt the line will either… Te length of that line is probably the most contingent part of the map.

      1. The price difference from Kumeu to Waimauku, thru Greenfield, would be minimal. And, thinking further, taking it to Waimauku would offer a brilliant train – bus transfer point to Muriwai. Or the dreamer in me says take the LRT line to Muriwai. The tourism value would be amazing. And I could catch transit to my lifesaving patrol.

  13. Another possible option:
    — LRT on Great North Road to Pt Chevalier, Unitec and New Lynn.
    — BRT on SH16, with services running express from Pt Chevalier.

    1. I think there are much greater capacity requirements for NW then for New Lynn and surrounding areas. Also because once CRL is in New Lynn will have a very fast connection with a lot of capacity anyway. Ppl would probably travel counter-peak direction to get there just to catch the train.

    1. MOTAT actually has two tram gauges. I can’t find the reference now, but the proposed one is the ‘standard’ gauge (the same one is used in Wynyard Quarter loop).

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