Some people have been a bit surprised that our Congestion Free Network does not expand our existing heavy rail network to a greater extent, particularly given the significant investment currently under way in the City Rail Link. I covered off that issue to some extent a few weeks ago by highlighting that CRL does not have unlimited capacity – one of the reasons we propose complementing the heavy rail network with a new, light-rail, network.

But this isn’t to say that we propose ignoring the (heavy) rail network. On the contrary, we think that it will be essential to work the network much harder over time so that it’s able to perform three key tasks:

  • Enable much higher passenger train frequencies, eventually getting up to true “metro style” frequencies of a train every 5 minutes.
  • Enable much faster travel times through express trains, especially from the south where the network stretches right down to Pukekohe.
  • Progressively separating passenger and freight trains so rail can play a greater part in meeting Auckland’s future transport task

To some extent, these tasks are recognised in ATAP, which says the following about future rail network investment:

The CFN includes these investments, and we envisage accelerating a number of them to enable the strong recent growth in rail numbers to continue into the future. The most pressing investment is a third main between Westfield – Wiri which will allow off-peak services to be increased pre-CRL. This $58 million project is a critical piece of infrastructure. Over time this would be extended to Papakura, then Pukekohe, as eventually a fourth main from Westfield – Papakura too. These additional tracks and trains, as well as removal of road/rail level crossings, will help a lot in letting us get much more from the rail network.

Improved Junctions

However, a network is only as strong as it’s weakest link and some of Aucklands weakest links are it’s many junctions. We currently have five around the network (Quay Park, Newmarket, Penrose, Westfield and Wiri) and delays at one junction can quickly cause ripple effects around the entire network. To really ensure the network is resilient to disruptions and to get the absolute most out of CRL, we think a couple of further projects not identified in ATAP are likely to be required. These are upgrades to the Westfield and Quay Park rail junctions to become what’s known as a “flying junction”. Flying junctions allowing speedier travel times as rail traffic no longer will need to wait for opposing line traffic to cross. Flying junctions will be built at Mt Eden as part of the City Rail Link project, including one that will eventually be completely underground.

Express Trains

If you look closely at our CFN map on the southern line, you’ll see that trains coming up from Papakura and Pukekohe will skip a number of “inner” stations so they can achieve a faster travel time. This is done by expressing past two sets of stations where the lines already double up: Middlemore and Papaptoetoe, then Greenlane and Remuera. In addition Te Mahia is no longer stops at all, while Penrose is only a stop on the Onehunga branch of the Western Line.

Under this pattern, a train from Pukekohe would stop at all stations to Puhinui before only stopping at Otahuhu, Ellerslie, Newmarket and Grafton before entering the CRL tunnel. This means it would only stop at two major interchanges between the outer southern stations and the edge of the City Centre. All together we estimate this will save around ten minutes off the Southern Line. We think a speed improvement is important when the electrification of the Southern Line is extended right through to Pukekohe with extra stations at Paerata and Drury to serve the growth areas down there. With this Papakura will be about 40 minutes from Aotea, while Pukekohe will be just under an hour despite the two new stations in between.

Western Line

In the west, the rail network faces a different set challenges to the Southern line. The biggest being that rail freight is far less frequent and usually travels at night so rail congestion is less of an issue. However, the line includes a significant number of level crossings, has closely spaced stations, often close to those crossings, and it follows a relatively indirect route along its course from Swanson to the city. As a result it has slower average speeds than other lines. To truly unlock the transformational impact of the City Rail Link on the western line will require investment to remove level crossings. Those crossings influence rail speeds and capacity, as well as creating localised road congestion. This will only get worse as the frequency of trains increases. The rail development programme endorsed by ATAP between KiwiRail and AT has $585m to grade separate or close level crossings; the CFN 2.0 proposes the same. Removing level crossings will increase reliability, speeds, capacity while reducing localised road congestion.

An extra platform at Henderson is being delivered as part of the CRL to turn trains around, although I personally would prefer to see that at Swanson so the entire line can benefit from improved frequency – under ATs plans stations past Henderson will see no further improvement in frequency at peaks above what exists now.

Other Improvements

Increased train frequencies post-CRL may also need a third feed for the overhead electric lines, as well as a fourth platform at Henderson. Other more detailed infrastructure upgrades, such as further upgraded signalling will eventually be required to further improve the capacity of the CRL and wider network. Upgraded signalling as well as improved track-work may be needed to keep reliability high and increase average speeds.

Overall, by building on the significant rail upgrade programme that is already within ATAP, with a particular mind to getting more express rail services to the south, the CFN proposes what would be significant, ongoing, improvements to the rail network.

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126 comments

  1. Why does heavy rail stop at Onehunga? Wouldn’t it make sense to continue that to the airport and to the port at Onehunga?

    1. That has been the ongoing argument for a long time now. Cost is pretty much what I understand it to be, plus also it doesn’t solve the issue to no decent high capacity transport to serve central Auckland sound of the western line. Trams via that route and to the airport is now on the cards and recently was announced by the government to support, albeit high capacity buses first. I think it will end up trams as the long term cost is cheaper, we can only hope.

      1. Yes basically cost 1. Onehunga HR extension to Airport costs as much as Wynyard Quarter to Airport LRT. 2. The capacity is not higher due to the flat junction at Penrose meaning getting above 10m frequencies is unlikely due to operational realities. 3. LRT due to low dwells & quick acceleration as well as cheaper station costs means we can have a station at Favona and in the Airport Employment area not just the Airport terminal.

        1. Is it likely to go back to two lines to Onehunga? Just seems it is the most neglected and least reliable line. Skipping Greenlane and Remuera has helped but it’s still a fairly full service anecdotally and having every 15 or 20 minutes would be nice.

          I guess if there is no chance of freight moving via that line then heavy is overkill. But getting trucks off the road around Onehunga Penrose would be nice. Lowering the bridge seemed a fairly short sighted move and only truck companies seemed to benefit.

          1. Onehunga while being the most neglected line is generally the most reliable (along with Pukekohe).
            There is no chance of getting trucks of the roads around Onehunga and Penrose due to the Southdown rail transfer depot being on Neilson St. Rail (light or heavy) also required the Neilson St bridge to be lowered as they were always going over not under.

          2. The Onehunga Line is the most reliable because it’s held to the same measurement of being on time within 5 minutes but as it’s shorter than the rest there is less opportunity to fall behind

          3. The reason for the haste around the bridge demolition seems to be related to the East West connector which does only benefit trucking, the time savings are miniscule and the cost benefit dubious. Preserving the heavy rail route would have required additional planning and funding to allow for this. It has been stated though the the bridge can be reinstated, but you would need to trench the line exiting Onehunga as it would now need to be below the level of the road. Elevating the track and station may also work as it would the have a gentler gradient to a bridge over the Manukau.

          4. The bridge only had the width for a single track anyway and is unlikely to carry freight due to the old port area being redeveloped by Panuku as part of Transform Onehunga anyway.

          5. The improved junction from removing the bridge has improved that entire area. And the 4 laning of more of Nielson St leaves me wondering why they didn’t go all the way to Church St. Were they worried it would work too well?

        2. Harriet if AT repeat the mistakes the made with the AM class EMUs the dwell times will not be quicker. The EMUs acceleration is dialed down to less than a third for passenger comfort and safety and that is before you add in the effects of the over zealous ETCS L1 (Auckland is the only place in the world that uses it on their whole network).

        3. Except of course HR wouldn’t need frequencies greater than 10 minutes for the airport from Onehunga (especially if there is also RT from Puhinui whatever form that may be). HR is also faster. The timings given for LR are a joke. In reality LR is likely to take an hour from Britomart vs 40 minutes (at present could potentially get that down to 30-35 minutes with network improvements) by HR. https://thespinoff.co.nz/auckland/27-04-2017/trams-vs-trains-the-battle-for-the-future-of-auckland-transport/
          The campaign for better transport thinks realistically LR will take an hour.

          So CFN2 sure build it but have it stop at Dominion Road. Build HR from Onehunga (doesn’t place extra stress on the rail network if Onehunga is going to be upgraded to 6TPH anyway). Mangere still gets served as does the rest of the airport precinct and passengers get the better/faster/more pleasant HR service that most proper cities have. Puhinui to the airport can be a busway in the meantime if desired and upgraded to LR in future through to Botany.

          1. “Except of course HR wouldn’t need frequencies greater than 10 minutes for the airport from Onehunga”

            You really think that 6,000 pax/hour/direction is enough?

            “HR is also faster. The timings given for LR are a joke. In reality LR is likely to take an hour from Britomart vs 40 minutes”

            Show your working. No one is convinced by four heavy rail enthusiasts screaming this with no evidence at all when actual experts came up with a time 25% faster.

          2. Hang on Jon, so you are saying your bright idea is to spend over two billion dollars to run at most a train every ten minutes from Onehunga to the Airport.

            You’d prefer that instead of spending the same money on an entirely new rapid rail line through Wynyard, the city centre, Balmoral, Mount Roskill, Three Kings, Onehunga, Mangere and all the way out to the airport. One that could run trains every three or four minutes with two or three times the capacity?

            Thank god your not in charge of any decision making for the city’s budgets.

          3. @Sailor Boy – Did you read the attached link or did you just spout off as per usual?

            Cameron Pitches from the lobby group Campaign for Better Transport (CBT) said that SMART had “ignored its own advice because it had not allowed that trains on other lines would intersect with an airport line.”
            further to this “SMART had included costs that would be incurred anyway, like those for upgrading the level crossings. SMART also overlooked the fact that a rail line to the airport through Otahuhu would allow passengers wanting to go south to transfer at that point.

            Importantly, he said SMART had exaggerated the likely travel times on Dominion Rd: 80km/hour? He didn’t think so. Pitches wants a tramline built on Dominion Rd, but he doesn’t see it as justification for a service to the airport: in his view, Dominion Rd trams will be slow and primarily have a local function.

            Airport passengers, he believes, will be more likely to take a train to Onehunga or Puhinui, if a fast connection from either is developed. He says building that fast connection on a grade separated route is the key.”

            @ Nick R – Who is this Jon you keep referring to??

            Firstly yes spend the money and bloody well get it built.
            It will improve frequency and capacity through to the existing Onehunga Line for starters. It provides for greater capacity and connectivity for most of Auckland (realistically we aren’t going to see LR built to the airport anytime soon and even Dom Road might take a long time).
            It is a faster trip time and while Puhinui would be cheaper (as I have mentioned in the past), Onehunga or Otahuhu does allow for Mangere to have service (which apparently is so important to posters on this blog). Remember it is not $2B in addition to LR since most of the LR cost would be getting from Dom Rd through to the airport. So we are talking about $600m more that gets the following:
            Onehunga upgraded to double track, HR to the airport with stations at Mangere Bridge, Mangere, Airport Oaks, Airport added, more EMUs (that are faster and better suited to passengers with luggage than a rambling tram passing along a busy street filled with local commuters). LR along Dom Rd can (and should still be built and if wanted be part of the CFN2 proposed by this blog.
            Alternatively for an even faster train trip and potentially better outcome build HR via Otahuhu to the airport and convert the Onehunga line to LR connecting through to the Dom Rd line so that Penrose and Mt Smart etc are covered by LR too. You could potentially then through route that to connect to the Botany LR line in future.

          4. “@Sailor Boy – Did you read the attached link or did you just spout off as per usual?”

            Yes, you may notice that i specifically criticised things mentioned in that article too.

            “Cameron Pitches from the lobby group Campaign for Better Transport (CBT) said that SMART had “ignored its own advice because it had not allowed that trains on other lines would intersect with an airport line.””

            Yes, it also ignored that Western line passengers can transfer to LR at K Rd, and that those from the south may still transfer to bus at Papatoetoe and Puhinui.

            “further to this “SMART had included costs that would be incurred anyway, like those for upgrading the level crossings.”

            If these aren’t committed costs then they wouldn’t be incurred anyway; there is no plan to grade separate the Onehunga line at present.

            “Importantly, he said SMART had exaggerated the likely travel times on Dominion Rd: 80km/hour? He didn’t think so. Pitches wants a tramline built on Dominion Rd, but he doesn’t see it as justification for a service to the airport: in his view, Dominion Rd trams will be slow and primarily have a local function.”

            SMART assumed 50km/h on Dominion Road so this whole statement is either ill-informed or deceitful.

            “So we are talking about $600m more that gets the following:
            Onehunga upgraded to double track, HR to the airport with stations at Mangere Bridge, Mangere, Airport Oaks, Airport added, more EMUs”

            This is an outright lie. This was costed at $2b by people with far more experience than any of us.

            You keep repeating the ‘faster’ claim with no evidence. You keep repeating the ‘costs are inflated’ line with no evidence. It’s coming across as deliberate deceit rather than charming enthusiasm now.

          5. @Sailor Boy, you made no mention of the article as you claimed and nothing in your post mentions anything from that.

            The $600m figure is the additional cost of having HR @$2B + LR along Dom Rd vs just building LR the whole way. Nowhere did I ever claim that HR would only cost $600m so shove your “charming enthusiasm” sarcastic comment where the sun don’t shine.

            You keep denying that HR would be faster than LR to the airport. As per usual you aren’t taking into account that Dom Rd is never going to be as fast as the wildly fantasy figures – Dom Rd is congested and only getting worse (even with priority LR is unlikely to hit even 50km/h for most of that journey, not too mention dwell times as people rush across the street to get onto the LR which is waiting those extra 10 seconds at stops for them each time or the people slow to get off the crowded tram). HR on the other hand is only getting faster (and is faster to start with) with improvements to tracks, improvements to EMU’s, improvements to dwell times, CRL will improve network speeds due to less hold-ups, Onehunga line will be a lot faster with a rebuilt track and then HR would have fewer stops on the way to the airport.
            None of this takes into account the improvements in HR capacity that are likely to be implemented going forward (permanent 6-car EMUs rather than 2x 3-car EMUs giving a minimum 10% capacity boost straight away and as I have advocated with a permanent setup there really isn’t much reason we can’t make them into 7-car EMU’s giving a total capacity increase of around 30%/1000 pax with no impact on performance).
            Yes 6000 passengers per hour is sufficient for a rail link to the airport – especially since we will still have other links ie BRT/LRT from Puhinui/Manukau. If more were needed then under CRL2 the frequencies along the line could be higher than 6TPH. Adding an extension to the airport doesn’t affect CRL patterns etc.

          6. “@Sailor Boy, you made no mention of the article as you claimed and nothing in your post mentions anything from that.”

            Ok, I’ll accept that it isn’t clear whether I picked up your unsupported time savings claim from your comment or the article.

            “The $600m figure is the additional cost of having HR @$2B + LR along Dom Rd vs just building LR the whole way. Nowhere did I ever claim that HR would only cost $600m so shove your “charming enthusiasm” sarcastic comment where the sun don’t shine.”

            Right, that wasn’t clear, thanks for clearing that up.

            “You keep [repeating the opinion of qualified experts who spent more time assessing this than anyone else] that HR would be faster than LR to the airport. As per usual you aren’t taking into account [my personal opinion for which I have offered no suppoting evidence] Dom Rd is never going to be as fast as the [thoroughly reasonable] figures [with significant built in slack time] – Dom Rd is congested and only getting worse (even with priority LR is unlikely to hit even 50km/h for most of that journey (citation needed), not too mention dwell times as people rush across the street [to load in amanner that I have arbritrarily selected to fit my argument with no basis in the operational reality of other LRT systems, or the SMART proposal] to get onto the LR which is waiting those extra 10 seconds at stops for them each time or the people slow to get off the [less] crowded [than HR would be] tram [which has higher capacity boardings than our EMUs are bound to]). HR on the other hand is only getting faster (and is [no] faster to start with) with improvements to tracks, improvements to EMU’s, improvements to dwell times, CRL will improve network speeds due to less hold-ups, Onehunga line will be [initially no] faster [even though] HR would have fewer stops on the way to the airport.
            [Everything that you have ever said has] taken into account the improvements in HR capacity that are likely to be implemented going forward (permanent 6-car EMUs rather than 2x 3-car EMUs giving a minimum 10% capacity boost straight away and as I have advocated with a permanent setup there really isn’t much reason we can’t make them into 7-car EMU’s giving a total capacity increase of around 30%/1000 pax with no impact on performance).”

            It’s easier to correct your errors in situ than to respond to them.

            “Yes 6000 passengers per hour is sufficient for a rail link to the airport”

            Ok, so you’ve just admitted that LRT will have sufficent capacity. Thanks for acknowledging that.

            “Adding an extension to the airport doesn’t affect CRL patterns etc.”

            I’ll accept that if we go via Onehunga, then this is true.

            Seriously; present some working for your travel times. Your entire argument hinges on a speed question for which the expert evidence is against you, and for which you have offered no evidence at all.

          7. Too time consuming to go through answering each point which has more than drop of sarcasm in it.

            I will touch on 2 points though.
            Initially 6000 pax per hour will be sufficient for the airport as mentioned. Long term however more will be needed which is where HR will have more capacity (especially with 1000 pax 7car EMUs). If the CFN2 was implemented (as far as HR is concerned) then that would increase to what 12TPH? So 12,000 pax per hour. By comparison 3xLRT vehicle has a capacity (with limited seating or space for luggage) of 675 per train (which is unlikely as we will probably only see 2xLRT trams), Airport frequency would be unlikely to be any more frequent than 20 per hour (once every 3 mins) so even in this unlikely scenario of 3xLRT every 3 minutes you would get 13,500 at max capacity vs 12,000 on EMU at max capcity (with twice as much seating and more space per passenger).
            In the more likely event of 2xLRT at 5 minute frequencies you will have max capacity of 5,400.

            Secondly you are placing your trust completely in the report by some consultants (who may or may not have an agenda either themselves or directed from council/AT)? There are statistics damn statistics and lies… in other words you can get the desired result a number of ways.
            Previous reports had shown HR as being the best option – but you ignore that.
            You also ignore the human factor – we see it every day on our buses where a passenger is running or hobbling or whatever to get on a bus and the bus waits for them – LR won’t be any different in that regard. The only time LR is actually fast is when it is on a completely separate RoW (have been on many LR systems and contrary to popular belief I do like LR). I still advocate for it to be a local service up Queen St and along Dom Rd (possibly even the other isthmus routes too). Where I draw the line however is for longer distance services (particularly to airports where people have luggage). LR has too many stops, isn’t fast enough unless on a proper dedicated RoW, gets crowded with local passengers with not enough room for luggage. Proper cities with proper airports have HR to them (or similar – I count Skytrain as being equivalent to HR).
            I would love to see a critical report without bias in it show the differences between LR and HR especially one that takes into account improvements to existing HR versus non-existent LR – I don’t have a spare $10k sitting around do you?

          8. CFN 2.0 doesn’t have 12tphpd for Onehunga Line due to the flat junction at Penrose which would create ops issues for Southern Services.

          9. @Harriet, are you trying to say that the Western line post-CRL won’t have 12TPH?
            Because in your CFN2 The Western Line goes through CRL and through to Onehunga.
            As part of upgrading the Onehunga line you would thing a flying junction would be added too.

          10. Western Line is 12tphpd but not all services continue to Onehunga. At first it would be 3tphpd just like the current Post CRL Operation Plan and later when the upgrade happens would increase to 6tphpd.

            You can’t easily put a flying junction at Penrose due to the station location, how you plan to deal with O R Level Crossing and GSR flyover.

            You basically need to do a whole new realignment further south to do it.

          11. “Secondly you are placing your trust completely in the report by some consultants (who may or may not have an agenda either themselves or directed from council/AT)?.”

            Yes, I’d rather trust professionals bound by a professional registration and code of conduct who went to the effort of writing a report over the reckons of an unqualified heavy rail enthusiast who just doesn’t like the numbers.

            Where is the evidence for your travel time claim?

        4. Harriet – The flat junction at Penrose will be an issue with the CFN2 anyway, as you are proposing to double track the Onehunga line and run 5 minute frequency trains along here.

          Also what is the rationale for dwell times being lower on LR than HR, I wouldn’t have thought there would be any reason for this, they are both ultimately rail vehicles with doors.

          1. The Onhunga end doesn’t necessarily get five minute headways.

            LIght rail has faster dwell times for several reasons. One is that they have two times the number of doors per metre of vehicle length, or more. Two is that they have full low floor with level boarding and very close tolerances on platform gaps. Our heavy rail has high floor, steps, or slow extending gap fillers. Three is that for whatever reason, there is a slow and elaborate door control procedure on HR that doesn’t exist with LR.
            Four is that LR operates under line of sight, they don’t have to wait for a signal to change to leave a platform.

            Anyway, this is demonstrable fact. Measure our current dwell times, measure the dwell times on the Gold Coast light rail or elsewhere.

          2. Trains run on signalised systems in Wellington and Melbourne with much lower dwell times. There is clearly an issue in Auckland at the moment, but there is no reason it wont be solved in the future.

            I think this blog does an excellent job of presenting facts and rational arguments. However, one exception appears to be the willingness to compare current configurations for HR, with proposed configurations for LR.

            There is no reason HR couldn’t have more doors, and faster dwell operations.

            Just out of interest, what is the reason for LR vehicles being able to be low floor for their full length but not HR? Do they have smaller motors?

            Also with the CFN, if Onehunga doesn’t get 5 min frequencies, where do the other green line trains terminate?

          3. I think it may be loading gauge, if you look on our EMU’s the two end cars have equipment under them that is why only the middle carriage is low floor as the other two can’t be lowered.

            Sure we could order EMU’s with more doors but makes sense to base off the EMU’s we have especially because it makes the system easy to implement platform screen doors in the future.

            Platforms are built from scratch fit for passenger purpose, most of our stations on the HR network are legacy stations hence station and height gaps on many of them.

            I think Nick is saying in general internationally systems operating on line of sight system have lower dwell times than block based systems rather than just comparing a proposed line of sight system to our network simply because you can go when ready.

          4. “There is no reason HR couldn’t have more doors, and faster dwell operations”

            Well that’s the thing, there is. If that HR is to run up through Penrose and into CRL it has to have exactly the same specifications as the existing HR, because it is an extension of the existing network. For example they wanted three doors per carriage on the EMUS but found out it wouldn’t work with the current curvature of some platforms. Extending the onehunga line has that same issue. Likewise if you want platform screen doors in the CRL stations, you need the doors in exactly the same place on all trains.

            That’s one of the problems with new HR, it’s still encumbered by all the current and historic constraints. With a new system you can just build a new system to best practice current design.

            LR vehicles can have low floors because they don’t have bogies (on most models at least), the wheels are independently suspended from the car body. Typically people sit above the wheel arches either side with a lower floor on areas between, but there are various different designs. They do tend to have more but smaller wheels and motors also.

            If the full western line peak frequency doesn’t go all the way to onehunga (which I assume it wouldn’t) the peak extras would presumably go out of service at either Britomart (then go to Quay Park stabling), or Newmarket, or possibly Penrose. I guess only the base all-day pattern of 6tph would go back and forth the whole way all day.

          5. Thanks for the responses all, I can definitely understand the new network vs existing network restrictions.

            I hope they design any LR vehicles so they can have a reasonably high proportion of seating to begin with. While I understand once things get near capacity seating would have to be reduced, at the beginning when we are trying to attract patronage seating is very valuable.

            Also regarding the Green Line terminating some services at Britomart, this would leave only 10 – min frequencies at Greenlane, Remuera, Parnell and Penrose.

          6. 10m meets RTN standard and remember they won’t be competing with crowded Southern Line services for seats so the quality will be good.

            To confirm officially CFN 2.0 does not provide for 12tphpd to Onehunga it provides for 3tphpd in the interim and 6tphpd in the long run. The OBL duplication would likely be one of the last projects done on the list.

          7. “Also regarding the Green Line terminating some services at Britomart, this would leave only 10 – min frequencies at Greenlane, Remuera, Parnell and Penrose.” So, the CFN2.0 is proposing a decreased level of service to these stations? Greenlane, Remuera and Penrose all currently get 8tph? Depending on time of day with the funny variable Onehunga line service now.

            I am still also confused why GA/TB is promoting LRT to the airport. Every city I’ve travelled in, LRT is good for local trips but not very fast (I think Queen/Dom corridor by itself will be great). HR is usually fast. I know the dwell times are a complete fiasco… but I refuse to believe that can’t be fixed.

            And why would boarding be faster on LRT? Most LRT systems you tag on/off as you get on/off similar to a bus. How can that be faster than the tagging towers on the rail platforms prior to train arrival?

      2. Apparently the cost benefit analysis downplayed the intensification along Dominion road increasing congestion for light rail over the next two decades. Also you have the vision of airport travelers loaded down with suitcases in crammed light rail cars during rush hour. The lack of high capacity transport south of the western line could be solved by building the Avondale Southdown line. Again this gets passengers off buses and light rail that is trying to navigate increasingly congested streets. It would also appear that the cost of construction has been inflated versus light rail given the relative distances over which track needs to be constructed.

        1. “Apparently the cost benefit analysis downplayed the intensification along Dominion road increasing congestion for light rail over the next two decades.”

          Light rail isn’t subjected to congestion.

          “Also you have the vision of airport travelers loaded down with suitcases in crammed light rail cars during rush hour.”

          This is exactly the same as a heavy rail vehicle.

          “It would also appear that the cost of construction has been inflated versus light rail given the relative distances over which track needs to be constructed.”

          I’m sure that you can present some evidence to challenge the estimates prepared by full time project estimators?

          1. “Light rail isn’t subjected to congestion”

            Light rail unless it will be traveling in dedicated lanes will be sharing the road with other traffic. This is common elsewhere and was the way it was done in Auckland. Even allowing for LR to use bus lanes there will need to be shared routes. There will also be delays where traffic is blocking intersections between light changes even with dedicated signalling for LRT.

            “This is exactly the same as a heavy rail vehicle”

            Although not as large as standard gauge rolling stock, our trains are still wider that light rail. 2.65m for light rail versus 2.76m for heavy rail. Also each unit on HR is longer as it doesn’t need to be able to negotiate tight corners. The Auckland trains are much more spacious than modern light rail I have traveled on over seas.

            In terms of cost the HR route follows the motorway, aside from potentially a cut and cover at some point in the future when entering the airport to allow for the second runway. The cost of the bridge over the Manukau is offset by the fact that the piers of the widened bridge were designed to carry a future rail line. The bulk of the work is then simply laying track and earthworks along with some route preservation costs. A recent cost estimate for another project was $73 million for 25 km of track.

            There has also been criticism of the business case in that it:
            – Didn’t account for increased congestion due to intensification along the route especially Dominion Road.
            – Didnt account for intensification increasing potential journeys within the specified catchment
            – The specified catchment was limited and did not include journeys from areas not directly served by the current Onehunga line. For example users changing trains or from buses to trains was not modeled.

            I think Light rail is great and it is needed to get buses off the road. A great use would be an outgoing route from the airport via Wiri and Manukau to East Auckland. (Since the airport station in the design is once again a dead end like Britomart)

          2. ““Light rail isn’t subjected to congestion”

            Light rail unless it will be traveling in dedicated lanes will be sharing the road with other traffic.”

            Exactl; light rail won’t be sharing with other traffic.

            “There will also be delays where traffic is blocking intersections between light changes even with dedicated signalling for LRT.”

            Yes, there will. This is built into time estimates already.

            “Although not as large as standard gauge rolling stock, our trains are still wider that light rail. 2.65m for light rail versus 2.76m for heavy rail. Also each unit on HR is longer as it doesn’t need to be able to negotiate tight corners. The Auckland trains are much more spacious than modern light rail I have traveled on over seas.”

            I’m sure that 3.5% additional width makes all of the difference. This is a function of carriage layout, not of mode.

            “In terms of cost the HR route follows the motorway, aside from potentially a cut and cover at some point in the future when entering the airport to allow for the second runway. The cost of the bridge over the Manukau is offset by the fact that the piers of the widened bridge were designed to carry a future rail line. The bulk of the work is then simply laying track and earthworks along with some route preservation costs. A recent cost estimate for another project was $73 million for 25 km of track.”

            This is insultingly disingenuous.

            You need to buy land almost all of the way from Penrose to the harbour, trench the entire land and lay brand new tracks again. That’s $600m just to get the existing track up to an adequate standard. You then have to elevate almost all of the way along the SW motorway. You may well be able to lay tracks on an old corridor for $3m/km. It costs far more to retrofit a metro line in a built up urban area.

            “You have made criticism of the business case in that it:
            – Didn’t account for increased congestion due to intensification along the route especially Dominion Road.
            – Didnt account for intensification increasing potential journeys within the specified catchment
            – The specified catchment was limited and did not include journeys from areas not directly served by the current Onehunga line. For example users changing trains or from buses to trains was not modeled.”

            All of this applies equally to both modes. Just change the geographic areas to be relevant to each alignment.

            “I think Light rail is great and it is needed to get buses off the road. A great use would be an outgoing route from the airport via Wiri and Manukau to East Auckland. (Since the airport station in the design is once again a dead end like Britomart)”

            So why build an 11km long brand new line from Penrose, but not 17 km from Botany? The cost difference would probably be less on the Botany line.

          3. SB, your views on HR vs LR are just so wrong at so many levels. Why are you trying to do the Govt’s job or trying to give them an excuse for minimising rail infrastructure investment by repeatedly using costs as a main plank your argument to support LR?
            Just this morning on TV news there are people pointing out that Ak needs $12bn invested in infra just to catch up on lack of investment over the last 20 years.
            You seriously prefer an RTN that runs high speed long trains through main roads that will see greater intensification.
            The absolute disaster it would be to have this LR RTN through Queen Street which should be a pedestrian precinct or vertiacl park, when the obvious solution is an HR line NS to NW thats not using the CRL..
            No doubt you and the naysayers will jump up and down again about the costs instead of pushing those in Govt/AC/AT/NZTA to do the job properly and get the needed $

          4. i’m sure that you will have some evidence to back up your claims that I am wrong.

            I truly believe that LRT would be better at the same price because of the network that it creates, but that doesn’t even matter because we could literally get twice as much LR track laid as HR for the same price.

          5. Can we please not engage in conspiracy theories you have every right to support HR to Airport but don’t ask loaded unsubstantiated questions to make people seem in league with the Government.

          6. I will answer your questions on costs when you show me your budgeting for what you propose then I can make an informed decision on what you are proposing.

          7. @SB and Harriet, you two sure sound like Govt apologists, sure nobody is allowed to have a view contrary to yours when it comes to RTN mode suitability unless detailed costs are somehow calculated and presented to your satisfaction. I’m no economist, thats why I vote for politicians and govt. I have the expectation they will have or employ the expertise to sort out infrastructure. I;m still allowed my views and beliefs because common sense tells me that HR is the proper way to go with Airport, NW and NS RTN. Sure, put your LR trams around the perophery of the Queen St pedestrian precinct but dont force a high capacity LRT RTM through a mainly shopping area. MHO
            This constant blustering about costs will only lead to second rate RTN, see the Govt seriously proposing RTN airport buses? so why should we compromise with LR when we should be insisting on proper HR RTN.

          8. So is that no you wont provide how you are going to budget or run your network?

            So why should I take you seriously when you can’t do something so elementary and just insult me when asked.

            You are allowed your views but if you come in and insult the host don’t be surprised if the host’s answer is fuck off.

            Learn some manners.

          9. @ Harriet- wonderfully reasoned and presented reponse, so anyone diagreeing with you is insulting you?
            I suspect you miss the point I am trying to make, its NOT to insult anyone but to simply point out that putting down other peoples views by stating its too expensive therefore Govt won’t do it, is assuming the role of decision makers, ie Govt. Do you have insight to what the Govt will fund? or is it just your hypothesis?
            Before telling me to get some manners may I respectfully suggest –
            1. Grow a thicker skin
            2. Don’t use foul language, I know you are better than that..

          10. So you didn’t say “@SB and Harriet, you two sure sound like Govt apologists”?

            Don’t play victim if you want to insult me you don’t get to take the high ground when I respond. I am not going to stoically sit idle while you take shots at my credibility when you offer no facts to questions asked of you.

            “I know you are better than that..” How I don’t even know you, you creep.

          11. ” Do you have insight to what the Govt will fund? ”

            Yes Harriet does.

            She has done a very thorough evaluation of the Auckland Transport Alignment Project to create the CFN2 plan and budget.

            ATAP is literally a document outlining the government review of transport projects for Auckland resulting in a list of what the government will fund.

            I would say Harriet has a better idea of what the government will and won’t fund than just about anyone outside of the ATAP team itself.

          12. Edited – After insulting other people in the comments section by making boorish conspiracy claims about them being “Govt Apologists” and not answering any questions asked of me. I then tried to take some sort of moral high ground when those claims were responded to.

            In short I would recommend people learn from me and don’t be patronising to women and make conspiracy level accusations because its getting really old.

          13. “sure nobody is allowed to have a view contrary to yours when it comes to RTN mode suitability unless detailed costs are somehow calculated and presented to your satisfaction”

            Nobody should be allowed to claim to know the costs better than detailed costs prepared by professionals unless they can also present detailed costs.

      3. And how long is a LRT system going to take to get up and running?
        We already have rail to Onehunga.
        The line should have been carried across Manukau Harbour when the new Mangere Bridge was built and the final section to the Airport would be getting laid today while the new Kirkbride Interchange is getting built.

        1. “And how long is a LRT system going to take to get up and running?”

          However long it takes to get funding, the same as heavy rail, except that one of them clearly has a better case for investment.

        2. Well they started tallking about LRT in 1989 and so far they have achieved nothing. So in another 28 years you can expect about double that. If the pace quickens a bit then they might get as high as 6 or 7 times nothing but that seems overly optimistic to me.

  2. I support the express Southern line, however not stopping at Penrose would surely miss a wide employment catchment for those that travel from the south. Travelling on to Ellerslie and reversing could add 10-min to the journey unnecessarily.

    1. Agreed. Skipping Penrose is a stupid idea. Penrose platform 3 on the Onehunga line is no substitute and would be the first thing to go should there be any upgrades to the Onehunga branch, be they double tracking, curve easement, improved stations, grade separation or a higher capacity junction.

    2. Think it would work fine once/if there are 10min freq on the Western to Onehunga, but if it’s only 3 trains an hour initially that would really suck. As per Harriet’s comments somewhere way up above: “To confirm officially CFN 2.0 does not provide for 12tphpd to Onehunga it provides for 3tphpd in the interim and 6tphpd in the long run. The OBL duplication would likely be one of the last projects done on the list.”

      1. Further to this, I hope it would be a very long term thing to skip Penrose, on the New Network there will be a 15min frequent bus during the day, the Crosstown 7 passing through Penrose Station. That Crosstown 7 is a great improvement by the way, currently we really seem to be missing a Mt Smart Rd service.

  3. What’s your thoughts on rail should the port be moved? I.e. if the port was moved or a port added to Northland, how do we manage that freight, particularly with New Lynn trench? Does the Avondale to Southdown become essential? Apologies if this has been discussed elsewhere…

    1. We should move the port south if anything, not north. Most of Auckland and almost all of New Zealand’s population and economy is south of the Waitemata. No point in pushing all the export freight across Auckland’s suburbs only to bring back the imports again.

      Personally I think if the port moves it should be to the Manukau Harbour just south of the airport, with a freight line to somewhere around Wiri and a short highway linking it to SH20 and SH1. THis would put it right next to the logistics and industry hubs of south Auckland and on the right side of the metropolis for access to the Waikato and Bay of Plenty.

      1. Surely the Manukau Harbour is firmly ruled out by the treacherous bar and shallow harbour? It’s probably Orere or stays where it is. (I would like to see rail to Marsden Point though and the Navy moving there long with Whangarei airport moving to Mata).

        1. Its highly unlikely that the navy will ever move in the short or medium term. While it seems like something simple and easy to do in reality it isnt. Its not just the 2000 sailors that you need to move, its their families, so thats another 3000+ people, its all the supporting contractors (Babcock NZ) and their families, so another few thousand people. then all their external contractors that the navy uses that Whangarei just doesn’t have.

          We are talking upwards to 10,000 people you are needing to move if you were to move the base there. thats 12% of the Whangarei areas population, and 18% of Whangarei city’s population. Think of all the extra infrastructure, schools etc that would need to be built to accommodate the move.

          So not as simple as it sounds by a long shot.

          1. Agreed – I’ve always understood it was a “people thing” that counts against the move. However, I’m from the area so I don’t think it’s a horrible place to make people move to (the retention angle) and the population of South Whangarei / Bream Bay is going to increase by more than 10k over the next 10-15 years anyway (or will do if we don’t constrain it). Government funded investment to move the Navy might be just the thing to get sufficient economies of scale into what WDC is already struggling to do… and do it right. The Navy ecosystem will adapt if the investment is done right (using funds from Devonport and the back half of Birkenhead) and will be better off in some ways e.g. lower cost of living, closer to an Air Force Air Movements Terminal esp. if the airport also moves to Mata as planned.

          2. +1, moving to Marsden to a large master planned city with rail link to and through Whangarei city is actually a fairly sensible idea.

          3. it should be noted that the NZDF is also scaling down its housing including selling stock or as part of Treaty settlements. From now on personal may only have a defence house for 6 years. While this doesn’t include barracks it is not possible for a family to live in those. The NZDF offers a housing allowance but the simple reality is that is nowhere enough to live anywhere close to Devonport on a sailor’s wage. The navy will find it harder and harder to retain more senior personal given the current housing market climate. While I think moving Devonport and Whenupai to a single site along side the new port would be a very sensible idea but given that our defence force is such a low political priority then nothing will happen.

          4. North Port has some capacity for freight but not enough for a naval base without huge environmental damage. Unless we remove the refinery. Then we’d probably cope.

        2. Yes it currently doesn’t take large ships, but clearly constructing a channel would be part of building a new national container terminal. The Waitemata has a large and regularly dredged shipping channel, it’s part of doing business with ports.

          Marsden is a fine port for Northland, but I see no point in transhipping all of Auckland/Waikato/BoP freight 200km north. In other words, Auckland’s port should be in Auckland, preferably in south Auckland next to the industry.

        3. Orere is in the middle of nowhere. The roads aren’t up to it. There’s no rail. It would cost squillions and there would be a huge amount of environmental concerns/protests to go with it. All to move the port even closer to Tauranga. It doesn’t really add up.

      2. Nick I’m very surprised after all your talk of doing things cheaply that you want to build a big white elephant near the airport. Shipping companies are not going to send the large ships over the Manukau bar to then transverse narrow shallow channels. If the port moves (and personally I believe the best place for it is where it is) it will need to be an east coast location (like every other major New Zealand port).

      3. There’s no way residents will go along with the idea of a port in Beachlands / Maretai, Kawakawa bay, or anywhere on that eastern coast. Pristine country side now with a port? And less rail access… The cost of land out there is horrific. I don’t think it’s a non-starter, but it’s got serious challenges.

        Manukau would mean extensive dredging. Glenbrook could work, again means dredging and that bar would be a problem. Also the port is on the wrong side of the country – the ships head down the eastern coast to Tauranga, Napier, etc. It’d add significant time to that trip.

        Vs northland, which is near a rail connection (albeit in need of love), has a port already, has a workforce, and provides jobs for a region in need…

        But my question wasn’t about the location of the port… it was how do we manage freight from a potential north port. Do we bowl houses to run freight across town, or do we stump up for a tunnel for freight? Or give up and build a Kumeu inland port? Perhaps that’s what we do with the industrial/light industrial left of railside ave in Henderson…

        1. A port in Northland isn’t simply going to pop up and start delivering goods to Auckland. There is currently no infrastructure at Marsden Pt, no rail connection, and significant investment would be needed on the NAL.

          Any decision to develop a port at Marsden Pt would be a national decision, and therefore would be heavily analysed. Many here believe this would be the end of this idea. Almost all freight would have to be transported to Auckland, not an insignificant cost. Tauranga gets around this as it can offer cheap rates on imports as it is primarily an export port. This does not apply to Northport.

          1. Thanks for the reply. Appreciate that it’s a major decision and one that will go to the highest levels of our government… but not all replies are answers… 🙂

            How would freight be, well, freighted? Rail? Or road? Through the middle of the isthmus, another HR line just for freight is something for consideration.

            Marsden Pt is 24km by road from NAL… Yes that branch would need to be built through undeveloped land, and NAL upgraded… which all needs to be considered with any port move. Upgrading the road however seems nastier a proposition.

          2. If it were to happen it would have to come by rail. There would be too many trucks for SH1 north of Auckland.

            That leaves two options – a hub around Kumeu, or separate heavy rail tracks through Auckland. The former would put a lot of trucks on the road, while the latter would be very expensive.

            I think the most likely cargo through Northport is cars, they are land hungry and I think would probably be at a volume we could use existing rail infrastructure (plus Marsden Pt branch) transporting them through the night.

          3. To answer your question to realistically make rail freight work if Marsden was built due to the slow alignment of the North Auckland Line compared to SH1 and Western Ring would need Avondale-Southdown which is a billion, upgrade of the North Auckland Line & a new branch line to the port both which would likely be in the range of 600m-1b.

            On road currently the Western Ring is nearly finished with the Northern Corridor improvements is being consented & Waterview about to open this year. Puhoi-Warkworth is about to start construction, Warkworth-Wellesford is in planning and so is an upgrade of the Marsden road link to expressway standard.

            This all means that freight will likely be trucked to Northland rather than moved by rail.

            What is missing however is what coastal shipping options could exist for Northport between POA/POT

    2. Surely we just keep expanding Tauranga and Northport and gradually shrink PoA? Build a couple more logistics hubs at Kumeu and Drury and rail it all out to the ports?

      1. I don’t think that’s vey efficient or an effective outcome. It’s the freight equivalent of stopping all the intercity coaches at albany and Manukau and making people find their own way to where they are actually going.

        1. There are some huge differences there. For a start, the city centre is the the epicentre of people and places that people go whereas Onehunga, Wiri, Drury, and Highbrook are those things for import and export goods.

          I am proposing to have freight hubs in the manufacturing hubs to move stuff to ports. We actually already do this with the PoT and PoA freight hubs in Onehunga and Wiri.

          1. “whereas Onehunga, Wiri, Drury, and Highbrook are those things for import and export goods.”

            Exactly my point, the port should be near these places in south Auckland! Sure you could rail all freight in and out of Auckland to a port in Northland or the Bay of Plenty, but surely the most efficient thing would be to have the port in Auckland in the first place.

            It’s a bit like having the main international airport in Hamilton and putting all the Aucklanders on a train down to get to it. Not an entirely awful solution, but just having the airport in Auckland is still fare more efficient.

          2. Yes, if we only look at distance. I’d argue that if the choices are Waitemata or PoT then anything south of Papakura is probably better to go to Tauranga already.

            Then we need to add in that the land that PoA sits on is really, really, expensive and there is an opportunity cost to using every single square metre of it.

          3. Well thats the kicker IMHO. By my calculations the port of Auckland sits on three billion dollars worth of waterfront land.
            So can we dredge the Manukau channel and build a port there for three billion? If so then we are no worse off, and better because of a port in a better position.

          4. The Puhinui port idea is a strong one, but for the limitations imposed by the proximity to the airport (and the Manukau bar thing). The assumption that the POAL’s same 100m+ tall container cranes would be re-used seems an odd one to drop into the Port Future report without much serious analysis of alternatives – unless they wanted a roadblock and took the first good one they could think of. I’d bet that finding container cranes that don’t breach the airport height restrictions is easier than getting road/rail links, resource consent and local enthusiasm for Orere or Kaiaua.

            Regardless of what POAL ends up doing, moving some of their functions to Northport on at least a temporary basis is undoubtedly part of the plan, and is documented as such. Just about any way those cards fall, an improved rail link between Northland and Auckland reaches a critical mass at some point, that justifies its existence and draws more demand. There is still plenty of capacity in the off peak and overnight periods at the Auckland end of the NAL to support some major investment at the Marsden end and get to that critical mass without needing the ASL or a third NAL line.

    1. CFN 2 does have one at Wiri junction in the budget lines. it doesn’t have one at Penrose due to the difficultly of doing one at that location due to the existing station and the GSR overbridge.

      1. Does CFN2 propose 5 – min frequencies to Onehunga or am I imagining things? If not where do the remainder of Green Line services terminate, as I assume they would be 5 – min frequencies out west?

      2. Penrose Junction doesn’t need to be a flyover. It could be a ladder junction like Manukau for 6tph each way on each branch or a long split junction stretched out as far as Ellerslie for more each way.

  4. Re: The Onehunga Train Line frequencies. Couldn’t AT run a shuttle service Onehunga to Penrose/Ellerslie Train Stations every 10 or 15 minutes for transfers to the Southern Line. This would match the peak times for the Southern, Eastern & Western Lines.

    1. Shuttles are extremely inefficient and unpopular. You might as well close the whole branch and use buses. Trains can’t terminate and change direction at Ellerslie under normal circumstances, either, as it’s located outside of interlocked station limits. If you’re going to put a train out to Ellerslie, it is much more efficient for it to keep going to the city than to turn it around.

  5. On an unrelated note the new timetable has seen a deterioration of service on the rail network. It is now standard to have to stop at signals coming into Britomart from the East twice, it hasn’t been like this for a number of years. With the previous timetable it was uncommon to stop at all.

    Also the 5:14pm Britomart to Manukau service bafflingly continues to be a 3-car set, which means every evening it leaves people behind at Britomart. Not as many as in the first week as clearly some passengers have realised they need to change their lives around AT’s planning and are now catching different trains.

  6. OK, so you have a blank cheque… how do you physically grade separate the Quay Park junction as you exit the Britomart tunnels?

    I predict this will become the #1 bottle neck post CRL once they want to start increasing frequencies.

      1. Please explain. Where do the tracks split coming out of Britomart tunnel? And how do you get sufficient height difference before the Newmarket branch has to cross?

      2. Sorry I missed your picture. However you have allowed about 150m to gain the height to cross (or go under) the NIMT). That would give unacceptable gradients.

        1. There are a couple of other options. Take the Eastern line up and leave the Southern line at existing ground level, or Raise the NIMT up to meet the flyover.

          For a bit of fun though try and fit any of the other junctions in.

          1. I don’t see any options that work as you are constrained by the tunnel meaning you can’t split the tracks earlier and the need for the Newmarket Branch to take a sharp left. It doesn’t matter which line goes up or if one goes up and the other down, the gradients will still be well in excess of 1in30 to give the required flyover clearance. There is probably is a solution there somewhere but it might require some scary tunnelling.

            Westfield has heaps of space, but like any flyover it won’t be cheap. Penrose is tight, but I guess you could buy property there if required to make space somehow.

            Wiri probably isn’t required as when you get 4th main you have the Eastern line trains on one pair and the Southern on another (which may also make Westfield flyover not required).

          2. I guess it depends whether you want to keep the stabling yard or not. I don’t want to so my solutions are waaaay less constrained.

          3. The issue if you do that is freight/expresses/any future intercity services get stuck behind all stops services again.

          4. I think there is an easier option. You widen the portal structure (but not the tunnel itself) to three tracks by pushing North into the Quay St corridor. Of these three tracks the middle one stays at a low level then gradually ramps back up to the eastern line past the McDonalds.
            The outer tracks do basically what they do today, with no change in grade or curve.. So in routine operation the inbound eastern trains use the new track to effectively duck under the outbound southern line trains.

        2. Oh and Trundler the 150m in Sailor Boy’s sketch could be sufficient, because the eastern line tracks could drop down as the southern line tracks continue to climb. They dont have to stay level.

          So 150m @ 1:30 gets you 5m of climb with one track, and 5m of drop for the other tracks… So at the crossing point you have about 10m between rail levels which should be plenty even when you leave 2m for bridge structure.

  7. Penrose should be a stop for the Southern Line given it is a large employment catchment for South Auckland residents.

    Anyhow rather than mode we should be focused on the staging especially with the Airport. Using existing heavy rail assets running a busway from Manukau to the Airport via Puhinui Station would seem the most logical while which ever transit system from the north is working its way through the processes.

    At least with the busway in place it captures those who can access the rail lines (including NEX passengers transferring into Britomart) to Puhinui Station and transfer over to a bus to the Airport. The beauty of Manukau Station is that it acts as main bus hub for South Auckland and out to Botany as well allowing for bus passengers to access the Airport Busway.

    The New Lynn to Flatbush via Onehunga and Otahuhu bis route I would also bring online to allow a feed to Otahuhu Station and connect up to the Airport that way. Okay double transfer but nothing unusual with big cities and the NEX passengers would be as well.

    So lets focus our energy with existing assets and get the first two components of the CFN 2.0 up relatively quickly and cheaply while more intensive transit lines make their way through the processes.

    1. Ben you’re suggestion of the large employment at Penrose for southern line users doesn’t seem to pan out in the existing usage data. Looking at boardings from all southern line stations south of Penrose shows that only just on 1% of them alight at Penrose. Whether it’s an important employment zone or not, people just aren’t catching the train there from the south to any significant degree. Twice as many go to Ellerslie for example… and 26 times as many go to Newmarket or Britomart.

      To put it another way, of all the people boarding a train at Penrose at any time of day (i.e. including going home in the afternoon), 66% of them are going to the inner stations between Ellerslie and Britomart.

  8. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waiuku_and_Mission_Bush_Branches

    I wish that they would also consider the residential expantion that is going on round the southern parts of the Manukau harbour to include rail services from Parata to Waiuku & Glenbrook.

    All it would take would be a Railcar
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Railcar

    How many outer and branch rail lines could use such a service to connect to the rail network?

    Railcars could also be the first of the driverless services since they are lighter & operate areas with lower traffic at crossings.

    1. I agree David. I think they should consider Waiuku as the other half of the southern line to Pukekohe, and consider a string of villages along the way as an alternative to car based sprawl.

  9. Harriet Gale, the voice of the National Party and trucking lobby with rubbish statements like this “Harriet Gale says:
    April 28, 2017 at 3:53 pm
    To answer your question to realistically make rail freight work if Marsden was built due to the slow alignment of the North Auckland Line compared to SH1 and Western Ring would need Avondale-Southdown which is a billion, upgrade of the North Auckland Line & a new branch line to the port both which would likely be in the range of 600m-1b.

    On road currently the Western Ring is nearly finished with the Northern Corridor improvements is being consented & Waterview about to open this year. Puhoi-Warkworth is about to start construction, Warkworth-Wellesford is in planning and so is an upgrade of the Marsden road link to expressway standard.

    This all means that freight will likely be trucked to Northland rather than moved by rail.”

    Sounds rather pathetic and shows the CFN 2.0 you are protecting has not given and serious thought to what will be happening in Northland.

    And for your news….the 4 lane Marsen Port expressway is pork barrel politics by a National MP scared of New Zealand First making further inroads in the Northland and Whangarei seats. There’s no costing to prove it will be $500 million. Where is the $500 million (or whatever amount) coming from?

    Harriet you might be too young to realise the Govt is changing this year and as a consequence roading projects will change, rail could be developed and ATAP can be thrown in the rubbish bin.

    1. So has Winston said to you that he will be siding with Labour and potentially Greens at the election this year?

      Given there is a high chance that Winston will decide the government this year and that your are connected with NZ First, this is a rather significant comment you have made. Not sure he would have wanted you to mention that is it wont help his negotiating position!

    2. JR, I look forward to your party’s commitment to funding the ASL and Northland rail upgrade. But don’t expect any gratitude if you make it at the expense of rapid transit in Auckland, if anything take it out of the northland state highway budget. Let’s see how principled NZFirst is when it comes to northland pork barrels.

    3. So me pointing out what upgrades would need to happen to the rail, and the large roading upgrades National is making to roading network which would directly compete with rail makes me the voice of the National ok whatever you lizard level conspiracy peddling mansplaining cunt.

  10. On dwell time: coincidentally I was on a train in Melbourne an hour ago. Siemens – plug doors 1800mm wide. Typical minor station dwell: train stops; pause ONE second; doors opening 3 seconds; handling passengers 10-15 seconds; doors closing 3 seconds; pause TWO seconds; train starts. Total 20-25 seconds.

  11. The main premise of this post is an interesting question to come back to; should we aim to build out the existing HR network, if possible – or not?

    We can disagree over personal preference and cost/benefits, but in my opinion extending the Onehunga line to the Airport would bring a certain balance to the network.

    Currently a 2 stop spur, as a user of this line, it feels as though it’s treated as an afterthought, often having services cancelled when issues arise elsewhere on the network. The CFN2 seems to continue this by terminating some services from the west at Britomart or somewhere before Penrose. I realise this is partly due to grade and junction issues, but these can be overcome.

    I also support LR down Dominion Rd, but it seems that to make it viable as a Rapid Transit alternative to rail, the CFN2 proposes a service that won’t actually serve the catchment very well. The difference with road based LR (even with separation) is that as a pedestrian you have an automatic perception that you will always be near a stop, and having only 4 stops on the entire length of the 7.3km road will feel inhospitable to say the least. There will be points where you’re ~1km from a stop, in either direction. I feel this service should be more local friendly, not sacrificing this catchment to achieve faster Airport travel times.

    I know extending HR to the Airport would be more costly, but we should at this point be looking to build the best overall network, HR & LR as best suited to their strengths.

    Anyway, my $0.02

    1. Bravo! Far more than 2 cents worth there. There’s a lot to like about the LRT network opportunities, but it’s not the only approach worth doing and is not without it’s own substantial compromises and costs.

      1. +1 the proposed LR to Airport via Dom is trying to be an airport RTN on one hand and a bus replacement on Dom but without the frequent stops. As it stands now it will not achieve either. HR via Onehunga to Airport and a more tram like LR on Dom through Queen.

    2. Hmmm. So I had a look at the LR plan and found they are proposing 6 stations on Dominion Rd between Tawiri Rd to the Mt Roskill shops, a distance of 3.88km at an average of 646m apart. There’s a little bit of variation but this does mean that, on average, no one will be more than 323m from an LR station on Dominion Rd. That is a third of the distance you are claiming, and more than handy.

      Incidentally, data from AKL’s current Rapid Transit Stations show that people are walking as much as 1.5km to access them. It seems to me that rather than planning ‘neither fish nor fowl’ the LR plan hits the sweet spot in the trade off between speed and access….

      And from this point on to the Airport it is proposed to be entirely grade separate, except for a short section in Onehunga to bring it in directly on top of the rail platforms for seamless transfer, so therefore as fast as any other kind of rail vehicle with the same number of stops. And of course you can still switch to the train there if the thought of being on a centre-street running LRV is so horrid….

      Map with stations is here: https://www.greaterauckland.org.nz/2017/03/24/nzta-support-light-rail-to-airport/

      Analysis on ideal walkup conditions here: http://humantransit.org/2011/04/basics-walking-distance-to-transit.html

      Further data here: https://blogs.crikey.com.au/theurbanist/2011/11/02/how-far-should-we-walk-to-the-station/

      So it’s interesting to look at what travellers actually do. Data from the VISTA travel survey shows the median walk distance to the bus in Melbourne is 500 metres, with a quarter walking more than 800 metres. Half of Melbourne’s train travellers walk more than 800 metres and a quarter more than 1.3 kilometres! Hence bus and train users in Melbourne walk much longer distances than the standards assume.

  12. Express train traveling from onehanga express train skipping green lane and remuera is a joy. It is significantly faster and makes the journey time competitive to driving.

    In Japan there is a normal train that stops at all stops, and the next train will be express which only stops at the major stop. The beauty is the timetable is alternating between normal and express. So people who boards the normal train can get off at the major stop and board the next express train. Since train is high frequency, which will be only a few minutes wait.

    This pattern can be used at all train lines in Auckland. Actually same principle can be used at high frequency bus and LRT route.

    1. What happens when the express catches up with the all-stops train. I’m sure in Japan it passes the all-stops train at a station via a third or fourth track.. In Auckland, as when the Onehunga train catches up to a slightly late Papakura train, it crawls along behind at all-stops pace until the junction, but can’t actually stop and make itself useful.

    1. Experience from Sydney and Brisbane airport lines is that airport stations have very low usage, even when both places have stations with very good acess to both types of terminals. Those airports are of course much much busier than Auckland
      Its a very poor return of the costs involved.

    2. No kind of rail would be quick, either light, heavy or something else will take several years even if they funded it tomorrow.

      If the airport is the concern and time is of the essence, a high frequency bus shuttle from Puhinui station with some bus lanes in the right places could be operational before the end of the year.

      1. Forever the optimist.
        “Before the end of the year”.
        This is NZ. It would be a miracle if a busway is in operation before the end of the year.

  13. Random thought: Would skipping Orakei & Meadowbank be a good idea on every 2nd service. Probably could be done pre or post CRL for that matter but only when it’s a 10min frequency say. They are near the end of the line for a lot of people yet has pretty low usage.

    1. I imagine that would create a nightmare for scheduling slots at Britomart. Assuming a 1 minute saving for each station, the trains would be arriving at Britomart 8 mins then 12 mins apart. Currently the arrival and departure pattern repeats itself every 10 mins at peak, with the exeption of Onehunga services that have to be squeezed in every half hour.

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