There have been numerous reactions since Sunday following Labour’s announcement of their plan to build light rail to the airport, as part of them adopting our Congestion Free Network. Reactions have included plenty of uninformed opinion and a general misunderstanding of just what’s proposed, which tends to lead to a skepticism about the project. Although these can be hard to separate from the concern trolls who are just seeking to disrupt the conversation by claiming to support the project but only if it’s changed in some way.

A notable example that managed to pick up all the common opinion/misunderstandings floating around was the Herald in their editorial on Tuesday. I find their piece particularly egregious as pretty much all of their questions and opinions could have been answered had they bothered to do even a sliver of journalism as all the information is in the public domain on Auckland Transports website. And if they failed to find that there is of course plenty of resources, such as ourselves, they could have easily asked. I think some of this ties back to their almost complete abandoning of covering transport and other urban issues over the recent years, unless they can find a scandal in it. So I thought I’d go through and answer their questions for them.

For reference, most of the official information needed is available on the following pages on ATs website

However it is to be financed, it amounts to a substantial national investment. When a project on this scale is proposed, the public should be spare a thought for the economy. Ours is not a big economy like most of those that have installed light rail in their metropolitan centres.

A small economy is easily damaged by investment that generates a poor return compared to alternatives.

Any objective evaluation of the merits of light rail in a city the size and shape of Auckland needs to explain why they would be better value for money than the bus services the presently serve Mt Albert, Mt Roskill and Mangere.

It’s notable that we haven’t had the same level of hand wringing over the economic impact of other, large infrastructure projects, such as the East-West Link or many of the Roads of National Significance.

The Central Access Plan does exactly what the Herald ask and compares the light rail proposal against bus options. Bus options were also further examined in the Advanced Bus study but found not to be sufficient which is why the NZTA and government now support the City rail Link.

As for going to the airport, Labour will need to explain how this proposal stacks up against a much shorter rail connection to the main trunk line at Puhinui, or indeed the road journey that has just been improved by the Waterview Tunnels, completing the urban motorway network at long last.

Aucklanders in the west and north of the city and the CBD have just begun to enjoy the luxury of motorway nearly all the way to the airport.

They may take some convincing that a $3b light rail service is worth an additional tax on their petrol, or indeed that such a service is practical.

One of the major issues with discussing rail to the airport is that many people seem to assume it’s all about the airport and only there to whisk travellers to and from the city centre. Building transit for a single market, especially in a city like Auckland, is a surefire way for it to be a failure, as Toronto found out. Jarrett Walker has a great post on exactly this issue and he notes that some of the key elements to making airport lines work is to ensure they serve not just travellers but workers too and that the need to provide lots of connections to the wider transit network.

In Auckland, the goal is not just serving travel between the airport and city centre but also all the places along the way, something Jacinda Adern pointed out well at her launch. It is also highlighted in the maps below showing the number of people living and working within a short walk of a future station.

Connecting a rail service to Puhinui means that a large chunk of Auckland, the south west, won’t see improved transport as part of this project. It also creates issues of its own, such as how exactly would we run services north of Puhinui when we’re going to need all the capacity the CRL can give us just to serve our existing rail network.

To cap it off, the modelling done so far points to more people using light rail from the destinations in the South-West than airport travellers so only hooking in at Puhinui would miss all of that.

And as for Waterview, sure it’s helping reduce travel times at the moment but basing a decision on that would be the ultimate in short-sightedness as Auckland’s population continues to grow. It’s also not clear where they got the figure of $3 billion from.

Light rail through the CBD and down Dominion Rd would be running on streets, stopping frequently at traffic lights as well as to pick up passengers. Labour needs to explain how this would work.

Would travellers to or from the airport be on the same trams that would be stopping every two blocks for passengers? If so, it would seem a painfully long journey by comparison to car, shuttle or a bus on the new motorway.

And what about the baggage that air travellers haul? If airport travellers are to have an express service with fewer stops, the route would need to be double tracked, leaving little room for other traffic. Is that the plan?

At this point you have to wonder if the person writing the editorial has heard of, let alone looked at what is proposed by AT. Perhaps if they had bothered to keep an eye on transport they could answered these questions for themselves.

Yes, light rail runs on streets until it gets to SH20, but that isn’t the same as on streets mixed in traffic. The plan as I understand it, is to physically separate the light rail with kerbs or by having it raised slightly.

The vehicles also won’t be stopping frequently either as the intention is to space out the stops a bit more than buses are now. Further, it is expected that there will be signal priority at intersections so that light rail vehicles can sail through without having to stop. Travel times to Aotea are expected to be similar to heavy rail at just over 40 minutes. It’s worth noting that light rail vehicles would only have to average 30km/h to reach Onehunga in about the same time as one of our electric trains.

And then there’s the luggage. I’m honestly unsure why people think they couldn’t take luggage easily on light rail. If anything, it would probably be easier than doing so without our existing rail network as the entire vehicle would be built from scratch with level floor boarding. Hell, the Gold Coast Light Rail vehicles even have surfboard racks. In many of the places I’ve visited it’s the vehicle itself that has been easy for luggage with lugging bags up and down the stairs of old underground stations often much more challenging.

Labour sometimes refers to light rail as “rapid transit” but there is nothing rapid about rail on the streets, whether its is the smooth, quiet rolling stock of modern design or the rattling trams of yesteryear.

Rapid transit is a dedicated route such as a subway or busway, it is not a transport mode that has to share the road.

The Herald is correct that the key to rapid transit is that it has a dedicated route but dedicated route is different from a grade separated one. As mentioned above, protecting the route with kerbs will offer protection against use by cars and allow the light rail vehicles to run reliably.

It’s also worth pointing out that there’s a significant difference between the dinky of trams of the past and modern light rail. The latter could be carrying up to 450 passengers, maybe more depending on the design and as already mentioned, they’ll be on a dedicated right of way.

It’s also worth pointing out that this light rail plan isn’t just Labour’s. It’s the same plan agreed to and supported by AT and the NZTA. It’s also the same thing that the government have agreed to (eventually) and which Bill English was quoted on Sunday as saying is “a good project”.

This policy served the party’s need for its new leader to announce something bold and definitive.

Light rail is perfect for that purpose, it is flash and fashionable. But whether it could pass an economic test is the question voters should consider.

The last I checked we used defined tools and processes to determine the answers to an economic test, not a popularity contest. But if there were to be a popularity contest, I’m pretty sure most would just want the government to get on with it.

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  1. I had the same reaction as you when I read the Herald piece. Having just spent a few days in Portland, Oregon where I was blown away by its fantastic Trimet public transport system, I am now a huge fan of light rail. It does run partially on streets but as you say it has priority at traffic lights. What struck me most about Portland was that there were so few cars on the streets for such a sizeable city. Then I realised, a 24-hour Trimet pass costs just $5 (or $2.50 for youths) so who is going to drive when it costs way more to park and run your car than it does on Trimet?

    1. Did you use the Red Line from PDX airport to the westside? It’s an easy (with baggage) journey and as you say, incredibly good value for money.

      1. Red line to Portland airport is an excellent example for Auckland. Run down the Main Street in the middle of town, hooks down an arterial for a bit then a bridge over the river, then follows a motorway alignment out to the airport.

        And the baggage thing, it’s crazy. Like heavy rail somehow has a monopoly of luggage racks or floor space?! How is it so easy to take a suitacase onto an EMU (steps and all) but onto an LRT is somehow impossible?

        1. ‘And the baggage thing, it’s crazy.’

          I just don’t understand this focus at all, from my own experience maybe 1 out of 10 trips to the airport would be with a suitcase, and from observation of other travellers I’m certainly not alone in that respect, especially main truck routes in the early morning. But there is this straw-man argument that rests on the concept that everyone travelling to the airport is embarking on a 3 week trip with luggage to match.

          We don’t need to cater to every single traveller with this solution just make it a feasible option for most for most of the time.

        2. +1, airport passengers will be a minority of the patronage on the line, passengers with significant baggage are a minority of all passengers.

      2. Took the MAX from PDX to Convention Center near my hotel, and the streetcar three times and a bus the next day, and the MAX to the zoo and free shuttle to Japanese Garden and back the next day and in the evening the MAX to Providence Park, watched a Timbers game, and then the MAX back to the hotel. Yes, no problem with luggage from PDX.

  2. How does light rail maintain the level/quality of service woth longer gaps between stops on the Dominion Road part of the route? I know it will avoid busgeddon but I can’t recall much discussion about this aspect.

    1. Longer gaps between stops increases the level of service, it gets faster and more reliable. Important to note that they were planning on rationalising the stops on Dominion Road buses anyway, like they are doing with Great North Road buses. Regardless of LRT, there are too many stops on Dominion Rd as it is.

      1. I didn’t respond because I’ve been thinking about this. For sake of argument: spacing stations every 1km means 500m in the middle, which is not so bad. Every 2km is 1km between stations which is something like a 10min walk and starts to mean the stop doesn’t feel close to where you want to go/are.

        The actual standard (from the Jacobs draft smart indicative business case) appears to be 800m between stations (400m in the middle) so I guess if they’re reducing the number of stops they really must be extremely regular at the moment (I catch trains so have no personal familiarity here).

        Interestingly, the indicative report really just highlights how nuts it is that I didn’t notice from this post (some of the same images) how much more service fairly well off areas would be getting with non-LRT routes. This seems to be something we don’t talk about enough, and is a really important thing. (It’s one thing to mention that LRT services Mangere and surrounds when those areas are woefully under-serviced as is… a truer void… but some underservicing crimes are bigger than others.)

        1. It’s not just the distance between stops, it’s the distance you’ve already walked down the side streets before you then need to walk along the main road to the stop. The 800m catchment walks needs to include for both parts of this walk. The further it is, the less accessible it becomes. (but yes to LRT along Dominion Rd, but yet to be convinced that that route is the best for Favona, et al)

  3. The mistake was to ever claim the proposed light rail would be much use for airport passengers. At best it would be like the Piccadilly line was- you used it once or twice then took the bus instead.

    1. MIffy, I don’t recall AT ever actuall lauding the use of it for airport passengers. All their stuff focuses on the employment zone at the airport and airport workers gettting to work from their homes in Mangere, Onehunga and Mt Roskill.

      The whole “airport line” thing being about catching planes is a bit of a confection of popular opinion and the media.

      1. That is not how I remember it. Len Brown stood on a platform of ‘rail to the airport’ not a ‘a really good light rail line that could be extended to the airport and might be suitable for people who work there’.

        I am all for light rail on Dominion Rd especially if it starts in Albany. But extending that to the airport as a replacement for a decent service to the airport is always going to be second rate.

        1. I did say AT Miffy, i.e. The people who actually do the strategic planning and design development for the transit network. Politicians make all sorts of off the cuff claims that their agencies don’t promote, Brown was pitching a tram line to Mission Bay at one point too, but I don’t think that has ever been on ATs plans, or in their consultation.

      2. The Jacobs report shows that the majority of the airport workers are from south or east of the airport, not Mangere Bridge or Mt Roskill. It would be good if surveys could be done to see where the Favona, Mangere Bridge, etc., folk work or normally travel to. They might value greater connectivity with Otahuhu than the CBD

        1. If course, convenient roads or PT dictate where people live and work to some extent. So it works both ways. Creating the route may dictate where the workers settle. In fact it’s pretty guaranteed that if they build light rail Mt Roskill, workers will settle there.

        2. Grant, why would people uproot their families to suit a new PT route for a job from which they might be restructured out of at any unknown time? Not to mention how much more expensive it would be to live there compared to south of there. So, ‘pretty guaranteed’ is an unsubstantiable assumption. A bit less ‘opinion engineering’ please.

        3. “Grant, why would people uproot their families to suit a new PT route for a job from which they might be restructured out of at any unknown time? ”

          Why don’t you ask the hundreds of thousands of people who do it every year? Or ask the economists who write entire papers on the agglomeration effects caused by people choosing to relocate closer to high quality transport routes.

          For example, I purchased a house walking distance away from a job that I could be restructured out of just to save money on owning a car. While at Uni I chose to rent on a frequent and fast bus route to Uni. When I move to the UK I am planning to live close to a train station that is roughly equal distance to my work and my partner’s. This can also be seen by the booming population of the CBD, with thousands of people choosing to live next to jobs, entertainment, and great pubic transport routes.

          You also seem to have forgotten that almost 50% of Aucklanders are in rentals and that almost 50% of rental contracts last less than a year. People are frequently uprooted, they then choose where to resettle.

        4. the key word was ‘families’. Yes, it’s easy for single folk to shift when and as they want. But if you have kids in a local school & other community ties, you don’t up and move so easily. I too shifted around plenty of flats before having a family. It’s always good to try and move your mindset into an area outside of your own

        5. In the current market is quite common for families in rentals to also have to relocate. I know one family who has relocated at least 3 times in the last three years.

          One flip side of this is also the options for developers.

          If there is only roads, then as a developer I will not build housing without parking as I would expect a lower chance to be able to sell my development.

    2. To reinforce what Matt has said:
      Do we need to build a whole light rail system when it would be easier to extend the existing heavy rail line to the airport, either from Onehunga or from Puhinui near Manukau? Yes. The great advantage of the City Line, the light rail option, is that because it will run down Dominion Rd, through Mt Roskill and the eastern end of Hillsborough, and then through Mangere, it will open up large areas of Auckland to good public transport for the first time.

      quote context: (from the NZ Herald piece on Airport Rail)

      1. Hwy 20 from Onehunga has a long trench and overhead bridges. NZTA knew, when they did it, that it would make the building heavy rail through/alongside that section to the airport very difficult.
        I understand light rail won’t have that problem.

      2. most PT supporters agree that LRT would be great along Dominion Rd and the other parallel routes. And it will take a decade to get it to the end of Dominion Rd. To move forward why don’t we move the debate to get the bits that are agreed with built, while a bit more consideration is given to where the Favona and Mangere Bridge people want their connectivity to? Protect the various onwards routes so that various modes remain options and don’t let the anti-PT folk play divide and rule by using the airport leg as a wedge between us

        1. “And it will take a decade to get it to the end of Dominion Rd”

          No, it won’t. The Jacobs report states that the line could be operating all of the way to the airport by 2025.

        2. yes, it COULD get there in a much shorter time. But we need to deal with reality. As soon as the good folk in the side streets off Dominion Rd realise they won’t be able to do right hand turns any more (as posted here by other LRT folk) the process will become bogged down like the last proposed Dominion Rd upgrade did (when I was close to the Council team working on it). And when the local population start baying for blood, the Councillors will start to get cold feet. I agree that LRT SHOULD be done so as to get to the end of Dominion Rd as soon as possible. Central government money is needed, especially for the Mt Roskill > Airport leg and as of a few days ago the main political parties had not offered that funding in the first 10 year period. Reality, not theory.

        3. Excellent suggstion. I had always assumed the Dom Rd section of LRT was well researched and would be welcomed by those residents/businesses in that area. But maybe now, from what you say, that might not be the case.
          So what would the alternative for Dom Rd LR be? Elevated LR?

    3. My recollection of a year in central London, is that I would take the Piccadilly line from the airport when possible, with necessary changes to get to/from home.

      It all depended on where you getting to/from and what the best option is, sort of how like supporting complementary networks are supposed to work.

      1. Now there is an express train from Paddington. Before that they had an express bus from Heathrow to Euston which cost more than the Piccadilly line but was quicker at most times and far more consistent. There will be an opportunity for something similar in Auckland once light rail goes in. An express bus from the airport to the CBD is likely to be as fast and far more convenient if you have a bag.

        1. Miffy – all depends where you live. I lived near the Piccadilly line so I took that every time to the Airport – convenience. Now when i go to Heathrow I need to get to Paddington, so the Heathrow Express suits me fine – costs heaps more, but goes where I want to go.

          One thing though: I would never, ever, take the bus to Heathrow. The Underground was far, far, far better option, every time. As for taking a car? Never came up. In fact, I don’t know a single person in London who would try and drive there.

        2. I agree you wouldn’t use a regular bus service. But prior to the express train to Paddington they had an express bus to Euston which cost way more than the tube but was totally worth it. The tube when we lived there was an appallingly bad journey to Heathrow with long stops at stations and random stops between stations. If you had a plane to catch the trip out made you age three years. By using a black cab between Belsize Park and Euston we also got to avoid the Northern line for a double win. Who wants to stop 20 times on your way to a flight?

        3. I’ll be in London in 5 weeks or so and I will most definitely be using the Piccadilly line. 20 stops? Meh. It is by far the best way to get to and from the airport for value.
          And as for an express bus to the airport – what do we have now? It’s express in all but name.

        4. @Harrymc – you mean Auckland SkyBus? In anycase, judging by how few I ever see on this bus it pretty much must be express in terms of number of stops & pickups it does, but the price & speed is obviously not making it very popular.

    4. I’d say it is more like comparing Heathrow Connect with Heathrow Express. Many people would chose the LR option, while some outside of peak will no doubt prefer more expensive but quicker options such as an express bus, taxi or private car.

      Visitors generally don’t really care if something takes 10 mins longer (gives a chance to take in the city), as long as it is easy to understand and not too expensive. For many residents this will give a better connection to the airport than other options suggested.

      1. I don’t know if it’s still the same, but it used to be the case that on Christmas Day and Boxing Day the tube shut down(!) and you HAD to take the bus to Heathrow. Except on Christmas Day, of course, when the buses shut down as well, in which case a taxi was your only option . . . Thankfully, in Auckland, we’ve managed to provide PT on holidays!

        1. Buses shut down in London on xmas day? The two xmas days that I worked on the 183 and 13 routes didn’t shut down and neither did the rest.

      2. You wouldn’t get a bus now as they have the express from Paddington. But before they had that the best choice was the direct express bus from Euston. The only problem with it was they charged a healthy premium over the tube- because it was better. The other way to avoid the Piccadilly Line was make the longer trip to Gatwick, but because they had a direct train from Victoria and they let you check in at Victoria it was stress free. It took longer but you knew you would be there in time for your flight.

        1. From next May there will be Elizabeth line on the same route without the premium. Am always going to the southwest in London so never made any sense for me, and never had any issues with the Piccadilly line.

  4. The Eastern and Southern lines catchment to the airport via Puhinui would be greater than the slow tram, and provide a faster service to the airport at around 38 minutes for a smaller investment, given the third and probably 4th lines will be built in anycase.

    Additionally, and not yet even considered by AT or their local consultants is the fact a Puhinui line will also service south Auckland for both passengers and airport workers, including Pukekohe and beyond AT’s limited boundaries to Tuakau, Pokeno and Hamilton City and environs (through to Tauranga). All of these have NOT been considered by Auckland Transport, its consultants and Greater Auckland.

    I agree, LRT trams are needed down Dom Road, but currently a link to the airport could be build quicker, cheaper and providing a significant patronage base through the entire Southern and Eastern lines south to Hamilton and the BOP. Why has this been erroneously overlooked by all parties mentioned above?

    1. Because once again AT and NZTA are looking at the short term and not considering about the future options.

      After all Grafton Bridge didn’t need to be 4 lanes as “Nobody will ever want to go that far out of town”

      You don’t need 8 lanes on the Harbour Bridge, 4 will be enough, and as for the rail and pedestrian lanes….

      The State Highway 1 and subsequent motorway needs to go over the Harbour Bridge to make it viable.

      All I can say is Yeah Right.

        1. The original design for Grafton Bridge was 4 lanes but the Council of the time were so short sighted that they believed that the connection to the domain was so far out of town that nobody would ever want to travel that far.

    2. Are you suggesting we shouldn’t have a rail connection (light or heavy) arriving at the airport from the north? I’d rather have rapid transit through Mangere and Favona as well than a 5 minute quicker trip from the CBD.

      1. Never suggested that, but I note you erroneously mention “rapid transit” when trams are (and as noted in AT business documents) mass transit. As I mentioned, AT have not undertaken any studies about HR vs trams on the Puhinui connection to the airport (6.8 kms Nick, and if you think it’s 12kms then your slow tram is 50kms in length).

        I am 100% for a tram to serve CBD – Dominion Rd. But due to the Govt money required for a connection to the airport I would like to see the wider benefits of any approach to Auckland and Waikato/BOP as these regions all move large numbers of people to the airport area. There is “group think” on the slow tram to the airport. Central Govt should review the AT’s consultants study on the tram and undertake a study on the Puhinui link with the regions mentioned above?

        Again, walk up catchments on Southern and Eastern Lines including Pukekohe and Hamilton to the Airport will be superior to the tram route, so those with vested interests in the latter will fight hard to justify their choice of transport. But the costs of the 6.8km heavy rail link will be lower.

        1. They could waste money on a report but the answer is reasonably predictable. A Puhinui HR line instead of LR from Mt Roskill to the Airport would:

          Take up valuable slots on the Southern and Eastern lines, we will need all the slots possible with future growth to the south.

          BRT could be done for a fraction of the cost, meaning Southern/Eastern/Waikato catchments could still have good access, with the addition of Botany and Howick.

          Building LR from the north and BRT from Puhinui also allows good connections from the isthmus and adds Mangere and Favona of the mass transit network.

          All this for a slightly slower journey to the airport for the few that will actually travel from the CBD.

        2. Jon, if you divert the southern line via the airport the diversion is 12km, 6km in and then 6km back again. Likewise if you are talkinga about bringing trains in from the waikato, they’d have to go up to Wiri, divert 6km to the airport, turn around and divert 6km back to Wiri (that’s 12km if you have trouble with the arithmetic) before carrying on again. It’s a 12km diversion for any service you divert down the branch.

          If you’re not diverting the southern line or other trains via the airport, then you are running a new overlay line than people have to transfer to at Puhinui, which is exactly what AT are planning to build already.

        3. So sorry, can you please clarify: Are you proposing the southern and eastern lines diverted from Puhinui to the airport then back to Puhinui, before carrying on to Manukau and Papakura?

          Or are you proposing that people catch the train to Puhinui, then transfer to another train to the airport?

          Or is it a whole new service pattern added in addition to the eastern and southern lines that runs to the airport? If so, where would that run to and from?

        4. Hmm, I notice still no response on what JR is actually suggesting they do. Just more posts below claiming nobody has thought through all the options properly (despite evidence to the contrary)… without thinking through his own proposal properly!

        5. The suggestion to provide HR to Airport was to connect from just south of Otahuhu where the existing westward spur heads off to industrial rail customers. The Sothern line running pattern would not be changed, instead the planned terminating services at Otahuhu would instead continue on to the airport.
          This all fits easier with the 3rd main and the removal of the rail track workshop.

        6. Well that’s not JRs suggestion, he want’s a branch line from Puhinui. But ok, lets run with you’re idea. The planned terminators at Otahuhu are two to three peak direction short runners, operating for about an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening on weekdays, one way. Are you happy with half hourly service at the peak of peak only, in one direction only? What do you do for the other hundred hours a week?

        7. ok, sorry I had just read SJC’s otahuhu airport suggestion but concerning a Puhinui HR connection I generally agree with your views on this.
          As for running patterns and scedules I never see these carved in stone so I have no doubt a suitable service to the airport would be sorted out by AT and updated as patronage develops.

        8. Well that’s the thing, service patterns are fundamentally governed by the laws of physics and basic geometry. In some cases you simply can’t create an effective or efficient service pattern for a given network. One of those cases is with branch lines, with a branch there is really only three physically possible outcomes:

          1) Split the service levels of the main pattern in half, run half to the branch and half to the rest of the main line. (the branches get shitty service levels and capacity, i.e cutting service from the south to run to the airport, and having crappy frequencies to each).

          2) Double the service levels on the main line, so the branches get full service each (requires double the trains, double the operating costs, and doubles up the congestion on the main line, i.e. not possible in Auckland as the central parts of the network will already be fully used by existing lines).

          3) Run a shuttle on the branch section only, and require a transfer to the main line (Not a single seat ride to anywhere, but fairly effective if you can run your shuttle reliably and have an excellent transfer: this is what AT are planning to do at Puhinui).

          Anyone proposing a new branch at Puhinui or Otahuhu could start by noting which of these options they have in mind, and how the propose to achieve it.

        9. NIck R, None of your options are either valid or realistic and demonstrate your complete lack of faith in AT’s rail service planners, schedulers and management to provide a meaningful airport service.
          Your half everything/double everything logic is laughable. The final capability in tph has not yet been fully determined for the HR network. I have no doubt there will be some serious advances in signalling, addition of main track sections, passing loops and probably additional Auckland rail terminii, Beech Rd/Strand for example.
          Your logic demands full implementation of guaranteed bandwidth before any new, no matter how desireable, metro extension can even be considered. Sounds like you are stating the Metro HR network in Auckland is now finished.

        10. “NIck R, None of your options are either valid or realistic and demonstrate your complete lack of faith in AT’s rail service planners, schedulers and management to provide a meaningful airport service.”

          The options aren’t valid or realistic as useful services. They are the valid and realistic options if we insist on building HR to the airport.

        11. I probably should have said ‘argument options’ as they were just silly suggestions.
          And they are just as silly when considering HR to Airport.
          I’m becoming more convinced there is little merit in the LR scheme to connect the Airport as it appears those in favour of it demonstrate ‘anti-HR’ with illogical and silly reasoning to naysay anything HR yet fail to put forward a convincing case that LR is the proper future..

        12. David…

          Imagine, for instance, that we have capacity for 3000 trains an hour in the central network (i.e. where want to run these trains with this fixation on the CBD). We can agree that this is completely absurd. But, if we want to have some of these trains end up terminating at the airport rather than Papakura/Pukekohe or Manukau, we have to redistribute the services, right? It’s just that we have so much capacity that all the lines will have great service, right? Right.

          If we have capacity for 1 train an hour and we ant to introduce a new terminating stop, we have to make the existing level of service for current lines worse. There is just no other way to do things. Capacity, it turns out, is a hard limit… what we can kind of control is the capacity but even then an orange only has so much juice, no matter how clever we are.

          Nick R is suggesting that the CRL will only grant sufficient capacity to decently serve Papakura/Pukekohe, Swanson and Manukau, and that to have a terminating station at the airport we’d have to compromise these services. I think he’s saying that they’ll be so compromised that they’ll be badly served. You can quibble about the amount of capacity but that /doesn’t/ make this logic wrong.

          Some people in these comments sections also seem to be suggesting that we run trains via the Airport, splitting off just before or after Puhinui and then rejoining to carry on as usual. I’m not sure if this is for all trains (which would create stupidly long services from Papakura/Pukekohe) or just those from Manukau (which is faster than other lines but would still be greatly elongated). This would still affect capacity insofar as it would require smarter timetabling (and note that the last five timetables have all been, shall we say, stupid so don’t hope for too much), but should be better. The problem is that for the substantial CBD commuter patronage on the Southern and Eastern lines you have just worsened their level of service to cater for less than a quarter of people who’d use “airport” rail, i.e. the aeroplane catchers.

          And we all seem to agree that we don’t really like transfers, so we’ll ignore that too. (Notice prior to thinking about Dominion Rd the necessity of transferring was why LRT was dismissed.)

          But, of course, we’re ignoring that one of the big arguments, perhaps the biggest argument, for LRT is that it actually introduces proper transit to South West Auckland. If we’re happy to entertain this delusion that the airport line is about the airport’s travellers, shafting the numerous CBD commuters of the Southern and Eastern lines is probably just as okay as shafting the poor souls of Mangere and surrounds.

          (And I would be very surprised if adding the airport to Puhinui section would preserve the CRL’s time savings for travelling from Puhinui, which is meant to be 40-30 minutes to Aotea.)

        13. “I probably should have said ‘argument options’ as they were just silly suggestions.”

          They seem like silly options, but they are the best options if we run HR to the airport.

          Please, please, please, draw up the whole network and your line to the airport and figure out how you want to run lines. It’s too hard to explain that your pattern won’t work when you have one pattern in mind that we don’t know.

    3. Jon, AT are already planning for a link from Puhinui to the airport, which does all you suggest without having to divert the southern line 12 km out of its way. So you are quite wrong to suggest they haven’t considered the catchment of the existing rail network, or of the far south.

  5. There is nothing stopping someone running an express bus from the Airport to the CBD post airport rail as a premium service if they wish. Some people will happily pay more for this others wont.

  6. Very interesting. Not a subject I have expertise compared to most of the contributors but three points:
    1. If worth doing then it is worth doing well and doing now (better would be yesterday)
    2. Great maps showing catchment by residency, employment and deprivation. But just like building the Harbour bridge and everything changed on North Shore this light rail will change these maps dramatically. Given approval investors / developers will be licking their lips.
    3. Given decent cycle racks on the light rail it will dramatically increase the number of commuting cyclists.

    1. Bob – ever tried to bike to the airport? Or tried to find a place to store your bike at the airport? Until we build bike parking facilities at the airport on a scale similar to Holland, no one is going to want to take their bike on the LR on the way to the airport….

      1. I regularly cycle to the airport. The domestic terminal has more than adequate bike parking. Ok, so it’s just a small rack with space for about six bikes, but as I’ve only ever seen one other bike there apart from mine it seems more than adequate.

        1. how do you go for security? I was pondering getting a crappy bike nobody would want to pinch for a similar purpose.

    2. TBH, I don’t think bikes and rapid transit are compatible. There is a limit to the number that could ever be carried so it is not something that can really grow. I think bike share is a much better option.

      1. Pity. I was thinking of new housing in say Onehunga or Mangere Bridge (both places I rather like) with cycle lanes to light rail connection. Less use of cycles in the city – ref few cycles on our ferries. Not a significant issue with this proposed project but we need to think about how things will change if/when implemented.
        Airport and bikes: viable for airport workers but little value for passengers. Fairly trivial to put in a few cycle sheds.

        1. Agree, cycle connections to RT stations is vital. However, for this to be successful we might be hoping that 30 – 50 people per tram have arrived by bike, which makes carrying them in the tram unviable without reducing passenger space.

          The best answer is bike storage at the station and bike share at the other end.

        2. Maybe ‘vital’ is a little strong. What about a fixed but small number of cycle slots per tram that could be booked via an App? Judging by the first picture the tram would take way over a hundred passengers. And there is an issue with delays caused by loading and unloading cycles so maybe at terminus only during rush hour periods? What happens in other countries?

        3. Meh, we have a system that works with bikes on trains currently. Bikes are allowed as long as you’re not a dick about it at peak times when things are busy.

          Why not use the same policy again, bikes on rail is fine except don’t bring one onto a crowded vehicle.

        4. +1, a simple policy of ‘passengers with bicycles must disembark when carriages are full’ is the simplest way to manage this.

  7. Matt L, I think your point at the end is one of the most important in the debate; the government, the opposition, AT, and NZTA all agree that LR is the preferred method. The difference is timing. The NZ Herald editorial was a poor piece of journalism as all this out in the open and has discussed many times. If they can’t even be bothered going to a few websites then they aren’t really part of the discussion. It’s like this editorial was written 20 years ago and then got dusted off for a re-run.

    1. True. And talking about road and PT projects as alternatives in this case is nonsense. The other major road project being considered in Auckland now, EW Link, makes no difference to travel to the airport. The obvious question to put to the Nationals is how do they proposed to maintain adequate access to the airport, Mangere and Fevona for the next 20 years without a major investment? There is already a 10 minute express bus service to the Airport and it is clearly not getting people out of cars.

      Finally, it was interesting to see English refer to whether the Light Rail could pass an economic test. In fact it does, and that information is reported in the business case. If Mr English cares about economics, he should be asked why is he persevering with the EW Link project?

  8. The most important piece of information missing from the Herald article is the author’s name. Disgusting journalism that they deserve to be held accountable for.

      1. I still get the Herald delivered but I stopped reading their editorials years ago. I think they get some geriatric reporters to take it in turns.

        1. Ha, true, which is why in the holidays when the young ones are left in control you occasionally get something sensible written.

    1. The real issue with their editorials is that they don’t actually have a constant editorial stance, it’s just a bunch of people each seemingly getting their turn. They occasionally even have a good stance on stuff like this.

      This particular version has Roughan all over it, a bunch of reckons devoid of factual references.

  9. The opinion piece really was poor form. Damaging because of falsely implied authority (and intellectual laziness). Armchair psychologists, look up False Authority Fallacy 🙂

    That said, and off topic I admit, when Labour said that they’d start from Wynard Q, does that mean literally that or does it mean simultaneous works in multiple sites? Completed within 4 years is a quick job, impressive if they can do it! I bloody hope that they can!

    It’s as if they’re trying to give the impression to Aucklanders that they’re keen, they’re getting on with it – And this would definitely look good for Akl when tourists see the CRL and LRT links being built in the heart of the city. I’d just like it if they also got started on the airport side soon’ish 🙂

  10. I genuinely think that the media needs to get hold of the fact that there are two radically different competing visions here for Auckland PT.

    Labour has firmly nailed its colours to the mast, and offered a real vision for the future comprising two brand new LR lines (with the Northern Busway to be converted after Year 10), plus the Howick-Airport busway (and of course, let’s not forget the Eastern Busway) which will lead to a total of eight RTN lines; and in addition several new Bus Priority Routes joining it all together. With this offering, a real RTN network is within grasp.

    National has offered the electrification of a route that was going to use battery powered trains and the construction of (a section of?) the Northwest Busway. Oh, and some overblown and low benefit roading projects in the South. This offering can only be described as completely underwhelming, and does almost nothing for the transport network as a whole.

    These visions are so radically different from each other that they probably represent the single most significant difference between the parties. I’d love to see the media debate focus on that fact and make transport a major election issue.

    As an aside, I travelled outbound on the NW motorway by bus last night just after 5pm, expecting to see the usual congestion. I was staggered to find that having increased the number of lanes from three to four, the congestion had ENTIRELY disappeared. In fact, my bus was in Lane 2 of 4, and from my seat I could not see ANY traffic whatsoever in Lanes 3 or 4. Is this the new norm? If this is the case, my vote goes to the party that courageously says to NZTA: “We don’t need an expensive new right-of-way for a busway/light rail to Westgate. We’re going to commandeer the two central motorway lanes and start laying rails on them before the end of the year. The new lanes were clearly overkill, and we’re going to get much better value from them by acknowledging this error now and building light rail straight away.”

      1. Lets not forget its Auckland Transport not the government that has been setting the priority of projects. Presumably the costs and benefits of various projects have been weighed up carefully and not just pulled out of a hat. Airport rail has been scheduled for 2026-2036.
        When it comes time to funding the NZTA and government do become involved before paying their half. Bill English was interviewed a couple of days ago and made a comment that Airport Rail was just outside the 10 year plan, and due in about 10 years, which fits within the AT schedule.
        Any talk of 30 years is fake news

    1. It depends where you got off the motorway, yesterday the traffic was surprisingly good. Since the tunnel opened the traffic from Lincoln Rd back to Rosebank has been horrendous. On the few days I drive instead of take PT it flows really well until Great North Rd, and then crawls to Lincoln. Mainly due to the roadworks. Once they open the third lane from Lincoln to Westgate, you’re right – the motorway will flow really well and induce more traffic.

      1. Yesterday after 5pm, it was plain sailing all the way from Hobson Street to Te Atatu. With barely a car on the road (except for long queues exiting at St Lukes and GNRoad/SW motorway. But the through route was completely (yes, completely) unimpeded.

    2. While its nice to know that Labour has a vision for transport I don’t know many people who will change their vote because of that. I know several who like me will change because they no longer have a trade union patsy as their leader. Healthcare, homelessness and opportunities for young people get my vote. Transport not so much. Oh and thrashing the Greens gets my vote. But they have taken care of that themselves.

      1. I know several people in Christchurch considering changing to labour because of their transport policy. But that’s probably because in Christchurch National and Labour hold almost polar opposite views on transport, whereas in Auckland they’re at least sort of looking in the same direction.

        1. It is a crying shame that Christchurch did not commit to an LRT or similar right after the earthquake. For street running LRT from 1/4 to 1/3 of the cost is in moving services out of the way. (The actual track work is not that expensive). Since so many services had to be replaced after the Christchurch quake, and the streets were closed anyway, it was the perfect time to do the job.

          It will be interesting to follow the LRT being built in Canberra as a comparator. They are similar sized cities.

        2. The real crime is that Brownlee wouldn’t even allow a right of way to be reserved… at the easiest possible time ever to add one.

          Fair enough that there wasn’t budget for it all immediately but to not simply leave the space, or run buses on it, or anything at all, shows an ideologically closed mind, a negligent approach to future proofing, and a bullying paternalism to the people’s clearly expressed wish….

          Sumner-city-uni-airport is such an obvious route…

        3. Patrick, yes that would have been sufficient. If they had just done enough to work out where the LRT track would go, they could have instructed the service authorities to place the new utilities clear of it, so that they did not have to be moved later when they did have the money.

  11. The only possible heavy rail link now is via Puhinui not Onehunga – how on earth could that possibly be more efficient than a service that heads directly there from Mt Roskill?

      1. Correct. There is a need for a link at the Manukau end also, but the airport I am told is not keen on the amount of space required for a heavy rail terminal there, not to mention other logistical and capacity issues on the heavy network once CRL opens.

        1. Yes, it could. I believe that Albany-CBD-Airport-Botany should all be one line, as there is no logical end point in the middle.

      2. +1, the ideal transit line, with strong anchors at both ends and lots of origins and destinations along the route.

  12. How do the stops work along Dominion road? I assume there will be traffic lights to stop cars that go red when the train pulls in? But then you would only be able to exit towards the left side of the road and have to cross again after train gone to get to other side?

    1. I would imagine that most stations will be centre island platforms. Everyone disembarks to the centre, the LRT vehicle leaves, and then the lights go red to allow passengers to get to the kerb on whichever side they want to go to.

    2. Jimbo trains will not be sharing the road with cars on Dom. Except when they cross the few big intersections, and then they’ll have signal priority. Light Rail will be on its own separate route in the centre of the road.

      1. Doesnt seem likely with current road widths. They would have to demolish on one side where there used to be a building restriction line from the late 1930s

        1. Its the ‘no right hand turns except at major intersections’ that killed that last Dom Rd upgrade proposal. There was such an uproar that the councillors ran scared, & Ludo last even more hair. That part is going to need to be well thought out and well communicated if it isn’t going to de-rail this concept.

      2. Yep get that Patrick. But when my light rail train stops in the middle of dominion road, how do I get off without being run over by cars?

        1. You hope onto a central platform. You could probably safety wait there while you continue concern trolling too.

  13. In terms of material and ideas to wade through on airport rail, this blog will certainly give the new people to the debate plenty to read!

  14. Firstly, i don’t think you guys at the blog should dismiss peoples views as either uninformed or concern trolls. This plan has been adopted by a major political party and a lot of people (imcluding me) would like to criticise or question , whether uninformed or not , if its in the political realm and may influence their vote ,they should be answered with a bit of patience.

    I concur with sailor boy above. The brt to botany is a bit of a waste imo. Might as well make the whole thing lrt.

    Is there any talk in circles that you guys have heard about parts of dominion road becoming a transit mall.?. Or is that unimaginable.

    1. “Firstly, i don’t think you guys at the blog should dismiss peoples views as either uninformed or concern trolls. This plan has been adopted by a major political party and a lot of people (including me) would like to criticise or question , whether uninformed or not , if its in the political realm and may influence their vote ,they should be answered with a bit of patience.”

      Yes, for lay men and women this is reasonable. However, the editorial from the herald which is being criticized was written by professional journalists. Their job is to become informed and write articles. Surely it is fair to criticize them for the damage they do by not doing 50% of their job description?

      It is entirely fair for you to criticize this proposal. It is not acceptable for certain political candidates to concern troll (including in the comments section of this blog) by repeatedly asking questions loaded with false premises that have been repeatedly disproven and could even be disproven by the most cursory of research.

      P.S. To clarify, I think we should do BRT to Puhinui putting the spade in the ground tomorrow and upgrade to LRT as soon as the line from the city centre to AIAL is finished.

  15. Whilst I agree the right wing car loving NIMBY trolls trying to give their fake news concerning Labour’s Auckland transport policy, I still have a problem of the benefits of LR from City to the beginning of State Hwy 20 if the travel is going along Queen Street and Dominion Road to the beginning of State Hwy 20.

    What is the proposed the LR route will take from Queen Street to Dominion Road and will there be enough width along Dominion Road for LR double track and its own dedicated passenger loading zones?

    Will there be a LR/Bus/Heavy rail interchange at Onehunga?

    If the proposed track is going to go up Queen Street, along K Road to Dominion Road, is the grade from the Town Hall to K Road going to be to steep for LR units?

    What I has seen globally, all LR systems are on flat or slightly graded land.

    1. Queen St is not too steep. Also it goes under KRd in an underpass. It’s best described as using 3 different right of way typologies:
      1. The flat part of Queen St: Light Rail and no cars, but pedestrians, like Bourke St in Melb.
      2. From around Wakefield St to Sh20: separate centre lanes running with signal priority at intersections. The Dom Rd flyover is demolished.
      3. Alongside SH20 and SH20A: fully separate RoW

      For a short distance in Onehunga, and maybe in the Airport Precinct itself, and to Wynyard, a bit more of type 2 to platforms immediately above the Onehunga trains, before heading to a new bridge to Mangere.

      Note anyone worried about the Isthmus section will be able to easily transfer at Onehunga to/from standard trains, and therefore only travel on type 3, and for connecting with other destinations…

    1. 43 minutes every day and every time of day. Try getting to the airport in 43 minutes anytime during the morning or afternoon on a weekday

      1. The last time I went to the airport I did so on the SkyBus, and it was 22 minutes from Mt Eden station, to the Domestic Terminal. Had I boarded it in town it would have been about a 35-40 minute trip. That was about 10am on a weekday.

        SkyBus is fantastic. Fast and very frequent (every 10 minutes), but PT advocates seem to ignore its very existence, because being privately run it somehow doesn’t count.

        1. I think the people who have forgotten about Skybus are those advocating for a direct HR connection via Puhinui.

          I completely agree with you, Skybus is the obvious choice for an express service between the CBD and the airport. LR will offer a commuter rapid transit option for those who live along the line and also an option for those wishing to save a bit of money on the trip to the airport.

        2. Skybus is fantastic for what it is. It isn’t particularly rapid as it has no priority lanes and at $18 it isn’t affordable public transport and so is not an option for the airport work force, amongst others.
          I imagine LRT will be priced around $4.95. And if it isn’t then it should be, to ensure that there is an option to free up movement from this vital piece of Auckland’s economt i.e. the airport.

        3. Surely LRT travel fares would be integrated with bus and train fares. A three-zone fare is currently $4.85 with a HOP card, although there could be an airport premium/extra zone charged on top of that (one hopes there wouldn’t).

      2. Well apparently it’s planned to be going straight down Dominion road. So 43 minutes… …outside of rush hour…

    2. And I guess no one takes the hour long underground train from Heathrow into London? Must have been ghosts I saw…

    3. What percentage of users would travel end to end?

      Its a SW line. But feel free to advocate spending a billion dollars more than you have to, to save 7mins.

    4. Because you could do better and just extend the existing mainline suburban services to the Airport for the same cost or even less.

      35-40 minutes.

      Debate Truely over.

      1. The heavy rail extension costs more, takes as long to Britomart and longer to Aotea, has fewer stations in the SW and would not be able to run as frequently.

  16. Why does the LR line have big overlaps in the catchment along Dominion Rd, then big gaps in the catchment between Mt Roskill and Onehunga? Why not space the stops out more along Dominion Rd, then add stops between Mt Roskill and Onehunga, by routing it along Mt Albert Rd and Onehunga Mall instead of causing conflict with future use of heavy rail along the SAL corridor? Something which will need to be built once the Marsden Point rail link is up and running. The line would then serve Three Kings and better serve Onehunga as well.

    1. Agree, the Mt Roskill to Onehunga section seems to be the forgotten piece of new rapid transit in this plan. There should be at least one more stop along here.

    2. The idea of going down Mt Albert Road and Onehunga Mall is bonkers. These areas are already served by a frequent crosstown route and Mt Eden and Manukau Road buses that should be improved. The way to service those areas with LRT is to gradually convert the Isthmus bus routes to LRT.

    3. the Dominion Rd stops need to be optimised for local commuters heading into town, not minimised to speed up the time to the airport. If it doesn’t work for the Mt Roskill > town leg people then it will be a failed system. Similarly, the Favona / Mangere Town Centre people travel surveys need to be done to see where they actually normally travel to before committing to limiting them to a CBD route instead of an Otahuhu or Manukau route

  17. You could pick examples where light rail to the airport works, but also ones where a more dedicated heavy rail option would have been better.

    Generally, what seems to be forgotten in the whole debate is the approach of what would make Auckland a more competitive city internationally. A good connection of the country’s airport to the city centre, as well as to regional transport (i.e. to the Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Northland) is crucial in international comparison. A strategic, rather than a traffic planning view, is essential.
    In many other countries transport decisions are not only made on whether they would allow give access to the greatest population, but on location advantage. Would this project give an advantage or take away a severe disadvantage in comparison with other countries/cities/regions? What would make people want to live/vacation/do business here?

  18. As a Wellingtonian I just have to shake my head and ask: “Oh Auckland why do you keep doing this to yourselves”?

    You’ve finally got this central rail loop started. You had this great plan for the next step being linking that heavy rail to the airport.
    Just imagine it! No longer do you have to pay through the nose to get a taxi to drive you through horror traffic. Instead you have the option of taking a train directly to the CBD for that meeting or hotel or whatever.

    But no! You let some clueless politician or bureaucrat come along and scupper it. Instead you’ll not do the obvious and instead waste more time and money on some dopey light rail scheme! If this scheme ever happens; instead you’ll get the privilege of sitting on a crowded tram making stops all the way into Auckland. Not much better than taking a suburban bus. Is it?

    Oh wait I know why you did this to yourselves (again). Someone took a holiday to somewhere overseas (probably the Gold Coast, possibly Melbourne) and saw some trams, got all wide-eyed and thought “oooh Auckland should try that”….

    1. I don’t want to burst your bubble but the train would stop in quite a lot of places as well, and if it doesn’t end up being crowded at some stage then you would have to question whether it was a good use of money.

      1. Jezza, the trains stop at 7 locations between Britomart and Onehunga, and the trams at 12, plus any red lights they encounter along the way (and they will, as they cannot have priority at every crossroad in all situations). Trains do 90/60, the trams will do 30/50 and a limited stretch of 80.

        If a tram and train leave Britomart at the same time, the train is going to reach Onehunga well before the tram does.

        If it’s to be trams, then it actually makes more sense to have the tram line start at Onehunga and end at the Airport. Forget the Onehunga-Mt Roskill bit, it’s just a clumsy design trying to treat two separate and very different transport requirements into a single project.

        I guarantee people from the airport will alight at Onehunga and take the train anyway. Why would you continue on the very full Dominion Rd corridor stopping and starting all the time and travelling at 30 or 50km/h, when you could board the train and be at Britomart 28 minutes later after travelling at 90 with fewer stops?

      2. Yes of course I’m aware that an airport rail service would probably also stop at at least Papatoetoe and Otahuhu (or Onehunga if the other alignment was chosen) and Newmarket before proceeding to either the CRL or Britomart.
        At least until the point in the future when direct airport expresses could be justified.

        But that would still be direct transverse of the ~25km’s on it’s own corridor (instead of sharing Dominion road).

        And the fact is that this at most 35-40 minute journey would be shorter and more spacious than a ever more crowded tram down Dominion road.

        The heavy rail line is less than 5 km’s from where an airport railway station could be built. To me it makes no logical sense not to use it and instead build a brand new big long light rail line.

        1. I suspect as a Wellingtonian you don’t have the same concern for providing rapid transit to the SW suburbs such as Mangere, which is understandable.

          Also any airport train would have to be all stops from Sylvia Park or Penrose as there no plans for express tracks along these sections of track. Also I doubt airport trains will be high priority for the express tracks from Puhinui to Westfield with services from the south likely to have bigger loadings.

          Auckland simply isn’t big enough for a Heathrow Express.

        2. Light rail is not “rapid transit”.
          Interestingly enough: heavy rail can be upgraded to rapid transit, although that’s not likely for Auckland’s mainline network, especially given that it shares the corridor with freights and probably always will.

          The Onehunga branch line already terminates close to the Mangere bridge, which itself has been future-proofed to accommodate double-tracks of rail. If providing Mangere with rail public transport is so important (I’m not saying it isn’t): The solution is right there under your nose in close proximity instead of some dopey, expensive light rail that then has to trundle down congested Dominion road. And unlike a light rail; It could also provide rail freight options for the industrial zone (which would offer an even better cost-benefit ratio to just PT rail).

          There already are Onehunga services and service that Terminate at Puhinui that do not stop at all stations even with only double-tracking and no capacity-increasing CRL.
          Another non-sequitur.

          And why are you bringing up the Heathrow express for? In case nobody told you: the same company also operates the much cheaper Heathrow connect which takes the same route but stops at all stations. Just look across the Tasman: There are regular suburban rail services to both Sydney airport and Brisbane airport that are well-patronised. And Perth Airport is getting one within the next two years.

          Building a light rail connection that would provide a lower capacity and less attractive service for at least as much cost as the common sense option makes no sense.

        3. The Mangere Bridge only has capacity for a single track and a new bridge needs to be built from Onehunga station across Neilson St anyway.

          I mentioned Heathrow express as you were proposing an express service from the airport to the CBD.

          Light rail to the airport from Mt Roskill is $1 billion less than double tracked HR from Penrose. LR on Dominion Rd will already be built by the time we are building airport rail.

        4. Okay perhaps I’m mistaken. I was under the impression that when the Mangere bridge was duplicated that they’d made a rail corridor wide enough for double tracking, as it’s planned to eventually build a railway line along the SW motorway corridor that connects around Avondale/New Lynn and to continue it un that space under the bridge, mainly for freights.

          I said: “the point in the future when direct airport expresses could be justified”. I said “could” and never even implied that it “could” be justified any time soon.

          I don’t know what your source for the belief for the light rail option being “1 billion cheaper” nor being able to be built quicker is. If it’s that AT report: Didn’t that Mike Lee demolish it’s credibility?
          After-all; the line would require works of similar construction timescale along the Mangere side of the bridge with either option. And it would also require the painstaking conversion of Dominion road to be able to take light rail (I’m assuming this alleged 1 billion in saving will involve installing the cheaper overhead supplies?).

          And speaking of the rail corridor alongside the SW motorway earmarked for future connection to New Lynn: Is this light rail intending to use this corridor once it gets to the Mount Roskill end of Dominion road? Because if it is: It may well need to be moved again once that freight line needs to be built.

        5. Mike Lee criticised the report but he definitely didn’t demolish it and his criticisms were around running times not costs. The main difference in the cost was double tracking and trenching some level crossings between Penrose and Onehunga, the smaller radius of curvature for LR reducing bridging costs, crucially at the Kirkbride intersection and the amount of tunneling needed in the airport.

          There has never been a plan for freights using the Mangere Bridge, the Avondale-Southdown designation leaves SH20 north of Onehunga and sidles across to Southdown. There is about one train a day of freight coming out of the airport precinct and it goes to all sorts of different locations so will never leave on a train.

        6. Some of the criticisms of the Jacobs report include the inequities of how the catchment areas are treated. If you dig into the detail you can see the LRT Dominion Rd catchment table includes thousands of people at Sandringham Rd stops and it includes a host of people in the south west corner of the CBD in the LRT catchment but not the HR catchment when those folk are closer to the Aotea and K Rd CRL (HR) stations than the Queen St LRT route. It also excludes the Parnell station from the HR catchment area for both workers and residents. And, it talks about ‘single seat trips’ but then pretends that the CRL HR through trains stop in the city. An honest assessment of a ‘single seat journey’ for HR from the airport via Onehunga or Otahuhu and onto the CRL should include all the stops to the end of the line – i.e. Swanson, and hopefully later Kumeu then Helensville. A huge ‘single seat’ catchment area under the Unitary Plan increased densities.

    2. Never mind that LRT is as fast, has as much or more capacity, and is way, way, way cheaper, right? We had this grand scheme to build HR so it must happen, even if there is an objectively better option.

      1. Careful Sailor Boy. LRT is only as fast as HR on paper. Examples elsewhere of LR in Dominion Road-type environments are that it is much slower. Sure, it can be fast down the middle of a wide unencumbered highway but that is not what we have here. And comparing its speed with current AK heavy rail which everyone is agreed can and must be sped up, is also misleading.

        As regards LR having “as much or more capacity”, this is mainly because LRV’s tend to have fewer seats so more people can cram into a smaller space. HR could do this too, if we wanted to sacrifice comfort.
        And although LR theoretically can run at closer headways (where driven at slower speeds by line-of-sight only), the reality with many higher-speed LRT systems is that they don’t run at closer headways than HR is capable of.

        Not to say that LR to AK Airport wouldn’t work, or be a great improvement over what is there now, but be careful not to misrepresent the relative capabilities (and costs) of the two modes. The alleged advantages of LR in this particular situation are not as clear-cut as some like to claim.

        The points raised by Daniel Eyre above are valid.

        1. As I see it a major problem with LR down Dominion Rd is pedestrians. We see enough people crossing the road away from designated crossings now, just what is it going to be like when they start running across in front of fast moving LR vehicles which are not going to be able to slow down and stop as quick as cars can.
          So yes, the speeds down existing roadways is going to be a lot slower than we are being sold.

        2. An LRV can stop as fast as a bus or car. Actually faster as the use magnetic emergency brakes that don’t rely on wheel friction.

        3. I can imagine from experience, that would be very true in good, and dry conditions. But what about wet, damp, especially “dewy” conditions. How well do these LRV’s operate in these conditions? Is the adhesion good in these conditions, especially on grades, some which could be fairly steep. Is there sanding features, or are the tyres designed of some type of special material for these conditions. I know, or should I say I have heard that the HRV EMU’s in operation in Auckland can have a lot of difficulty stopping in these conditions without cautious approaches. Emergency braking seems to eliminate this, but defeats its purpose when it effects every unit at the same location. Freight trains etc, simply a matter of to bad, it’s going to stop much further in those conditions,no matter what.

        4. On the Gold Coast, the LRV’s operate at 30 km/h along the pedestrian heavy strips. 30 km/h is slow enough to a) react quickly and b) lessen actual harm if struck. Over the length of Dominion Rd and Queen St, the time difference (without stops etc) between 30km/h and 50km/h is 5.5 minutes. (15minutes vs 9.5minutes). Keep in mind the LRV’s will not be stuck in vehicular traffic.

        5. The magnetic brakes don’t rely on friction, they’re magnetic. Icey conditions are irrelevant.

        6. @”Nick R”: If you’re going from the airport to the CBD or Newmarket: You only want your train to stop at stations. Not at intersections.

          And @ “Bryce P” Oh but I though that these LRV’s could go as fast as EMU’s? Only 30km/h? Oh dear…

        7. Worst trolling ever:

          “You only want your train to stop at stations. Not at intersections.”
          Which is exactly why LRT won’t stop at intersections.

          “And @ “Bryce P” Oh but I though that these LRV’s could go as fast as EMU’s? Only 30km/h? Oh dear…”

          Heavy rail is restricted to 25 km/h at Quay Park, so by your logic HR is slower. Or we could look at the evidence presented by engineers who actually know what they are looking at, actually know what the proposal is, and don’t have a mode fetish. Then we will realise that the end to end speed will be comparable.

        8. “. . .Heavy rail is restricted to 25 km/h at Quay Park. . .”

          Not true. The speed restriction around Vector Curve was raised to 30Km/h a year or two ago.

          And I think you will find that light rail vehicles would be similarly speed-restricted on a 95m radius curve, and even more speed-restricted on the even tighter curves that they are capable of negotiating.

          Light rail is not a magic bullet that is somehow exempt from all the practical considerations affecting heavy rail. It has many constraints of its own and those with a LR-“mode-fetish” should be mindful of this.

        9. “Not true. The speed restriction around Vector Curve was raised to 30Km/h a year or two ago.”

          I apologise. I said that HR was slower than LRT, it is only as slow.

          “And I think you will find that light rail vehicles would be similarly speed-restricted on a 95m radius curve”

          I doubt it, given the wider gauge, closer wheel base and shorter carriages, it is generally acknowledged that LRT can achieve higher speeds on tight alignments.

          “Light rail is not a magic bullet that is somehow exempt from all the practical considerations affecting heavy rail. It has many constraints of its own and those with a LR-“mode-fetish” should be mindful of this.”

          You seem to be confused. It is the Heavy Rail fetishists who ignore the capacity constraints of sharing tracks with the southern, eastern, and western line trains and using flat junctions. The same people who ignore the speed restrictions imposed by existing or required tortuous or winding alignments The same people who ignore the cost implications of property acquisition, level crossing removal, bridging, and tunneling required for the heavy rail option.

          Most notably, people have been paid to think about these things objectively and as a result they believed light rail to be the best option.

          If Bryce, Harriet, Patrick and I are LRT fetishist, we aren’t very good ones; we supported HR on this route for years until actual evidence convinced us otherwise and continue to support it on other routes, where it achieves the best outcomes for the city. Claiming LRT fetish is an entirely false equivalence when only one side has asked ‘what is the best way to achieve this outcome?’ and the other has asked ‘how can my preferred mode achieve this outcome?’.

        10. Thanks Dave B.

          Another thing that’s not mentioned is the flexibility and potential a mainline rail link could offer. It there was a connection via a spur to Puhinui: It could be convenient for freight to the industrial zones in Mangere.
          And it could also offer rail-airport links to Auckland airport beyond the Auckland metropolitan area. Like a direct rail service between this airport station and Frankton Junction in Hamilton. Or to Tauranga.

          I was quite disappointed that someone in either AT or Jacobs engineering oriented the proposed station under the existing airport terminal in a direction to only possibly make it a terminus. If it was in different direction: It could eventually be a trough station with connections both ways. People in Mangere could take the train to the Manukau station without having to go through Onehunga, etc. It know it would cost a few million more but it’s a clean slate they’ve got and I just think it shows a lack of long-term vision. We all know that at some stage: Auckland Airport is going to have to increase the capacity of the terminal there anyway, and that may mean demolishing the existing one.

          I honestly don’t think a light rail that would go from Mangere to the CBD via Dominion road would be very attractive to anyone in either Mangere nor the airport and would be an expensive flop.

        11. re airport terminal alignment: I’d thought that, but since it is still 15-20 years before it gets that far, anything can happen. My thoughts were that instead of the alignment veering east to a cut and cover under the eastern end of the runway, that the (HR or LRT) rails actually veer west near Manu Tapu Pl and come under the middle of the 2nd runway and then curve around to face east – or an onwards loop to Manukau

      2. Ah. No.

        To pick this apart one point by one:

        Although the Auckland mainline network in it current form is lucky to get its trains over 60km/hr for any appreciable amount of time: This is still a lot more rapid than an LRV would realistically be likely to be able to get on the proposed network. Especially in a corridor shared down Dominion Road.
        It’s like how (in theory) many buses can get up to 90km/hr (or even faster). But they very rarely get the chance to on suburban routes (often because of regulations). Most of the time; the fastest they get is 50km/hr.
        The irrefutable fact is that the AM class of EMU’s recently introduced to Auckland have a maximum speed of 110km/hr (which I’ll concede that rarely if ever get the chance to exploit). Most modern low-floor trams have a maximum speed of around ~70-80km/hr, and they’re not likely to get close to that on the proposed network.

        LOL. You might take exception to me telling you this but I’m going to say it anyway: You must suffer a serious shortcoming in physical intuition of you imagine that LRV’s have anywhere near the capacity that mainline-standard “heavy rail” EMU’s have.
        You only have to use either form of transport to know that what you stated is an utter nonsense.
        The three-car AM EMU’s have a capacity of 373 people (230 seated). And passengers using a rail service from Auckland airport to the CRL would want to be seated for a Journey at least 30 minutes long.
        The vast majority of modern LRV’s have a capacity of ~200 people. And less than half of that capacity is seated (usually ~70-80). Only a few models offered have capacities up to ~350 people (with only about 100 seated) and those are very big and cumbersome LRV’s which using on any corridor sharing roads requires a lot of careful road works.

        Light rail is (like underground metros, light metros, etc) a public transport option that can deliver rail transport to non-mainline standards. As it is only going to move passengers and not freight; it can use loading gauges, signalling, track and wheel profiles, safety rules, etc to whatever suits it to best move people around whatever place (almost always urban areas).
        Thus: Light rail is a financially-attractive option for urban areas where there is no freight-carrying mainline in convenient enough proximity to justify providing passenger rail transport by connecting to that mainline or if that mainline is not also routed to provide a convenient suburban service. Or light rail can be a great capacity-upgrade from bus routes at capacity (as they have intermediate capacity between bus networks and metro’s & mainline suburban rail). In time: they can also be upgraded to light-metros and even to metro’s.
        But the fact of the matter is that Auckland does not suffer the problem of a mainline being too far from the airport (nor not already having a suburban passenger network on the mainline convenient enough for a lot of users).
        I frankly cannot imagine how a big long light rail line between the Auckland CBD down Dominion road, across the Mangere bridge and through Mangere would be cheaper than either extending the Onehunga branch South across Mangere Bridge nor spurring off the NIMT near Puhinui. I can only see it being more expensive, and not by any small amount. Anyone only has to research the eventual costs that the various Stadtbahn networks in Western Germany have accumulated over the years t see that they’re not inherently “cheap” at all but merely a cheaper option for many situations.

        So you’re factually wrong on all three accounts.

        Light rail is NOT a “better option” for an Auckland airport rail link at all, Objectively: it is very obviously a completely worse option. Frankly: This is no less silly and lacking in just common sense as the error made with Britomart Station that only allows the outer two platforms to be extended westward for the CRL.
        Honestly: Can’t you guys just do some research and actually think about this instead of comparing yourselves to (actually crummy) Australian cities on whims?

        If you guys are so really desperate to get any light rail network in Auckland: I suggest that being the first upgrade of the northern Busway (if it gets to capacity). Then it can become a light-metro. And possible eventually even a metro…

        1. I agree with you Daniel on points raised.

          I fear the same people proposing LRT trams in GA are agenda 21 lizard people working for the consultants who undertook the ridiculous study and some will be in league at Auckland Transport.

          Some of these lizard peoplle are also linked into Labour, Phil Goff and Greens (what’s left of that party).

        2. Who says the current emus are lucky to get over 60Km/hr? I was aware that AT had imposed a 90Km/kr speed limit on the AM class emus and on many of my emu trips I use speedbox on my iphone to measure actual speed and you would be very surprised how often it gets to 90Km or even slightly above that. Even the old donger dmus from Papakura to Puke make 90Km/hr most of the way.
          Sure there are speed restricted places and sections but overall the various sections are getting faster. That 3rd main will also let the AMs go faster although currently the Middlemore to Papatoetoe section makes 90Km/hr very often
          Will Airport/Dom Rd/QueenLR do this? IMO only if you are dreaming.

        3. I’m too busy to respond to most of the replies on here (an awful many that slid into ad-hominem).

          But I’ll respond to this. Yes thank you David Dix for further illustrating my point that “Sailor Boy”s claim that LRV are “as fast” as mainline EMU’s is complete fiction.
          It’s refreshing to know that the AM class EMU’s are able to exploit their top speed on many stretches of the Network. I wouldn’t expect much of that to be on the sections where a heavy rail connection to the airport would run. But perhaps I’m wrong.

          But at the end of the day: Me being wrong on that small point only makes my larger point of LRV’s NOT being “as fast” as mainline EMU’s more correct.

        4. “But I’ll respond to this. Yes thank you David Dix for further illustrating my point that “Sailor Boy”s claim that LRV are “as fast” as mainline EMU’s is complete fiction.”

          Complete fiction that is true and supported by a report written by qualified transport professionals that have spent more time looking at this than anyone else?


        5. SB, funny how the ‘qualified transport professionals’ is used to support high speed LRT yet these same professionals are not trusted to sort out timetabling and pathway sharing to allow an HR link to the airport (via Otahuhu)
          However SB, when the Dom Rd-Queen St LR is built I would be happy to share a journey with you using speedbox and if we get even 20% running at 90kn/hr then I will buy you lunch at arrival in the CBD

        6. Erm, maybe it’s because it’s actually impossible to provide a good service on a new branch line, and the transport experts know this because its their job to do transport planning?

        7. Have said transport experts said that its impossible? I have only seen opinion from the GA ‘experts’ who appear to be heavily invested in one LR solution for airport rail

        8. “Have said transport experts said that its impossible? I have only seen opinion from the GA ‘experts’ who appear to be heavily invested in one LR solution for airport rail”

          This blog post contained links to AT’s pages on airport. Go and read them. You are clearly not aware enough of the history of this project to discuss it meaningfully and it is intellectually lazy for you to expect us to educate you on it.

      1. At the moment. The Victoria State government is planning a rail link from Footscray with Tullamarine possibility being funded by the federal government.

      2. I’m aware that there is no rail link of any description to Tullamarine airport. There is also no rail link of any description to Gold coast airport nor to Adelaide airport.
        You are however factually incorrect with the statement “The only public transport from Melbourne airport is the bus into Southern Cross Station”. As a matter of fact: Tullamarine airport is also served by several bus routes. One bus route can take people to Broadmeadows railway station in at most 20 minutes. Another can take people to the bus stop at the “Westfield Airport West” shopping mall, which is also the Terminus for a tram route, in less than 30 minutes.

        But in any case: I wasn’t talking about light rail links to airports per se. I was talking about the idea that Auckland would need a light rail in any form. Why light rail for Auckland? I’ll concede that I’m no expert, but I cannot see any need for light rail in Auckland for the foreseeable future. Auckland has the nucleus of a potentially very good rail system based on the existing mainline network.

        1. So all the routes that are proposed to be serviced by LR should just continue to be serviced by buses? How do you plan to deal with CBD and Northern busway capacity constraints?

        2. And exactly how close to capacity is the bus service between Auckland airport and the CBD?
          Correct me if I’m wrong: But wasn’t one canned altogether within the last decade?

          Yes I’m well aware that bus patronage in Auckland has greatly increased over the past 15 years. But be honest: Is it even close to reaching capacity?
          In any case, even if some routes are: Why not just look at upgrading those very capacity-approaching bus routes as needed instead of then tacking the rail link to Auckland airport on the end of one of them?!

          Yes the Northern Busway is a great candidate for eventually upgrading to light rail. I believe it was even future-proofed for that. But how about wait until it’s actually approaching capacity before looking at the millions required for that?
          And furthermore: That is NOT relevant to this dopey idea of making the future rail link to Auckland airport a light rail line that then goes down congested Dominion road even though the mainline rail network is not beyond convenient proximity.

        3. I was responding specifically to this comment: ‘I cannot see any need for light rail in Auckland for the foreseeable future’ by pointing out that there is a need for light rail in the foreseeable future.

          Some bus routes are quite close to capacity.

        4. Can you provide some evidence of either bus routes being at capacity or light rail being actually needed in the foreseeable future?

          I know that the Northern Busway is popular and heavily utilised. But it also has a VERY large capacity.

        5. Daniel E, Symonds St, where a lot of the isthmus buses come into the city has 24/7 bus lanes both ways and it is already very close to nose to nose buses there now at rush hour. it’s one of the reasons why trams were brought up a while ago – to decongestion the city of wall to wall noisy smelly polluting buses. A great plan for trams out Dominion, Sandringham, Mt Eden, etc., roads was put out. But then some folk thought it would be a good idea to extend the Dominion Rd route further south – and that is when the arguments started. We do need light rail about the isthmus area, especially along the busy routes. But many other folk are right to question the bundling of the Dominion Rd catchment (mainly CBD bound) together with the Mangere Town Centre, Favona, Ascot (& airport) catchment on to the same line/route without a proper understanding of where the Mangere Town Centre, Favona, Ascot folk are actually wanting to go

        6. “Can you provide some evidence of either bus routes being at capacity or light rail being actually needed in the foreseeable future?”

          The central access plan, which the blog post author was kind enough to link to for your convenience. The least that you could do is to read it.

    3. I would rather avoid further compromising the southern line which already has to wait for literally every other train… I heard some fellow passengers complaining about this today, for example (ironically whilst we were being run along the Eastern line due to a fault at Newmarket). This is very logical. The more trains you want running along the same stretch, the more you make it harder to have more trains doing the same things.

      There are clearly asymmetries that no-one is talking about here. Whether we run heavy rail from Onehunga or Otahuhu, what you really end up doing is limiting frequency south of Penrose/Otahuhu (especially south of Puhinui) whilst preserving frequencies north of these stations. Thus, you compromise service in some of the more deprived areas of Auckland (even if some of them vote National) whilst keeping things better for the relatively well off (hey, Remuera).

      But more than that, if you look at the deprivation graphs in this very post you see quite a bit of red. LRT doesn’t just enable people in the Mangere type area proper public transport (I don’t busses, sue me), it provides modern transit for fairly deprived areas of Auckland whilst best enabling improvement of existing transit for other more deprived areas.

      When you then look at the other stuff, which everyone talks about normally, I really don’t see why we’re still talking about heavy rail. It was cool until someone found something better. That’s all.

      Mostly I’d rather not spend every trip waiting at a junction, especially if this means three of the bastards (going from Otahuhu) it’s frustrating.

      1. Your southern line capacity concerns would lessen with the third main becoming available. More so with fourth main. These would likely be funded and completed before the airport HR to Otahuhu so that southern line capacity is a non issue.

        1. The third main is required in order to accommodate freight.

          The reason the southern line trains have to wait is that the trains use the same stations. When we wait for Manukau trains, for example, it is because they’ve got to use or they have to leave Puhinui.

          You could, for instance, stick in a fourth track and some extra platforms so you could have trains stopping at the same stations simultaneously but that would be ridiculous, and still doesn’t resolve the need to cross over the tracks for trains coming in the opposite direction (i.e. why we sometimes stop north of Westfield). And even if you decide that it is completely reasonable to simultaneously service stations, when the trains do diverge they have to end up somewhere… so you might just create long dwell times of Onehunga trains at Parnell (for instance) to avoid the waiting just outside Britomart issue because there will be only so much space available in the CRL system.

          But let’s say that we manage to use extra lines to have great frequency (and I really don’t think this is possible… even now it is impossible to arrange more than thirty seconds to get off/on the Pukekohe shuttle or ensure that connecting services are actually on the right platforms when we’re talking about a station with four platforms and a train that only comes in contact with two stations: a much less complex exercise) then what? Well, you’re still prioritising people who have a short trip in to the CBD via the superior train mode over people who have long trips in the inferior bus mode anywhere.

          Waiting for other trains is really just an annoyance, but it is a complaint that represents that people aren’t thinking about how using the existing heavy rail network impacts the existing lines. It is always “look at how close these stations are” and “look at how great heavy rail is”, which are ultimately partial treatments.

        2. Hi Whirlser.
          I don’t mean to be rude here. But I really don’t think that this “capacity” issue you raise is valid.
          There have long been plans for a third rail to help with the congestion of freights. And there is space for a fourth rail if it’s ever needed. Three lines can accommodate an awful lot of railway traffic, it’s as much as most lines in most cities bigger in Auckland need.

          Once the third rail is built (and it could’ve been already): It will be a long time before any of Auckland’s suburban trains have to sit waiting for any freights, if ever.

          But in any case; it seems like a moot point given the this light rail scheme will have to transverse the road traffic on Dominion road. These trams full of people, including baggage-carrying people wanting to get from the airport to the CBD, will have to give way to cars along Dominion road.

          Once the CRL is completed: The fact it’s a loop will more than double the capacity of Britomart station and the CBD networks.

          And then there’s the fact that there have long been long-term plans to build a new freight port for Auckland out to the outlet of the Wairoa river anyway. If that ever happens: the NIMT won’t be getting congested with freight traffic until south of Papakura.

        3. Daniel – which planned service through the CRL would you remove to make way for the airport service?

        4. My point is that you wouldn’t need to remove ANY existing once the increased capacity from the CRL and the third set of tracks on the NIMT are constructed.

          In any case: aren’t there already a lot of services terminating at Otahuhu? Just make them the initial airport services….

        5. @Daniel – but by then we need the capacity just to run more frequent services on our non airport running patterns. Having another whole separate LRT line gives resilience, say if we have a track fault on the HR line. It also gives are whole new area of quality coverage. I think you are missing these two points.

        6. Well Grant; you’re far more likely to have system faults on street-running sections of light rail networks than on mainline railways.

          You grossly underestimate the increase in capacity triple-tracking would offer and you’re also overlooking there being enough room for even a 4th track if necessary.

          No a light rail network would be far less resilient. There is not a single advantage from the light rail option.

        7. Daniel – have you seen ATs running pattern post CRL for 2025 and 2045? If you haven’t then I’m not sure why you are even offering your opinion on CRL capacity, if you have then surely you know it will be full by then with services on existing lines.

          The only services terminating at Otahuhu do not run through the CRL.

        8. I think we will find there will be a 3rd main between Westfield Junction and otahuhu which will be for passenger use mainly, and not freight. I believe KR has intentions of running freight south of Westfield into and out of the yard at the south end of the yard.

      2. There is ample space for a third (and even fourth) line along the corridor. It could’ve been built already were it not for bureaucratic in-fighting between Kiwirail and the Auckland Council.
        This will very probably be built regardless, before any form of rail to the airport is begun. Building a 4th rail in the corridor (if it’s needed) could even easily be part of a future airport heavy rail project.

        If a heavy rail line was extended from Onehunga with the purpose of also giving rail access to Mangere (and this could be justified given the amount of industry and warehousing it could also serve) or if the corridor was used for this dopy light rail; it would probably also increase property values in the area and kick-start gentrification. And this would probably cause a slow exodus of “deprived” people to places of lower property value anyway.

        And finally: I don’t know why you or anyone imagines that light rail is “better” than heavy rail.
        Light rail is “better” in some aspects, such as having less imposing & more convenient stations, and this makes it more suitable for many types of service models that suit many urban development patterns and layouts. But for the sort of urban lay-out Mangere (and Auckland in general) has and the type of distances that will need to be covered: it would be little better than a regular busway.
        Heavy rail has higher capacity, is capable of higher (mainline) speeds, has a larger loading gauge for more passenger comfort, etc. There’s already two mainline rail lines in close-enough proximity to the airport, the destination for most airport users will not be close to the airport, why on earth just not use the mainlines?

        1. You clearly haven’t read any of the transparently available materials about these decisions. Do you want to know why we’re talking about light rail? Because they did a study. No-one thought it was a good idea until they checked it out and decided it was better. There is no obsessive interest in Light Rail. These same studies also don’t like BRT plans as much.

          But if we look at that report, what we notice is that heavy rail options just do not serve the Mangere/South-West areas as well as Light Rail. They just can’t. Where there is space to build stations, they’ll build stations, but Light Rail lets you build more stations. Your propensity to pull numbers out of the ether for travel speeds is all very well and good, but surely you can’t possibly imagine that we’ll believe similarly generated figures for catchments? Especially when, as I have already pointed out, Heavy Rail really just doubles down on service of already very well serviced areas. You know apparently know this stuff but… disregard it???

          As to the space required for additional lines. Again, go physically look. Frankly, I’m not even sure there is room for two tracks along the Onehunga line, but I’ve been along it twice, I think. Along the Southern Line it’s pretty obvious that there isn’t actually room for a third track, let alone a fourth. You’d surely have to rip out (parts of?) the existing Middlemore station and move some electrification stuff, right? But they’ve done the studies and they have the costs, so I’ll believe them when they say it’s possible. And I’m completely not shocked when it turns out the fourth line adds quite a lot more cost. As I say, it doesn’t look like there’s room for even a third. (It’s about twice the cost to have the fourth; and yes platform alteration is mentioned in the study.)

          Your concerns about gentrification are, well, moronic. You’re simultaneously arguing that the time taken is too long, and that property values will increase. If the time is too long, then there is no increased attractiveness by people of greater means. If the time taken is appropriate, then sure maybe you’ll get gentrification with what /you/ deem a “useful” service in which case we’ve created decent service in a PT void! And not doubled up on servicing areas that are very well serviced already! But I’m not sure it would actually happen for any reason. You look at the Southern line and the places close to the railway tend not to be so well off. The main takeaway is that even if it does gentrify, then you still have serviced an area that needs it.

          If you want to continue talking about this, start with this:

          and then this:

          Because what you’re doing now is really old. We’re not the ones with the arguments for LRT, these findings are. Show your work.

        2. This is grossly incorrect and reads like the AT publicity dept working hard ( and I know they write here boys): “You clearly haven’t read any of the transparently available materials about these decisions. Do you want to know why we’re talking about light rail? Because they did a study. No-one thought it was a good idea until they checked it out and decided it was better. There is no obsessive interest in Light Rail. These same studies also don’t like BRT plans as much.”

          If this is true then show us the ” transparent” studies on Puhinui – Airport then? Oh, surprise, there is NO study. There is no study comparing heavy rail on this corridor to trams or BRT.

          For heavy rail it would also include the benefits of direct Hamilton – Airport heavy rail trains, and trains from Tauranga.

          The ridiculous AT Light Rail Tram plan which Greater Auckland eagerly jumped on and instantly included in their CFN2 fails in the fact it is a tediously long, slow, skinny, isolated line which does not serve more people than a Puhinui rail link (as the rail link serves Eastern, Southern line stations including south to Papakura, Pukekohe, new stations at Drury and Paerata, Tuakau, Pokeno, Hamilton and Tauranga). Additionally the AT tram plan has a staggering cost of $2.5 billion!

        3. If you are unwilling to read, I should not really respond.

          There is no way that it is correct English to interpret,”any of the transparently available materials about these decisions” as “show us the ” transparent” studies on Puhinui – Airport then?” These just quite literally do not mean the same thing.

          “Transparently available” means that we, the general viewing public, are privy to the information referred to by the villains you seek to demonise. It doesn’t mean that the studies have been as thorough as you may like. I am naturally highly sceptical of any heavy rail route that connects to the existing infrastructure because I do not see where the capacity exists and where it can exist.

          Similarly, I particularly do not see why we should think that doglegging at Puhinui should be thought to do so much better when it clearly fails to address the glaring issues with servicing Mangere and surrounds. The implications for the substantial commuter traffic along the southern or eastern lines diverted along such a dogleg are also concerning, even with travel time improvements created by the CRL, better signalling and a patch for dwell times (e.g. a return to driver operated doors).

          Nor, in fact, do I think you have established a fair chronology. I might be wrong but I’m fairly certain that alternative HR routes were proposed in response to the development that Light Rail would be considered. You can hate the players, but it’s more useful to lament the sad state of human thought. Puhinui and Otahuhu routes, I suggest, are like the witty retort you think of three minutes after it made sense to use it. It comes into existence only because of the intervening three minutes making you realise what you did do (or were thinking, i.e. Onehunga) didn’t actually work out. That’s fair, and there is a case for more investigation, and probably a case for thoughts about groupthink (perhaps they spent too much time coming up with LR routes: there’s 9 they thought deeply enough to write down). But to turn around like you have? That’s just not cricket.

          Now, I use these southern line trains, as should be patently clear, and I’m going to let you in on a secret: these are /already/ tediously long. We used to push 50 minutes all the damn time (Papakura to Britomart) with the diesel trains. Lately, even the evening services haven’t been beating the 52/58 morning trains. And if we were to chuck in even just Drury (with its two level crossings on 80km/h roads) well then… This all gets worse if we’re talking about a dogleg… I hardly imagine ten or whatever minutes waiting with a spur. A little bit of perspective is lacking.

          But you still haven’t dealt with the issue of double-counting patronage/catchment. It’s great to provide, maybe (CRL capacity constraints), greater frequency for whatever portion of the southern/eastern lines but this is why we’re building the CRL, right? Shouldn’t we be getting off our arses and thinking about what we’re going to do for people we’re just ignoring and excluding because they live in the western portion of South Auckland? Heavy Rail routes either ignore this lot or don’t service the area quite as well. But, sure, I’m happy to divert more people from the trains I catch. I just don’t think that naked self interest for a very specific journey type helps evaluate what’s best for a bigger picture.

          In fact, I think we should help out our brethren in the part of South Auckland real estate agents call East Auckland too. This is why I proposed a light rail L in the comments section of this site some time ago now, although it’s really more a U. The Dominion Road/Airport section blending into a Airport-Puhinui-Manukau-Botany section.

          Speaking of my prior proposals… I have pointed out that traffic coming from south of Pukekohe probably doesn’t want to go to the CBD. To that end, a high speed network (do not kid yourself, our current trains don’t really go fast enough to cater to, e.g. Hamilton, and I suspect this is true even if they could keep 100km up the whole way) would have to be parallel to the existing system and (although this may be an innovation viz my prior comments) hence have specific stations at certain points. I suggest Pukekohe, Papakura, Puhinui (it is apparent substantial development is needed there to create another Otahuhu) and Otahuhu. These developments are better /enabled/ by keeping heavy rail away from the airport more than they are assisted by it. After all, there is less accommodating that needs to be done.

          Also 2016 $ cost of the low cost HR considered was $2.7 billion. LRT is about half of that because it is really two projects for the same price of $2.5 billion. That is, Mangere access and busgeddon avoidance. Puhinui spur/dogleg may well cost less but it’s for a single project that will probably negatively effect the current post-CRL South/East plans, and still includes the busgeddon prices because that’s happening regardless. Sorrry!

        4. The Jacobs SMART report is flawed. I’ve posted further up about the flaws in the treatment of the catchment areas. It’s also flawed in the number of potential stations south of Mangere bridge for HR. The Jacobs report reads to me (& others) as a report tailored to a preferred or predetermined solution. I’ve seen the videos and followed them with a 2nd screen on Google Earth. I’ve also been out for a bike ride around some of the areas. If one actually wanted to, yes, they could build the same number of stations and have the same south of the bridge catchments. The Favona station would cost a bit more, but there’s probably only a couple of additional houses there that would be affected. And the Ascot station could be built the same way as the Mangere Town Centre station is shown on AT’s flyover of the HR option.
          And where do those people actually want to go to?
          The Jacobs report does show that most airport area workers (tens of thousands) don’t want to follow a single LRT/HR line into town, they actually want to go due east or south. How ever the Jacobs report is totally silent on where the Mangere Bridge and Favona people want to go to. Before we try and poke them onto an LRT into the CBD along Dominion Rd, shouldn’t we check how many actually work in Otahuhu or Manukau or Flat Bush or Botany or elsewhere?

  19. The G-Link light rail on the Gold Coast takes 39 minutes to travel its 13km.

    How has 43 minutes been determined for the Auckland Airport line when its a much longer 22km, and has more stops enroute?

  20. So I believe. However the original comment related to a return from a recent trip to Melbourne and espousing a view that we should have airport light rail as a result.

    There’s actually not much in the way of separated light rail in Melbourne in any case, so potentially a bad example of what is planned given it’s the system that kiwis are probably most likely to have experienced.

    Bourke St mall does provide a good example of how Queen St might work in the future though.

  21. Why can’t we just take this route from Otahuhu to Mangere utilising Heavy Rail?[email protected]/36494705635/in/dateposted-public/
    It would eliminate the need for two routes into and out of the airport. It is only 3.5-4kms in length and requires no bridge over a harbour, and has potential for carrying many many more passengers than LRT if designed correctly(including CRL ex. 9 car long platforms….)

    It would also simply be an extension of proposed future services terminating at Otahuhu. Instead they would terminate at the airport where the track would be a dead end terminus; where trains would return in the opposite direction.
    It is also my understanding that some of this land is already set aside for PT along this route.
    If housing is an issue, doesn’t it raise the potential for apartments along side, and after completion of the ROW?

    1. I always assumed that either such an extension or a spur from the NIMT at Puhunui was the logical next step after then CRL is done and dusted.

      I was honestly speechless when I heard the other day that no; they’re changing the plans (yet again) and now brining light rail back onto the table.


        1. When they got their act together, decided upon having Britomart “heavy rail” only, eventual electrification, bringing back the Onehunga branch, building the Manukau branch & terminus, building the trench station at New Lynn and building the CRL was when light rail was “off the table”.

          That was Instead of the previous Mickey-Mouse scheme from Les Mills where people would get off the train at Britomart and then transfer onto light rail that would drive up ramp and onto Queen Street?
          Remember? The LRV’s were even ordered and built and the ACC got sued by their manufacturer over the cancellation.

          And it stayed “off the table” until some new round of clowns got wide-eyed on some overseas trip….

        2. I don’t recall a specific plan to start construction on LR back then and it would be odd to have ordered LRVs without a plan for spades in the ground on track construction so that story sounds a bit made up to be honest. Happy to be proven wrong.

    2. SJC – yes, when you zoom in with Google Earth, doesn’t look incredibly like a previously protected transport corridor that some short-termist did away with for a few houses. And if you had the time for a bit more research, I’d bet that you’d find the papers that confirm just that.
      50 houses x $500k each isn’t that much compared to the cost of a bridge over the Manukau

    1. At a guess 60 homes? Keep in mind there is already a triangle at otahuhu, which if redesigned could easily connect with the 3rd main. The rail weld is up for removal, and this could enable longer distance services to/from Hamilton/tauranga.

      1. the argument for HR is now to provide a direct service for Tauranga / Hamilton to the airport? HA HA. Wow.

        Yes rail needs to be upgraded to service those areas, but offering a oneseat ride for Tauranga/Hamilton to the airport as the argument for providing heavy rail is insane … If you are worried about the cost, how about you look into the TOTAL COST for that crazy scheme?

        1. rail links between Auckland, Tauranga and Hamilton are coming, whether you can see that far ahead of not. No, it’s not suggested that they are direct connections to the airport, but can be done with a single change at a station somewhere along the southern line. If we focus on how big can the catchment be with a single change we’ll get a heck of a lot more than if we focus on single seat trips

        2. “but can be done with a single change at a station somewhere along the southern line”

          Yes, Puhinui, where passengers can change to a bus on a busway or LRT on a railway.

      1. Personally Ian, I would have thought, extra compensation for such a package. Including full assistance in relocation, and first refusal to be back on top, if it was a cut and cover type of project…. in other words, all sorts of opportunities for the inconvenienced.

  22. Can i make a request. ?. Could you put up the cfn 2 on a new post so people can discuss it and each line. Now that labour has taken it on, we could have a chance to make suggestions etc.
    Call it the cfn2 discussion.
    There were some posts before but no current one to discuss and criticise.

    1. More into the detail of each line. Like where tye stations would be. Running patterns. Alterations. Traffic conflicts. A discussion about the finer points of each line proposed by labour would be good.

  23. Question on the future of the Onehunga Line

    Once the LR line is open, what exactly is the point of the branch line? Sure from Onehunga you get to the CBD faster but will it still be able to sustain itself?

    1. I think so. People build habits, there’s that other station and, as you say, it will be faster. Plus if you want to go anywhere not Aoetea/Britomart.

    2. Once the LR line opens the Onehunga becomes more important, and will be used more. It becomes the connection point between the Mangere-Airport section, the Mount Roskill-Balmoral section, and the HR through Ellerslie and Newmarket.

        1. Sailor Boy: except in the deceptive Jacobs SMART report it also implies good connectivity between Queen St LRT stops and the K Rd CRL (HR) station! So a long way lugging your luggage along K’ Rd from Pitt St to Queen St. Not exactly ‘literally any metro in the world’. So just how good is that detailing between LRT & HR at Onehunga?

        2. If you took two seconds to search you would find this:

          The heavy and light rail platforms are literally on top of each other at Onehunga.

          “Sailor Boy: except in the deceptive Jacobs SMART report it also implies good connectivity between Queen St LRT stops and the K Rd CRL (HR) station! So a long way lugging your luggage along K’ Rd from Pitt St to Queen St.”

          Why would you come out of the Mercury Lane entrance, walk all of the way to Pitt Street and then walk back to Queen Street when it’s less than 200m to just go straight to Queen Street and even less at the other two stations?

          “Not exactly ‘literally any metro in the world’”

          You should travel to London and Paris, and even Sydney and see just how far you have to walk for transfers. They do this because, like Auckland they don’t want to reduce capacity by constantly branching their lines.

        3. Sailor Boy – you obviously like turning people off you with your tone of response! A bit of professionalism would certainly help the debate.
          Pitt St & Mercury Lane are both the same station and same road intersection. Cnr Mercury Lane to cnr Queen & K Rd is over 200m – measure it.
          Exiting a station and walking over 200m along the street and then entering another station is NOT ‘literally any metro in the world’ – to use your line.
          Why do you assume that those who question you haven’t experienced a wider variety of things than you? I lived abroad for 15 years working in many countries on a number of different continents, including 2 of the 3 cities you mention.
          Try taking your ideological blinkers off and thinking open-mindedly about things that people are bringing up.

        4. Russel, you clearly don’t have any detail on what is proposed. Do a little googling or check the CRL webpage for the info.

          The Karangahape Station is going to be on Mercury Lane opposite Cross Street, not Pitt St. The Pitt St entrance is not being built anymore.

          The light rail station will be on Upper Queen St, exactly at the other end of Cross St. This is not a coincidence, it is so that the flat, level and direct Cross Street (170m long, less than two minutes walk) can be used to connect between the two.

          Thats half the distance between the Northern Express and Britomart, or between the ferry terminal and the link bus. In fact it’s closer than the Domestic check in is from the carparking building at the airport…

        5. “Sailor Boy – you obviously like turning people off you with your tone of response! A bit of professionalism would certainly help the debate.”

          You’ve repeatedly proven that you have not investigated any of the proposed lines and are arguing from a position of no knowledge using he intellectual labour of others to educate yourself when goggle is freely available. Perhaps you should consider whether I am lowering the tone, or simply coming down to the level set by others

          “Pitt St & Mercury Lane are both the same station and same road intersection. Cnr Mercury Lane to cnr Queen & K Rd is over 200m – measure it.”

          I did, on google, using the actual station entrances and it is less than 200m. I have done this half a dozen times over the last few months arguing with people holding your position. None of them knew where either station was either, but they had the decency to go and search for some information themselves after I pointed it out instead of telling a huge tranche of people who are clearly better informed on the subject that they are wrong.

          “Exiting a station and walking over 200m along the street and then entering another station is NOT ‘literally any metro in the world’ – to use your line.”

          Name me a metro system where this doesn’t happen. It happens in London, Paris, Tokyo, New York, Chicago, LA, Boston, Moscow, Berlin.

          “Why do you assume that those who question you haven’t experienced a wider variety of things than you? I lived abroad for 15 years working in many countries on a number of different continents, including 2 of the 3 cities you mention.”

          I was giving you the benefit of the doubt. Either you hadn’t travelled or were lying. It’s sad to hear that you have travelled.

          “Try taking your ideological blinkers off and thinking open-mindedly about things that people are bringing up.”

          You haven’t brought anything new up. You’ve tried the same arguments that we hear every time someone comes to this blog and insists that the readers and the engineers involved have gotten it wrong. It’s insulting that many of us dedicate our lives to transport engineering and you dismiss us because HR ‘feels’ like the better option. I’ve probably spent thousands of hours reading, investigating, and interrogating the airport line, I’ve read the reports, watched the videos, examined the plans and have google earth files set up of all of the options and my favourite variations and expansions.

          So forgive me if I don’t have the patience to walk someone who only found out that the LRT would be separated from traffic last week softly through every error they insist that I have made, especially when they don’t even have the decency to read the background links in a blog post.

        6. Sailor Boy:
          “You’ve repeatedly proven that you have not investigated any of the proposed lines” – interesting then that I’d earlier posted elsewhere about the flaws in the Jacob’s report catchment areas and had previously looked at buying an apartment near the K Rd station in anticipation.
          “Name me a metro system where this doesn’t happen” – being based in London using the tube for a decade I didn’t have to exit stations, walk down the street and then re-enter different stations
          “I’ve probably spent thousands of hours reading, investigating, and interrogating the airport line,” – so you’re well aware of the errors in the Jacob report that I’ve posted elsewhere here
          “someone who only found out that the LRT would be separated from traffic last week ” – you’re mistaking me for someone else you’ve been insulting in your forcefulness of insisting that you’re the only one who knows anything about anything. Having watched the AT videos last year and again last month, I know that.
          Now, being such a self-confessed seasoned and knowledgeable professional, it would be great if you could come out of the closet and use your real name so we know who we’re talking to. And also if you disclosed who you work for so we know whose patch you’re protecting

      1. So I fly into Auckland (like I do a few times every year).
        Would it be attractive for me to get on a tram (more likely than not with luggage), which then trundles along it’s route through Mangere (with more people getting on) and then have to get up at Onehunga, pick up my luggage, carry it off the tram and then across to Onehunga station, down some steps and then wait to get on to another train ride?

        I think not!
        I think ‘d rather continue to take a taxi which will take me and my luggage directly to where I need to go even if I have to put-up with the charges and traffic.

        However if I could get a seat on a spacious suburban train (especially if it had an overhead luggage rack) that got me directly to a station near where I needed to go (albeit it with a few stops on the way)…

        1. If you are going to the CBD (maybe you are not?), why would you get off at Onehunga and change?

          Also I imagine if it is possible to put an overhead luggage rack in a train it is probably possible to put one in a tram.

        2. LOL why are you asking me that and not this Nick R who’s proposing that people can take this dopey light rail merely to Onehunga and then to transfer to the existing suburban network?

          And LOL at this “maybe they are not”, a point which would be made of any rail link between the CBD and the airport, your dopey light rail included.

          Your imagination is clearly by not using LRV’s much and seeing their inherent internal dimensions. At least maybe not crowded ones…

        3. It’s one thing to not read pages of actual reports that contradict what one says. It is another thing to not read a handful of sentences that contradict what one says.

          In the first case one is intellectually dishonest due to what everyone else would presume is a severe case of laziness. In the second case, one has no excuses so will be thought a blinkered ideologue.

          What was suggested is that if you want to go to, say, Remuera, you’ll get off at the Onehunga interchange. But if you want to go to the CBD or Mt Roskill, you’ll continue on. Whereas at the moment, the Onehunga line services about half of Onehunga and no-where else.

          It’s really rather unbecoming that you clearly have a particular journey in mind, but choose not to tell anyone about it. Perhaps it is a vested interest you’re trying to conceal. Maybe you need a heavy rail line so you can visit your secret love nest in Remuera more easily. Or maybe it’s just that you sometimes have to do some work in Penrose. Who cares? Who knows? You ain’t telling. But either way, what’s best for Auckland isn’t what’s best for some random dude flying in from “Wellywood” a couple of times a year. I think this would be obvious, don’t you?

        4. Nick suggested people travelling on the section between Ellerslie and Newmarket would change, not necessarily those travelling to the CBD.

          Are you aware of the dimensions of the proposed LRVs? There is quite a bit out there on ATs web page.

        5. @ “Jezza”: I never said that this Nick R was specifying only travelling to the CBD. All I’m pointing-out is how dopey this idea of his is that people would actually be attracted t sitting on a LRV for some of the journey and then having to lift their luggage, squeeze off the LRV and then lug it to the station and down the steps and wait for another train.

          As if this is somehow not a lot more undesirable than just getting on the train, getting a nice spacious seat and then either continuing to the CRL or possibly getting off at one platform and transferring.

          I frankly would rather take a taxi than have to transfer at Onehunga and wait again. And I bet so would 99% of people out there.

        6. @ “Whirlser” I don’t know what “report” you speak of. Are you talking about this report who’s credibility was demolished by that Mike Lee?

          Well anyway. If a railway connection to the airport was via a spur at Puhinui, you could very easily get to Remuera or Manukau or all stations South by transferring at a station. They’re all single island platforms until Newmarket so you don’t even have to climb any stairs.

          If the link comes via Onehunga then yes it might a bit inconvenient to the East Auckland line. I hardly think that it will put too many people off if they really need to get there and don’t want to take a taxi (like they already do).

          But what is the biggest “need’ Auckland has in tis railway link to the airport?
          Oh that’s right, to cut back the absurd amount of automobile traffic to and from the airport.
          And is this traffic generated by everyday Aucklanders driving out there every day for that very reason? Ah no. It’s generated mostly by taxi drivers taking VISITORS to and from the airport. Isn’t it? Hmm? I mean not too may Aucklanders will be in those Taxis.
          And where would a fair % (probably most) of these taxis be taking these visitors to? Well the CBD or Newmarket (Or other places no to far from the existing rail routes). thats right: this “particular journey”. Just like that “particular journey” that got that Manukau station built a few years ago.
          And of the reminder that aren’t Taxis: A fair % would be Auckland’s driving to the airport to pick someone up or get on a flight themselves. People who would also be well-served by this airport link.

          So I would think that what I’m proposing IS for the good of Auckland. Why wouldn’t you too?

          But in any case: If the line came via Onehunga then it would certainly also have stations en-route in Mangere to help serve the local population. And it would probably also offer railfreight options to the nearby industrial zones.
          I think it would be a greater service to the hope of Mangere than them having to sit in a crowded LRV down Dominion road having to stop for traffic.

          LOL “blinkered idealogue”….

        7. Daniel – you’re incorrect, there is more traffic in the airport precinct as a result of people who work there than travelling passengers.

          The primary users of any mass transit from the airport will likely be employees not passengers.

        8. You also appear to be conveniently ignoring the significant proportion of the population living along the LR line that will get a much better connection to the airport than with your proposal.

        9. Interesting point that never gets raised – any opportunity for rail freight to the airport is completely lost with an LR only airport rail.
          Just another obvious advantage of an Otahuhu Airport HR line, the ability to develop freight off roads onto rail.

        10. Oh Great And Glorious Eyre, You Whose Knowledge Is Vast And Mighty I Bow In Deference To Your Thoroughly Researched Case.

          Or, you know, go read the links I gave you before, a nearly a full thirty minutes before your response here. Or, at least, be aware of them before you decide to start commenting about the minutiae of policy proposals. How can you believe anyone will believe you’re not a blinkered ideologue if you suspiciously ignore specific references to the flaws of the prior research? It’s insane.

          Similarly, here you are telling us about a need to transfer, without giving us any idea of the journey! If you’re going to the CBD, why are you transferring? And if you’re going to Mt Roskill type places with a heavy rail system, how do you transfer? And if you’re reading Nick R’s post (which you clearly aren’t, to be fair) why do you think it’s valid to talk about this? Nick R’s simply describing how Onehunga would function if there was a Light Rail route. It’s like shooting an ATM for telling you you’re broke.

          And what kind of trains do you think Auckland has? The present EMUs are frankly far inferior to the old trains internally. The seats are hard, have less leg room and for some bizarre reason have curved walls… which makes putting a foot along the wall that much more difficult. Frankly, whoever designed the interiors ought to be sacked and whoever approved them crucified. You, though, apparently no nothing about them. They don’t, for instance, have luggage racks.

          Let’s look at some other contexts which you’re just ignoring in favour of plastering your views all over the comments here.

          Introducing rail freight. Holy crap. I can’t even. You do know why there is a proposal for a third main, right? You’ve been told that the CRL has a capacity and now you want to introduce another complication? It’d be cool to have, sure, but I’d rather just build a freight line, and do it when there is more certainty about what’s happening with Ports of Auckland. Coolz shouldn’t decide policy… it should motivate research into policy. There’s a sketch called “Kill All the Poor” about this.

          The particular journey? What are you on about? We don’t know. I asked you to explain what journey you’re on about so you decide to respond in riddles? Where’s Batman when you need him, eh?

          Modelling for either light rail or heavy rail suggests no more than 25% of passengers will actually be airport traffic. That is, everyone else is “commuting” or “quaxing” or just randomly using the trains (light, heavy or Hayne, who cares). Frankly. light rail to Manukau is something that I think we should talk about more (on account of not liking busses, which is talked about)… and one of the big reasons is that is the major direction of traffic to the airport. Not that we should be selling transit as a congestion buster, more a bypasser. Do you even read this blog? Or are you just another manifestation of what Wellington wants, Wellington gets?

          From the indicative business case (the study): “With the replacement of the bus services by BRT, Heavy Rail or LRT operating in a separate right of way, travel
          time reliability is likely to be improved from an average variability of 6 minutes or more with current busses”. Which is to say… you shouldn’t be guessing or supposing or anything else. Your conjecture should be based entirely on information we have from the likes of the studies, from the realities of what we’ve got and then, and only then, from wherever it is you’re pulling what you’re trying to sell.

        11. Jezza… and a fair proportion of those on the LR route would also be able to take advantage of an HR Otahuhu to Airport direct line.
          I always found the changing raison d’etre for the airport line that changed from providing an airport passenger ‘world class’ connection (maybe express somwtimes too) to Auckland CBD – to primarily an airport workers service extended from an LR tram serving Dominion Rd bus passengers to CBD as a cheapskated ‘4 lane harbour bridge is all we need’ sort of deal
          CFN2 it may well be but the best (not gold plated) solLR ution its not.
          GA certainly has not got the concensus that LR is best

        12. David – the majority of the LR line (Onehunga north) is nowhere near an Otahuhu HR line.

          I agree this is not the ultimate solution for airport to CBD travel. However, it has come out of a realisation that the majority of people who travel to and from the airport are not heading for the CBD, they are workers or Auckland based travelers heading all over the city. For those who are from outside Auckland who are heading to the CBD after a flight still have a reasonable option with LR if they don’t want to blow the budget on a taxi or express bus.

          Tourists are generally not pressed for time and are not so concerned about speed, it’s more a one seat ride with all their gear, while there are simply not enough business travellers to justify an express service to the CBD, especially when many would take a taxi no matter how good the train was.

        13. Jezza, you state “The primary users of any mass transit from the airport will likely be employees not passengers.” The Jacob SMART report very clearly states that the majority of those employees live east of south of the airport. Only a small number to the north of the airport. So why would you want to put them on to a route up through Dominion Rd instead of a quicker route out to the main trunk line – e.g. from airport > Favona > Otahuhu?

        14. Russell. Indeed. The northern City/Isthmus/Mangere route is for one set of catchments and the eastern Maukau/Botany/Howick route is for another. The rail system connects with both. Once both in place (the later first) the Airport will be well connected to all systems through a network approach.

  24. When will the powers that be finish the Onehunga to the Airport Rail service There are 3 million Tourist arriving.every year We can’t wait 10 or 30 Years. And thier is the Regular Railway service to Hamilton and Whangarei.that needs to be activated as so as Possible.

  25. From what I am reading here, its simply an Auckland thing – Auckland’s international airport. And not a NZ thing, in particular, more a north island thing for other cities such as Hamilton and Tauranga that should get some type of distance passenger service direct into the airport.

    The route I suggested yesterday, can end up going in the north or south direction from Otahuhu. With the third main (possible fourth) capacity isn’t such an issue. Services going south from Otahuhu would could be longer distance (Tauranga/Hamilton/even Wellington). Going north would be additional to future proposed Otahuhu services that could use the third main to Westfield junction. May I add it is unlikely freight services will use the third main section between Otahuhu – Westfield junction, like they will south of Westfield.

    1. Yes, I couldn’t have said this better…PT to the Airport is only being considered with the current LR proposal, CFN2, as an Auckland commuter service – mostly getting workers to and from work in the airport environs.
      The bigger picture of Auckland Airport being a gateway for passengers to and from NZ is just about treated as a non issue when the LR connection to the Airport was planned. By not having an HR connection the connectivity to other NZ towns and cities best served by HR is being ignored.
      A mode change at Puhinui is at best second rate and certainly not world class.

    2. Interesting to note about the costs of heavy rail vs light rail

      The heavy rail is 2.2 billion from penrose
      — of that. 500 million is to double track the onehunga line and put much of it into trenches
      —-another 191 million is the cost estimate for the tunnel that will go under the airport terminal. (the place with all the traffic congestion)

      The light rail is 1.168 billion only from mt roskill to the airport .
      — but that does not have a tunnel. It crosses over George Bolt memorial drive in a signalised intersection.
      –And also ,, kinda funny but the planned and costed design shows the light rail station being elevated going into the northern end of the terminal building. Unfortunately this part of the terminal is not due to be completed until 2030 according to Auckland airports plans. So add a touch more on for that.

      So imo the cost difference between light and heavy rail is not quite as much as it looks as the onehunga line may be double tracked and grade separated form the roads anyway at some stage.

      —-heavy rail around 1.7 including a tunnel which separates it from airport traffic, it doesn’t cross traffic at any stage. Onehunga line is fully grade separated from the roads….

      — light rail which is 1.168 but will cross traffic at 12 or so intersections before the airport. (just from Mt Roskill, not inc dominion rd to city which is another billion)

      —heavy rail also has two underground station and two elevated stations.
      —light rail has 4 elevated stations and one station at a terminal that wont exist for 12 years

      I thought light rail might not be that bad but Ive changed my mind on this one. Heavy rail with grade separation and tunnels for 50% extra is worth it imo

      So a question for everyone ,, if you build light rail would you still want the onehunga line to be double tracked and put in trenches?

      1. I agree with you, AT have tried to justify the Dominion Rd light rail by including the extention to the airport.
        The cost of crossing the Manukau harbour could be postponed if they were to seriously consider the heavy rail spur from Puhinui and then extend the line on down to Mangere Bridge and at a future time build the Manukau harbour crossing. This would give the Mangere area a good rail service south via the airport and on in to the CBD as well.
        When they return to build the Manukau harbour crossing it should cater for both heavy and light rail with the light rail on the Mangere side branching off and taking a different route thereby increasing the catchment area for rail based public transport.

      2. Heavy Rail costs 100% more, not 50% more, you are paying double for a slower trip from the city centre (Aotea) with lower frequency, and realistically, lower capacity. And you are leaving the LRT line at the end of Dominion Road stranded.

        Terrible stations, terrible line, terrible network, twice the cost.

    3. Totally agree David. And if they relaxed on the frequency thing with our suburban services, and focused on the capacity of the train itself (longer trains, longer platforms), it would give them far better usage of the Heavy Rail in Auckland, resulting in greater capacity. I made this point on another forum years ago, that 6-car platforms would not be long enough, and I was told by the experts that they would be. LOL!!!!. Now what seems to be capacity restraints on the current suburban trains are being used as and excuse for LR. What a bludy have!
      MRB, do we even need to go via Onehunga, when we could possibly go from Otahuhu and have both a south and north connection? Not saying I wouldn’t support the Onehunga connection. But doesn’t it also mean we need a connection going south coming out at Puhinui as well. Which could be very difficult now, given the Wiri EMU depot is now where it is at Wiri.

    4. What connectivity David?

      Not only is no one seriously talking about inter-city rail, there is no reason to imagine that heavy rail would make that easier.

      I am also sceptical that symbolic gateways are really the bigger picture even if we entertain our wildest fantasies off rail connections between Auckland and other places. (Especially if you could, you know, just jump on a plane.) The heavy rail modelling in the indicative business case assumes something like less than a quarter of people will be tourists/aeroplane passengers. That doesn’t seem like “the bigger picture” to me. It seems to me the bigger picture is the absence of real transit infrastructure in South-West Auckland, so I am very interested to know why we disagree.

      1. Well Greater Auckland is talking about intercity rail, and included that in our congestion free network with an airport interchange at Puhinui.

        Oh and it’s far less than 25%. If I remember correctly the business case showed less than 10% of users of the line were going to the airport, and of those, most were airport workers.

  26. Does anyone of you live near or work on Dominion Rd? Do you use Dominon Rd daily to travel in and out of the city? Do you know some parts of the road are bottlenecks? What effects double tracking (which means no on street parking) have on businesses along the route? Side streets will be clogged with parked cars. Auckland is not built like other cities with light rail. What effect prioritising traffic signals in favor of the rail would have on feeder roads? B armorial is an arterial road that will be affected. It’s just crazy that the new Labour Govt is rushing into this.

    1. Some of the parking requirements will in theory be off-set by people opting to use a quality transit system instead. The Gold Coasts newish LRT system has exceeded planners usage estimates.

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