The council yesterday did the thinkable and voted to future proof the City Rail Link for 9-car trains and the Karangahape Rd for the Beresford Square entrance. Then, in a joint press release Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced the government agreed with it too after cabinet agreed to it yesterday.
Auckland Council and Government today agreed to future proof the City Rail Link and expand station sizes to cater for rocketing growth in rail patronage across Auckland.
The agreement to increase investment in the CRL means the tendering process can now consider work such as widening tunnel sizes, lengthening platforms at new rail stations to cater for nine carriage trains (rather than six), a second entrance for the Karangahape Road station and other associated station work.
The increased scope in the CRL has been agreed as a result of new estimates that predict that CRL stations need to cope with the capacity of 54,000 passengers an hour at peak rather than the original estimates of 36,000.
All up this is great news
The only thing we don’t know now is just what scale of future proofing will be provided. We learned the other day that there are two versions of future proofing:
- Basic future proofing for about $100 million that would make the station boxes big enough, but fitting them out for longer platforms and access would need to occur later and likely at a higher cost than doing it now.
- Building and fitting out the stations so they’re available for day one, even though we might not see a 9-car train for a further decade. This would obviously cost more but we don’t know just how much more.
Unfortunately, we won’t find out exactly which option we’ll get till sometime in the future, likely after the tenders have been completed.
Much of the discussion about the CRL this week has focused on how this will the increase of capacity from 36k to 54k per hour. This got me thinking about just how much we’ll be adding in the coming decades. So I thought I’d try and highlight it.
Current vs future capacity
First, some background to the numbers used in this post.
- Curent – Auckland Transport have provided us in the past with the number of people accessing the city centre in the AM peak (7-9am) by mode. It’s from that data we know now more people enter the city by bus, train, ferry or active modes than those that do so by driving. For the purposes of this post, I’ve assumed that about 65% of those AM peak numbers happen in the busiest hour
- Light Rail – I’ve assumed a capacity of 450 people per service and that the two routes (Dominion Rd and SH16) would each run at frequencies of every five minutes, combining together to double capacity in the heart of the city. I’ve also assumed that both lines would carry on over to the North Shore, like our Congestion Free Network.
- Bus – There are four key routes that will see buses enter the city, Fanshawe St (there will still be the Onewa Rd buses from the Shore), Victoria St West, Karangahape Rd and Symonds St. Bus lanes can generally carry about 100 buses an hour before becoming overloaded and I’ve assumed that all buses will be double deckers carrying up to 90 people.
- Ferry – I’ve assumed that each of the current routes will have at least two services and hour (4 per hour for Devonport) and be plied by vessels capable of holding 400 people.
- Car – The number of people arriving in the city centre by car has been dropping for many years now I’ve assumed that current capacity to enter the city will be as road space is reallocated to initiatives like Light Rail and improved walking and cycling.
- Walking and Cycling – We know that walking and cycling are some of the most efficient ways to get around. I’ve looked at how many pedestrian crossings there are over the motorway and assumed about 9,000 people per hour could cross it. This goes off the chart and makes it difficult to see the rest of the modes, so I’ve capped the graph at 60k.
There are some big increases in there and would deliver Auckland enough capacity to move everyone who currently arrives in the two-hour AM peak, in one hour on PT alone.
Auckland is going to be changing a lot in coming years