City Rail Link Ltd released videos yesterday showing fly-throughs of all of the stations being built or upgraded as part of the project. They really give the best view yet of how the stations will look and feel when the project opens, currently estimated in 2024. For this we’ll move South to North.
Mt Eden is the start of the CRL from the southern end and will see new platforms added for city bound services. The existing platforms will also be upgraded but they’ll only be in use for infrequent west-south service that we think should be dropped. The area is also going to look quite different with all of the surrounding land that will be able to be redeveloped.
Here’s the fly-through.
The big feature of the station is the large sculpture wall – we’ve seen this before though.
I like the authenticity that’s been added in with a couple of cars parked over what appears to be a shared space or footpath. On the station itself, while the inside looks nice, the outside appears as just a large grey box, surely we can do better.
Then there’s that bike parking, why is there not an integrated and covered bike parking facility. And given what we’re seeing at the likes of Northern Busway stations, that simply won’t be enough parking. For example, this is Smales Farm busway station in mid-winter and I suspect Mt Eden would be busier.
Back to Mt Eden, this may just be a video thing but it’s a little confusing to say “To Western Line trains” given that most western line trains will use the CRL platforms shown earlier in the video. On a more serious note, Why only one escalator here and from the CRL platforms?
We recently learnt that CRL will now be future-proofed for 9-car trains and that doing so will require the previously dropped Beresford Square entrance. Sadly the map below and the video don’t show the entrance as they were likely produced before the decision to future proof was made.
Karanga-a-hape will be the only proper deep underground station we have and so one thing I really like about the design is that it appears to celebrate that fact. Here’s the video.
The station will be one of the busiest on the network and the Mercury Lane entrance will have thousands of people flooding out of it, so it seems crazy that the proposal is still to dedicate so much road space to the movement and storage of cars. Mercury Lane should really be closed to traffic with adjustable bollards in place so emergency services or maintenance vehicles can still access the area.
Like with Mt Eden, there doesn’t feel like there’s enough bike parking and it should be integrated into the building. Karanga-a-hape is likely to be quite busy with bikes as people catch a train in to ride down routes like Lightpath.
Moving on to the station, after you’ve already been down two sets of escalators, you must be close to the trains …..
…. no, just a sub-level. This station is deep.
Like with Mt Eden, there’s likely to be a lot of redevelopment around the station and the new lane between Mercury Lane and East St will be a great addition.
With the Beresford Square entrance, this station is going to be great and really a one of a kind in Auckland.
Being right in the heart of the city centre, Aotea is expected to become the busiest station in Auckland. It could also have an office building eventually built on top of it.
Here’s the video
I’m liking the much wider footpaths outside the station on Wellesley St. That will definitely be needed to help handle the volumes of people pouring in and out of the station.
Over at the other entrance on Victoria St, in the video you can see a placeholder for access to the planned NDG building in the currently empty lot on the corners of Elliot, Victoria and Albert Streets. I had heard that SkyCity were considering one from the middle of the concourse level but have since decided against it.
I can also see this entrance from Victoria St being used by people not going to the station but walking between east and west. It is essentially an underpass of the Albert St/Victoria St intersection and on the western side there are escalators back up to ground level.
There will eventually be changes to the platforms and the eastern end of Britomart but they’re not shown in the video. Instead it shows the CPO building and the surrounding public spaces. These will also be some of the first we see as works in the area will be finished in 2019/2020.
The gates will be moved from the platform level up to the ground level in the CPO. the old raised section is also gone.
I’ve become quite accustomed to the temporary station entrance. It will be odd to see it go again.