The idea of a heavy rail spur to the airport has been getting an airing again and there’s a lot of deliberately false and misleading information being presented as fact as part of this. We’ve discussed the issue of a Puhinui connection and many of the other concerns raised by those wanting it many times in the past, including:

We’ve even calculated travel times ourselves, more on that shortly. There’s probably not a lot of point just repeating those same points again. So instead, I thought I’d take a look at the issue from a whole city perspective.

Firstly, here is the currently agreed plan for Auckland which comes from the Auckland Transport Alignment Project (ATAP). It’s also worth mentioning that previous versions of ATAP with the former government agreed on exactly the same routes, but didn’t specify modes.

Earlier this year I wrote a few posts on travel times. For it I build a model that calculated travel times for routes based on a number of factors. As part of that I calculated the differences for a trip from the city to the airport via Light Rail and via a trip with a transfer at Puhinui. Last month I wrote about the issue with express services to the airport and how it’s the whole network that’s important.

With this post I thought I’d take that a step further and more directly compare how long it would take to get to the airport from ten key locations around the city. For each of the lines I calculated how long it would take to travel to the airport using this network and compared it to the option for a limited stop train from the city. Below are a couple of points to note about the calculations

  • For all comparisons I’ve assumed that people are turning up to a station or stop having not looked at a timetable.
  • I’ve assumed the routes above are running at a minimum frequency of a service every 10 minutes off peak. This means all trips start with a minimum five minute wait. Given this full network is over a decade away from being a full reality, I’d hope the base frequency was even higher by then.
  • For the comparison I’ve used an estimated travel time of 30 minutes from Britomart but because of the issues explained in other posts with running dedicated express services, it only runs every 20 minutes (every 30 is more likely). I’ve also assumed it will stop at Puhinui even though it’s touted as non-stop.
  • Where it is unclear, I’ve used our CFN running patterns e.g. for light rail it is Orewa to Airport and Huapai to Takapuna.
  • I’ve made some assumptions to station locations on some routes as the number and locations of stations on some routes are still being looked at.
  • I’ve made one change to the network above, using our Crosstown Light Rail idea for the southern isthmus line so it would connect from Avondale instead of New Lynn.
  • Light Rail has been identified as being needed along Dominion Rd regardless of if it goes to the airport. In the express train comparison, it stops at Mt Roskill.

The locations I’ve chosen are: Albany, Takapuna, The City Centre (around Aotea), Westgate, Henderson, Balmoral, Ellerslie, Glen Innes, Botany and Papakura.

Here are the results. The description gives a brief explanation of the legs of the journey with the travel time in brackets. The total time adds those together and adds in the average weighting time. The short version of the outcome is that for those North of the city that would pass through it, or those in the city, an express train would be fractionally faster, for everyone else it would be slower, primarily due to the transfer times or having to travel into the city first.

Edit: I’ve just noticed that Botany and Papakura are missing. They should be:

Botany – Bus to airport (29), Total 34

vs Bus to Puhinui (21) + Airport Train (8), Total 44

Papakura – came out exactly the same as Ellerslie

I’ll update the table when I get a chance.

While I’ve chosen only ten key locations around the region to compare, many more areas would connect to these via the bus network and we’d expect many more routes than today would be at a frequent status.

I think one of the problems with this debate, given the frequency at which this topic keeps coming up, is that our transport agencies simply aren’t getting involved. Auckland Transport in the past and now the NZTA could easily provide an official response as to why light rail is the preferred option but they remain absolutely silent about it. They need to step up and do their jobs. The absence of clear information is allowing misinformation to flourish and it’s only going to make their jobs harder in the future if it continues.

Share this


    1. It’s an NZTA project and they have a fatwa on discussing the project in public for reasons that are unfathomable, and that, as you say, creates the space for the misguided to fill with reckons…

    2. Why would AT say anything. This project has been studied for the last five years, gone through the full NZTA Better Business Case process to determine the best option, then been adopted by ATAP, included in the long term plan, accepted as policy by the coalition and has had funding allocated by the government.

      The actual engineers and planners at AT have assessed this one station rail spur idea at each of the increasingly detailed stages of the business case programme, and have consistently identified their idea for what it is, an ineffective an expensive waste of money that you can’t actually operate without making the rail system worse for the people of South Auckland.

      Why would they bend over to every little group of inglorious amateurs who draw an impossible line on an inaccurate map?

      What next, deign to the monorail fans, the pod people, close up shop because the crazies pushing their single seater plastic cars claim to have solved all the problems?! Their plan doesn’t even work, let alone be a an effective solution or a good spend of public money. They’re too self absorbed to even realise their plan is terrible.

      1. Because we live in a society that has a poor and really short-term memory and takes ideas based on their face values. These sort of ideas must be debunked quickly and with authority. When only one side gets to talk it biases the opinions. Silence might be noble, but makes things much more difficult for an average punter to understand.

      2. Providing complete information is not bending over. It is fulfilling their role as experts who know the facts and are invested in providing the best outcome for society at the lowest cost. This means nipping misinformation in the bud, because it leads to poorly-informed demands in the interests of democracy, such as extra layers of consultation and investigation. Misinformation left unchecked also means the local politicians who run with it get re-elected, so our transport planning enters a downward spiral.

        Intervening when poor information is being bandied around doesn’t need to be reactive. It can be consistent, with full information provided on a website as a starter, and extra points added as necessary to debunk myths.

        1. But that isn’t how they work. They will detail up their preferred scheme, think up some really crap schemes to compare it to in a really complex matrix of bullshit, conclude theirs is best, then present some half truths to a retired High Court Judge who is happy to rubber stamp anything to get his Knighthood. Job done!

        2. Or just like Lange’s bro did, assert that his loss of view was important enough to shut down an urgently needed multi residental development. Nimby supportive judge, Poor information = disasterous outcome

      3. Trouble is Dorian that only 3% of the Herald poll are selecting LR. If this translates into votes at the local body elections we are heading to disaster. We need to keep explaining over and over again why LR is the best option.

        1. “We need to keep explaining over and over again why LR is the best option.”

          I wonder if there’s Holocaust deniers, Religious creationists, Jesus mythicists, anti-vaccination advocates, flat-earthers, etc who feel that they just need to convince everyone else that they’re right?

  1. A question about the timings for Ellersile and Glen Innes. What is the explanation for the 5 minute difference in total time? Both have same times for the train trip to Puhinui and same times for the airport transfer.

  2. I’m curious what groups like NZ Transport 2050 and the Public Transport Users Association stand to gain from a demonstrably worse solution…?

    1. …”demonstrably worse solution”…

      Yeah. Because after a long flight it’s more preferable to then sit in a less spacious tram which then potters don Dominion road for ~40 minutes and fills up with people than to get my own space on a regular EMU.

      No thanks. I’ll just continue to take a taxi…

      1. I think most of us would prefer more space than less space. Are you suggesting that these EMUs will not be full? If so it becomes very hard to justify the expense of building a new line and running services if they are going to be half empty.

        1. On an EMU you get a nice comfy seat and some personal space. And before it “fills up”. In light rail you have less dimensions to have space with. Especially as it gets held-up down Dominion road….

        2. You should get your own seat on LR too as those boarding at the Airport will be first on. If you are travelling at peak hour in the peak direction it will be pretty crowded near the city, but this should be the same with HR unless we are building spare capacity into the network just to make travellers between the CBD and Airport more comfortable.

  3. “…I think one of the problems with this debate…” is that the people pushing heavy rail seem all to be on the wrong side of 50 and well on their way to becoming regular ZB listeners.

    I really, really dislike the fundamental dishonesty of Astroturf organisations like Transport 2050. They are not interested in facts (attested by their constant recycling of the same zombie facts). They just have a modal fetish and an over-weening sense of class entitlement.

    The core problem here is a form of culture shock brought on by rapid change, and that culture shock not being recognised by people who would rather cling to certain ideas that worked in the past that than accept they’ve become less relevant and/or need to relearn everything just as they get to a time in their lives when they they’d rather have a cup of tea and an afternoon nap than attend a seminar.

    1. I have a sneaky suspicion that many of them live around the Dominion Road area and that their concern is driven from NIMBYism.

      1. Which in itself is just plain dumb antediluvian thinking, since everyone knows easy access to good PT actually increases property values in cities.

      2. Telling that they held their dog whistle meeting on Dominion Road to drum up nimbys. Why didn’t they hold it is Mangere to tell the folk down there they want to cut the governments planned rail line that is going to link their community to Auckland’s two largest job centres… in favour of an infrequent express train from elite businessmen from town?

        1. A few thoughts:

          1) If we take every 15 minutes as a definition of frequent, 20 minutes is infrequent.
          2) Heathrow Express was introduced in 1998. However prior to that there was a tube connection to Heathrow since 1977, on the Piccadilly Line. Both serve distinct purposes.
          3) Heathrow handled 78 million passengers in 2017 (7th busiest in the world) and the combined London airports handled 171 million passengers. London has an urban population of over 9 million people. Auckland handled 19 million passengers. Auckland has an urban population of 1.5 million. Heathrow may not be the best model on which to base planning for Auckland Airport.

        2. LOL at these clowns saying that 20 minutes frequencies is “infrequent”. The bull crap some people out here talk…

        3. The literal definition of a frequent service in the Auckland Regional Public Transport Plan, a statutory document that is legally binding for operator contracts, is one service every fifteen minutes.

          Do your homework son.

        4. Heathrow handles four times as many passenger as Auckland. A premium express service that costs around $30 a trip would probably struggle to justify 30 min frequencies in Auckland.

          Unless of course you are suggesting we put on a premium express for the hop card price, which is a bit unfair to all other commuters who have to put up with all stops services.

      3. Why do we need a billion dollar Edwardian House museum in Grey Lynn? Why do body corporates almost universally disallow drying clothes outside? What’s with the funny shape of some school zones? Why can’t we integrate public transport with malls?

        It always boils down to that one question. “How do we keep the ‘wrong element’ out of our neighbourhood / schools / whatever?”. That question is what makes society tick.

    2. “is that the people pushing heavy rail seem all to be on the wrong side of 50 and well on their way to becoming regular ZB listeners.”

      Well… …I think light rail to Auckland Airport would be a colossal mistake and I’m neither of those things. Is this uncalled for report to character assassination because you’re needing self-reassuring?

      1. I think light rail to Auckland Airport is a colossal mistake as well, but light rail to Mt Eden, Balmoral, Mt Roskill, Onehunga, Mangare, and Auckland Airport is a great idea. Misrepresenting this as just being about the airport is uncalled for and is exactly what these organisations are doing.

        1. Okay then. Light rail to Mangere and the airport via Dominion road and using the safeguarded Southdown-Avondale link corridor is a colossal mistake.

  4. Regardless of what mode connects rail at Puhinui, Mangere and the Isthmus need to join the Rapid Transit Network. There is no credible alternative to Light Rail on this route, which even the previous govt. conceded, though on a much delayed programme.

    So this group cannot spend that money twice, they can’t take away the LR plan to pay for a hugely expensive one stop rail branch. This is sophistry.

    It is a choice between that plan, high cost, lower value, CBD focussed express train, or a dedicated bus line (able to be converted to LR when gets to Northern Busway type volumes).

    The bus can be built in time for the America’s Cup and APEC, will go beyond to Manukau City and later to Botany, for a fraction of the cost of a rail branch. And it will connect with every Southern and Eastern Line train at Puhinui, rendering 2/3 of our trains ‘trains to the planes’ at no cost to the rail network except a much improved station at Puhinui. Which is needed anyway.

    And people in east AKL, where we know many current airport workers live, get a dedicated one-seat ride to the airport.

    1. Patrick I know you own this blog and are in favour of light rail but:
      …”There is no credible alternative to Light Rail”…

      C’mon. YOU KNOW that there are two credible alternatives: a dedicated busway (which I don’t favour) and extending the heavy rail. Grow up and stop pretending they’re not credible!

      1. Danial, you omitted “on this route” when you quoted Patrick’s comment. Are you really suggesting heavy rail down Dominion Road? In my opinion that’s not credible.

        1. The installation process of trackless trams on a street is supposedly faster, cheaper and much less disruptive because they don’t require the installation of tracks. Unless those trams (100+ people per unit) are magically lighter than the buses (50 people per unit) they replace, then this is not true.

          The road will require a full reconstruction to survive the load imposed on it from the trackless trams. This will be comparably slow, expensive and disruptive to laying tram tracks.

          In other parts of the world where roads are built to a much higher standard, trackless trams may be a good option. I’m skeptical that their claimed advantages would manifest in NZ.

        2. No it makes no difference.

          For “this route” to the end of Dominion Road there is the existing Bus service.

          For “this route” beyond Onehunga to anger and the airport there is the heavy rail option and the BRT option.

          Between these end point? There’s no PT at the moment and it seems to survive just fine.

        3. LOL yup just like last time; the resorting to really lame (American style) insults when they cannot come up with a legitimate comeback. 😉

          Good luck with that…

        4. Have you costed HR from Onehunga through Mangere to the airport.

          Interested to hear as just Puhinui to Airport was $1.5b. I can only assume Onehunga to airport with 2/3 stations will be $4-5b?

        5. @goosoid: I have seen the Jacobs report and its costings.

          Can you honestly not see the flaws in that report?

      2. Daniel, no I’m quite correct and precise in saying there is no credible alternative to Light Rail for the Isthmus and Mangere line. Bus has been discounted, and there is no plan, even from the Heavy Rail or die gang, for Heavy Rail down Dominion Rd. And yes that LR line will have a strong anchor at the Airport. But is not a dedicated Airport line.

        This is the whole issue here. We are building a network, serving the whole city, not obsessing about one journey with one destination.

        For city to Airport, soon there will be a cost effective and efficient transfer from an upgraded Puhinui Station served by nearly 2/3 of all Metro services. This is trains to the planes. It is rational, near term, cost effective, and deliverable, actually funded.

        From the city centre, I’ll be using this. From the Isthmus, or West, Hillsborough, Onehunga, Mangere I’ll be jumping on Light Rail.

        All the smoke and steam from angry men conjuring up conspiracy cannot alter these facts.

  5. It is a petty that you could not publish the whole debate in NZ herald, but selective journalism struck again. All the debate does now is delay the project and increase the costs, no one wins flogging this dead horse. I believe adding another totally independent network of PT allows Auckland to grow.

    Heavy rail to the airport is short sighted as it takes capability from the heavy rail network (which according to the latest news from AT can not cope with the project population growth in south Auckland). While the light rail network does allow for people to use it for travelling to non-airport destinations plus also allows the network to expand (i.e. light rail to the shore, A2B connection and possibly future connections along Mt Eden Rd, Sandingham Rd, Onehunga to New Lynn and the newly proposed Drury to Manukau Connection (which should link into a transport mega hub at Manukau).

    Can we kill this debate and just get things built (with the government surplus that you start building A2B as light rail plus intensify Manukau with Kiwibuild apartments

  6. Matt, thanks so much for taking the time to do this. I think what you guys do to further good, evidence-based discussion and analysis is very rare. It seems the organisations who should be advancing quality discussion are either having internal haemorrhages, are following their advertisers’ instructions, or cowering to avoid voters’ misinformed vitriol.

    I’ve made another donation to Greater Auckland.

  7. As a regular PT user I really hate the name Public Transport Users Association. Seems to me an unquestioning media takes it on face value that these people, probably numbered in the tens or a couple of hundred, speak for us all or at least a majority. They don’t speak for me. I think their ideas for both the airport and Kumeu are counter productive for a comprehensive transport network.

    There’s a snift too of a rather unpleasant attitude towards buses somehow being 2nd class. Are they referring to the mode or the clientele? I recall one spokesperson referring to transfering to buses as ‘third world’. Maybe reading too much into that but this leaves me feeling uneasy on this point.

    1. > probably numbered in the tens or a couple of hundred.

      Their membership is about 30 people. Based on a $5 annual fee and an annual membership fee income of ~$150 (figures from what I recall on their reported financials).

      There definitely is room for a PTUA – focussing on the user experience – as outlined in Vernon Tava’s announcement of the launch of the association:

      However, they have clearly strayed from their purported raison d’etre and gone head-long into critiquing “system design”, which they were supposedly not interested in commenting on…

      They’re really good at getting airtime though. Jon Reeves is a media guy, right?

  8. When AT and NZTA are hanging tight until there’s an actual plan to debate with a high level set of costs, it’s up to those than want light rail to defend it. Do not for a moment think this project is inevitable.

    It’s great that Greater Auckland have changed so much in the policy arena over the last two years. But light rail down Dominion Road is not going to be just another moment for pulling out the crayon set and drawing and orange line to wherever feels good.

    This is going to be an almighty fight. Everyone who wants this project to happen is going to have to fight. Plenty of our local politicians will fold like origami.

    This needs a concentrated advocacy programme fronted by all who want this to happen. What we saw last night is a signal that the opponents are ready, they’ve got their politicians ready, and they are massing ready for the fight.

    1. So where is the government with the facts?

      LR can really help with improving access for all users, better environmental outcomes including reducing our contribution to climate change, reducing congestion, improving safety, reducing DSI, improving physical activity levels.

      Conversely, extreme road building proposals, such as the Transport Growth Networks – South proposal, (submissions due today) will exacerbate all our problems, leading to far higher car dependency, carbon emissions and ill health of people and environment.

      It matters. The facts are available. The government’s role is NOT to stand back and let the public have to do the fighting, because they have a role to play in ALL these interconnecting issues.

      We have international commitments to me as regards carbon emissions, ffs! So the government needs to take a position on this, and push it hard.

      1. No one else is going to let facts get in the way of winning this thing.
        The government won’t come out until it has a costing and a plan. That also means HLC has to get itself together.

        The role of civil society is pretty clear after last night if it wasn’t a;ready, and right now this proposal can still be won or lost. Dominion Road is already a graveyard of transport concepts and political careers.

        1. NZTA found money to heavily advertise propaganda about travel times for Waterview Connection.

          They owe Auckland a more truthful advertising campaign. Now’s their opportunity.

        2. “Dominion Road is already a graveyard of transport concepts and political careers.”

          With the flyover as a glorious Headstone

    1. Matt didn’t suffer vitamin deficiency from an engineering school diet of old, mouldy transport models, so he hasn’t had the vision loss.

    2. Ha. I work with numbers all day every day in my non-transport related day job. This includes modeling for business cases and why I know how ‘creative’ they can be

  9. With heavy rail the Puhinui junction will need a decent redesign, not just a set of points here and there, a flyover/s would be a minimum to avoid gridlock.

    But the one advantage I can see is a decent freight link. There are WAY too many trucks out there now.

    1. Airport rail ‘a decent freight link’? But owait, has this thinking not been vigorously corrected by the pro bus and LR to airport advocates? They assert that HR is only useful for freight consisting of bulk pine logs, bulk fertiliser, bulk coal etc., stuff that planes don’t move?
      Surely you can’t be thinking of containerised stuff, like mail, high value goods, perishable goods, perhaps already pre packed into air containers?
      No let’s have a frequent bus from Puhinui and share the route with the many heavy trucks on their way to and from the airport. Road freight, that’s the way
      Stop this HR fetish stuff (unless you are over 50 or live on Dom Rd)

      1. It would actually be great if we could start discussing freight away from the HR LR battlefield, and get to grips with consumerism and waste instead. Our quality of life isn’t rising with the amount of freight being moved. Challenging to the growth-at-all-costs mindset, I know, but honestly, we’re not going to make progress if we keep believing mainstream growth-addicted economics.

        1. Regardless of which we will still have bulk freight and trucks galore at Mangere and that is it. Thousands of big diesel motors and their 15 tonne plus weight tearing up and down the roads to Mangere every week.

          If we want to talk about abolishing consumerism, and that has its merits, then abandon the airport because tourism is horrendous on the environment too!

      2. I think that is a correct assertion. There may be a very small amount of freight suitable for rail from Airport but not enough to be a real consideration. And as Patrick mentions below, how are they going to load it into an underground train?
        I wonder how many airports in the world load freight onto heavy rail?

        1. Most of those freight depots are located to the north of the Airport so wouldn’t be served by the proposed HR link anyway.

        2. It doesn’t create an option. All it gives is an underground railway a couple of kms away from where the warehouses are, they are already only about 7-8km away from an above ground railway. If they are not using it now it will change nothing.

        1. Very. Not sure if you’re trying to derail the discussion though… You know that anything in Europe is impossible here because we’re so very different.

    2. There is absolutely no case for rail freight to the airport. The distances are too short, the volumes too low, and the containers too small. Also much of the warehousing out there is not about air freight, but local distribution. Zero. None. Not an issue at all.

      But by improving the passenger alternatives we can reduce the congestion for this road freight.

      1. In that case the freight warehousing with rail links at Otahuhu shouldn’t apply either but they and rail work perfectly well!

        1. I assume the volumes aren’t low and the containers are standard (rather than the small ones with chopped off corners that go in aircraft).

        2. You are obviously not familiar with what moves in a freight warehouse or how it happens. Small consignments loaded into containers for bulk movement to NZ and vice versa. It happens just like that at Otahuhu and it happens just like that from Mangere airport.

          Heard of Mondiale? Turns over huge money every month moving freight via air base at RIchard Pearse Drive Mangere and at most main centres and ports.

          Little air line containers are for aircraft. The 40 footers don’t fit:)

    3. There is no chance of this line ever being used for freight. Air freight volumes are relatively low, and it is mostly high value, time sensitive cargo that needs to get to a variety of different locations.

      Most of the freight operations are north of the Airport so wouldn’t be near the rail line, it will need to by truck for some of the trip anyway.

      Also the proposal is for the last 1.5km into the Airport to be underground, where would they load the freight.

  10. I still think that the first rail link will be the light rail one currently planned, but that there will eventually be a heavy rail link, most likely through to Otahuhu, which will again expand the network and use the airport as an end point, but not be the only destination.

    1. i expect the light rail will work like the Picadilly wheras Heavy Rail would be more Heathrow Express, build many decades later. Personally I find the Pic way more useful.

      1. Yes just like the Piccadilly Line- if it went up the middle of the high street in Chiswick and through some residential streets of Hounslow.

        1. “The Pic is of course HR.”

          Erm actually it’s a metro line. It’s not in any way subjected to the regulation and protocols of the main line.

        2. It’s still HR. Runs on the same rails as HR trains etc and also shares tracks with District Line trains. While it is smaller than a regular train it most certainly isn’t LR. Metro is HR in most cases.

        3. Definition arguments are dull, but Miffy is entirely correct here, London Underground is a Light Metro system. By contrast Crossrail is, like the RER in Paris, a full size (partially) underground urban passenger rail system. The difference is essentially vehicle size.

          These definitions are all on a continuum however, and the term ‘light’ in no way infers inferior. Many Light Metro systems around the world shift huge numbers of people at very high frequencies and generally more cost effectively than Heavy Rail (a misleading term, especially in Akl with its narrow gauge track).

          So it is with surface Light Rail, these can be big beasts, sometimes 120m long and as chunky as suits.

          Both the slower, cheaper, with wider coverage Piccadilly line and the direct (but only to Paddington), faster more, expensive Heathrow Express have their roles in serving Heathrow. Last week I used the HE, at £25 one way, but my 18yo daughter on her gap year prefers the Piccadilly…

        4. @AKLDUDE: Why oh why don’t you people fact check before posting?

          None of the London underground is heavy rail. “Heavy rail” means it conforms to mainline standard (because it runs on a track portion that’s part of the mainline). None of the London Underground runs on any tracks that are mainline. Therefore they have their own standards of loading gauge, signals, safety, weight & strength, protocols etc. The LU is a METRO which is configured for rapid transit across a city to it’s own custom standards.
          There are some stretches of track (in London) where heavy rail compliant EMU’s (built to mainline standards) share with LU metro stock, because they’re both within the lower weight limit for the mainline but also within the LU limits. The TfL Overground shares tracks with the Bakerloo from Queen’s park and the District from Gunnersbury but their units are compatible with both systems. Chiltern trains also share with the Metropolitan line from Harrow-on-the-Hill but (as I understand it) the section has dual-signalling.

          The only metro’s that are also “Heavy Rail” are those “heavy Metros” like the Paris RER or the Hong Kong MTR where they’ve managed a metro rapid transit operation to mainline standards. In the case of the RER (and the future upgraded Thameslink and Crossrail for London); it’s so they can provide rapid transit for outlying areas and satellites which are served by the mainline network, which they utilise.
          Otherwise; Metros are NOT heavy rail. And unless they’re “pre-metro/”light metro”/u-stadtbahn; they’re not light rail either.

          And @Patrick R: No only the DLR is a “light metro” in London. The LU is just a metro. and “light metro” is something different again.

          The terms “light rail” and “heavy rail” have nothing to do with vehicle sizes. “Heavy rail” merely means it conforms to mainline standards. Unless it’s rapid transit (which makes it a metro); “light rail” is just rail built to it’s own custom standards and regulations, which are merely usually lighter than the mainline (and usually intended purely for passenger services). But not necessarily so; those mainline standards can have loading gauges and lower weight limits that are smaller than a “light rail” system.

        5. “and also shares tracks with District Line trains”

          The Piccadilly line shares a right of way with the District line but runs on separate tracks.

        6. Sailor Boy I think you might be lost somewhere I this.

          I was talking about where the London Underground shares tracks with heavy rail units.

        7. Daniel, there are instances where the London Underground and (diesel-powered) regional trains share tracks. Most notable is the Metropolitan Line between Harrow-on-the-hill and Amersham (25Km) which is shared with Chiltern Railways (diesel units).
          The London underground is very much “heavy rail” in terms of vehicle construction and operation.

[email protected]/6254831863

        8. Dave B: Did you not understand my posts?

          I’ve already mentioned those two instances! That does not mean that the LU is “heavy rail”. They would NEVER share tracks with freight trains.

  11. You have to wonder if Transport 2050 have any idea about who the users of the system are (or about anything really). I reckon there are 4 main types of users:
    1) Tourists
    2) Airport workers
    3) Locals catching flights
    4) Business people

    I get the feeling that Transport 2050 are only thinking of the business people going from City to Airport. My guess is this would be the smallest user group. For these users an express train does sound like the better option.
    If I was a tourist, I wouldn’t personally care too much whether the trip took 45 minutes or 30 minutes. In fact I would rather go the interesting 45 minute trip via Dominion road than the 30 minute trip on the side of the motorway.
    Airport workers and locals will almost always need to transfer at some point with the heavy rail option (unless they live in Puhinui or the city). The frequency of light rail and having more stops to transfer at will actually make it quicker than heavy rail for most people. I doubt express heavy rail from airport to city could ever be frequent unless it is making a massive loss.

      1. It’s a PTUA sock puppet run by the same people, John Reeves, Christine Rose and Mike Lee. They couldn’t get any real allies so had to create an new fake organisation to make it look like they weren’t a lonely fringe voice.

        1. I thought Mike Lee was the hero who helped lift Auckland public transport.

          So now he’s a pariah for daring to oppose this? 😉

        2. He was, and he also deserves a lot of credit for his work with regional parks. For some reason in the last ten years he has gone from being a man with vision to someone who mostly just barks at parked cars.

        3. Or he still is a man with a vision but has committed the crime of not supporting the same things you do.

          Of course he couldn’t possibly be right now could he?

        4. He had a vision which is basically the rail network we have today, along with rail to the North Shore, CRL and Airport via Onehunga.

          Now he has latched himself to a campaign for a single station branch line that is at least heavy rail, is fighting intensification in the inner suburbs and has championed a poorly located station at Parnell. Maybe this is part of a bigger vision, but I’m really struggling to figure out what that vision would be.

    1. I agree with you regarding business users. I take a lot of business flights and my company pays for the taxis. There is no incentive to get PT and I’m unlikely to use it because Taxis are door to door (I do not need to know how to get there), they are available when I want them (no timetable to figure out) and they are route flexible. Light rail should not be design for the business user but for the general public and workers users within the entire transport corridor. I like that fact that it has been rebranded by NZTA to City Centre to Māngere line, but perhaps we can call it the south-west connector instead.

  12. The south western motorway would have a much lower travel time between city and airport if they removed all off and on ramps in between. Would that make it better?
    What percentage of trips on the south western motorway are airport to city?
    Why is PT any different?

  13. It became pretty clear to me months ago that this blog is both run and populated by people who’re (for whatever reason) in support of this idea to have a light rail to Auckland airport that people with holiday luggage are apparently going to sit in while it potters down Dominion road crowded with normal light rail commuters..

    I went over all the BS reason they put forward why this light rail is a better idea than merely extending the heavy rail and everything in that report by the consultancy company, debunked them all and the best counter-argument I got back was that the Auckland network would be at capacity (which wasn’t even a good argument considering airport heavy rail would merely extend other lines).

    But hey; they’re clearly so dogmatically stuck to this idea and refuse to budge that I’m not going to waste my time arguing over the same points again. I guess they’re the ones who keep needing to talk about this.

    The only thing I’ll say is that it’s interesting how there doesn’t seem to be any action from Twyford….

    1. But Daniel, look at the airport. See its surrounding, car-dependent industry and business? See all those probably underpaid workers stuck in their cars to get to work? The whole area is a carmaggedon.

      I don’t give a rat’s arse about airport travellers. They’re the ones destroying our climate and our descendants’ futures.

      But I do care about Aucklanders stuck in their cars to get to work, in long, horrible commutes, taking ratruns to try to make it faster, or at least more interesting, and making local roads more dangerous for kids and elderly and anyone trying to live a more physically active life.

      Those are the people who will benefit from LR to the airport.

      1. And these underpaid workers couldn’t be also be served by merely extending the heavy rail? And hey rail could also benefit the warehouses and manufacturers they work for.

        Or could not a more humble busway also serve them?

        1. Of course they’re better served by adding a new quality route to the network instead of just connecting to an existing one. Because they’re coming from all over Auckland. We need several new, quality routes, made into a network, including the HR lines, and including this new LR line.

          Spend your time fighting the road expansion projects instead, Daniel. They’re what’s going to undo all the progress we make with any kind of public transport, by continuing to fill every available space with moving and parked cars, reducing the safety and amenity of anyone trying to access the LR or HR stations by bus, walking or cycling. And costing enormous amounts of money that should be going to sustainable modes.

        2. So heavy rail, as currently used but he rest of Auckland, suddenly isn’t “a quality route”?

        3. It most certainly is. And no-one is removing it. LR is also a quality route, and a new one, therefore reaching more people in more places.

          Honestly, they’re widening SH1 as we speak. What did you do to oppose it? They’re planning multiple new, traffic-inducing roads, widening SH20… it’s atrocious. Why are you wasting your time on resisting LR when it’s the roads that are the problem?

        4. build the 6.5km HR line now which then will also connect with the Hamilton startup [which is due to start in 12mths] , then start building the LR which could they way they going about 6yrs in the making . Also Auckland Airport has the land for the Puhinui connection and iff they do it right the whole thing should take around 12mths to finish with no disruption through adding no extras after being completed

        5. To be honest with you David; I’d prefer it if the manger/airport link connected to the Airport via Onehunga.

          In future years another link to the Airport terminus from Puhinui could be built (not least for freight services). And that could be ideal for services to/from the greater Waikato and Tauranga.

        6. Daniel Eyre – agree Onehunga to Airport would provide a PT link for Mangere.

          But what is the cost of that? Isn’t that magnitudes of cost higher than LR?

        7. I’m really a bit gobsmacked that people take the costings from that Jacobs report at face value….

        8. Agreed Daniel.
          We had the same problem in Wellington, with the infamous ‘Public Transport Spine Study’. This supposedly evaluated all options including heavy rail extension, but the faux-scenarios they evaluated blatantly set HRE up to fail. Light rail made it through to a subsequent stage of evaluation but then it got shot-down also and all we were left with was some vague recommendation for bus-rapid-transit. Which was what the roads-focussed establishment wanted all along.

          From what I have seen of the Jacobs Report it seems that similar tactics were used to unfavourably skew the benefit/cost of LR over HR.

        9. @DaveB

          I always get suspicious when it’s an NZ local body government commissioning any reports.

      2. The shipping industry is far far worse than air travel for the environment but I doubt you’d want that shut down. It would kill NZ stone dead.

        My job requires air travel, I average 80 flights per year, I love my job, I prefer the quickest travel time from airport to hotel, in most countries it’s either heavy rail or taxi, I don’t travel to any airport where the tram is the fastest and most efficient option for me. Auckland going down its typical rabbit hole and will IMO build the wrong solution.

        Heavy rail already exists, it’s fairly close to the airport from two directions, light rail doesn’t exist, Dominion Rd LR is probably a decade from being completed, add another 5-10 years to get to the airport, whereas HR could probably be built from
        puhinui in a couple of years, well before the light rail gets to Mt Roskill. What’s better for the environment?

        1. If I had your job I’d probably prefer the HR option as well. However, you make up a very small proportion of people who travel into the airport vicinity, which is why the system isn’t being designed around your needs.

        2. A small percentage, nearly 20m people used the airport in 2017, I doubt I’m a small percentage of that number.

        3. Take a taxi then. You can’t seriously expect that a transit line be designed to suit only the specific needs of an exceptionally frequent and demanding air traveller, of the kind who make up a fraction of one percent of travel demand.

          You fly 80 times a year, 160 airport trips, that’s pretty extreme!

          Bus someone with a job near the airport travels 500 times a year just going to and from work. It would take four of you extreme air travellers just to create more journeys that a shift manager at the KFC in the departure hall.

        4. “The shipping industry is far far worse than air travel for the environment”

          The shipping industry is bad for the environment.

          But there wouldn’t even be an ecosystem left on the planet if we’d been using air freight for all the freight that’s been shipped.

          You need to think about damage per tonne carried.

        5. “I don’t travel to any airport where the tram is the fastest and most efficient option for me”.

          Ignoring the fact we should not be building a network designed on your preferred (and unusual) travel profile, and on your personal experience elsewhere, this is getting tiresome.

          You are advocating spending 1bn extra dollars, to capture less people on the isthmus (fewer stations), to save 7mins between the airport and the CBD, for a percentage of users that might make up 5% of total users on the line. Because you prefer HR?

          Have we got that correct?

        6. KLK, here’s where masterchief was back in May: “I live in Orewa, work in Silverdale, I don’t use public transport, neither does my wife or kids, why should I have to pay an additional fuel to fund a service which I will never use?”

          Either he’s changed and thinks PT is so great an idea he wants us to spend a billion more on it. Which would be great. Or he knows the best way to halt any PT spend is to undermine the best of the PT options.

    2. I think that is completely unfair. I remember when AT initially proposed light rail to airport, this site was mostly against it. But then after considering the facts (which is something a lot of people seem to be unable to do), light rail is so obviously the best solution. Anyone who thinks otherwise is in my opinion either biased by their location or use case, or unable to apply logic.

      1. “Anyone who thinks otherwise is in my opinion either biased by their location or use case, or unable to apply logic”

        Well you can indulge in that “jimbo”. But I recall myself presenting the actual facts and none of the light rail advocates being able to counter them. So that’s only a loss to you.

        1. I wasted too much time last time and I cannot be arsed going over it all again. I think you may have been one of the ones who resorted to name-calling. You can just go back to blogs from about April.

          You’ve made up your mind and that’s only your loss. Because either; this will never get built or it will get built and be an inevitable flop. Either way; it’s your loss.

        2. Remember when that PT project was built and flopped? No, me neither. This city is hungry for quality PT and the LR project has solid facts behind it.

          It may not be perfect or fit your desires but wishing LR to be a flop shows you are more interested in being right than actually improving PT in Auckland.

        3. Okay.

          Here’s a fact that nobody seemed to address last time:
          Kiwirail owns and needs the corridor for the Southdown-Avondale link. They’re not giving it up. This dingbat scheme proposes using that corridor between the end of Dominion Road and Southdown.

          So what are they going to do? Ruin the Southdown Avondale link?

        4. By the way I highly doubt I resorted to name calling. I would have expressed my views as I’m sure you did. Maybe that can come across as harsh for which I apologise.
          At the end of the day we all want a serious debate and to hear both sides of the story. I have been a supporter of the light rail idea from the start and I remember being the minority for a while on this blog too.

        5. Daniel – the Avondale-Southdown solution was explained last time. They only overlap between Mt Roskill and Hillsborough, after that ASL leaves the motorway and sidles across to Southdown.

          On this stretch LR would run in NZTAs designation (they haven’t used their full motorway designation), ASL would be left clear. At the point LR crosses ASL NZTA would have to pay to build and over or underpass that kept ASL viable as they did with some interchanges on SH20. NZTA would also likely lease some ASL corridor at Hillsborough for a Park N Ride.

        6. There’s a fact for you above Jimbo. Don’t tell me you forgot about it when changing your mind. Or have you not come across it before?

        7. Explained is it Jezza?

          The two lines CANNOT overlap. Anywhere. Full stop.

          There was barely enough space left for the heavy rail corridor when the water view connection was built. Show me any source that shows how space for double track of light rail (in standard gauge) can be squeezed in.

        8. Ha!!! Debunked my foot. I remember that discussion and I remember the answer. Kiwirail are more than happy to lease a portion of the corridor to AT and/or NZTA for light rail or indeed public parks and roads as they already do elsewhere in the same corridor. When the time comes for a freight link, if ever, the LR owners will be obliged to land swap, elevate or move any part of the LR line that impedes Kiwirail” needs.

        9. I’m sure if the government wants and or needs to, the Southdown Avondale link can be sorted out as necessary by an act of parliament. Don’t think it will be a sticking point. Kiwirail & NZTA are likely to be bought under a single umbrella anyway in the future.

        10. We went over this last time Jezza. If you look at the space in this map needed for a heavy rail corridor:

          And then project that onto the corridor used in the light rail map;You can see how there’s just no space for both corridors (which will also need clearances for access paths, etc).
          No. This light rail can’t be accommodated.

          @Sjeffs: Yes actually I debunked all the bad arguments and nobody said anything about Kiwirail being “happy to lease” until some future time when some multi-million door more “elevation” is needed (which frankly is absurd).

          @Grant: What is “needed” is the Southdown-Avondale link! Building that will allow so many more EMU movements between Avondale and Otahuhu. I guarantee that the NZTA sees it the same way as Kiwirail and so will any Minister of Transport not a complete moron (which unfortunately Twyford may well prove to be) once he gets briefed by the experts.
          What’s not really needed is railway to Auckland airport. Believe it or not; it’s not that big an airport yet. And this deadline of by the Americas cup (not even that big an event and attracting people who don’t take PT anyway) is frankly ridiculous!
          But don’t get me wrong; I nonetheless support rail to Auckland airport being the next Auckland infrastructure project once the CRL is dusted. After-all Perth is getting airport rail. But as much as the foamers on here pretend otherwise; light rail is NOT the one and only option for providing quality PT to Auckland airport (and Mangere).

        11. Far out. This guy is literally a pigeon shitting on the chess board, knocking the pieces over and strutting around like he won. Remarkable.

        12. You haven’t given any evidence, Daniel. But you just carry on. I’m about to win a bet.

        13. If you think I haven’t provided evidence then you either haven’t read my posts or you don’t actually know evidence is.

          Jezza here provided these maps from the feasibility study to show where the light rail wou”d be rooted claiming that it was enough room in the corridor for both light and heavy rail. I bet you consider that evidence, don’t you?
          So I provided maps from the same source showing the space needed for a heavy rail corridor and which anyone with any physical intuition can see would be too much to also allow for this light rail. It’s at least as good evidence as Jezza’s

        14. Looks to me like the corridor is about 60-70m wide and each needs a designation of about 25m, I’m not seeing much evidence they won’t both fit.

          For someone who said this about 24 hours ago:

          ‘I’m not going to waste my time arguing over the same points again. I guess they’re the ones who keep needing to talk about this.’

          You have spent a lot of time talking about this and going over the same points again.

        15. No Jezza.

          You’d need about 30 meters for double-track of heavy rail and there’s not more than 50 meters on several bits of the corridor between Dominion and Hillsborough road. And furthermore; Kiwirail have long planned for a Mt Roskill Station at the end of Dominion Road which will need about 50m of space, how is that possibly going to fit with the light rail there?

          And the idea that Kiwirail will be willing to allow the light rail to use any of the corridor remains purely fanciful speculation on your behalf…

        16. Daniel we can pretty confidently assume there will never be a heavy rail line on the Avondale Southdown alignment. Because:

          1. There is no plausible Metro service it might serve, especially considering the capital and operation cost (something that must always be considered), which requires very high levels of use.
          2. Even with a revival of rail freight north (?), this link doesn’t bypass the two track New Lynn section so fails to resolve conflicts freighters face with growing Metro services on the Western Line.

          There is a plausible use of parts of the alignment for Light Rail passenger services, with potentially useful running patterns.

          Standard gauge, grade separate, crosstown rail service. Why is this small group so hating on this possibility? Makes no sense, outside of an obsessive focus on only one kind of rail.

        17. Er – Patrick, it does bypass a steeply-graded section of the NAL where freight and intensive metro do not mix particularly well. I don’t think you should rule the S-A link out.

    3. Not everyone who travels to the airport has luggage. Plenty of people flying with just carry on.

      LR to Mangere / Airport doesn’t mean people who want to drive won’t be able to do so. Might even be easier with many people not driving.

      I’ll just be happy to see the day when our airport district isn’t one giant carpark.

      1. “Not everyone who travels to the airport has luggage. Plenty of people flying with just carry on.”

        “Carry on” is luggage. Cling to your suitcase on a crowded us for 20 minutes and see what I’m talking about.

        The majority of airport users have something like a suitcase. Why would they want to take a tram?

        1. No one is proposing trams as such. Heavy rail supporters use this term to suggest a small train similar in size to a bus. The proposed light rail trains will have a bigger capacity than the existing 3 car heavy rail trains.

        2. Oh so this light rail isn’t going to eventually run down Kairagahape road and possible Queen St now? That’s not what the Jacobs report said.

        3. Have you ever even seen inside an LRV, Daniel? They’re a DREAM for luggage. Level floor, wide aisles, wide doors. Good luck finding a taxi or shuttle that let’s you get on without needing luggage lifted up off the floor.

        4. Can’t you see the lunacy here of running a not-tram but full size as-big-as-HR light rail train through the largely pedestrian lower Queen St? Not rapid but frequent. What should be a pedestrian precinct safe for shoppers, cellphone or earphoned pedestrians, teenagers, young children, adult and children cyclists etc.
          Can I suggest you google tram safety and see the results from overseas tram systems death tolls
          I just finished reading about a woman chopped into 3 pieces when she went under an LR vehicle. Some insensitive LR official stated she must have dived under the tram.
          With recent highlighting of road safety in NZ why is there no mention of what the safety record for LR on city streets is likely to be?
          Ultra safe for LR passengers of course

        5. Bogle, I’m not a supporter of Light Rail going up and down Queen St for the same reason. I’d much sooner see all of Queen St pedestrianised and made into something beautiful.

          The CRL will already go up Queen St, so I can’t see the need to waste valuable space and money duplicating it above the ground too.

        6. David, LR on Queen St is not ideal. But to argue against it at this point in time, in this political climate, is to effectively support those who want to keep the status quo mode imbalance.

          How many of the LR-opponents have also submitted against Mill Rd, the new ring roads down south, the SH widenings? It may be that not one of them has, because the majority are actually just anti-change, and the status quo includes road-building.

          When we’re up against the road lobby and their (oft-times unaware) supporters, it’s probably best to go with a slightly less-than-ideal LR proposal, no?

          At least the Queen St section is not an option that loses the opportunity for traffic evaporation, as does the ‘next to” the NW motorway option. Or do you see a route that would create traffic evaporation, and that this site should be pushing for?

        7. The opportunity is here now to reroute the LR down upper Queen then around Mayoral to meet Aotea station then proceed down Albert St surface or preferably in a just sub surface tunnel above the CRL tunnel.
          What an excellent central exchange Aotea would be, easy transfers so we could forget that onerous walk in inclement weather between upper Queen St LR station and the CRL karangahape station.
          Get some of that promised LR funding in action now (from that spare $6bn the govt has) and design the Aotea LR station platforms but more importantly the Albert St tunnel for LR while the CRL trench is open.
          And of course get on with AC’s linear parks and also completely pedestrianise lower Queen St and High Street.

        8. I have far more radical plans than that, Bogle. 🙂 We need to share the love over much more of the city centre than doubling up on Albert St. But no use going into it because we’d have a sh*t show in h*ll getting any changes to routes at this stage.

          LR on Queen will still be much, much better than what we have now.

        9. LRT down Queen St is great in itself if you ask me. Albert is likely to be western buses for a long time, but could be saved for another LRT branch route from Gt Nth Rd if needed.

        10. C’mon Heidi, dont be shy, I know you are a road safety advocate, defender of the vulnerable pedestrian, paladin for the bicycle rightfighters.
          Surely you cannot really believe that full size light rail trains in lower Queen is a good long term solution for a pedestrian friendly ‘place’
          I actually find it difficult to believe that GA cant see this either.
          Light rail at any cost, make lower Queen a transit mall, who needs safe places for pedestrians? Eh? not GA 🙁

        11. I had a bit of a google and couldn’t find anything that suggested light rail in pedestrian malls was inherently unsafe. It appears most pedestrian fatalities with LR are happening a level crossings on contained sections of track, presumably where the units are going much faster.

          I personally think LR will add to Queen Street as a space, but I can see why others might prefer it as a pedestrian only mall.

        12. Just go visit Bourke St or Swanson St in Melbourne, George St in sydney or Cavill Mall in the Gold Coast. The three closest cities in Australia all do this.

          This is entirely safe and normal. A great outcome actually.

          I can compile a list of North American and European cities if you need more proof.

        13. He he. Who would’ve thought Bogle could sweet-talk? But it’d take more than those silken words for me to divulge my half-formed rail fantasies in present company. I may be all those things you list, but my expertise in anything rail extends to reading Thomas, and noting the one-upmanship, revenge and ridicule that seemed to make the bulk of the story-line. If I put my ideas out there prematurely, Bogle, they’d be shot to pieces in a minute.

          Needless to say, since I am also a self-appointed carbon conscience and no lump of modellers’ clay, my ideas would involve substantial traffic evaporation. And they’d also be looking to tidy up a few little messes, like connections to regional rail and bus.

          Meanwhile, light rail will be better than cars on Queen St, and if, eventually, there’s a public appetite for better than that, there are plenty of scars in the cbd to heal with pedestrianisation.

        14. Thanks for the link, but as it happens I used to prepare that monitoring report myself, when I worked at the Monash Injury Research Institute, so I’m quite familiar with the data.

          If you read the report you’ll see that only 7 of the 61 incidents were pedestrians being hit by a tram. The majority of incidents were people falling over inside a tram, or falling while boarding and alighting. The figures for the train network are even worse, because more people use the trains (these sorts of things are fairly useless without the denominator of base usage).

          So lets look at that, 7 pedestrains hit by trams, and according to PTV’s annual report, 24,000,000 service-kilometres per year on the Melbourne tram network. So each tram can expect to hit a pedestrian once every 3.4 million kilometres.

          So if we have these running up and down queen street (2km) both ways (4km) every five minutes (48km) for eighteen hours a day, we get 864 service-kilometres per day on Queen Street. So if Queen Street is as safe as Melbourne (one ped hit for every 3.4 million service-km)… we could expect a pedestrian to be hit on Queen Street once every 3,900 days. Thats about one every eleven years. That sounds exceptionally safe to me.

          But yes, even the onboard injuries will indeed be different in Auckland. The majority of Melbourne’s trams are high floor with steps up and down, which is where the falls happen. Likewise 90% of Melbourne tram stops require users to step down to the road, rather than a platform. Auckland will have zero steps and level boarding from platforms (hint, we’re building light rail, not trams).

        15. That second link is even more enlightening. 451 pedestrain injuries in the Melbourne CBD in ten years, with 9% involving a tram (and 63% involving a car).

          Calculate that through and it’s 4 pedestrains hit by a tram each year in the Melbourne CBD (and 28 hit by cars). Now given that the Melbourne CBD has not one, but actually eight main tram streets of the scale of Queen St, and approximately half a million pedestrians a day, that very compelling evidence for the extreme safety of a tram environment for pedestrians.

          I’ll talke LRT on Queen St instead of cars, thank you very much.

        16. Nah I’ve never been inside any LRT. I’ve only taken them to work every working day for periods. I don’t know which ones you’ve ever been on! A couple of months ago I used one with with two suitcases from Sydney Central to Lilyfield station in the Inner West. I can assure you: It was not much fun until it began emptying

        17. Nick R.
          Concerning you statistical calculation and conclusion:
          7 deaths are still 7 deaths. The LR kms travelled is immaterial and using that deaths vs distance ratio to arrive at a number of deaths expected in Auckland LR has to be one of the worst misapplications of mathematics I have ever seen. Worse still to use that meaningless conclusion to justify an LR system through a pedestrian precinct is fraudulent.
          Note the pdf report and the more recent increase in pedestrian tram/LR collisions apparently because of increasing numbers of zombie pedestrians (listening to music or otherwise attention diverted). Times and people behaviour is changing. Respect this new freedom and remove a potential death maker from the streets. In Auckland CBD there are alternatives for routing the LR on lower Queen Street

        18. Ok you’ve just enlightened me on two things:

          1) you didn’t even read your own ‘proof’. FYi it’s 7 injuries, zero fatalities. There were no deaths. The ‘zombie pedestrian’ quote was from a journalist with no evidence to support it. Read your own link for ducks sakes!

          2) you have a very poor grasp of statistics.

        19. I want to make something clear:
          I have no problem with the idea of running trams down Kairangahape Road or Queen St per se. I’ve seen trams/streetcars run down pedestrianised malls and it works well with the pedestrians and tram drivers seeming pretty aware of it.

          I just don’t think it’s a good option for an airport rail service. That thing should be as express as possible and on heavy rail.
          One thing I’ve noticed with the Seattle airport light rail link (that’s been championed by supporters of having the Auckland airport link as light rail) is that the rolling stock used by Sound Transit on its central link is actually quite dimensionally large & heavy (and rapid) and I doubt it meets anywhere’s regulations for street-running. In fact it could almost be classified as a light metro line given that it’s completely separated from the road traffic and most of it is not only not at-grade but even underground or on dedicated viaducts.

          If AT ever wants to upgrade the buses along Dominion Road (and beyond into Mouth Roskill) to a tram service; street running the same service along Queen St would be ideal. But not for an airport link.

        20. Daniel, the Seattle link light rail is pretty much exactly what AT is proposing. You are correct it is long, very metro like and not a tram. Large, heavy, rapid. Correct. That is exactly what AT is proposing, light rail, not trams.

          Seattle runs a 60m double consist and is trialing a 90m triple. The system is future proofed for up to 120m quadruple consists. The Auckland plan is for 66m double units. I think they should future proof for longer too.

          And it does actually run in the street corridor in Seattle, which it is obviously rated for. It has two dedicated, physically separated lanes up the middle the length of Martin Luther King way, with signal priority and right turns from driveways and all side streets banned…before continuing alongside a motorway and Viaduct to the airport. Again exactly what they have planned for Dominion Road.

          Light rail metro is a pretty good way to describe it.

        21. The zombie pdestrian comment was from the safety watchdog Transport Safety Victoria, as referenced by Theage article.
          The article was as you pointed out, referring to serious injuries, not deaths, my mistake.
          I had been reading articles about tram deaths and peds attention diverted., so had deaths in mind

          I do understand statistics and their use. I had no issue with your calculation of serious injuries per tram kms travelled.
          It was your usage of this ratio applied to a future Auckland LR which was fraudulent for me. Like the conditions and circumstances of the Melbourne and proposed Auckland LRs would be so identical that using such a derived statistic would somehow be anywhere near valid.

        22. @NickR The Central link of Sounds Transit (from the South) runs on a dedicated viaduct. Then it runs down the generous median strip of a major arterial road Martin Luther King Jr. Way (and Auckland’s Dominion Road is NOT comparable to the width of this corridor) with few level crossings. Then it goes on another viaduct and into a tunnel to an underground metro-style station. Then it comes above-ground and into goes down it’s own dedicated corridor (parallel t a busway). Then it goes underground again, sometimes sharing platforms with the busway other times it has it’s own dedicated metro-style stations.
          At no stage does it have any street-running. It runs completely within its own dedicated corridor.

          Unless you can show me these plans for this light rail to have its own underground stations in central Auckland for and plans to turn the Dominion road route into something similar to the the wide corridor that’s Martin Luther King Jr. Way; I just cannot take your claim that this is “exactly what AT is proposing” seriously.

          This is Dominion Road:

          This is Martin Luther King Jr. Way:

          What are you trying to hand me?

        23. Correct, it has it’s own dedicated, protected lanes in the middle of the street corridor and doesn’t run in traffic lanes.This is exactly the proposal for Dominion Road.

          You guys are going on about some streetcar tram thing in traffic, which is nobody’s plan. You just reveal your ignorance of the topic. Spend less time listening to the dog whistlers at the likes of the PTUA scaremongering about ‘slow trams’, and maybe just read the NZTA webpage on the topic instead?

          The only difference between MLK and Dominion Road is that MLK has two or three traffic lanes either side and Dominion would only have one. The number of lanes alongside has no impact on the function of the rail.

        24. “Correct, it has it’s own dedicated, protected lanes in the middle of the street corridor and doesn’t run in traffic lanes.This is exactly the proposal for Dominion Road.”

          So… …given how obviously more narrow Dominion Rd is than Martin Luther King Jr. Way…
          …Can you please explain where (on earth) the automobiles are going to go down a Dominion Rd with this big railway line running down the middle? Are you going to make it just the one lane running in the one direction? Are are you going to demolish all the buildings on one side of Dominion Rd to widen the corridor? LOL I bet that wasn’t included in the Jacob’s report costing.

          And you still are avoiding the question if exactly where this light rail will go once Dominion Rd ends and Kairagahape road begins. So nope without you even addressing that question I still cannot take you seriously.

          Yes thank you for that NZTA document with CGI images of LRT vehicles of a much smaller loading gauge than the vehicles used on the Sounds Transit’s central link and in a corridor not really separated like the corridor down the middle of Martin Luther King Jr. Dr is.

        25. Correct, Dominion Road is already only one running lane in each direction for traffic and this arrangement would be retained.

          The other lanes are bus lanes, which effectively get replaced with the light rail lanes.

          No buildings are demolished, etc. This has been very clear in all of the published plans. Do your homework son.

          The Seattle transit link Kinki Sharyo vehicles are 2.65m wide. Which is standard for Light Rail, and exactly the same standard the Dominion Road route has been designed for, and exactly the same as the renders produced by Auckland Transport.

          I don’t understand your comment of “once Dominion Rd ends and Kairagahape road begins”. Dominion Road doesn’t reach Karangahape Road or run onto it.

          For the record, the route run up Queen Street which will be converted to a transit mall with no traffic and very large footpaths. This will have only three signalised cross streets at Victoria, Wellesley and Mayoral. At the top of Queen St it will enter a portal structure under the Karangahape Road ridge line (grade separated), then continue in dedicated, physically separated LRT lanes up the middle of Upper Queen Street before turning at a signalised intersection to Ian McKinnon Drive. It will then continue along Ian McKinnon and onto Dominion Road, with the full length running in dedicated, physically separated median LRT lanes like MLK in seattle, or any street on the Gold Coast line. It will have signal priority to give it a green light through major cross streets, while minor side streets and driveways become left in, left out.

          Seriously son, do your homework. You sound like an idiot. All of this information is publicly available on the AT and NZTA websites, or you could read any one of a hundred Greater Auckland posts on the topic.

        26. Here’s an idea to throw into the mix that the comments about vehicle size etc. above got me thinking about. How about actually running two different class units in the two more distinct sections of the route. Wynyard Queen & Dominion to say Mt Roskill could be low flat floor more metro standing style.

          The Mt Roskill via Onehunga to Airport could be a higher floor faster more light metro AND in fact driverless style I suspect as there could be no street running sections. Or basically HR in style, more seats and luggage carrying capability. Best of both worlds light rail flexibility without the HR cost, only trade off is a transfer.

          Perhaps it would change at Onehunga instead & this same light metro driverless could be used to replace the Onehunga branch line. ie driverless Penrose to Airport. Anyone know the corridor difference between our twin track HR & offline LRT would be? Would it fit in current OBL corridor easily?

          Downside is less flexible for future crosstown expansions through this line so perhaps just Onehunga south is best.

          Driverless could really give reliability, running cost and frequency benefits.

        27. Oh yeah I’m the one who “Sounds like an idiot” here. 😉

          You said that what AT is proposing is “the Seattle Central link”.
          Clearly (to anyone with any critical thinking skills) that is not physically possible. There is no possible corridor along this route that allows the total corridor separation and rapid running that the Sounds transit central link enjoys.
          The only maps that AT have made available are ones that show the routing from the South-Western-most end of Dominion Road. I have seen NO details of how the light rail corridor is going to be spaced down Dominion Had itself.
          All that seems available relative to how this will transit Dominion Rd is a generalised map that also completely demolishes your claims that this scheme will be like the Seattle Central: SHOWING LOTS OF STOPS DOWN DOMION ROAD, which is completely unlike the Seattle central link whose rapid running is made possible by its stations being few and far-spaced apart.

          But hey; the fact you provided NZTA documents with a system displayed that is also nothing like the Seattle central link (and more like the potting-along Melbourne trams) was funny enough.

          Maybe I need to elaborate further that the intersection between upper Queen St and Kairangahape Road is a major traffic bottleneck and no matter how much this light rail can be separated from the road traffic (which the NZTA image also don’t seem to show); it will still need to deal with. The Seattle central link has absolutely nothing like this to deal with. For this to be like the central link; it would have to tunnel under it or go on a viaduct over it.

          Anyone with google maps can see that the width of the corridor that Sound Transit’s central link’s corridor down the median of Martin Luther King Jr. Way is about 10 meters. That’s also about the entire width of most of Dominion Road (incliding parking).

          But hey it’s pretty transparent that you’re just lashing out because I’m not buying the tall claims at face value like most of the commenters on here have and are instead being difficult for you and going down lines of enquiry that you’re not comfortable with. And that’s making me suspicious.

          But anyhoo: What is very obvious on further inspection is that this light rail system is NOT going to be what’s being sold as; like the nice rapid service that’s been a success in Seattle.
          How about we face what it would really be like? Or have you got something to hide there?

        28. A tunnel under K Road is exactly what is included in the LRT plan. Here is a picture of it:

          You really have no idea about this project do you? There is a lot of public information out there on it. The fact you say you’ve not seen any details simply shows that you need to do some reaserach and inform yourself. I suggest maybe reading the last hundred posts or so here:

          You should do your homework before moaning about something so vigourously!

          And as for sounding like an idiot, tell me again how Dominion Road is only 10m wide…

        29. Okay then I’ll tell you it again: Dominion Road is only about 10m wide. As anyone can see on google maps:

          Whoops! Doesn’t sound like you’re too much of an “expert” on this project either. 😉

          Hmm that’s funny I didn’t see anything about any underpass under K-road in that Jacobs report when they did the highly favourable costings for the LRT. Did they include what will be certain to be a high expense in the costings?
          But don’t worry; I actually did know about it. Ive been waiting for you to mention it so I could make this point about how dubious the promotion of LRT has been.

          So will you know run away from that like I notice you’re not addressing the fact that (unlike the Seattle system you’re using to justify this) this is Auckland system supposed to have frequent stops along Dominion road?
          One of the big “benefits” that the Jacobs report factored-in when it calculated the BCR’s that favoured light rail was that this light rail is going to have something like 8 stations along the ~5km of the Dominion Road corridor and thus will “serve more of the community” than the heavy rail option (and I recall seeing little radius circles).
          But for the ~6.5km section of Sound Transit’s central link that runs down the median strip of Martin Luther King Jr way; there are only THREE stations! And there’s about 2.5km’s distance between Colombia City station and Othello station.

          That’s a big reason why this Seattle light rail airport link is so popular; it has infrequent stops! and thus it gets people from the airport to the CBD rapidly.
          But that’s NOT what is planned for Auckland’s LRT. What is planned for Auckland is frequent stops, about every ~625m.

          And then theres the fact that Sound Transit’s central link doesn’t run down any pedestrian mall….

        30. @Grant: They are NEVER going to allow any driverless light metro units on any network that isn’t entirely grade-separated let alone to share with driven units.

        31. Daniel, do you mind re-linking to a bit of Dominion Rd that illustrates your point? That one shows a road corridor of over 20m. It’s about 13.7m even kerb to kerb. Is there another bit in Dominion Rd that you mean?

    4. I’d say when LR to HR was first being debated on this site it would have been 70:30 in favour of HR (via Onehunga), including myself. I’m pretty sure Matt and Patrick were initially in favour of HR as well.

      However, a very reasoned argument has won me over (took a while) and I think many others as well. The thing that won me over the the connectivity of the network that is proposed, works for so many different travel purposes across the city.

      One thing I could never see the point of was a $1 – 1.5 billion rail spur from Puhinui that added just one station to the mass transit network and left a yawning gap in the network between the Airport, Onehunga and Mt Roskill.

      1. The cost of heavy rail is about $1.5 billion per station. The cost of light rail is about 170 million per station. This is really the essence of the argument – heavy rail is so very expensive for what it provides.

        Also I imagine the work required for a proper express service would be more than 1.5 billion; it may even be more than the entire light rail line. Spending more than 1.5 billion on one location when Auckland has such a need for better PT everywhere would be madness in the extreme.

        1. I GUARANTEE that if light rail goes ahead; there will suddenly be massive cost overruns with things that the Jacobs consulting report mysteriously overlooked. And it will end up being at least as expensive as what heavy rail was quoted for.

        2. There may or may not be cost overruns for either solution.
          Yes I would expect light rail to be more expensive than heavy rail (although compared to a proper express service it may not be). But light rail is so much more than a connection between airport and city. I think this is the big fact you are missing.
          Is heavy rail the better option if you just consider the airport – probably.
          Is heavy rail the better option if you consider all of the other areas that light rail will give access to – definitely not.

        3. Well Daniel, I think you are on to a no-brainer there. Is there any LR scheme of similar size that has come in on budget.
          $1.5bn per HR station Jimbo? Does that pricing include the rest of the tomorrow world flying trains.

        4. Daniel Eyre: Please provide your evidence that your HR project would not also incur overruns.

          Kinda seems like you’re trying to have this both ways. “Public works project overrun on costs”

          “But won’t the HR proposal also be a public works proposal and have cost overruns”

          “Oh no, I have something in my car that will prove otherwise”

          *walks towards door*
          *slams door*
          *sound of car engine*
          *screeching of tyres*

        5. Well “Buttwizard” (I’m trying to not hold your name against you here); whilst the heavy rail option is also prone to cost overruns, commonsense tells me it’s less so because of the facts that:
          1) NZ has recent experience in heavy rail projects (the nice new New Lynn station, Britomart, the new Manukau station oh and by the time this gets begun; the CRL itself) and can anticipate ay issues/problems and nuances that could lead to overruns. But NZ has NO experience in light rail projects.
          2) The biggest sources for cost overruns in street-running light rail construction projects is almost always from the disruption to the commercial premises along the routes and the financial compensations that the local government bodies are legally obliged to pay them. As soon as theres any delays; the compensation bill climbs further. And those bills are higher where the land value (and rents/rates/mortgages) are higher. Do you honestly expect the construction of a new type of transport mode for NZ to go completely smoothly and not experience unforeseen delays?! But heavy rail does not have this problem.

        6. “No heavy rail is the better option when you also consider Mangere”

          So you are saying that the HR line from Puhinui to the Airport will supply PT to Mangere? Sorry I am really confused. How will it do that?

          Or do you mean from Onehunga to the Airport?

          That may do that, but the costs would be magnitudes higher than the $1.5b PTUA has quoted for the Puhinui to Airport line. I would imagine $4b plus. You would need multiple HR stations, underground tunnelling or over/under passing.

          What am I missing?

        7. I doubt the CRL will be discussed in the future as a project that successfully stayed within budget.

        8. Shakes head at “goosoid”.

          Look; The reason why the the Jacobs reports (vaguely) quoted such a high price for heavy rail via Onehunga is because they also included the copious costs for the double-tracking tracking and grade separation of the existing Onehunga branch.

          Yes these expensive works are necessary. But these works are going to have to occur regardless. If they’re not going to get done with this project; they’re going to have to instead be done as part of the Southdown-Avondale link.
          Do you understand that?

          And of course; this same Jacobs report’s vague costing for the light rail option included no details whatsoever about what the light rail does once it gets to the northern end of Dominion road.

          The fact so many people have been hoodwinked here and not spotted these obvious corruptions is a pretty sad indictment o the people who frequent this blog.

        9. Daniel – ASL designation doesn’t follow the Onehunga Branch, it leaves SH20 a Hillsborough Road and sidles across to Southdown, doesn’t go near Onehunga.

        10. @Jezza: There have been several proposals for how the Southdown-Avondale link will be routed with some in the past using part of the Onehunga branch’s corridor and the latest favoured one having the two lines intersect.
          Either way; the Onehunga branch will need to be grade separated (or just abandoned altogether). Extending the HR from Onehunga into Mangere slots the long term plans all together a lot better.
          I could be wrong but as far as I understand it: The latest favoured plan is for the Onehunga branch to pass under the future Southdown Avondale link.

      2. Agree. I too was originally strongly supportive of HR to the airport. And I still think that there could be a case made (just . . . ) for a rail connection via Onehunga, also serving Mangere and the airport industrial area. But the network benefits of the LR option, and the more efficient operational use of the Southern Line that it allows, have swayed me. The Puhinui express rail option seems like the worst of all worlds.

      3. Jezza I also agree that if it is heavy rail, it has to be via Onehunga. Then could also have light rail from Onehunga to city via Mt Roskill. Best of both worlds, but a lot more expensive.

      4. Yes and updated future prediction of the southern use of the HR line is going to be really maxed out so we don’t want to slow it down branching off to Puhinui thereby either cutting frequency or taking longer to go north.

        1. Actually the southern line would be negligibly affected by either an HR line spur from Puhinui or a better HR connection from airport to Otahuhu. Simply because there is already the planned need for a third and fourth main rail line from Westfield to Papakura and even to Pukekohe. This additional capacity would not be maxed out by freight or RRR trains.
          Also of interest the CRL won’t be maxed out either as there is already talk of signalling upgrades and driverless trains enabling 48tph frequency.

        2. It is one less service south no matter how you cook it. You are right, there will be a lot of capacity with CRL at 48tph and extra mains but with the development proposed out south it is conceivable that all this capacity might be needed.

        3. tbh that’s what’s wrong. That development out south just shouldn’t be happening. All that road-building effort should be going directly into intensification on the isthmus.

        4. Heidi, it is happening, whether you like it not, an entire generation of people can’t put their lives on hold waiting for affordable livable apartments to be magicked onto the market.

        5. I know it’s happening even though I don’t like it. But we will regret it, and we have other options to provide homes just as quickly. They just don’t fit the conservative mould.

        6. If the ‘conservative mode’ is still 10x annual earnings for a small 1/2 bedroom apartment then they’re equally poor options.

        7. We responded to past housing crises with tent cities in our parks. We can do better today, but I strongly believe there needs to be a two-step solution:

          1/ Provide temporary housing, within the isthmus. Caravans, tiny houses, encouragement to take in boarders, as has been normal at other times in history – we can fit many people in Auckland in better conditions than they currently are.
          2/ Get cracking on intensification. Without having to spend money on new roads to new urban areas – frees up money to improve central infrastructure and develop property quickly.

          Proceeding as normal with development on the outskirts is not a solution – the damage it is doing through increased vkt and ruined soil is something we will regret. It’s ruining Auckland’s chances of a good urban form.

    5. How did you debunk the fact that light rail through Mangere will supply PT to Mangere? For me that is the best argument and I just can’t see how HR can meet that need.

      I am completely agnostic as to mode. Bus, LR or HR. But I find the arguments for LR compelling once I start accepting that it is not just about getting to the airport.

        1. So you are saying that the HR line from Puhinui to the Airport will supply PT to Mangere? Sorry I am really confused. How will it do that?

          Or do you mean from Onehunga to the Airport? That may do that, but the costs would be magnitudes higher than the $1.5b PTUA has quoted for the Puhinui to Airport line. I would imagine $4b plus. You would need multiple HR stations, underground tunnelling or over/under passing.

          What am I missing?

        2. Yes I’m taking about from Onehunga to the airport. That’s what was put forward in the study. Do it properly even if it costs more and save more in the long term.

          But hey you buy this “$1.5b PTUA has quoted” completely at face value without question….

        3. I’m saying that they’re understating it.
          But they really just don’t want the LRT to be built. The Puhunui link is just easier to showcase as cheap like the LRT is presents as.

    6. Recalling your previous posts on the matter your attempts to defend a spur or any alternative (I forget which) involve (variously):

      * ignoring the flow on effects of a fourth terminating station (or increased traffic on the third, minor, line) on everyone travelling on the extant network /as they do now/
      * grossly exaggerating the number of people served by proposed catchments
      * disingenuous representations of the travel time figures (city to airport)
      * exaggerating the role of aeroplane bound travellers (unless I am very much mistaken, you are also the person who flies into Auckland, i.e. Remuera, twice a year or so… or possibly more regularly than this… but, again, that might be someone else)

      This is not a convincing body of argument.

      And, right now, when confronted by a new take on the matter (i.e. considering the utility of express services for those not at the three stations using it) your response is to entirely ignore this evidence and instead emphasise the work already done? How does the past work interpret the present evidence?

      Finally, if you’ve ever been to London you’ll note that while there are heavy rail services to Heathrow, they’re very clearly not what would be designed for travellers. How can I tell? Because you can’t actually put anything under seats on those trains. The overture to the aeroplane bound passenger is to rip up some seats and leave a little space. And that’s for Heathrow, an airport whose traffic dwarfs that of Auckland!

      1. The Heathrow Express trains have luggage racks immediatly after you get on the train before you get to a seat. The Piccadilly tube has no luggage racks or space for luggage. If you want to make an argument at least get your facts straight.

      2. “Finally, if you’ve ever been to London you’ll note that while there are heavy rail services to Heathrow, they’re very clearly not what would be designed for travellers. How can I tell? Because you can’t actually put anything under seats on those trains. The overture to the aeroplane bound passenger is to rip up some seats and leave a little space. And that’s for Heathrow, an airport whose traffic dwarfs that of Auckland!”

        Given what a load of utter bollocks that is (of course the Heathrow express has luggage racks! when have you ever set foot in London?), we can see how completely dishonest your other appraisals are.

        1. Tomorrow, or perhaps the next day, I will show you a photo I took. In the meantime note that dismissing one point, clearly talking it seems about the other train (not that the other poster is wholly correct in their recollection), has absolutely nothing to say about the remaining points.

          This is why no-one takes your point of view seriously… you build upon a house of cards an empire of straw.

        2. Oh, dear, Daniel. Perhaps you ought to pay attention:

          ” clearly talking it seems about the other train “

        3. Hahahaha oh “the other train”? The (only) other “heavy rail service to heathrow”? That would be what was until very recently the Heathrow connect (now temporarily TfL rail).

          Let’s see:
          Hmm Those look like luggage racks to me. Both by the doors and above the seats. Aw yeah.

          You never cease to be a good source for ridicule. You still haven’t learned to check your facts before posting….

        4. The other commenter mentions two trains. I clearly reference that post. What do you do? Talk about a third train.

          No need to find my own photo. You can very clearly see an absence of under seat storage and the slight overture to passengers to Heathrow by not extending the seats as far as they could go in these images:


          Master Chief2221 that goes for you too.

          But let’s get back to your continued failure to explain either:

          (a) how a slight confusion over the number of potential trains (and note that the Underground is by far the most relevant comparison here since we’re discussing co-existence of normal and aeroplane bound travel here) invalidates or even impugns any of the other points

          (b) how your reference to your past “arguments” has any relevance to the new material presented here.

        5. LOL you should have your name changed to “whirlslahahahaha”.

          You said “heavy rail services”. The Piccadilly line is not heavy rail. It is a metro. Yeah who would’ve thought that it’s “not designed for travelers” given that it’s a metro designed for rapid transit around a city.

          That’s why most people take the heavy rail services and only the Piccadilly line for good reasons.

          This is why nobody bothers with you.

        6. Daniel, you’re the only one out of the three of us not talking about the Piccadilly line. If you’re the only one confused by terminology it is your error. As far as I can tell, in the UK they do differentiate between “heavy rail” and metro but this distinction doesn’t make sense in our context… the Pcicadilly Line runs over and underground in dedicated tracks that don’t run in the street ever. In other words, once the CRL is opened, our network will very much be like the Piccadilly Line. These features cast the still open question of your relationship to Auckland stand out in a new light of relevance.

          Also, no-one is fooled by this… what you’re allegedly supporting is something like the Piccadilly Line, not any separate network but something that runs on the same tracks and keeps Piccadilly-like services off the network. Why would you ever talk about the other services? They are not remotely relevant to the conversation at hand and, indeed, make your support of a heavy rail metro link to the Airport look ridiculous and foolish.

          And, again, you are absolutely failing to validate any of your cases… not your substantive ones and not your rebuttal.

          No-one else is communicating with me Daniel because I’m talking to you specifically and few people have the inclination here to defend your practices and only slightly more agree with you that Heavy Rail is the way to go.

        7. No.

          The definition for “heavy rail” is international: Railway systems that conform to the mainline standards.

          Like the rest of the London Underground; the Piccadilly line does not conform to mainline standards and thus is not heavy rail. This is the same in the UK, NZ or Mongolia. Like the rest of the London Underground is is classified as a metro system.

          You talk this sort of complete hogwash because you’re too lazy and ignorant to research and know what you’re talking about to begin with.
          That’s why everyone ignores you. And that’s why I only bothered to read your first two sentences.

        8. Oh, dear, Daniel:

          That is, your second link literally treats heavy rail as a synonym for metro.

          And in your first link, which goes no-where helpfully, we find this in one of the sections (the one we’re meant to be reading?):

          >As the name suggests, the term light refers to operations carried out under a less rigorous set of regulations, using lighter equipment at lower speeds than those used by heavy rail, such as services provided by train operating companies.

          The mention of mainline regulations is… where? Implicit in “less rigorous set of regulations”? Maybe??

          How about Wikipedia, does that refer to mainline standards at all? Not in the way Daniel Eyre would want it to. It does suggest such as thing as “light railway” which brings us back to a specifically British term…

          Here’s Wiki talking about heavy rail in the Light Rail Article:

          >The opposite phrase heavy rail, used for higher-capacity, higher-speed systems, also avoids some incompatibilities in terminology between British and American English, as for instance in comparing the London Underground and the New York City Subway. Conventional rail technologies including high-speed, freight, commuter/regional, and metro/subway/elevated urban transit systems are considered “heavy rail”. People movers and personal rapid transit are even “lighter,” at least in terms of capacity. Monorail is a separate technology that has been more successful in specialized services than in a commuter transit role.

          Here are some other Wiki entries:

          So, Daniel, cite non-contradictory sources.

        9. LOL Whirlser thinks that “heavy volumes of traffic” means the same thing as “heavy rail” and that Wikipedia (probably edited by him) is a reliable source.

          No wonder he thinks that the heavy rail services to Heathrow don’t have luggage racks. What a FAILURE…

        10. This time, Daniel, in that imgur link, read the italicised.

          And, since you (God knows how because three year olds know this) suspect those Wikipedia entries to be manipulated, why don’t you look at the last edits… look at that, none of the three articles edited later than the 4th. So, either I’ve been editing Wikipedia articles for the purposes of this conversation in advance or… I haven’t been editing Wikipedia articles and Daniel has thoroughly backwards ideas about the general reliability of Wikipedia.

          Daniel, cite your sources.

        11. LOL I’m not even going to bother reading Whirlser’s posts anymore. It’s like having a chihuahua yapping at you.

          The guy thinks that there’s no luggage racks on the heavy trains to Heathrow, What a goof….

        12. Daniel, as far as you were concerned, the trains I was talking about weren’t heavy rail. Are you now saying that you think the Piccadilly line trains are HR? And it’s not just me saying the Piccadilly Line has few overtures to luggage provision.

          Do you have any other sources for your definition of HR? Do you have an explanation for why your old arguments are relevant to this new perspective on HR versus LR for Mangere?

          Do you have anything other than vacuous passive aggressive blustering and poor attempts at insults?

    7. I have just come up to Auckland from Christchurch. 8 bags, 3 adults and 3 kids. We went from Sydenham to the Airport on two different buses one of them a normal bus without storage racks.
      It wasn’t hard even in the Normal bus. It will be the same in Light Rail vehicles as in the Heavy rail vehicles. The vehicles for a dedicated run to the Airport will likely have some place to put the luggage.

      1. Yeah lovely.

        I recently squeezed myself and two large suitcases from Sydney’s central station tp Lilyfield station on one of the rather roomy CAF Urbos trams.

        No room for the luggage, I had to use a lateral seat, have the suitcases in front of me and have other passengers bump into my suitcases. I can assure you; it was not much fun.

        1. So Daniel Just cause you have had bad experiences when travelling means that no one else is allowed to have a good experience then?

          I had a good experience with a decent amount of luggage and said that as a counter argument to your statement about people travelling on a commuter service with luggage.

          Your response to that started with a put down condescending attitude.

          I must wonder though why one person would take so much stuff on holiday to fill two large suitcases? That in my opinion is excessive.

        2. You told one anecdote. I told another anecdote relating an opposite experience.

          Why oh why would you base all judgement upon your one anecdote and not consider mine?

  14. Have either of the 2 lobby groups pushing the heavy rail option outlined any fare pricing for their preferred route between the airport and Britomart?

  15. It seems obvious that the PTUA/Transport 2050 “alternative” proposal (express trains to the city) caters for just a very small segment of the potential market – the time-sensitive business traveller who has commitments in the central city. It does nothing whatsoever for the development of a PT network, and makes for inefficient use of the Southern Line. The rest of the potential market (airport passengers destined for points other than the city centre, residents of Mangere, airport workers) – clearly a significant majority – is completely ignored.

    I just don’t get the angst expressed by the PTUA and Transport 2050, considering that one of the main proponents of the HR “option” is purportedly a left-wing “man of the people” and not by any means a friend of business (or, presumably, the business traveller). The main spokesperson for PTUA is closely identified with NZ First, and you have to wonder whether there is a strategy here that runs beyond the airport rail issue. Another of the key figures behind the PTUA has strong green credentials – what was she thinking? And then, their deliberate tapping into the NIMBYs along Dominion Road . . .

    The Puhinui proposal is elitist, catering only to a small section of the potential market at vast expense, and I’m dumbstruck that PTUA and Transport 2050 cannot or will not appreciate this. As others have said, their proposals re Kumeu make just as little sense, and smack of opportunism. Theirs is not a constructive strategy, but that of wreckers. Come to think of it, what IS their strategy? Where is their alternative to the Congestion-Free Network? Very, very unimpressed.

  16. I suspect some serious astroturfing on behalf of the motoring industry. Having lost their attempts to stop every recent major public transport initiative, and cycleway provision, in Auckland they have settled on campaigns to at least delay them. The CRL is now unstoppable but will quickly reach capacity even without an airport link. The CRL together with light rail almost doubles the mode shift capacity away from cars, twice as bad if your livelihood is servicing this industry. My rough estimate is that for every 50-100 persons moving their daily commute to public transport or cycling, equates to one less car sold a year. (A commuter turning over their car every 5-10 years) A six carriage train and a six car light rail set ,every 6 minutes represents a massive loss of income to some seriously well resourced entities. Losing car sales not only seriously adversly affects the motor dealers but also a media industry heavily dependent on car advertisements and large retailers dependant on their large carparks for competive advantage.

    1. Following the IPCC’s latest report, we hear that community leadership is needed… Transition Town has been trying to engage the community for a while.

      From those photos… lordy lordy, it’s going to be fun, eh?

      1. I don’t think the term “train enthusiasts” helps them much haha. And chairing the meeting-Mike Lee. Since his last work with trams (not what LR will be by the way) his thoughts on the matter interest me not.

      1. I think someone just asked them what relevance a SW LRT line line has to a spur off the Southern HR line and why one needs to be at the expense of another.

        They don’t have an answer either.

        1. 1) Cost, specifically opportunity cost… the money that would be spent on both would be better spent elsewhere.

          2) A spur will place more demand on the country’s most congested area of track and to maintain the level of service currently forecast for the Southern and Eastern lines, the CRL would need a radical overhaul.

          tl;dr — A spur is bad for the wider network: it doesn’t have a case on its own merits.

        2. My point was, if an HR link off the southern line is what they want, then ask for it instead of the BRT solution that is proposed. That’s the comparison to be made.

          They could stop the SW LRT project tomorrow but it wouldn’t get an HR spur built from Puhinui. Its a totally separate project, target, and funding decision.

          It’s like dogs barking at parked cars. Wrong target.

        3. Ah, I see. You’re basically saying that the planners and the HR supporters have two different motivations and that these motives don’t really clash?

          Well, I’m not sure they’re wholly separate issues. I’m not sure if the idea really is to build the airport stop so that it may be converted into a through station at some point or not but a lot of people look at the planned BRT from Botany to the Airport and think “Now why isn’t that Light Rail?” In this sense, the plans to go East are related to the plans to go North (or, rather, can be).

          Which reminds me… that’s another reason against a spur because while LRT or BRT can be extended into one solid “crosstown” line, putting in the spur will be a single station route that compromises running patterns which anyone south of will have to transfer to use that duplicates a multi-stop line that people south of Puhinui would have to transfer to use anyway that doesn’t compromise running patterns.

        4. Is it never going to sink in?
          They’re in favour of extending the Onehunga branch to Mangere and the Airport and not buggering up the corridor for the Southdown-Avondale link.

          Oh they probably haven’t drunk this kool-aid about how it will be “just like Seattle’s light rail to the airport”.

          But in any case you’ve missed my point: The totally adolescent attitude and behaviour of too may of you.

        5. Erm, there in favour of a spur from Puhinui to the Airport, not an extension from Onehunga. This was very clear in their map and article in the Herald yesterday.

        6. “It looks to me like they’re just against this light rail scheme.”

          You’ve hit the nail on the head. They are against the light rail scheme. Either because they oppose light rail on Dominion Road, or because it isn’t heavy rail. It’s nothing to do with travel time, it’s nothing to do with capacity, it’s not about building something better, it’s about opposing a 21 station rapid transit line to the central isthmus, southwest, and airport.

        7. No Sailor Boy:
          It is to do with travel-time and capacity and something better.

          As much as whoever told you that it’s going to be like Seattle’s LRT to the airport; that’s not what Auckland’s going to be getting. It’s going to be getting something slower and smaller.

        8. And the size of the units? The average line speed (length / est. total travel time)? (I forget, they might have estimated this directly.) Maybe you forgot your claim:

          >something slower and smaller.

  17. There is a map of the proposed route in the dead tree edition of the Herald this morning, it gives in insight into this groups expertise or lack of. They have a station at Domestic even though this will be moved to the international terminal in a few years time and for some unexplained reason it goes around in a loop.

  18. That Henderson table entry is interesting. I see that suggestion by Harriet Gale for a crosstown Avondale to Onehunga LR is considered a serious contender, or wasn’t it originally to New Lynn in order to be viable?
    At the time she posted the article I got the impression it was somewhat tongue-in-cheek as the need for the LR to cross the HR somewhere in Avondale station vicinity was the big $ bank breaker. Tunnel or Flyover. Therefore the realistic chance of this ever being built was zero, is zero.
    Now Matt has included a section of it as a serious suggestion in his modelling, if modelling heavily slanted to support one solution can be considered serious? Nice move Matt.
    But what if the original planned usage of the Avondale-Southdown HR was built instead.
    Ok it was originally intended as a rail freight link but there was even a time GA favoured dual use of these rails to get Mt Roskill on the metro HR network.
    Just think now if airport bound rail passengers could start from Western stations then traverse this line via Southdown through to Puhinui hence to Airport. One seat rail journey. Henderson direct to Airport. Dark side modelling time about 40 minutes or less.
    And I won’t even mention the significant advantage to the rest of the metro to CDB network if all NAL freight is diverted on on this link especially as the future growth of NAL freight is likely.

  19. David Bryne: dedicated express heavy rail links aren’t necessarily successful.

    Check out the one in Toronto, that is especially targeted towards business travellers and travellers wanting a simple easy ride to the city. Goes direct to downtown, stopping at one station only, costs 15 NZD (a third of the price it costed when it started.) Ridership is still only roughly 7500 per day. Subsidy is 50 CAD per ride.

    Which is pathetic.

    Check out good examples of LRT on new routes being used to connect to cities airports. Seattle is a really good one. 81,000 people per day across the 35km long line, using low floor LRT units coupled together to make 3 or 4 car trains. Has extensive at grade sections. 6,000 boardings at Seatac Aiport station alone, compared to Toronto/GTA which is a much larger city and has a far busier and larger airport.

    If you want a bad example of LRT to airport, check out Portland. You want to know why it’s bad? Because its a pathetic four station extension of an existing line that is already slow (like our train lines which aren’t fast anyways).

    You can get good and bad examples of many different modes, but the LRT as planned for Auckland is well designed, similar to Seattle, Calgary, Edmonton and Ottawa’s light rail systems. It serves so many more people across an entire line, hence will be able to provide a significantly lower subsidy per rider and remove substantial amount of traffic from the motorways so those who want a quick ride to town can pay for a taxi. It will be far more accessible to more hotels along Queen Street and in Eden Terrace and also far more frequent. It will be independent from the current system meaning it will be more reliable, and cannot be affected by train issues in Henderson or Papakura.

    1. “dedicated express heavy rail links aren’t necessarily successful.

      Check out the one in Toronto, that is especially targeted towards business travellers and travellers wanting a simple easy ride to the city. Goes direct to downtown, stopping at one station only, costs 15 NZD (a third of the price it costed when it started.) Ridership is still only roughly 7500 per day. Subsidy is 50 CAD per ride.

      Which is pathetic.”

      I never said that all express heavy rail links are successful. I know all about the Union-Pearson express. What you’ve failed to note is how it flopped when it was run as a completely for-profit money-maker (due to its exorbitant prices) but how it’s bounced-back when its run as a community service like the rest of Toronto’s PT. And which is the model that Auckland’s PT runs on.

      “Check out good examples of LRT on new routes being used to connect to cities airports. Seattle is a really good one. 81,000 people per day across the 35km long line, using low floor LRT units coupled together to make 3 or 4 car trains. Has extensive at grade sections. 6,000 boardings at Seatac Aiport station alone, compared to Toronto/GTA which is a much larger city and has a far busier and larger airport.”

      Oh I’ve checked-out Sound-transit’s Central link. Actually not much of it is at-grade, most of it is either underground or on a viaduct and completely in dedicated corridors isolated from road traffic (except for a few level crossings). It’s almost a light metro. The large loading-gauge of the system and it’s units would not pass the regulations for street running in any country. That is NOT what Auckland’s light rail transit would resemble, which would need LRT its with a smaller loading gauge for the (vaguely described) sections at the city end to transit Kairangahape Rd & Queen St let alone for the long section where it will traverse the middle of Dominion Rd.

      “You can get good and bad examples of many different modes, but the LRT as planned for Auckland is well designed, similar to Seattle, Calgary, Edmonton and Ottawa’s light rail systems.”

      Not really! Ottawa’s O-train system serves the airport but it is a fully grade-separated light metro. Edmonton’s has no street-running whatsoever and doesn’t serve the airport. Seattle has a street-running streetcar line and another that that serves Tacoma (completely isolated and to different spec’s than the central link that serves the airport) but they’re really more the traditional tram operation for bus-like operation than a link to suburbs or the airport.
      Calgary’s C-train is the only one that seems to remotely resemble what’s proposed for Auckland with its mix of separated and street running. But as with the other Canadian cities on the list; this C-Train system was built because there was no viable way to provide public transport with heavy rail.
      Auckland doesn’t suffer from this problem so much. Heavy rail is in conveniently close proximity to Auckland Airport at both the terminus of the Onehunga line and the junction at Puhinui.

      “It will be independent from the current system meaning it will be more reliable,”

      That’s purely speculative. It could be a dog of a system with endless technical failures.

      1. “Actually not much of it is at-grade, most of it is either underground or on a viaduct and completely in dedicated corridors isolated from road traffic (except for a few level crossings). It’s almost a light metro. ”

        Congratulations, you have described Auckland’s proposed LRT system.

        1. LOL no I haven’t.

          The Auckland system is going to run right down Dominion road (and we all know that cars will just drive on it even if they make it illegal) and have to negotiate the busy intersection with K-road.

          And unlike the Seattle system; it’s apparently going to have frequent spots.

        2. Late reply for you, but yes you have described what the proposed LRT system will be like for Auckland.

          Check out the Rainier Valley section of the LRT on Google maps. 7.4km in median running with 19 level crossings.

          Guess what? Dominion road from SW motorway to about Upper Queen street is roughly 6 kilometres.

          Will have fairly the same or less level crossings – can just make all the minor street left in, left out, and have level crossings at View Road, Valley Road, Balmoral Road, Duke Street, Mount Albert Road and Denbeigh Avenue. Done, dusted, get a grip and check stuff out before spouting off what you obviously don’t have a clue about.

        3. I forgot to add – regarding your mention of K Road – have you actually read anything that’s actually proposed for the LRT system? Because if you did, you would know they’re wanting to do an underpass of K Road due to the grades.

        4. Don’t bother Tom. It’s clear he hasn’t read up on the project at all and doesn’t actually know what is planned.

          I’ve tried to explain this to him, even showed the picture of the K Road underpass… but it’s falling on ignorant ears.

  20. Can someone explain to why the need to extend the southern HR line to the airport must be done at the expense of a commuter line through SW Auckland.

    Surely, Daniel Eyre, you should be taking your facts (sarcasm) and “guarantees” to those proposing BRT from Puhinui and contesting that instead?

      1. Then you cant read. Its multiple stations through a large swathe of people in the SW, linking up to an RTN and the two largest employment hubs in the region.

        Yours is a one station spur on the other side of the city.

        Go and bother the BRT guys. Thats whats stopping your HR airport link. Not this.

        1. LOL oh yes I can’t read that’s why I’m responding to every dingbat post and in a more articulate manner.

          The two stations earmarked in the heavy rail proposal are all that Mangere will need and are in convenient locations. I don’t know why the light rail proposal has so many stations for Mangere, not exactly attractive having too many stops at such short intervals. Another reason why it’s a dumb idea…

        2. Less stations, less catchment, so less users than LRT – for an extra billion dollars.

          Brilliant. Got it.

        3. But it’s the same catchment that the rest of the Auckland network has. Too many stations and stops is a pain in the botty.

          And it’s “an extra billion dollars”… …because of the complete non-consideration of what happens with this light rail at the north end of Dominion road 😉

  21. The bus connection at Puhinui is the way to go as the rail is way to busy at Wiri or Puhinui to squeeze in another branch line and how many trains per hour would we have running between Otahuhu and Wiri if we had to have airport express trains as well. And we will need to have more freight trains and regional passenger trains as wel.l The bus to the airport simplifies the whole thing. I guess most people haven’t come to grips with how easy the transfer will be because they have not used the new bus network.It should be made compulsory that people should not be allowed to comment on Greater Auckland websites or Stuff for that matter until they have clocked up 500 trips on their hop cards.
    As for the light rail build it if you must but its going to be disruptive but that’s not my problem as I never go on Dominion road. My preference would be to continue the Onehunga branch over the harbour to Mangere bridge and Mangere town center even eventually to the airport industrial zone and the airport itself eventually.But no hurry as we will have the busway anyway.
    The problem I see is the construction time the light rail will take. At least the busway should be able to be finished in a couple of years. For example the city rail loop wont be finished till 2024 so I am told FFS. That’s why I wasn’t in favor of it back in the day. I would have more sympathy for the light rail if it had have being started back about 2005 immediately after Britomart was finished it would probably be right up Dominion road by now if people had listened. And as for the short sighted truncation of the Onehunga branch at the town center instead of the port. Now we have lost the overbridge on Neilson street. And probably why they decided to go the light rail way.Again nobody listened.Sometimes you just need to do the easy stuff.

    1. The rail at Puhinui or Wiri is not a limiting factor in providing a rail link spur to the airport. There is already plans to complete a third and fourth track between Westfield and Papakura and on south to Pukekohe. These 4 tracks can handle all southern post CRL services, all freight and RRR and still provide a CBD to airport service.
      Good luck enforcing a comment ban
      Agree that the busway is a better solution since it could be up and running soon

      1. The limiting factor is the CRL. Another branch off the Southern means train slots south have to be diverted away. As you know we have a tiny little two track network interlining all Metro traffic and sharing with freight.

        Yes 4 tracks on the NIMT, a 3rd up on the eastern plateau, flying the Westfield junction, flying the Britomart throat, etc etc, are all vital and will help, and cost $$$, but the CRL, where the true demand is, is not going to be duplicated soon. This is the limiting factor. Still more can be squeezed with big signals upgrade, which would be good but is also $$$.

        So there comes a point when it makes sense to build a second railway (while continuing to improve and optimise the current one). Because all the new capacity of the new one is additive, none of it is traded off from the limits of the first one. And that second one must be a surface one, We are a long way off building a second underground at $1m a metre!

        It is a misunderstanding to say LR is instead of HR, it’s as well as. This is all actually a great story of success and growth. And is tragic that some have met this plan with bitterness and anger. Sad.

  22. Seems to me NZTA need to get on with NW and North Shore LR first and forget about the airport. Then when people are complaining they don’t also have LR NZTA can come back and shall we build you one?

  23. In defence of LR I think it could work.
    It will be on a wider track guage then our HR, so it should be smoother to ride and be capable of higher speeds.
    I personally think HR through Onehunga was the best option, it just made sense. And last but not least is that it guarantees a high quality route, in that HR can’t do big hill climbs or sharp bends.
    In NZ we have this “she be alright” attitude and if a shortcut can be taken it will be.

    So I fear that we will end up with a wobbly undulating track with a maximum speed of 70 kmph, that makes our motorways look like the Autobarn, obviously due to Auckland’s terrain our motorways are actually poor, but our future rapid transit lines will be worse.
    Just take a look at the bus way past smales farm.
    And the extension to Albany.
    It follows the motorway but juts out to clear our excessive on off ramps and
    It follows the poor gradient of the motorway.
    I need to stomp on it to maintain speed when going up those hills.
    And I’m in a little 4 door hatchback. So Is it efficient to running busses start stop on that poorly designed busway.
    And I know the airport light rail won’t be much different.

    1. Does your four-door have a tiny four-banger with zero torque, or electricity driving a motor that can deliver 100% torque at 0rpm? Because I know what the LRT system will have, and it’s not going to struggle with small undulations like a Dihatsu Charade does.

      1. Not a dihatsu. But not far off It’s a Nissan tida with a cvt transmission.
        But driving larger cars with a much larger engine makes little difference, I also often drive through there in a Nissan leaf, and Nissan env200 also electric, and those hills really kill battery percentage.

  24. One issue not getting raised much is if you go with the HR option you have underground tunneling/station cost and flooding risks with the low site of the airport itself (6-8M above sea level). You pretty much need to tunnel to be clear of roads or the airport itself from Puhinui? I know if coming from Onehunga you need to to clear the future gigantic runway.

      1. No, it can follow the highway alignment at ground level and use an underpass of the runway.

        The restrictive geometry of HR means it can’t drop and climb the same and needs to stay on tunnel the whole way.

        1. The plans I saw had it either tunnelling under the runway all the way to an underground station at the terminal, or going around the end of the runway and then running underground as above.

        2. I think video has LRT elevated once clashes with the roads after surface level going wide around the runway to the station. I think would need to be a tunnel under the even longer 2nd runway in the far future. That’s the thing it’s geometry is more flexible.

  25. I disagree with the proposed future rapid transit network, the Ministers preference for light rail & the heavy rail proposal raised yesterday (Puhinui to airport)

    The link from Puhinui to the CBD via the airport is strategic and provides network redundancy & resilience.

    It should all be one mode (not part brt), & it should be heavy rail.

      1. Single mode connection to the main north railway line. Services if needed could be diverted to the Puhinui to the CBD via the airport link if the main line is out for any reason.
        Visa versa if the Puhinui to the CBD via the airport link goes down.
        Cant be done if LR & BRT used (passengers could transfer lines though)

        1. Interesting point about HR resiliency or current lack thereof. Perhaps with the exception of the NIMT eastern loop to Britomart and the NAL through Newmarket to Britomart there is no alternate train routing if any of the main lines are blocked.
          If there was a Puhinui link to airport which then looped on through the SW to Onehunga plus the Avondale to Southdown line then resilience would be massively improved.
          I can already imagine a southern service from Pukekohe getting to Aotea via Puhinui to airport to Onehunga via Southdown to Avondale then western line to mt Eden into CRL to Aotea.
          Or if the airport line unavailable then via Penrose to Onehunga to Southdown to Avondale etc to Aotea.

        2. I’m not sure the average Pukekohe commuter would be overly happy with a deviation via the Airport and Onehunga on the way to the city.

        3. Ahh, sorry didn’t realise you meant a loop. Yes, that would add redundancy, although I’m not sure the expense could really be justified based on that.

          Networks with transfers also add redundancy as there are other options if something goes wrong. The London Underground offers excellent redundancy and resiliency even though few of the lines connect with each other, simply because there are multiple ways of getting from A to B using different combinations of lines.

  26. Has NZTA consulted with businesses and residents of Dominion Road yet?
    How long will the building phase be and what business compensation has been offered?
    The CRL has been fatal to some Auckland businesses during the cut and cover phase of construction.
    The effects of LR construction are going to be loved by the folk of Mt Eden.
    The beauty of the HR link to the airport from Puhinui is that a large part of it will be constructed with little interference to existing road users.
    I favour it because it equally supports the commuters from the South and well as the North.
    Plus having a freight delivery siding to the airport will remove more trucks from the roads.

    1. Can you support literally any of these assertions? Can you explain how it supports ‘the North and South’ when it has a smaller catchment area than LRT?

        1. There are two ways of looking at the CRL. One way says there will be 36 tph and the other 48 tph. Since everything I can remember looking at will combine the Southern and Eastern Lines into one long Red Line and also effectively the Western and Onehunga lines, the theoretical maximum running patterns are, thus:

          36 available / 2 for one direction / 2 lines = 9 tph (per line) or 60 / 9 = 7-ish minute frequencies, or

          48 available / 2 / 2 = 12 tph or 5 minute frequencies


          What does a spur involve doing? Well, it’s going to run through town so it is affected by the CRL imposed capacity constraints. If it were another normal route… as used to be talked about… it would involve creating an entirely new line, meaning everyone after Puhinui would have to lose services in order to operate the route. As a theoretical exercise everyone network wide could lose services in order to spread the love, but whether or not that works in practice, I do not know.

          You can’t just stick more trains on a network and imagine that it is going to change nothing. Even if Puhinui was built to the size of Papakura or Britomart with room to have everyone transfer off to a Papakura/Puhinui shuttle (and also one for Manukau if that’s possible), that’s still not better for the existing users and usage typologies since it induces a needless transfer (read: delay)… and that’s assuming triple tracking (if not the fourth main too). And that’s on top of the delays that will occur in order to actually run the spur line (see: how the system works now at Wiri, Westfield, Newmarket and just before Britomart), especially if it’s run as an express train.

          tl;dr — the city part of the journey is a pipe dream aimed at shafting everyone in the South… especially the South-West

        2. Yes, you just can’t stick more trains on an existing network without something changing.
          That’s why the southern line is getting 4 tracked and the eastern line 3 tracked.
          Then you can add more trains, like RRR and Airport and other expresses. Southern Stations have more platforms hence regular all station stopper eastern and southern services not affected.
          As for CRL, we don’t yet know what is happening there. Will RRR and expresses pass through CRL?

        3. Do you or do you not understand that the CRL capacity constraints impose a hard limit on the number of trains running through the CRL? You cannot add services to an at capacity running pattern without simultaneously taking away services from something else.

          Now, I think it is unlikely that they will run the CRL at capacity (whichever version eventuates whenever) all the time. This would cause space there that could be taken advantage of but that would have to be balanced against all four alternatives, i,.e. limited stops Red Line service pattern, non-express airport train, an additional full stops Red Line and keeping the “slot” empty. Given the value of the spur is to very few people, I think it’s unlikely it’d beat any of those options in a cost/benefit tradeoff. But this then raises the question of the impact on the rest of the line further down which, I already talked about assuming additional lines:

          >Well, it’s going to run through town so it is affected by the CRL imposed capacity constraints.

          > that’s assuming triple tracking (if not the fourth main too)

          > that’s on top of the delays that will occur in order to actually run the spur line […] especially if it’s run as an express train

          If someone has already talked about your “rebuttal” maybe you should address what they say to those points, yeah?

          Not that it is at all clear how adding more main lines will happen. For stations like Puhinui, Takanini or Papatoetoe you can kind of see how it would be possible… there is obviously room for another platform on one or both sides (sometimes assuming some ripped up car parking) but with, especially, Middlemore it’s really hard to see how it would work. Plus all the bridges and, indeed, the electric train infrastructure (but presumably that was all future proofed and isn’t actually in the way as much as it appears).

          With RRR as far as I can tell GA envisioned the use of Britomart and hence (since it’s their idea) it would be affected by the CRL constraints too. The issue, therefore, is whether or not it’s worth it (in terms of who gains and benefits) replacing a Western or Red Line train with a Hamilton one. The answer might well be yes. Or, possibly, it might well be possible to just terminate at Otahuhu/Puhinui or the Strand. And, again, that’s for when the CRL is at capacity and assuming more main line tracks. And when the CRL isn’t at capacity the same logic applies except one of the alternatives is “empty space” and, yes, a prospective airport spur.

          tl;dr — what if the choice was an airport spur or RRR?

        4. The CRL tph hard limit has not been reached and although 24tph per direction looks like a reliable limit there is actually the planned ability to get to 30tph per direction.
          Until we see future CRL throughput proposals it’s probably not wise to say what can’t be done then extrapolate this opinion to say proposals such as a spur HR to the Airport wont work.

          I also doubt that any of the existing southern line stations or over bridges will prove insurmountable problems to the quad tracking the NIMT Westfield to Pukekohe.
          I prefer to keep an open mind concerning these developments.
          I also don’t think any HR extensions especially to the airport threaten the viability of the Mangere LR. Nat pollies are likely a much bigger threat especially if they win an election.

        5. 3rd and 4th main have to be possible, of course, it’s just hard to see /how/. I mention this whenever the subject comes up because it’s an important qualifying point. Whoever is doing the business cases and whatever that other framework is called must surely have stopped to ask if it’s even possible.

          60tph is friendlier to the idea of additional terminal stations but not by as much as it first sounds: 60 / 2 / 2 = 15 => 4 minute frequencies, and when you add in the likely competition from RRR which I am sure everyone agrees is much more important than express trains to the airport?? Would really have liked to hear your thoughts on RRR viz a viz the airport spur.

          The CRL capacity will, of course, be reached. The question I think we have to ask ourselves is for how long during the day would the capacity constraint be a practical matter not if.

          National will put their weight behind anything that comes with votes. Dividing and conquering doesn’t acheive this (although, yes, how conflicting the two ideas are is in question).

          p.s. whatever happened to Harriet Gale? She used to post about as often as Matt L and lately I’ve just been seeing Matt L’s name up the top? Also, what happened to the other GA people? I remember someone had to become, as it were, an emeritus blogger due to an increasingly busy life but is it just me or has this site mostly become Matt L as a reader facing creator?

        6. It does work if you run HRT on the Onehunga line to the airport via Mangere as that is on the existing schedule. Then continue the line to Puhinui and potentially terminate the service at Manukau. The only use of the Southern corridor would be Puhinui to Wiri for the Manukau spur. If not Manukau, then this service doesn’t even need to tie up the Southern line at Puhinui. The CBD to airport Onehunga route would be shorter than CBD to airport via Puhinui spur, that why it was the original plan. In any event this option is off the table so lets look at LRT. Yes the BRT from Puhinui can be built quickly, But why not start the LRT from both ends Puhinui to Airport and Dom Rd to airport.

          By the time the Dominion Rd section is complete there would already be services running from Puhinui to Onehunga or further.

    2. I’m pretty sure that the NZTA are against the LRT option.
      It’s the Auckland Council who’re pushing for it and the Labour and Green parties in government who’re supporting them. Popcorn out for just how far this support will go.

  27. As an Onehunga resident, I still believe extending the Onehunga spur to the Airport will deliver the better long-term outcomes for the network…

    But, failing that I think we should rip up the tracks – the issues that make it more difficult to run the spur now (only 2TPH, cancellations on average at least once a week) will never be fully remedied otherwise.

    Honestly I’ve come to resent having the trains back, as all my local bus routes have been discontinued, so when I (often) arrive to see a cancellation on the board, I have absolutely no option but to wait half an hour – or more.

    1. At some stage that corridor will be needed for the Southdown-Avondale link. And it will be double-tracked and grade-separated, which will allow for more frequent services.

      Of course (another fact nobody could counter last time I debated here) the Jacobs report included this inevitable upgrade in their (vague) costing for heavy rail to the airport. Yet they had nothing about what happens to the LRT option once it gets to the northern end of Dominion Rd.

      All smoke and mirrors…

    2. It’s only been 8 years since the Onehunga Branch was reopened. At that stage it was proposed to extend the line to the airport.

      The new Mangere Bridge was even strengthened to allow for a rail line. In fact both projects were underway at the same time. One wonders why the line wasn’t also extended to Mangere Bridge during the construction?

      It could have then been extended to the airport in phases.

      1. For reasons I’m not sure the old Regional Council spent ratepayers money on strengthening the new Mangere Bridge to take one track, rendering it basically useless for a future rapid transit corridor.

        No one is going to spend billions on a new rapid transit corridor when part of it is single tracked.

        1. No, NZTA agreed in the end to pay for the bridge enabling works while they were building it, not the ARC who originally offered to pay for it. And if you got that wrong, why should we believe that it was only strengthened for a single track and not double?

        2. Thanks for that.
          Sorry I also meant to add: Why was it ok then (2010) to plan to run HR to the airport and not now?

        3. Probably because in 2010 nobody had actually done any planning, design or costing work on HR and had no idea how feasible it was and how much it would cost. Back then it was literally just a line drawn on a map.

      2. “It could have then been extended to the airport in phases.”

        Yes that’s very true. First thy build the two stations to Mangere. Then they grade-separate and double-track it. Then they build the final chunk to the airport.

        Even though this Twyford made this (laughable) deadline of “by the Americas cup”; if this light rail actually happens I wouldn’t be surprised if they end up doing that in phases too.

  28. Why and who conflated the cross-over between the 2015 LRT design for Dominion, Mt Eden & Sandringham Rds to decongest the predicted excessive bus numbers on Symonds St & the CBD and the very separate need for improved airport services?
    We need both, and both things are best served with separate solutions.
    Don’t bugger up the central isthmus commuter needs by halving the number of stops and not having the service serve the new high density housing development currently starting in Roskill South, some of which is well south of SH20.
    And don’t bugger up the airport travel by turning it into a slow frequent stopping congested Dominion Rd semi commuter service that will be impacted by rogue traffic.
    And let go of Puhinui.
    Yes – integrated network thinking is needed.
    And in how many cities does one not need to get a feeder service to get the airport service? I.e. at least one transfer, not direct from where ever you are with no changes.
    Now, joining the dots of that lot – go back to the original 2015 central isthmus LRT scheme with the first stage being LRT from Britomart to the end of Dominion Rd, AND serve the airport by stage one of the network integrated east / west line (LRT or initially an off-road busway, or some other off-road ‘thing’ that is suitable for future extension out to Botany). But instead of Puhinui build a new multi-modal split level exchange at Wiri (just north of the new service depot) and run the airport service through there and along the existing train line into Manukau City. In excess of 90% of this route is already public land or is not yet built on. It will be the quickest, & most likely cheapest, to build with fewer impacted parties to take court action to bog it down.
    Don’t divert any north/south trains to either Manukau or the airport – run them all from way out west, through the CRL and out to Pukekohe, and then progressively further south through the housing spreading out south of the Bombays.
    This also integrates with the regional rail plan of passenger rail up from Hamilton.

    1. Another part of the jigsaw is to move a few dozen houses off the previously protected route to run a service from the Otahuhu interchange to Mangere, Favona, etc., and most likely down to the airport to link into with the East-West route, eventually making it a Otahuhu – Mangere – Wiri – Manukau – Flat Bush – Botany loop

  29. Holy moly! I go away for a day and come back and there is 200 comments on this thread.

    Like I said ages ago, NZTA is in charge now and will just drag their heels until National gets in again and scraps it all to build more motorways.

    I’m rather ambivalent to the whole Trains vs Trams debate. We shouldn’t have taken the trams out in the 50’s, but no point putting them back in.

    I’ll just throw in my two cents to say that whatever you can do for trams you can do for buses. Yes, I concede there is a difference in capacity, and maybe attracting development(I see it as correlation, not causation) but other than that, I haven’t seem much evidence that trams are better than buses getting the same treatment.

    Of course, maybe we can get those new-fangled automated trackless trams from China. Those seem very cool. And as I understand it, they are the best of both worlds.

    Or maybe one day we will wake up to find someone off loaded a million driverless e-bikes from china and everyone starts using them instead.

        1. Look at the picture at the top of the post. It’s a 65m long double consist light rail vehicle that can carry 500 people, it ain’t a tram.

        2. Type in “tram” in google and first image I get is a modern tram. In fact most of the images that come up are modern trams.Sure, there are some older trams in the mix, but that is beside the point. Some people call those things trams. Some people may call them trains. Very few people say “Hey, look at that cool looking LRTl!” You’re like someone who owns a super yacht and goes crazy when someone calls it a boat.

        3. Yep type tram and you get pictures of trams, old and modern. When I do that eight of the first ten pictures are historic trams, two are modern.

          Type in light rail and you get pictures of light rail. The first ten are all light rail vehicles.

        4. That only proves that nobody is calling the little old trolleys ‘light rail”.

          Pay close attention to where those pictures are from. With “Tram” I get plenty of pictures similar to the Dominion Road proposal. These pictures are mostly from Europe. There’s of course also the smaller ones and the heritage ones.

          “Light rail” will obviously not include the small ones, but almost all the results are from New World cities (eg. Gold Coast, and indeed Auckland).

        5. This depends on what part of the world you’re in. I think in Europe the word tram doesn’t have a negative connotation so if you see light rail over there people will often just call it a tram.

  30. How many posting here under pseudonyms work (or worked) for M R Cagney or Jacobs?
    Why are so many hiding behind pseudonyms – that make it too easy to throw mud and put up misleading or even false information?
    And why, last time I asked this on a different forum was I threatened with a libel suit?

    1. Oh please Russell not you too? This conspiracy theory is such Trumpian nonsense… meanwhile the heavy rail never-enders are setting up multiple shell organisations to try to look like they are more than just the usual small group of malcontents…

      Anyway propositions for returning Light Rail to Auckland has a long history, one that includes various (hair-brained) schemes for actually ripping out much of current rail network and replacing it with trams, and that from the ARC. Perhaps you should have a look at who were on that body at the time…

    2. No Russell.
      I doubt there’s any conspiracy as to people here being PR people from Jacobs of Cagney’s. Most of the people here just seem like they’ve drunk the PR kool-aid.

      Although I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s some staff from Auckland Transport or the Auckland council!

      1. When in doubt, ignore the expert analysis, criticize it with none of your own, and make disparaging comments about other posters. Drop in a conspiracy theory or two. Always a winner.

        Regardless, LRT is going to be the mode through the SW. Full stop.

        1. Oh and exactly who is the “expert analysis”?

          Is it Kiwirail, the MoT and the experienced rail staff and advocates (like Mike Lee) who’re all aghast at this?

          Or is it a bunch of bureaucrats in Auckland council & Auckland transport, Phil Twyford and some consultancy company from the land of shitty transport planning (the USA)?

  31. 280 comments in just over 24 hours…! This topic is always very popular, because it remains so controversial. LRT has been anointed as the preferred choice, but for the great majority who see a PT line terminating at the airport as a way of getting people *to the airport*, LRT fails the spit test, hence the ongoing enthusiasm for HR and confusion as to why LRT has been selected to be built.

    1. No.
      People understand that there’s more than just the airport and also Mangere tom consider. We just don’t buy this promoted LRT system, the dubious Jacobs report that recommended it and the credibility of Auckland Transport.
      And we don’t think that Phil Twyford is all that great either….

      1. “We just don’t buy this promoted LRT system, the dubious Jacobs report that recommended it and the credibility of Auckland Transport.”

        Exactly, you’re fringe conspiracy theorists who believe the whole thing was rigged by AT for some unbeknownst reason.

        1. To be fair, is it really a conspiracy to doubt the credibility of AT? Does anyone think they’re a well run organisation that does what they’re supposed to when they’re supposed to do it?

        2. I was initially sold on HR instead of LRT, but now prefer LRT.

          Daniel Eyre, you’re wrong.
          Wrong wrong


        3. I think AT is an organisation of many experienced and qualified people. It suffers from a legacy of roads bias and a behemoth-type resistance to implement change, which is a typical situation with large organisations at the moment. Everything’s always more possible while a civilisation is on the rise, not when it’s declining.

          Some of the specialist research done within AT is really good. Many of the people trying to improve our transport are really passionate and give of their energy and time well beyond their job description.

          Given the known bias of people who control the strategy direction in AT, we could expect the analysis of LR to Mangere to provide insufficient cycling provision, to disregard the importance of transfers between LR and the bus network, and to have quite a bit of focus put on timetabling. I am not aware of any known bias between HR and LR.

        4. Good points Heidi.

          I suppose I would have to say I was thinking mostly about AT’s credibility as an organisation which does stuff rather than as a policy development institution and it’s now quite obvious to me the latter is far more relevant. Although, as you implicitly say, there is some feedback between these two functions (e.g. the cycling stuff), just not really in the way I implicitly suggested.

          aside: probably pushed myself into 4th place now… I don’t remember the numbers but the gap after the top three was noticeable and after that was very similar numbers. If this aside is confusing ctr;f “grep”

        5. Thanks for all your input to the post, Whirlsler, and do keep going. I was going to say it before, but now I have a second reason to encourage you to write more. Bump me out of 3rd, please. 🙂

        6. Yes, it is a bit of a fix. How do you encourage someone to post more so that they have more posts than you without also increasing the same post count you want to be overhauled?

          Unfortunately it seems Daniel Eyre is not interested in citing his sources so I would probably have to find something else to respond to in order to catch up.

          Not that there’s anything wrong with having lots of posts, especially when, as a generalised statement, they’re as valuable and as well informed as yours (I’m sure we’d disagree on something but I haven’t read that post yet!).

        7. Lol. Thanks. Best reason not to be commenting is so I can spend time researching for an article instead, but I’m awfully slow at those.

          I miss Harriet’s posts, too. I hope she’s putting her amazing research skills to good use somewhere.

        8. Steven Lee is rivalling Whirsler as a poster child for the people who’ve been suckered by the AT pro-LRT PR campaign…

        9. LOL Whirlser needs to be reminded of this hilarious claim he made:

          “Finally, if you’ve ever been to London you’ll note that while there are heavy rail services to Heathrow, they’re very clearly not what would be designed for travellers. How can I tell? Because you can’t actually put anything under seats on those trains. The overture to the aeroplane bound passenger is to rip up some seats and leave a little space.”

          Hahahaha nah no big luggage racks and additional overhead racks on the Heathrow express and Heathrow connect….

        10. Daniel, your lies are really rather tiresome. That you feel your best avenue for defending HR is to make the same pathetic claims here as you did up top is really rather telling about the quality of the arguments you bring to bear (there may be good arguments for HR, you just don’t know them). Did pointing out that your naked self interest dictates your preference HR hurt your feewings?

          Good God, man! You know that we were talking about the Piccadilly Line. You know that your own sources call the Piccadilly Line Heavy Rail. You know that the Piccadilly Line is the closest analogue in London to what’s proposed (for HR) in Auckland. You know that I’m not the only one telling you that the Piccadilly Line is awful for air passengers given its allowances for luggage are minimal (me) or non-existent (MasterChief). Has this at all caused you to talk abut anything other than these absurd and poor attempts to mock me? No. Does it perhaps suggest that not only do the interiors not overly burden the passenger with luggage? Yes of course. Does it further suggest that HR doesn’t mean better designs for air travel? Again, yes. Maybe these things would matter to an honest advocate of HR (e.g. Bogle) but to Daniel Eyre?

        11. To clarify, when I say “awful for air passengers” I meant to say “should be awful for air passengers”. The absence of obvious luggage allowances is actually pretty okay based on our two experiences using the Piccadilly Line for getting two/from Heathrow.

          Our LRT would presumably look pretty much like the EMU’s inside (although, presumably, with seats more appropriate for 40min journeys and hard floors throughout). Certainly, there have been no indications otherwise.

        12. Not really unbeknownst Sailor Boy.

          A credible reason is that it’s all the ego trip of incompetent bureaucrats who want to assert some authority over Kiwirail and who may have seen LRT for overseas and got jealous.
          That’s how a lot of public servants are in NZ, especially the local body ones.

    2. “for the great majority who see a PT line terminating at the airport as a way of getting people *to the airport*, LRT fails the spit test, “. There are also those who believe that the route should pass through the airport to Puhinui and be the same mode regardless of LRT or HRT. So LRT from Britomart via Dominion Rd to Puhinui. BRT is the best short term solution from Puhinui, but longer term LRT would be a better option and remove a transfer for those wanting to travel further north than the airport.

    1. The silver lining is observing amazing levels of patience amongst people taking the time to clarify points. I’m just a bit scared to even look at today’s post.

    2. Based on 303 comments, it’s not quite that bad… but Daniel Eyre does have nearly 21% of those posts (next highest being jezza at 9.2% and Heidi at 7.3%… I’m 6th = with 11 posts or 3.6%).

      via grep (in R) and my primitive command of regular expressions (one reason why I didn’t try and identify who’s pro-HR)

  32. Hi

    As a Wellingtonian looking in from the outside I am a bit bemused. And I doubt my observations will appeal to anyone, but here goes:

    1 First, you are incredibly lucky to be having a debate about public transport modes. Down here the Labour-led government appears likely to sign off funding to build a four lane motorway trench through the south end of the CBD and duplicate tunnels. We might also get light rail. Be grateful that Jacinda and Phil care about Auckland 🙂 Wellington is already the only city in the world to, post Paris accord, replace an electric transport network with diesels rather than go fully electric.

    2 What seems missing to me in this discussion is the link between capacity and mode-share targets, either in terms of specific types of journey or overall. I haven’t looked at this for a decade but as the lead researcher and negotiator on land transport between the Greens and Labour under the Clarke government, I had a fairly good overview, and I doubt the volume of journeys has fallen.

    Even back then it was clear that to achieve say a 40-50% overall mode share for active modes and public transport in AUckland, and say a 70% commuter mode-share.for these modes, you needed a massive expansion of heavy rail, plus light rail, plus better buses plus huge investment in walking and cycling plus road pricing.

    These comments apply generally or to any specific set of journeys. So my question is, for the different catchments and journeys, what are the mode-share targets underpinning current plans?

    3 I cannot understand the hostility towards interoperability. Taking a step back, there seem to be huge resilience benefits and few downsides to having light rail vehicles able to use heavy rail lines. Please don’t give me a technical answer, I am fully aware of the issues around safety and how they can be addressed. My question is more why design in a lack of flexibility? In Wellington for example, the benefits of having light rail run on suburban rail lines are huge in terms of connectivity.

    4 Where is the discussion about capacity in relation to new developments further South? A recent post on this blog site seemed to indicate that the discussion was still very roading focussed. What capacity is needed to enable new developments in the South to reach the kind of mode share targets discussed above?

    To avoid any distractions, in my view the case for light rail down Dominion Rd and to the airport is sound, and the arguments for a busway that can be converted to light rail also seem sensible. My issue is more what this implies for the next 25 years, and how you get quick wins without building yourselves into woeful under capacity in 15 years and condemning Auckland to car dependence, albeit electric cars.

    Thanks for reading this far

    1. Thanks, Roland. A lot of truth there. There is nothing in ATAP that is going to prevent us from getting more and more car dependent. We can fight to get a few nice places, with good mode share, but they’ll be surrounded by carmaggedon car dependency, undermining any true possibilities of a sustainable urban city, because of the awful over investment in road capacity that is still taking place.

      Easy to get disheartened, too, when our own Chief Sustainability Officer writes about inequity created through development as if it is the areas getting better modeshare that are creating the problem.

      And meanwhile, our water’s polluted, our soil’s being trashed, our native species are being lost, and our plastics are burnt in illegal incinerators in S-E Asia, polluting the lungs and waterways of poor people. Basically, we can’t plan, we don’t take responsibility, and people are arguing about HR vs LR???!!!

      1. Yes – the broader context can look pretty bleak when we are trying to create truly sustainable cities that foster health relationships with each other and the rest of the living world. Finding the things that truly catalyse positive change is enormously hard, and its really important for me, at least, to find the things that can fuel a relentless sense of hope. I’d be interested to try and work out what the common ground is around the LRT / HR discussions – there seems to be a limited amount of active listening at present. There must be more to it than “my favourite mode is….” Anyway thanks for engaging and go well,. I am still working on an article about planning and housing….:-)

        1. Here’s a little bit of hope, Roland, almost completely off-topic for this post. 🙂 In community engagement exercises on the big topics, I’ve found that the initial reaction to “intensification” is always, “Fine, but we need the infrastructure first” followed by rants about how new apartments are going to create a carparking problem.

          Yesterday, I cracked the nut. I was standing at an event with my Pt Chev infrastructure maps, and a whole lot of photos I’d printed off the web of the various developments coming here soon. That attracted people. And from many I got the “need infrastructure first” response.

          So I quickly agreed, showing them the maps of green infrastructure and stormwater and wastewater, pointing out what was needed to accommodate the new people, and the new homes. Full agreement around needing more parks, or at least alleyways through to the existing ones. Full agreement about needing the stormwater and sewerage to be separated to keep sewage out of our swimming beaches, etc.

          Then we could discuss how good the buses in Pt Chev are. And next, it was possible to discuss parking, how our streets being clogged with parked cars are dangerous for the kids trying to cross, how providing parking induces more traffic, and how a 30 km/hr suburb would really cut the congestion, as everyone could walk to school or the shops.

          It was a case of walking alongside first, and I got to hear and record some specific local concerns I can put into my maps, so I learnt a lot. It really cheered me up.

        2. Great example Heidi!! And awesome work, which sounds like it was cheering and inspiring for both you and those you interacted with.

          Yes, so much of initial reactions to potential change are often about anxiety and fear and if that is met with hostility then the whole thing spirals downwards. If as you say we can walk alongside people, and be open to reasonable questions and suggestions, then we are doing things with people rather than to them.

          In all sorts of human situations I think we all prefer that 🙂

    2. My non-techincal 2c on “downsides to having light rail vehicles able to use heavy rail lines”

      1) Cost of bespoke single-use-designed system
      2) Complexity of integrating two separate systems equipment and design
      3) Inability to get a competitive price from a range of suppliers on the international market due to nice, bespoke systems design
      4) The requirement to create entirely new set of laws to cover something that is currently illegally impossible (we have a legislative framework for main line railways, and one for not-main line railways, but nothing that covers a vehicle that works on both).
      5) Limited capacity due to design compromise between two systems.

      1. Thanks – I appreciate the clarity of your post. Are some of these second order questions? I am posing the question from a “What will people thank us for in 20 years time?” perspective, and that makes me wonder if a network is more resilient than two separate, albeit overlapping, hub and spoke systems. My worry is that perceptions of technical issues may cloud the broader benefits of flexibility and resilience that matter in the long term.

        I am not so much suggesting overloading the rail network as ensuring that it is possible in situations that may demand it, that the light rail vehicles can use the rail network in sections when an emergency or serious delay may make that expedient. This is part of what I mean by resilience.

    3. Roland perhaps you don’t quite get the scale and rate of ridership growth in AKL. The point is we need additional networks, not ways of utilising the existing rail system more. That system in fact needs capacity expansion too, just to keep up with demand.

      This is explicitly about building an additional railway to complement the existing well used and crowded one.

      Trying to shove another system in addition to Metros, intercity, and freighters onto our little twin track system offers little to nothing, and would compromise current use.

      But adding a whole additional railway to the city reaching the parts not currently served by rail is hugely valuable.

      1. Thanks Patrick for posing that question. My concern is more that the scale of patronage growth needed to actually influence mode share is massive, and so it would seem useful to design some resilience into the system. What I see is at the moment is two overlapping hub and spoke systems; if light rail at least had the ability to use parts of the rail network (not rountinely but as an alternative to grinding to a halt for example) that seems to me to be something people would thank us for in the future.

        I absolutely agree with you around the need to increase capacity all round (see my 2 above). All I am suggesting here is that interoperability may enable long term synergies and therefore be worth some small extra cost up front. From this perspective, could interoperability be a complement to what you describe as a “whole additional railway” rather than a substitute as I think you are imagining?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.