Improving access to the airport has been the subject of countless debates over the last few years and most recently with confirmation that the Puhinui station will be upgraded to a bus/train interchange. Sometimes those debates have resulted in claims such as that the proposed solutions of both a light rail line to the north and busway to the east won’t have enough capacity.

An early business case by the NZTA from 2017 that resulted in the Southwest Gateway programme and help shed some light on that. The business case (85MB) is out of date as the timing and scope of some interventions has changed. For example, Rapid Transit infrastructure to the east is not expected to occur till the late 2030’s yet the Puhinui announcement shows some of that is already starting to happen. While the business case itself might be out of date, there is still a lot of useful information in it that is worth sharing.

As we know, there are only two ways of accessing the airport and the commercial/industrial area, from the North (via SH20A) and from the East (SH20B). The report notes that 63% of trips come via the North and 37% by East. The graphic below highlights who it is that are accessing the airport area.

Currently just under 20 million passengers pass through the airport and there are about 28k employees. The airport predict that by 2041 this is expected to grow to about 40 million passengers and 48,000 employees. This obviously represents significant growth.

This chart gives a bit more detail on where workers are coming from or going to. The map is very busy and it’s not entirely clear but one thing that is noticeable is that it doesn’t appear all that many are near rail lines.

One of the big issues with accessing the airport at the moment is travel time variability. The peaks are becoming busier which means people are having to allow more and more time to access or leave the airport. This is shown well in this graph of SH20B. It appears to have crossed a tipping point around 2014, going from having a little bit of delay during the afternoon rush to being afternoon most of the afternoon/evening.

This is also shown in the vehicle volumes throughout the day with the peaks growing and spreading between 2011 and 2016.

Perhaps one of the more interesting graphs is this one showing arrivals and departures to the area by travellers and workers. What is notable is how the number of travellers arriving at the airport for a flight is fairly constant throughout the day but travellers leaving the airport are much more peaked in the evening at the same time as most workers are leaving.

What’s also important about this is that even with the airport set to double passenger numbers and nearly so in workers, with both light rail to the north and a busway to the east there is more than enough capacity even if all of those extra trips were to take place on public transport. That would give it a modeshare perhaps better than the city centre today.

Either way modeshare will have to change significantly as the NZTA say

There is a gap between current limited available capacity and future demand on SH20A and SH20B. These routes have already reached their capacity for lengthening periods of the day and are therefore subject to severe congestion. Projected future demand for cars journeys on these routes cannot be met.

The future transport capacity gap is significant. At current mode share proportions, even if up to eight motorway lanes are provided, 18 traffic lanes are needed by 2046 to meet demand (Figure 35). Continuing to build general traffic lanes cannot accommodate the future demand to access the airport and surrounding area.

In other words, even if we made both the roads accessing the airport the biggest motorways in the country, which would require widening most of the motorway network, it still wouldn’t be enough.

This graphic is a good example of why trips to the airport are currently dominated by cars. It shows how far you can travel within 45 minutes by public transport (blue) and car (red)

As mentioned, the business case is out of date as some of the timing is off but this graphic is good at showing how, with all of the upgrades that are planned, there will be sufficient capacity for all the growth that is coming.

This is broken down by route too. One thing I would also note is that the capacity of the East RTN seems quite low and could likely be significantly increased with additional services.

Overall the business case is quite useful for providing some of the often overlooked background information.

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  1. Great article.

    Not all that 20 million PAX stay in or come from Auckland. Transit passengers are included.

    I’ve been trying to find out that percentage.

    1. You can find the info in Auckland Airport’s annual reports. For the 2018 financial year, they had 9.3 million domestic passengers; 10.2 international; and 1.1 international transit. I assume that includes both people coming from another NZ airport and heading overseas from Auckland, and the reverse.

      1. How many domestic transit?

        We have the following sets:
        1. Akl to Domestic
        2. Akl to International
        3. Domestic to Domestic
        4. Domestic to International
        5. Inverse of the above
        6. Workers

        3 and 4 will be two PAX per person and not use SH20. All the other PAX + workers will be one PAX per person and two trips on SH20.

        1. Probably Rail won’t have a big hit unless it goes all the way to Wellington.

          I couldn’t find the point-to-point numbers but Total Passengers for Napier, Palmerston North, New Plymouth, Tauranga, Rotorua and Hamilton is just under 3 million a year.

          If we assume half are going to Auckland and all them switch to rail that is just 1.5 million passengers. A great win for rail but only around 15% of domestic traffic (and presumably the growth).

          Presumably around 80% domestic passengers going to Christchurch, Queenstown, Wellington, Nelson and Dunedin which rail won’t make much of a dent in.

        1. Has a good collection of eating places. Once the industrial FUZ along Puhinui Road is built, there will be a fair amount of short ad-hoc trips on the A2B for lunch, meetings, etc.

        1. From the graphs provided in the article it seems passenger throughput has increased from 12m to 20m (66%) in about 12 years. To anticipate 100% growth in the next 20 years doesn’t seem that far-fetched in that context.

        2. Yeah, I’ve tracked those numbers before. I’ve ask AIA to clarify, but they declined to answer.

          However if we look at the March 2019 numbers:

          1. 428k International Arrivals (exc transit)
          2. 475k International Departures (exc transit)
          3. 78k Transit
          4. 456k Domestic arrivals
          5. 431k Domestic departures

          1790k + 78k transit = 1869k total reported PAX.

          These transit numbers are only international transit. ie. From Islands to elsewhere, etc.

          Some of the international arrivals and departures could also be domestic transits. Which have no impact on SH20.

          The different could be material.

          Other data points:

 – 100k visits to airport per day. 65,000 vehicles visiting the airport every day.

  2. Thanks, good to see that data. I recently asked AT if it was possible for the 380 bus to be extended to meet the 66 crosstown; having it stop at Onehunga seems to miss this opportunity to make the airport area more accessible by bus.

    Looking at that map of where the workers live, it seems to me there’s a swathe of isthmus where workers live who could be served by crosstowns meeting the 380. I think it should probably be extended up to Greenlane Rd too, to cross with the Outer Link and 650, or hopefully the 65 frequent service soon.

    1. The 380 is to be split once Stage 1 A2B goes operation early 2021.
      The new 36 will run the Manukau to Airport via Puhinui leg while the 380 will do the Airport to Onehunga leg until CC2M is online (if it ever will be).

      I wouldnt extend the 380 until that 36 split happens otherwise we get an overly long route that suffer from knock on effects if there are delays.

      1. Should the 380 be kept as it is but one of the Dominion Rd buses converted into mimicking the LR route and ending at the airport?

        1. Oh just seen these later replies, I think there are some crosstown bus routes roughly planned directly to airport in a document I’ve seen somewhere, I’ll dig them out later.

        2. Page 12-13 of that older business case has some options I was thinking of.

          A newer Nov 2018 one slightly different one just the page of the early interventions one can be found here:

          Big file of all the posters here:

          Selection here, but the combined one missing it seems:


          Anyway they have ones direct to New Lynn (new service), Sylvia Park (32 bus) & Botany (31/35 sort of thing).
          Also extend the 30 (Mnk Rd) service south. This maybe better to connect with the 66 etc.

        3. The just- approved RPTP foreshadows a link between New Lynn and the airport via Onehunga by 2021

        4. People who work at the airport itself have the option of catching the Skybus down Dominion Rd and Mt Eden Rd. Airport workers can get a hefty discount on the normal price though it is still more expensive than the 380.

          That connects well with the 66 but not the 670. I asked Skybus to put in an extra stop to connect with the 670 when the new network came in but they refused.

        5. That’s a pity. Thanks for that. It used to be that on the Journey Planner I could choose operators, and exclude the Sky Bus. That gave me the cheaper options. Now I can’t do that, so it only shows Sky Bus. I think that’s a backwards step.

    2. Yes good idea. Possible the route is getting too long but with Manukau Rd bus lanes should be OK. One issue would be timing point and bottleneck at Onehunga.

    3. I’ve made suggestions that a bus terminal get built into Royal Oak Mall. Otherwise it would be hard to see how to tie the 66 and 380 together.

  3. Those timelines show how poor the ‘predict and provide’ model is. Instead of trying to predicting when ‘demand’ will be there (by act of god) and precisely meet it, contemporary transport design thinking says it is better to get ahead of it and shape it. Don’t suffer demand; offer choice.

    Decide and provide, over predict and provide. Why? Because ‘demand’ is not neutral nor passive, what is provided shapes the nature of the travel market. And perhaps even more important; there are enormous consequences from trying to service these differences. Consequences in cost, for the rest of the city’s systems and there effectiveness, for the environment, public health, and safety.

    The report tries to show that with the 18 traffic lanes graphic, but this suggests there is still little sophistication higher up in the system if experts feel they need to resort to little pictures of trucks to get this point across!

  4. Great article.

    Off on a tangent but: This is yet more evidence that the polycentric city model doesn’t mean people end up moving to live near where they work. The airport has been in the same place for a long time and isn’t going to move in the foreseeable future. Yet look at how evenly spread its workforce is across Auckland.

    1. There is a lot more near Dominion Rd than either of the inner eastern and southern lines. If anything it backs up LR via Dominion Rd as opposed to HR via Onehunga.

  5. On the Airport to Botany side of the ledger you might as well bring everything forward with the full RTN set down for possible completion by 2028 not 2038.

    I notice the Botany Interchange was moved out from the Eastern Busway team and given to the A2B team – with completion of the Interchange set down for 2028 (Eastern Busway is due to be at Botany 2026).

    In any case looking at the dot map, A2B cant come fast enough as a cross town service, a commuter service, an airport passenger service and a community builder.

    1. +1, the government also need to buy as much land as possible at the Botany end and build it out to the Metro zone limits.

  6. Who are these comedians that make up this rubbish? SOVs need 6 traffic lanes worth of roads in 2014 and by 2046 need 18 lanes? So using that logic we will need 54 lanes in 2076 and by 2106 that will be 162 lanes width of road.
    Will air travel and need for airport employees just keep rising in a similar pattern. What possible logic informs us that both airpax numbers and employee numbers will double by 2041?
    Will some science nerd kid likely just born about now please please bring sanity into play and invent the star trek transporter. New parents should implement compulsory Star Trek tv viewing for their newborns until a Sheldon type genius emerges.

    1. Exactly Bogle – With such high carbon footprint of flying who really thinks air travel, particularly long haul will continue to increase at previous rates? We need to reduce carbon emissions by 6% a year, air travel will have to fall faster than that as it has such a big impact.

    2. No part of the logic behind a 30 year projection means you can just keep extending it indefinitely.

      The main inputs into projections like that are demographic factors like population growth and age structure, projections of tourism numbers, and especially planned development.

      You might have noticed the airport is building a second runway and has published its multi-decade master plans for expanding the terminal and converting bare land into commercial and industrial buildings. That development plan sets out a pretty reliable trajectory for the growth in transport generation in the airport area.

      But sure, it would be foolish to expect the current growth plans continue at the same rate for the next century.

    3. 1/They are not comedians, they are just idiots who think people will blindly accept that kind of bullshit posing as logic. 2/ Air travel will grow at a slower rate then start to drop as people try to reduce their carbon use. Air travel is one of the easy areas to cut back for most people as it tends to be the most unnecessary of emissions. Flight shaming has already started in many places, it will happen here with people shaming the Greens first, then when they act together they will shame everyone else. It will work, so best get your travelling done now. 3/ Don’t be the first person to jump into a teleporter to try it out.

      1. Fuel costs are likely to be a bigger curb on flying than people suddenly reaching a green mindset. Double the fuel costs and my flying days are over, simple as that.

      2. They are building Auckland’s second largest commercial/office/industrial precinct there, after the city centre. Variation in air travel is almost inconsequential to the transport demand requirements.

        1. Yes in perhaps the dumbest piece of planning the region has ever seen someone thought it would be a great idea to create lots of congestion at the airport.

        2. Well I’m not commenting on the strategic value of that piece of regional planning, just that there is a very sound basis to expect strong growth in travel demand to the area.

          Who knows, it could end up a fizzler like Albany.

        3. To be fair that was actually the goal with Albany. The idea was to zone land as far away from Takapuna as possible and use the zoning as a means to decline any retail located in a more convenient location in order to protect the business interests of the people who controlled the old Takapuna City.

      3. Not going to happen Miffy, air transport is only going up, as people from developing countries start to travel, only 120m Chinese and 80m Indians have passports. Just wait until they start to travel in real numbers.

    4. Once domestic flying is electrified – Air NZ has said they are confident this will happen in 10 years, likely 20 at the outside.

      Then Domestic air travel will increase quite a lot.

      [Why wouldn’t it – no substantial CO2 emissions to minimise – so other than cost, and noise issues and number of planes, Air NZ and the Airport company will be keen to indulge such travelling].

      So medium to longer term there – more movements there..

      Yes international long haul may drop off a bit. But overall I suspect the projections of total growth in air travel and employment are likely accurate – even if the timing of some targets is suspect.

      1. That would be nice to have electric powered domestic flights in 10 years. Air NZ seem more interested right now in non electric planes with their just announced order for eight 787-10 Dreamliner aircraft to Add to their current long haul fleet of thirteen 787-9 Dreamliners.
        A few more thousands of tons of CO2 emissions but that’s ok since AirNZ expect direct flights to NY. Great.

        1. Didn’t realize there were electric passenger planes available for purchase now.

          What you didn’t mention in your sarcastic crack at Air NZ was the fact these new planes will be 25% more fuel efficient than the ones they’re replacing.

        2. Sorry Vance, I allowed my concern over ever increasing air pollution caused by air travel to cloud my acceptance of Air NZ’s wonderful progress. 25% more fuel efficient is great, does that mean they can fly 25% further on same fuel amount, eg to NY non stop, or do they intend to reduce annual flight mileage to save 25% of co2 emissions into upper atmosphere. Or does it mean they can afford to purchase 25% more fuel and fly to more destinations? Will they pass on fuel cost savings to passengers? Or increase their profits?
          It would be wonderful to think the planet will be the winner from this fuel efficiency. Do you think so?
          Btw no sarcasm intended.

        3. Surely a lot of short haul domestic flights could be done by coach/regionrail and car.

        4. They might even save more than 25% as the GE engines can take off with a full fuel load and won’t require a ‘technical stop’ in order to avoid running the Rolls Royces at full revs.

        5. No doubt you’ve passed on your concerns about air travel to James Shaw.

          And while you were doing that, I’m sure you asked him to do his bit by cutting back on his travel as the minister who has spent the most on it.

          No sarcasm intended.

        6. Yes, James Shaw and air travel. I think he has disassociated his air travel from its pollution cost.
          I have not heard him spin excuses yet for his excessive air travel.

      1. Well you could probably fit an airport on about 150 of those lanes, so the airport could come to you…

  7. There are a lot of developments going on in the airport area. One I know about Foodstuffs which is moving to the Landing area in a year or two. 500-700 workers (most 9-5 in the office) and a big warehouse with a lot of trucks movement.

    Currently the only bus that serves the area is the 380 (which you have to get to) and that stops 10-15 minutes walk away. The Light Rail stop will be a similar distance walk although it’ll be easier to connect to than the 380. As per the article driving won’t be much fun either.

    1. The 380 airport to Onehunga is typical meandering bus route that takes forever to get anywhere, it’s even got a u turn at the Mangere TC. I can’t imagine many of the new workers at Foodstuffs would be using it. Light rail, on the other hand, would be a very attractive option provided it is fast.

    2. Foodstuffs going to have a large warehouse in landing area with lots of truck movement?
      If there ever was a damn good reason for HR extension to airport then getting this foodstuffs food and stuff from air cargo pallets direct to rail shipping air pallet wagons, then this is it.
      Do we really need lots of additional truck movement on SH20a/b that can hardly cope with present traffic?

      1. I’d prefer for PT to be built to reduce the number SOV moving around, effectively re-purposing existing road space to more productive uses like goods movement and those that need vehicles to move between places of work such as tradies and sales reps.

    3. Vance, last time I used Auckland Airport, I went by train from Swanson to Mt Eden, then bus from Mt Eden direct to the Domestic Terminal. Was only 25 minutes from Mt Eden to the Domestic Terminal as well.

      Skybus should feature prominently on Auckland’s transit maps. It is a high frequency service, yet tends to get ignored just because it’s privately run. Which leads us back to Heidi’s post last week, about bringing all PT options under one umbrella, at least online and on maps.

      1. Geoff – totally agree. It takes dedication and a sick sense of geography to follow where to get a Skybus from.
        • I know that Auckland has being having growing pains, and currently has dug up half of its downtown, which really confuses things, but:
        • I catch Skybus reasonably often. But the route and stops keep moving. It used to leave from down opposite the Ferry Terminal. Then it moved to Customs St. Then to lower Queen St, going up hill (south).
        • Now it seems to go down Queen St (going north) and then zoom up Nelson St or something? Buggered if I could find it the other day.
        • It doesn’t appear on the LED displays of when a bus is due.
        • It distributes a paper timetable with maps of Domestic and International Terminals, but no map of downtown Auckland.
        • It says it stops at 99 Queen St or 151 Queen St, (ie on the side of the road going north, counter-intuitively) but hardly anyone has the number of their building on their shopfront in Queen St. Can anyone tell me off the top of their head, where 151 Queen St is?
        • Don’t search on google maps. Imagine you are a tourist in a strange land – how the hell are you going to find where the bus goes from?
        • It doesn’t even have a proper sign on a lamppost – just a piece of white A4 paper tied on with string. Sort your life out!!

        1. When I was in Auckland last Thursday they seemed t have a stop in custom street outside the old South Pacific Hotel opposite Queens Arcade

  8. Its just as well we have integrated ticketing because only a few are going to get a one seat ride. Its a bit denser through Otara, Mangere and Papatoetoe though. I suppose the tricky part will be to redesign the bus network so that journeys from those areas only require one transfer. My analysis of the situation is that switching the 380 from Papatoetoe station to Puhinui just makes that harder.

    1. Heaps will get oneseat rides; Pakuranga, Botany, Manukau City on the east side, and city, Isthmus, Mangere, from the north with LR.

      Puhinui interchange to Botany line means anyone on fully 2/3 of the rail network get there with one easy transfer.

      The current transfer at Papatoetoe, which I do fairly regularly, is far from ideal, long and exposed. Also the bus often get snarled getting there…

      We all impatient, but improvements are coming.

      1. However we don’t want people who currently have a two leg journey having to have a three leg journey particularly if they are only about 5 miles from the airport. Look at current 31 bus users who change at Papatoetoe station for 380 to the airport.

  9. Last year there was a discussion – many discussions – here about exactly who would use the PT to the Airport. I was told very definitely by someone here that the main users of transport to the airport would NOT be travellers, or traffic related to travellers, but would in fact be people working in the area.

    I’m so glad to be proved right. 20% + 21% + 28% = 69% are traveller related. Beats the 28% of employees hands down.

    But more to the point – just image the reduction of traffic on Auckland’s roads if we could remove that 69% of traffic off the road to the airport and put them in a high speed rapid transit system instead. What a fantastic result! Leaves lots of room for that 3% of freight traffic to expand considerably….

    1. that would only be applicable if the LRT only catered for the Airport. You are forgetting the entire length of the line from manukau to the city.
      Those will be everyday passengers some of which may work in the Airport area or may be traveling. Also meeters/greeter are not travelers so i’m not sure why you are counting them in there. Once light rail is introduced they will move to the LRT stations just like they have in most of the world.

      Dedicated Airport lines are not worth the money and require high subsidies in order to keep running. It isn’t successful anywhere in the world why would it be here?

      1. Dedicated Airport lines “not worth the money” and “isn’t successful anywhere in the world” ??

        Are you on the same planet as me? Heathrow Express? Hong Kong? Tokyo? Stansted? Istanbul? etc etc. All work just fine as far as I can see. But by comparison, Gatwick shares a line and its hideous. Auckland has nothing but taxis and a bus, and it is hideous. Sydney works well as it has rail, Melbourne has that ridiculous bus or taxi service which costs and arm / leg combo.

        But I’m not suggesting dedicated airport lines anyway – just noting that the facts and figures show that there is going to be a whole heap of airport related traffic using the PT link, and hopefully, getting out of cars. I know for one (myself: frequent visitor to Auckland) that the day they open up a high speed, reliable PT service from the airport to the city, that I’ll never take a car in Auckland again.

        1. All of those cited serve massive cities of ten to twenty million people, connecting to massive regional air hubs, and even then they aren’t particularly well used.

          Istanbul doesn’t have an airport express, it has a crosstown metro that links to a light rail line to the city. The new Istanbul airport is getting a metro line, but again not an express stopping at eight stations on the way to the financial district.

          Sydney works well precisely because it is not a dedicated airport line, the terminals are just two stops of thirty on the south line.

        2. I nominate the Malpensa Express to Milan as successful. From memory this has only 3 or 4 stops.
          Would I want similar for Auckland? No, I think that the proposed light rail is a very acceptable solution.

        3. Gatwick and Heathrow *both* have expresses, but the stopping services are far more popular. As someone else has said, if Auckland ever has 10m people, we can build you an airport express.

          Look at Toronto for a fairly large city with a failed airport express.

    2. No-one said that the proportions of users on PT would be the same as overall users. Also, I expect Meeters & Greeters (how is dropping someone off either of these?) to reduce more during peak traffic times than other times if congestion-resistant PT is available, helping with peak requirements more than simple mode-share changes would suggest.
      Also, how are taxi-drivers counted? Public Pick-up/Drop-off (part of Meeters & Greeters)?

    3. It ay well have been you ad I who had the discussion. You’ve made an omission in your maths:
      We are talking about *land* transport to the airport and that chart shows customers, not trips. Employees travel twice (there and back) passengers travel once (there or back), so there are more trips by employees than passengers.
      I believe our discussion last year was also talking about travellers having heavy suitcases and not wanting to transfer. Ignoring that many travellers are happy to transfer with heavy luggage, and that many travellers don’t have heavy luggage; none of the meeters and greeters have heavy luggage, so would probably prefer a twin LRT system with 40 stations linked to the airport over a three stop express heavy rail option.

    4. Guy the issue is that we know we can expect workers, who travel ten times a week to/from airport, are cost sensitive, and who will know the system and work out a routine, will make up a greater proportion of users.

      Regular fliers, especially the carryon only types, may learn a new routine if it’s reliable and convenient, and fast enough (other two features matter more).

      People already spending thousands on a flash holiday, getting to the airport infrequently, travelling with family, and luggage, have other reasons to drive, and many will keep doing so.

      Make it work well for groups 1 + 2 first. Do the best possible for 3. But remember you’re serving drivers already by attracting those first groups out of cars or taxis.

  10. At the end of the day we end up with this, in terms of primary PT option for airports:

    Brisbane (23 million) – Train.
    Sydney (42 million) – Train.
    Melbourne (37 million) – Train (planned).
    Perth – (14 million) – Train (planned).

    Auckland – (40 million) – Bus to Puhinui.

    Perhaps we need to become a state of Australia, so we can do things properly, and with vision.

    The first thing international airport travellers do when they arrive in a country, is head for the railway station. If it’s only a bus on offer, then a greater percentage will go with rental cars, shuttle buses, etc. A bus, especially one that doesn’t take you to your destination, isn’t as attracive.

    No vision = fragmented outcome. Let’s settle for 5-10% of airport travellers on PT and not push for 30%. It’ll do.

    1. So a rail line from the city and central suburbs, plus a dedicated BRT line to the eastern suburbs that also functions as a shuttle from the southern rail lines, plus a surface bus network from neighboring suburbs direct to the airport… that’s no vision?

    2. Also, Ii we are going to compare apples with apples, then your list above should read:

      Auckland – (21 million) – Bus to Puhinui. Light Rail (planned).

      You can’t take estimated pax from 20 years in the future and compare with current pax loads at other airports.

      1. Raffe, why would you mention light rail, when NZTA don’t? They’ve removed the airport from not just the name of the project, but the list of locations to benefit from it on their website. They explain how it will improve things for local communities, but fail to mention anything after Mangere.

        That’s not surprising, given they’ve already come out and stated the Puhinui connection is the airport service. That’s good in that it’s an acknowledgement that the rail network provides a much larger catchment, but bad in that it’s a bus link.

        If you meant light rail from Puhinui – forget it. If that was a serious idea it would be that from day 1. It’s cheaper to build something once than twice.

        1. The idea that light rail will terminate at Mangere and not continue to the airport is absurd, the gap is so small. Sure the initial target might be Mangere but the gap will be closed sooner or later.

        2. You guys are funny, trying to confect anything you can to support your curious position. They don’t mention any of the stations specifically on the NZTA website. However the map clearly shows the terminus at the airport. If you are still worried check the last question time in parliament, where Phil Twyford was queried on rail to the airport. Specifically to the airport. He said clearly that the train to the airport was still happening, they were reviewing the unsolicited proposals and were going to release their decision soon.

        3. No mention of the AIA, except for the six times that they say airport, including these:

          “The NZ Transport Agency and its partners Auckland Council, Auckland Transport and HLC are working together to deliver the City Centre to Māngere light rail line that will connect two of Auckland’s fastest growing employment centres – the city centre and the airport – while connecting communities along its route.”

          “Provide an attractive and reliable “one seat journey” for locations along the route between the city centre and the airport for travellers.”

          You guys are the Simone Biles of mental gynastics.

        4. I thought that with the Onehunga Line in relation to the new Mangere Bridge having some of the bridge piers strengthened to carry a rail line to the airport.

          That didn’t work out too well did it?

        5. The SH20 bridge was built with a contract variation that added capacity to carry rail.

          Current analysis I heard of this capacity is that the trains will have to slow to a crawl.

          Given the NOMB is designed and being contracted (now) only for walking and cycling. A third crossing is the likely option for rail.

        6. My understanding, and this is very much second hand, is that this future proofing amounted to strengthening the foundations to be able to take a rail clip on. However, no other alignment or geometry changes were made, it’s just a motorway bridge with thicker piers. Apparently they did design a rail deck that could work it’s way around the motorway bridge piers, but this was limited to single track with a 20km/h design speed.

        7. Geoff, what an odd comment. Have you even read the page? It is there in the purpose, on the NZIA project page, quoted:

          The NZ Transport Agency and its partners Auckland Council, Auckland Transport and HLC are working together to deliver the City Centre to Māngere light rail line that will connect two of Auckland’s fastest growing employment centres – the city centre and the airport – while connecting communities along its route.

          It’s also on the map page:

        8. If the Onehunga Line was carried across the new Mangere Bridge when it was built, those residents would already be enjoying the benefits of a HR connection to Britomart.

          The line could have then been staged to the Airport as finances permitted.

        9. Only half of them would (cannot have as many HR stations) for twice the cost.

          The conspiracy theorists still havent read the anaklysis, I see….

    3. Having visited KL and Seoul, it was a train I took from the airport to the city on both occasions – quick and efficient.

      Spending $60m on Puhinui Station is waste of money in my opinion.


        Seoul has cancelled their high speed train to the airport due to lack of use, leaving the fourteen-station metro line to link Incheon and downtown. The do apparently run an express service on the metro line, but according to this “Approximately 150,000 passengers use the ordinary train every day while only 2,000 use the express train. ”

        If an express train linking Incheon Airport (70m passengers a year) to Seoul (population 18 million) only manages 2,000 users a day, what hope would Auckland have?

      2. Auckland Airport plans for growth in vehicle numbers, which I have read elsewhere as being a 42% increase, are a complete disgrace. If the proposed Carbon Zero legislation is permissive of this then it is deeply concerning.
        AIA is required to have a sustainability policy as part of being listed on the NZ Stock Exchange. This policy is deficient, failing to address carbon emissions caused by workers and visitors to the airport.

        It is also concerning that Council with a significant stake in AIA has expressed no thoughts as to appropriate emissions emanating from the operating model of AIA. One wonders exactly what Councillors discussed in their recent workshop on climate change. If the best is to offer free weekend transport for kids then I am deeply worried that our city leadership is incapable of adequately addressing emissions.

        It seems reasonable that AIA should be commencing now to start to reduce emissions caused by their business.

        As Matt says, the proposed transport links to the airport should be well capable of handling all future demand. More importantly, as Patrick says, decide and provide seems to be the best way. Lets decide the best transport solutions that we want for our city considering environmental aspects as well as transport.

        While international air travel is an important part of the NZ economy there is no similar argument that travel to and from the airport should be so environmentally destructive. As well as providing great PT infrastructure maybe there is a strong case already to establish financial disincentives to driving to pay for and encourage use of alternative options?

      3. Hi Vance, I guess you have not yet made it to JFK (New York) where accessing the public transport is via the Air Train to Jamaica Station then a change to the rest of the network. No one board connection to Manhattan at all.

        1. With the way the economy is, along with the falling exchange rate, I don’t think I’ll be getting there anytime soon.

    4. A train every half hour to Brisbane airport, and bizarrely the same half hourly train to to provide the domestic to international terminals, is simply inadequate public transport provision . Auckland Airport Public Transport provision with a frequent bus to a frequent train, a frequent terminal transfer bus, and frequent express buses to the central isthmus, CBD and the North Shore is way better, even before a LRT service.

    5. Geoff this is just silly, it isn’t the weight of the train that matters. It’s the quality of the service and the route. Evidence from all around the world is that frequency, reliability, and catchment of route (ie having a range of stops) matters more than shaving a few seconds off with an express.

      And absolutely no one cars about the train classification, heavy or light, except a few obsessive train spotters.

    6. Geoff – wouldn’t it make more sense to show the predicted passenger volumes for Melbourne when they actually get a train. I doubt Melbourne are expecting their volumes to stay static, while Auckland’s double.

      The correct current comparison is:

      Melbourne (37 million) – bus to Broadmeadows line or Skybus
      Auckland (20 million) – bus to Papatoetoe station or Skybus

      Any comparison with Melbourne makes us look pretty good.

    7. I’d like to see some figures about the profitability of the Brisbane airport link. Does it make a profit or does it rely upon subsidies?
      I’ve taken it several times and it’s never had too many passengers on it.

      I think an Auckland airport link should be being planned. It should be a heavy rail link extended from the Onehunga branch, should also be tied in with a project to double-track and grade separate the Onehunga branch and it should be targeted to begin in about 2030.

  11. Some comments, with an eye to UK experience:

    * There is a direct relationship between the proportion of an airport’s traffic which is inbound (=foreign-resident) and the proportion of the airport’s traffic which uses public transport. This is because this traffic is generally going into the central city after it arrives – OTOH, the dispersed trip patterns of locals are very difficult to serve by public transport. It’s not necessarily about mode.

    * In Auckland’s case, with a lot of long-haul inbound traffic, this might not apply – luggage is simply too much of an issue. As are children.

    * People working at the airport proper tend to have staggered working hours, which a lot of the time mean that they are travelling outwith peak times. With the availability of staff parking at the airport, I would not expect much of this market to use airport public transport – or indeed, be able to.

    * Having used them, I can comment at length on various airport rail links. The key thing is to have rolling stock which is fit for purpose (as the Skybus is). The other key thing is a decent service frequency.

    1. While the core airport staff will work a range of different shift, the busiest time for staff is still the standard working hours. However, the majority of staff on the airport precinct are not core airport staff and the vast majority of them will work something close to a 8 – 5 day.

      Also the majority of passengers at Auckland are not on long-haul flights, they are either domestic, trans-Tasman or Pacific.

      1. Thanks for your comments. To clarify, my thesis that if people have work parking provided, they will almost always drive. As the key consideration in modal choice is reducing end-to-end journey time, subject to a budget constraint, driving will remain the preferred option in the majority of cases.

        Where I live (Edinburgh, Scotland), the local airport has nearly 35 percent of its passengers use public transport. However, the number of employees in the airport precinct who use public transport to get to work is no more than ten percent, and that is with 8 buses/hour and 8 trams/hour between the airport and the city centre. My point is that I don’t expect much of a market for public transport from people working at the airport itself, and at the very least this consideration in the argument for airport PT options needs to be tested further.

        1. “As the key consideration in modal choice is reducing end-to-end journey time, subject to a budget constraint, driving will remain the preferred option in the majority of cases.”

          I’d argue that you’ve got that backwards for most people. People are trying to reduce total cost (which may include a non-financial cost, such as feeling bad for emitting carbon, or getting stressed by traffic), subject to a time constraint.

        2. Another key consideration you have missed is the cost of car storage at the airport, the monetary cost will continue to rise ahead of inflation. There is also the perceived cost of of degraded security of storage of the car at the airport compared to at home. And the cost in time of parking, and retreiving any car from the parking lot.

        3. “Cost of car storage”? For people who work at the airport, which is what I was discussing, the staff parking would, in most cases, be free to the user (I think, but others might know better).

        4. Free, but often at a remote parking lot at the end of a shuttle bus. It can take 25 to 30 minutes to get from job to exiting the carpark.

        5. Ross – yes it is generally free, but as Nick said if you work in the airport proper it can easily burn up a decent chunk of your day just getting to the carpark.

          Even my former employer in Airport Oaks area had half it’s carparking a 15 minute walk from the office. It’s a soul destroying commute in and out of the airport, even if the parking is free.

          I’d also hazard a guess that as employment grows and PT improves free parking in the area will become less prevalent.

  12. Folks
    The block diagram that shows 6 traffic lanes access to Auckland Airport in 2014 in my view is misleading, or maybe its my Irish brain.
    There are 3 traffic lanes to the Airport and 3 leading from the Airport.
    SH 20A & 20B are 2 lane motorways from where the Southwest branches off SH20
    The eastern access route is also a joke, with the stupid egress from the South west motorway and its double roundabouts to get into the airport, which cause most congestion.
    It is also a real shame that the current Socialist Government canned the East West access way.
    The mistake that National made with it was limiting it to a new motorway when it is ideal to have a combined rail line/ dual carriageway road.
    The rail line would continue on through sylvia park to central Auckland.
    The rail line would require a new bridge over the manukau and then run alongside SH20 & 20a to the airport. This could be built from the airport so that they meet at the new bridge
    At the same time the disastrous Mt Wellington interchange could be upgraded to eliminate the 2 lane bottle neck on the southern motorway.
    The proposed interchange at Puhinui will require the destruction of Puhinui road on either side of the interchange from southern to the south western motorways as stage 2 of its development.
    As for light rail down Dominion road – what a load of crap, stop wasting money on it and start making modest improvements to Dominion road itself, like removing street parking either side of the Balmoral road crossing.
    Air travel may from time to time decline, but with the current speed of production of new aircraft, it will grow over the long term and with the introduction of electric engines will grow again, i acknowledge they need to solve battery power lasting storage, ut the removal of fossil fuel from aircraft wings will allow storage batteries to be introduced.
    Finally you may not realise it but the park and ride car park about 2 kilometres from the airport is apparently the largest car park in the southern hemisphere of the world. It covers over 10 hectares of land.
    One piece of advice, when you get off an Air New Zealand flight that is 4 hours late arriving from Sydney and you are wondering around that car park at 3am on a very cold morning. It takes 45 minutes to walk around it to find your car. A remote car opening button is very useful.
    Regards ALAN

    The diagram is misleading.

    1. Who are you talking to? Who do you think made the diagram?

      Do you mind letting us know what problems you are trying to solve (travel time, perhaps, for someone in a car or train?), and which problems (eg climate change, induced traffic from road capacity expansion, air pollution, safety concerns from too much traffic) you are ignoring?

    2. I’m glad you said”southern hemisphere of the world.” The way you rambled on I might have thought you were talking about Mars!

  13. I’ve just had a quick look at the City Centre to Mangere Light Rail report on the NZTA.

    Some interesting quotes:

    “Will run on some of New Zealand’s most iconic streets including Queen Street and Dominion Road”.

    Who knew Dominion Road was an iconic road?

    Then this little gem:

    “More people choosing to live in Onehunga with KiwiBuild underway”.

    Of the 83 completed houses, I wonder how many are in Onehunga?

    HR to Mangere along with connecting buses to the station would be far easier to achieve than LR to Mangere.

    1. The one thing I’ve never got a satisfactory answer about is how the light rail as routed is going to avoid taking up the corridor safeguarded for the Southdown-Avondale link.
      I’ve had one guy pretend that there’s somehow room galore for double-track of light rail (at standard gauge) and a single rack of mainline with all the necessary clearances. Even though anyone can see that there isn’t.
      But hey; they’re the same folk who also pretend that the hypothetical Auckland LRT to the airpot pottering down not very wide Dominion road will be as rapid as the train in Seattle that cruises down the massive median strip of Martin Luther King drive….

      1. One option is via Royal Oak. Another option is Patrick’s tunnel.

        PS: I’m not sure if you’ve heard. The CC2M is about Mangere and not the airport.

      2. Where is it that you can see that there isn’t room? How wide are you thinking is needed for both sets of tracks?

      3. That designation is at least 30m wide where over the entire 2 km length where LRT is proposed to run in the ASL designation.

        PS, no one is suggesting that LRT on Dominion Road will achieve the same top speed as Martin Luther King Jr Drive. However, the aveage speed of the line will be similar as most of the route to the airport runs along the motorway.

        1. You were saying that it will make 30 stops en-route?

          Hahahahahaha good luck with that transit speed….

        2. I have literally never said that it will make 30 stops. If you read the Jacobs report you would know how many stops are planned

      1. Thanks to that song Dominion Rd was one of the three roads/streets I knew about before I lived in Auckland, the other two being K Road and Queen St.

  14. Kiwibuild in Onehunga:

    There is also a large HNZ and HLC program in Onehunga and Oranga. Plus other private apartments developments going up: Fabric, Onehunga Bay Terrace, Beachcroft Apartments.

    1. HRT will never go to the airport. 2. The existing HRT network does not have enough capacity.

    Let’s stop argue these points, over and over.

    1. “The existing HRT network does not have enough capacity.”

      Aside from the 3rd main whose funding & construction keeps getting bumbled-around; exactly how is that?
      Especially once the CRL comes on-line and the capacity gets multiplied.

        1. Ah no.
          There should be plenty of excess capacity once the CRL comes into service. That’s what happens when a terminus is changed to a through station.

        2. It’s fairly simple, all the HR line currently feed down to a single pinch point, the entrance tunnel to Britomart. This means the entire HR network can only run at the 20tph that can run into Britomart. All of these slots are currently occupied with three main lines at 6tph and one branch at 2tph. Before the CRL, the only capacity increase will come from lengthening the remaining 3 car units to 6 cars, with the trains that are currently on order. But that doesn’t mean any more trains can run, only longer ones.

          With the CRL opening there is a capacity increase with two through tracks for running more trains, and with the allowance to lengthen to 9 car trains. However, the increase in train frequency that the CRL creates isn’t unlimited, it amounts to an extra 12 trains an hour, which is allocated across the three main lines already for more peak frequency.

          The reason they recently changed the CRL designs to have longer platforms for 9 car sets is they knew that they frequency was insufficient for the modelled demand, i.e. all the extra train slots created are going to be used on the existing lines.

          So long story short, all the train capacity is already allocated to the current lines to meet demand. To add a whole new line in would require taking train slots away from the existing lines, which are going to be overcrowded as it is. So robbing Peter to pay Paul.

          That’s why we need an additional rail network, because we want to run a lot more trains for several new lines, and we cant stick them all on the same two tracks of the CRL.

        3. If the CRL can run 3 tph to Onehunga, that same Onehunga branch with that frequency can be extended to Mangere and the airport.

          And besides; It’s not entirely convincing that Auckland needs more than 10 minute peak frequencies nor will for a log time with its not exactly crammed patronage levels. European cities with “S-Bahn” networks that have far higher patronage levels than Auckland has make do using a central tunnel that’s double-tracked and ten-minute peak frequencies.

        4. Imagine spending $2b to run three trains an hour to the airport, and connect at Penrose…..

        5. Auckland’s peak trains actually are very crammed, we have extra trains being built in Spain to try and address that. That will only continue once the CRL is open with it’s vastly improved access and service levels.

          Auckland’s system will be very like an S Bahn in form, however it will h end up like a hybrid of S Bahn and U Bahn in function for the simple fact that we don’t have additional metro lines or extensive tram systems like most European cities. One train every ten minutes on the main lines simply isn’t going to cut it with the projected demands, it barely manages today.

        6. @Sailor boy:
          Allegedly 2 billion dollars, and which would be an extension of the Onehunga line and thus also go to the CRL. And which could move more than 2,100 people each hour.

          And that’s IF it can’t get more than 20 minute frequencies. I have to scratch my head over the following map:

          Where the western line with 6 tph somehow becomes the Onehunga line with only 3 thp and 6+6+3 somehow equals 24. Nor do I see any need for the hypothetical brown line let lone for it to give 5 minute frequencies on the eastern line.

          So I can’t see any reason why the hypothetical 20 minute frequencies couldn’t be increased if it was needed.

        7. @Nick R.
          S-bahn systems are by definition suburban systems on mainline networks that have metro-like features on the central core.
          That looks exactly like what Auckland is getting to me. And that’s fine and dandy! It doesn’t need to pretend it’s a rapid transit metro.

          Somehow Stuttgart’s S-Bahn (nowhere near Germanys biggest nor busiest) has twice the number of Auckland’s overall annual patronage on trains with 2 x 4-car sets and thus similar capacity to an Auckland 3 x 3-car set makes do with 10 minute peak frequencies and the central section being merely a two single-track tunnels (like the CRL will be).

          I find this claim that Auckland’s system is anywhere near capacity is extremely hard to take seriously.

        8. Only 3 of Stuttgart’s 7 lines use that tunnel however, as it is a bottleneck on the network, which any quick Google will tell you:

          “All seven S-Bahn lines travel under the downtown area to Schwabstraße, and three continue on to Vaihingen through a dual-track tunnel. This tunnel, however, presents a bottleneck that limits train headways to two and a half minutes, meaning that trains on each individual line can only run at 15-minute headways.”

          You see it isn’t under the highest demand area, the city centre, unlike the CRL in AKL. There at the city centre there is a little more track resource.

          Really Stuttgart is a hilarious example to choose to argue that a simple 2-track tunnel has some kind of vast capacity, as right now they are expanding the Hauptbahnhoff in order to give it 8 through tracks, through a highly contested project that got a lot of publicity called Stuttgart 21:

          Daniel your bluster, while entertaining, doesn’t quite seem to have much basis in fact…

          Stuttgart S-Bahn

          Stuttgart HautBahnhoff

        9. The CRL can easily handle airport trains. They are already planning to terminate at least six trains per hour at Penrose and Otahuhu. Just run them to the airport instead. No extra movements through the CRL.

          Myth busted.

        10. Geoff – not sure the myth is really busted. The three services per hour that terminate at Otahuhu do not run through the CRL.

        11. LOL here we go.
          “Only 3 of Stuttgart’s 7 lines use that tunnel however, as it is a bottleneck on the network, which any quick Google will tell you”

          Ah no Patrick.
          A simple google informs anyone of the exact opposite, that as a matter of fact all 7 lines pass through tunnelling of double-track only between the Hauptbahnhof and the Schwabstraße bahnhof.
          It’s merely that only 3 of those 7 lines then continue on beyond the Schwabstraße bahnhof to Vaihingen bahnhof (which btw is above-ground).

          “You see it isn’t under the highest demand area, the city centre, unlike the CRL in AKL. There at the city centre there is a little more track resource.”

          Ahahahaha ah no, let’s look again;
          What your image is actually showing and what the map can verify, is that the Verbindungsbahn that the S-bahn lines run through do very much run pretty close to through the town centre. That’s exactly why one of the bahnhof on this tunnel is called “StadtMitte” (which translates directly to “town middle”!
          All you’ve got to ever give anyone the idea otherwise is that for some odd reason, on the map image you provided, the name of the city”Stuttgart” is offset to the lower right rather than appearing over the actual town centre, AKA “the highest demand area”.

          “s right now they are expanding the Hauptbahnhoff in order to give it 8 through tracks, through a highly contested project that got a lot of publicity called Stuttgart 21:

          Oh dear Patrick.
          You’ve actually proven yourself wrong again.
          as anyone who actually opens that wikipedia link can see for themselves; the Suttgart 21 project has nothing whatsoever to do with Stuttgart’s S-Bahn, it’s entirely about intercity trains.

          I was wrong about the frequency of services, it looks like peak services are 15 minutes and not 10 minutes.
          But ironically this actually aids my argument. Because it shows that an S-Bahn with about twice the annual patronage of Auckland’s suburban train network makes do with 15 minute frequencies. And that further proves that Auckland does NOWHERE NEAR need the high amount of frequencies (5 minutes on most lines) that are being used to claim that an HR airport service isn’t possible and is unlikely to for a long time (if ever).

          I notice that you’re silent on the CRL map where the Onehunga branch has mysterious 20 minute frequencies. 😉

          “Really Stuttgart is a hilarious example to choose to argue that a simple 2-track tunnel has some kind of vast capacity…”
          “…Daniel your bluster, while entertaining, doesn’t quite seem to have much basis in fact…”
          Not only is Stuttgart an excellent example of how Auckland doesn’t need the 5 minute frequencies people are claiming that will prevent any sort of Airport service (along with any sort of dedicated express service) but your own amateur errors in attempting to debate me on this have only further proven my point (and demolished your own).
          As for “bluster”, I think most people would agree that that’s more descriptive of someone who presents information that turns out to disprove their argument, and someone who suddenly adopts a bullying (and I have to say; desperate) tone.

        12. @Geoff,
          Only the brown line goes through the CRL. And yes that also crossed my mind (but I was saving it); there’s no reason why that hypothetical service couldn’t continue to the airport.

          But I still stand by my point: With 9-car sets capable of taking over 1000 passengers; will Auckland even need 5 minute frequencies on this network?
          Especially with a reasonable expectation of (actual, not pretend) metro lines coming in the future.

        13. Yes, we will. We are expecting about 200,000 jobs in the city centre within 30 years, over 100,000 of them will catch public transport. 24tph each way through the city centre is 48 trains into the city centre each hour, with 1,000 people each that is 96,000 people over the 2 hour peak. The CRL doesn’t have enough capacity.

          Especially with [no] reasonable expectation of [more] metro lines coming in the future.

          Also, the $2b is ‘alleged’ by expert estimators. Of any possible allegation, it is the most trustworthy.

        14. Oh wait everyone; expert (on the basis of having lived in London for a year) Sailor Boy has stated something definite, we need to take it as gospel (*smirks*).

          Currently there’s not quite 120,000 jobs in the Auckland CBD. I’m sure this will climb over the decades, despite the trend of people working from home, to 200,000 people. MAYBE then 5 minute peak frequencies will be needed (in the unlikely event that no other mass transit is built for the Auckland CBD).
          Let’s say that’s two decades away; is the surplus capacity of the CRL just going to sit idle in over that time?

          But it’s all a moot point. Because if HR is linked to the airport; it can become part of those frequent services. The extended Onehunga line can run at 6tph. And as Geoff pointed out; the mysterious brown line can also be extended to the Airport, possible via a South Connection to Puhinui.

          “expert estimators. Of any possible allegation, it is the most trustworthy.”

          P.S. Auckland has no metro to be “more”. It very may well get one metro line when the Auckland Busway gets upgraded. Especially if the second harbour tunnel is the tunnel that was planned.

        15. I really don’t know what the point of you linking that article is Sailor Boy.
          Or why you even needed to reply.

          Was a case fo you just having to get the last word in, no matter how irrelevant?

        16. You criticised me for not citing my claims of 200,000 city centre employees, the link shows 200,000 employees. The link proves once again that your reckons are wrong.

          You can’t criticise me for not posting proof of my claims and then criticise me for posting proof of my claims, it makes it look like you’re just desperate to shoot the messenger because you don’t like the message.

  15. The KL Ekspress is a direct (no stops) service to KL Sentral. Nothing of that nature is proposed in Auckland, even for HR, so how is that comparable?

  16. Ah no.
    There should be plenty of excess capacity once the CRL comes into service. That’s what happens when a terminus is changed to a through station.

    1. Daniel this is clearly not the case, see Nick above. It’s just a simple piece of twin track plugged into a small interlined network.

      One of the things that so puzzles me about many rail fans is how little they seem to understand about rail, and in particular just how limited the rail resource is in Auckland. Ours is a little wee two track system, that runs both Metro and freight services interlined. Even a cursory glance at Brisbane, Melbourne, or Sydney (even Wellington!) shows the sort of track resource required to run trains to lots of places on any kind of reasonable frequency.

      Sydney is currently adding two additional and separate railways to its existing pair (separate freight and passenger networks). The new Metro and their second Light Railway. Both of these are separate from the main existing network and each other, because interlining is a limiting factor for railway capacity and reliability, not an advantage.

      That Auckland’s next passenger rail network needs to be a second separate one is a cause for celebration because it means the current one is at last getting used to capacity. It also means we don’t have to stick with a bunch of old features for the next one (like gauge). They will be complementary and connected by transfer but not interlined. This is a good thing. Like most urban rail systems.

      But it in no way means the existing one is done, it’ll keep getting upgraded, improved and worked even harder (eg with Intercity services), and we will need to work towards separating Metro and Freight as much as possible (3rd, 4th main etc). Real express services will require a whole lot additional track.

      1. Auckland doesn’t have “metro” services, it has suburban services on the mainline standard network. A metro is a system with standards optimised for shuttling people about an urban area, that’s why metros’ have things like latitudinal seating ad large standing areas.

        I’m far from convinced that Auckland needs to have 5 minute peak frequencies on the eastern line. And not really convinced it needs more than 10 minute frequencies on the western and Southern lines. In any case; why wouldn’t the projected 20 minute peak frequencies on the existing Onehunga branch be good enough for an extension to Mangere ad the airport? 20 minutes is still pretty frequent….

        1. “20 minutes is still pretty frequent”

          Have you never used public transport or something? Imagine finishing a doctor’s appontment and getting to the train station only to have to wait 19 minutes for the next service.

        2. @Sailor boy: I grew up using the wellington suburban train network, have used trains for commuting whilst living in London and Sydney and have used rail systems as a tourist all over Europe and Japan.
          I must’ve seen at least a dozen S-bahn networks with patronage levels that easily dwarf Auckland’s and which have no problem with 10 minute peak frequencies and on two-track tunnel.

          If you’re accustomed to using suburban trains; you’re accustomed to the responsibility of getting to the station a few minutes before the train is advertised to arrive. That’s how it works; You (have to) build your journey around the train timetable.
          I can only guess that you’re a recent user of trains… 😉

        3. Daniel – which S-bahn networks have you used that have patronage that dwarfs Auckland’s with 10-minute peak frequencies?

        4. “If you’re accustomed to using [terrible] trains; you’re accustomed to the [time wasted by] getting to the station a few minutes before the train is advertised to arrive. That’s how [bad networks] work[]; You (have to) build your journey around the train timetable.”

          Fixed that for you. The best train networks are based on frequency and reliability. I have lived in London for the last year, the only times I have checked a timetable for buses or trains is for trips between 12 am and 5 am and trips to the secondary station of a town of 10,000 people over an hour from the city centre.

          Also, Hamburg operates 5 minute frequencies all day on one of it’s lines and on peak on all lines, but nice try.

        5. Oh well done Sailor Boy. You’ve lived in London for a year and you’re now an expert on what the “best networks” across the world are (yahahahaha!). Too bad you still seem to be in the mindset of using a private car where it’s all at your whim.
          Public transport by definition is run around timetables. Around the world it’s only metro lines and some of the more frequent suburban services where frequencies are less than 5 minutes that allow passengers to just rock up at the station and wait a few minutes for the next service.
          The reason why you can experience this in London is because London has a population of over 8 million people and thus can justify a metro system of many lines. Suburbs like Hackney and Tower Hamlets have populations in their hundreds of thousands, and millions of people work in the city of London itself.
          Auckland simply does not have any metro. Nor does its existing suburban rail system neither interchange with any metro nor travel within any heavily populated suburbs like the lines of the overground with peak frequency less than 5 minutes do. After-all; Auckland is not a very big city by any reckoning. If Auckland Transport ever attempted to run its train system with such frequencies; it would run out of money because the farebox recovery from the lower passenger numbers wouldn’t cover the cost of paying the staff and maintaining the trains on this heavier schedule.
          And in any case; aside from the TfL “Overground” service lines that run on the East London Line and North London lines; all the suburban services across London from all operators run at at best 15 minute frequencies anyway.

          I’m sure the rest of the PT using world gives a toss what you think is “terrible” and a “bad network” (*winks*). But somehow I think you’re not being honest with your claim about never checking any timetable (or you haven’t actually got out and done much :D)

        6. “Public transport by definition is run around timetables. Around the world it’s only metro lines and some of the more frequent suburban services where frequencies are less than 5 minutes that allow passengers to just rock up at the station and wait a few minutes for the next service.”

          Nope, huge parts of the bus networks in many cities have no timetables, they operate on headways not timings. There are many train networks where the trains run to a timetable, but passengers don’t actually need the timetable: Sydney’s ‘suburban’ trains operate at turn up and go frequencies. Most LRTsystems built in the last 30 years do too.

          Also, you clearly haven’t spent much time in London. Many of the franchised suburban line operate better than 15 minute frequencies (most notably thameslink. TfL actually want to buy a load more franchises so they can upgrade the service from an infequent branching pattern to a high frequency grid. That’s what commuters want.

          This isn’t what I think is a good network, it is what is empirically proven to be the best network.

        7. Daniel, I’m starting to realise you don’t live in Auckland and aren’t familiar with the local context.

          AT Metro is the brand Auckland Transport applies to metropolitan public transport services, it’s all over the trains and buses and supported by a “Go Metro” marketing campaign.

          In Auckland the word metro is therefore used to distinguish between urban passenger trains and buses, and freight and intercity trains, and intercity coach buses. Oh and FYI the AM class trains used in Auckland have longitudinal seating in the central carriage, and are designed to convert the remainder in the future.

          You may not be convinced of the demand projections, but I doubt you’re going on anything more that your own reckons. Having seen the historic growth response to new infrastructure, and the modelled projections for the future, I am convinced myself.

          And really, twenty minutes headway is woefully inadequate even for a bus on a main street, let alone a rapid transit line serving a quarter of the city. Take a look at the Regional Public Transport Plan, it proposed increasing all the Frequent Service buses to every ten minutes from 6 am to 9am seven days a week, and until midnight on those running to the city centre.

          Would be quite peculiar to have the southwestern train line running every twenty minutes, while all the bus routes connecting to it run twice as frequent.

        8. “Daniel, I’m starting to realise you don’t live in Auckland and aren’t familiar with the local context.”
          How is it that you’re never correct about anything ever?

          Auckland can decide to call its system a “metro” and “rapid transit” all it likes. It’s only making itself look stupid. And I don’t see the point in converting any trains to entirely longitudinal seating for a long time if ever given the nowhere near required patronage levels (only about 20 million per annum) and often long journeys on the network. It would only kill off patronage further.

          No there’s nothing untoward about bus services being more frequent than trains. In fact it’s… …erm… …normal. While Mangere and the airport may justify a rail link; I struggle to see how it’s enough catchment for 20 minute frequencies to be insufficient. 20 minutes is a pretty frequent service in most suburban rail systems across the world.

          But what’s interesting is this map from the CRL site itself:

          Somehow when the green line that’s the western line becomes the light blue Onehunga branch at Britomart; its frequency inexplicably drops from “6tph” to “3tph”. Hmm, rather odd isn’t it?

        9. Why would we want a suburban style service to the airport and three additional stations when we could have a metro style service and almost 20 stations for the same price.

        10. ” we could have a metro style service and almost 20 stations for the same price.”
          I hate to break the obvious to you: No you couldn’t.

  17. A new network means new coverage. But (fast/freq) connections between the two networks will mean that the combination is geometric not linear.

  18. Daniel Eyre, you are perfectly right that it will not be CRL capacity that limits the Onehunga Branch to 3TPH, but the Onehunga Branch itself, in its present single-track form. If it were double-tracked it could accommodate 6TPH like the Manukau Branch. If it were extended as double-track to the airport (or wherever) then 6TPH would be possible.

    Patrick, regarding the Stuttgart 21 project, you are aware aren’t you that this is a project to accommodate the entire inter-city main line operation (including high-speed lines), and not just the local services? Chalk from cheese, as regards comparison with AK’s CRL. Stuttgart already has light rail services that run separately from the main lines and already run in tunnels under the city. These are being re-routed to fit into the new scheme.

    1. Dave, of course. But that is also the plan for AKL. We also need to get intercity trains to Britomart. Sure they won’t through route, cos they can’t, cos it’s only double track. The very point.

      And yes. The O Line cannot take more than 3tph without seriously non-trivial grade separating. The whole thing needs trenching; there are eight level crossings. The argument has always been about the cost v benefits of doing that.

      The decision quite reasonably was taken that there is greater benefit in that money being invested in the new additional capacity and coverage of a 2nd railway through the Isthmus than simply upgrading this short branch. The fanboys just dismiss this grownup weighinging of tradeoffs with conspiracy theories, and have never addressed it seriously.

      Yet these decisions are at the very heart of real world problem solving. Money is not infinite. Sure they love their trains, but transport planning a whole city has to balance all needs and mode favouritism is irrelevant.

      Regards, a train lover.

      1. So now people are in favour of terminating IC trains at Britomart post CRL?

        I find that interesting. Because I suggested this in the past (with recommissioning the ventilation fans) and I got some position on here.
        With scepticism over the needed CRL service frequencies (for a long time); I felt that LR express services from Pukekohe and/or the Waikato and Helensville could be terminated at the soon to be surplus platforms at Britomart.

        And even if needed CRL frequencies get too high; at that time widening the approach tunnel to 3 tracks could be investigated.
        Or some IC services could terminate at the strand, and the Strand could become connected to the eastern and/or southern line.

        1. Britomart would be ideal for the terminus of intercity trains, but it’s constrained by two factors.

          Firstly diesel trains, including dual mode or anything with a fuel tank, are not allowed into Britomart anymore. Fans or not. This is due to the increased safety controls since Pike River. So the implication is intercity electrification is required to run to Britomart, or some sort of battery system but I don’t think there is much with long range yet.

          The second complication is that there should be a few slots spare in and out of Britomart in the early days of the CRL, but not many, like three or four an hour. That’s fine in early days and about the max of what you’d want to run out of the remaining two terminal platforms. But in the long run even those would have to disappear if you want to improve the signalling system and actually run 24 tphpd in the CRL. So you are in the realms of trying to build a third/fourth track tunnel from Quay Park to Britomart, but you’d only be limited to two track at the terminus so not a huge room for growth (unless you going in and remodel Britomart again to widen it to the full width of the station box to squeeze in some more tracks and platforms.

        2. “This is due to the increased safety controls since Pike River.”
          That makes absolutely no sense (I’m not saying you’re wrong).
          A coal mine with a coal face that’s continually leaking alkenes is nowhere near the same thing as an underground railway station.
          Given that the Pike River Mine disaster was in 2010 and Electric trains didn’t operate from Britomart until about 4 years later; I can only assume that these dingbat regulations didn’t come into effect until a long time after the actual disaster.
          There’s now a coalition government that includes the Greens and Labour, so is there any reason why none of you are now pressuring them to remove this nonsensical and PT-depriving stupidity?

          As for the “long run”; that’s a bridge to cross in the distant future (if ever) given that it would need a about double the current patronage level to justify 24tbh, by which time an option like widening the incoming tunnel for three tracks would be financially justifiable.

        3. April 2016 is when the Health and Safety At Work Act came into effect.

          In short this new law requires every workplace to be proactive to avoid incidents even if they’ve not happened before, and it makes managers personally liable if things go wrong.

          So yeah, the old way of doing things is gone for good.

        4. And exactly where in that word salad is there anything related about why Diesel rolling stack’s not allowed into Britomart?

        5. Hmm where in:
          “April 2016 is when the Health and Safety At Work Act came into effect.

          In short this new law requires every workplace to be proactive to avoid incidents even if they’ve not happened before, and it makes managers personally liable if things go wrong.

          So yeah, the old way of doing things is gone for good.”

          Can one find:
          “managers having personal liability for train fires in an underground station”


          Let alone what has that got to do with Diesel trains somehow not being allowed into Britomart.
          I mean; I’m pretty sure an EMu’s more likely to catch on fire than a DMU is….

    2. @Dave B:
      From what I could gather; a big part of the quoted 2 billion cost of heavy rail to Auckland airport in the Jacobs report was also the cost of double-tracking the Onehunga branch along with a fair amount of grade separation (also to account for the future Southdown-Avondale link crossing it).
      Seems pretty dumb to then claim that there wouldn’t be capacity in the CRL for such a link.

      And from what I could gather; Stuttgart 21 doesn’t really have too much effect on the Stuttgart S-Bahn beyond the Hauptbahnhof being replaced.

  19. God only knows why intead of wasting money on a stupid light rail, a far more operationally efficient proper metro isn’t built from the airport to city and eventually extending across the harbour.
    It’s going to need to be done at some point anyway.

    1. I’ve heard rumours that is exactly what the unsolicited offer from the Canadian pension scheme was: an automated metro line from the city to airport, running underground in the city and elevated across the suburbs.

      I’ve also heard rumours that the cost of this was into double digits with a b on the end, which is why the treasury gave them a “thanks, but no thanks”.

      So speaking of wasting money, why would you spend four times as much to build more or less the same line? That would put the kibosh on any extension across the harbour. Or in other words, if you were going to spend that much, why not spend it on four new train lines instead of one?

      1. It will cost less than trying to retrofit the existing 19th century network. Your train lines will always be constrained by needs of narrow gauge freight movements, poor alignments, signalling, level crossings etc. etc.
        Why spend money on LR when it is not the best solution in the long-run, particularly the cross-harbour aspect.
        Operationally the costs will be far lower (esp. if driverless).

        1. SE Queensland, Brisbane / Gold Coast seems to cope just fine integrating commuter rail, high speed intercity, and freight on a still expanding narrow gauge network. They did though choose light rail for a high capacity urban transport system on the Gold Coast with connections to the greater commuter narrow gauge network. The one thing they have not done is expanded their existing standard gauge lines or services.

        2. LR is the best solution in the long run, and a good fit with the cross harbour concept. Being able to actually fund and build something is part of what makes it best.

          If you sit around waiting for ten billion dollars to fall out of the sky to build the first metro line, you’ll be waiting a very long time for nothing.

        3. +1, the other thing to consider is that the only street running will be in the airport and Mt Roskill to the city. If we wanted to make this a metro in the future, we would elevate the 1 km or so in the airport and tunnel from (say) Onehunga to Wynyard to make an Albany to Airport metro line. Then retain the existng light rail up the SW motorway and Dominion Road to Wynyard as a local service.

  20. Nick, obviously long term electrification of the line between Hamilton and Auckland would be desirable. Once this is acheived would the currently? being rebuilt NIMT electric locos be suitable for hauling carriages all the way from Hamilton into Britomart? Would Britomart cope? without degrading the rest of the network.
    With electrification to Hamilton I would envisage the now being rebuilt carriages being available to be deployed on loco hauled services through Hamilton to beyond and new EMU stock for the Hamilton Auckland run.

    1. Closing the Te Rapa-Pukekohe overhead gap would enable both freight and passenger locos to operate without change from Parlmerston North. Keeping the crews and supply chain in place after Papakura to Pukekohe is essential, in my view.

      Also mean the AKL-Ham service can eventually be replaced by some bespoke EMUs… Diesel trains in built up areas are going to loose their social licence, along with road vehicles over time…

      1. “Diesel trains in built up areas are going to loose their social licence, along with road vehicles over time…”

        What are you talking about?
        Diesel trains are still ideal for initially establishing the services from nothing beforehand. For commuter rail services; people are more keen if there’s a regular reliable service than what sort of traction happens to move it.
        It’s only in suburban services whee stations are ~1km apart that DMU’s aren’t so popular. Because they clearly don’t accelerate so well.

        People take DMU’s every day from the rail terminus across Europe for commuter rail services and nobody cares that they’re DMU’s

    2. The electrification system on the NIMT and the Auckland suburban networks whilst the same supply voltage, have completely different power ratings (because they’re built for completely different requirements. The EF locomotives would have their systems fry (and possibly catch on fire) if they attempted to run on the Auckland suburban network.

      The current freight levels on the NIMT are nowhere near high enough to continue justifying the investment in maintaining electrification let alone replacing the EF locomotives. Kiwirail were set to dieselise the line & mothball the electrical infrastructure but the greens made the issue a political football and have since becoming part of the government; forced Kiwirail to waste money maintaining the electrification and dragging the EF’s on for about another decade (rolls eyes).

      Extending electrification to Hamilton may well happen in the future. But not any time soon as traffic levels are not really high enough for any tangible benefit and because there’s not exactly any challenging grades.
      If it were to happen; I really don’t see any reason why it would need to be the higher rated Auckland supply that’s more ideal for quickly moving EMU’s around between stations ~1km apart instead of the lower rated NIMT supply that would be fine for shifting freight and any potential passenger service for the stations kilometres apart along the NIMT. It might also make sense to continue electrification on to and through the Kaimai tunnel and on to Tauranga.

      At the end of the day; from the perspective of commuter rail from Hamilton I can’t see how of that expenditure is necessary given that a decent starter service could be achieved by merely changing these idiotic laws/regulations Nick R alleges and recommissioning ventilation in Britomart. Money not wasted on electrification could be instead invested in real initiatives to improve public transport and lower carbon emissions (such as curve easements).

      1. “At the end of the day; from the perspective of commuter rail from Hamilton I can’t see how of that expenditure is necessary”

        It wouldn’t be necessary for commuter rail, but almost no one on this blog supports commuter rail as anything other than a short term step. Electification would be fully justified for a regional rail network. We should electrify Papakura to Ruakura piece by piece and move the yard to swap locomotives at Te Rapa to Frankton. Then we can progressively do the route to tauranga. Average 10km a year or so and do the whole thing over 15 years to create a steady, reliable workstream and reduce the cost.

        1. “15 years” is a “short term step”?

          The stations on the NIMT South of Papakura are all well more than 1km apart as are those on all lines from Hamilton. Other than a few hypothetical (not currently existing) stations in the Hamilton metropolitan area; that’s not going to change. So this “regional rapid rail” has no need whatsoever to be electrified.
          That is unless the overall traffic on the NIMT gets heavy enough to justify it. Most of the traffic that would cause that situation of needing electrification would be freight traffic.

          So logically; if electrification between Te Repa and Pukekohe is a goal; it would be best achieved through making moves to increase freight traffic on the corridor. So the priority at this stage should be building the third main and curve easements, both of which would also benefit any commuter rail and future “regional rail network” anyway.

        2. I never said that 15 years was a short term step. I said that commuter rail is only supported here as a short term step. Regional rail is expected in the medium term. Regional rail is enough to justify electrification.

          You may be happy with DMU passenger trains. Most people aren’t: they’re too loud and too polluting and people are increasingly unwilling to tolerate them. Just as they are increasing unwilling to tolerate pollution from cars, trucks, buses, or cruise liners.

      2. “The EF locomotives would have their systems fry (and possibly catch on fire) if they attempted to run on the Auckland suburban network.”

        This keeps getting trotted out but I am not sure that it is founded on fact. The argument seems to be that the Auckland electrified system can deliver a higher fault-current than the EFs are able to cope-with (in the event of an internal locomotive fault). Well even if this is true, it should not be difficult to upgrade the locomotives’ own fault-current-breaking capability to match whatever it is the EMUs have. This is not a show stopper.

        But whether it is sensible to use heavy-duty freight-locomotives for passenger work when there is an on-going shortage of freight locomotives is another matter. As for the cost of maintaining the present NIMT electrification, this is not particularly high as the system was robustly designed in the first place. The case against the EFs being retained in my view was skewed to suit that agenda, when it was being peddled.

        1. There is something particularly absurd about being in the Northern Explorer viewing car, gulping in great inflows of diesel fumes despite being in the middle of nowhere, then glancing up to see overhead wires hanging unused…

          A loco change or two is hardly a deal breaker on an 11 hour tourist trip, where quality of experience is more important than the time taken. Though reducing that to just once, at Parmy would be even better.

        2. It can definitely be rectified, ARTA’s original plan for electrification had some of the SA/SD sets being towed by the EFs.

          Agree, it doesn’t make any sense to upgrade 30 year old locos for the Auckland network, just leave them to their existing task and buy some new electric locomotives for Auckland. They could have a battery that would allow them to run into the port.

  21. Seems we are down to just two HR fantasists ignoring all analysis in favour of their “reckons”.

    Progress, I guess.

    1. Are you talking about me?
      LOL I think you need to read the posts to see who it is doing the analysis and the ignoring….

        1. Why is it sadly for me? I don’t fantasise about anything concerning rail, light or heavy.
          Do you? And why do you accuse others of being HR fantasists?

        2. Is it relly not obvious? You are fanatical in your support of HR, to the extent of preferring to dream up grand conspiracies against HR rather than accepting that LRT is a better fit on some of our key corridors.

        3. Spot on SB, Im guilty of seeing an anti HR conspiracy when it comes to using the HR line to Huapai.
          NW LR was never a serious suggestion, just a Labour party promise to garner votes. Now squashed by Transport minister. His GA support team quickly rushed to push some bus on motorway shoulders scheme.
          Why is there no progress with Light Rail schemes in Auckland? If the govt are right behind it then why the delays and no early or enabling works?
          Is there some conspiracy to block LR progress?

    2. P.S. I’m not anti-LR by any stretch.
      I just think it’s a dumb idea to built it to Auckland Airport via Mangere (and Dominion road) when the existing mainline terminates in Onehunga and when some of the corridor it’s supposed to use is safeguarded for the more important Southdown-Avonside link.

      1. The branch line terminates at Onehunga. Single track, narrow corridor, level crossings, short platforms, stub terminus pointing the wrong way. The mainline is at Penrose.

        1. What independent analysis? Surely you are not fooled by the Jacobs report on south western airport transit?
          Or is it gospel for you?

        2. It’s a lot closer to gospel than the reckons of two HR fluffers. It at least accepted the need to spend over half a billion dollars double tracking and grade separating the stub branch in Onehunga.

        3. One thing that made me laugh about that very glossy yet hazy on details Jacobs report is how one of the purported benefits of running this light rail along Dominion Road is that it will be able to have more stops and thus serve more people.

          Because we all know that the people in Mangere are all keen to go to the Auckland CBD and on a tram that’s going to make frequent stops and fill up with more and more people (en sarc).

          But that people on here think that this is also somehow going to be like some rapid transit metro that’s going to speed people into the CBD from the airport like the light rial in Seattle does (smirks).

          I’ve never felt that this will ever even happen always. I’ve always strongly suspected that the Labour party only picked up this political football to get some votes and aren’t really even committed to building it.
          But hey; I’ve been wrong before. I never thought that any NZ government would actually be stupid enough to build Transmission Gully….

        4. “One thing that made me laugh about that very glossy yet hazy on details Jacobs report is how one of the purported benefits of running this light rail along Dominion Road is that it will be able to have more stops and thus serve more people.”

          Perhaps you shouldn’t have glossed over them in a haze of confusion. Matt looked at the speeds here, perhaps you should read that to resolve your confusion?

        5. I never said any such thing.

          I may have said that I know utter bullshit when I see it. That can come from level of government or private entities.

  22. And that’s my point, the blog writers are so happy about some dollars being spent on a misconceived Light Rail project they are blinded to all alternatives. Same as it ever was with Auckland planning I guess.
    $10B for metro would be a bargain compared to the $4B spent on just the CRL. Not that I disagree with that project, because the heavy rail network needed logical through routing to open capacity.

    1. Indeed, the $4b spent on the CRL is absolutely the best $4b we can spend.

      It is the final piece in the conversion of our legacy suburban railway into a four line, 100km long, 40 station rapid transit system with near-metro service levels.

      But the real question is where to spend the next four billion? What is the best gains for the money?

      1. Connecting Botany, Manukau, Puhinui, Mangere, Onehunga, and Roskill into the RT network with a cross town connection.

        West, Centre and South will see big boost from CRL.

        North has the SkyPath (for now). NW will need to wait for budget before extending the LRT network.

        If the LRT connected from Roskill to Waterview and Dominion Road traffic had a transfer connection. Does that reduce bus traffic in the city? Especially if a transit hub is built in Roskill.

  23. LOL. Car dominated SE Queensland? Hardly a benchmark for effective rail services.
    Sure the LR works quite well for the leisurely job of moving beachside workers and tourists, none of which applies to Auckland.

    1. Certainly SE Queensland Rail services are not effective enough to prevent SE Queenslanders spending an inordinate time in traffic jams but how much wider would their motorways need to be without all those people travelling by train?
      Mr V what would you have proposed instead of the Gold Coast Light Rail to take those ten million trips a year that the current users have decided they find worthwhile to spend their money on? The monorail did not last long.
      As I see it there was only limited options and they were all worse then LR.
      The Gold Coast coastal transport corridor was already saturated with busses and cars, a bit like Symonds Street and Dominion Road and like Symonds Street land acquisition costs to enlarge the corridor would be prohibitive both financially and environmentally.
      Branching the existing Gold Coast to Airport Heavy Rail down through the coastal corridor underground would cost much much more for little gain in utility. The time saved by higher vehicle speeds would almost certainly be lost to the extra time required to access underground stations.
      Anyway I would be interested in your thoughts for what is a real situation and a situation that is reasonably comparable to that faced by Auckland. Both locations are currently very car centric.

  24. Having recently used the integrated heavy rail system in Sydney to travel from the airport to my destination I am even more convinced that light rail and busway to Auckland airport is the wrong solution.

    1. I really don’t get this obsession with the airport. Nor the obsession with the weight of the train. There are various grades of rail that go to airports (and other more important destinations) all over the world. Some are great and useful, some are poor. The value of them almost always has nothing to do with whether they are light or heavy. The frequency, span, legibility, reliability, route, price etc, matter much much more than the class of vehicle.

      Anyway peculiarly in AKL we are comparing narrow gauge heavy rail with standard gauge light, just to show how absurd this all is.

      And, if you oppose the light rail plan, all you’ll get is the bus, so it’s even more silly.

      1. Thats why standard gauge metro is the way to go. The benefits of which outweigh either a LR system or the existing legacy rail system.

    2. Sydney airport is less than half the distance from it’s CBD than Auckland’s is from its. That is the reason it is such a good PT connection.

      1. Eh?? The reason Sydney has such a good airport-city PT connection is that someone decided to build it. Prior to that (e.g. when I passed through in 1985) it was just like Auckland is now. I don’t see what the distance to the city has to do with it being good. I am sure it would be just as good if it was the same distance from the city as AK airport.
        What has let the Sydney Airport connection down are the commercial arrangements under which it was built, requiring users of the airport-stations to pay a hefty toll which deterred usage. I understand the plan (if not already happened) is to remove this requirement and incorporate these stations into the wider subsidized Sydney Trains network. And the line doesn’t just serve the airport but continues on to rejoin the existing network – i.e. an “airport loop”.
        Having the airport connected to the city’s main rail-network is a big benefit for Sydney and its airport-users – as indeed it could be for Auckland if it also decided to build it. But an express bus to a new Puhinui Interchange is at least a start.

        1. Yes the penalty fare is poor, the distance does make it a quick journey to the city, but the best thing is that it’s just a stop on a line, so its frequency is not governed by airport ridership alone, but for the utility of the whole line. It’s part of the whole network, not some kind of special thing. Correct way to do it.

          At the airport they do their level best to hide the service, however, the feeling that they are much more interested in the carparking income is hard to resist…

          I always use it.

        2. Agreed. It is not a dedicated “airport express”, and is better just being part of the established network.

        3. Sydney’s airport terminal is 6km from Central Station, and 1.3km from their southern rail line. Hence it was relatively easy to deliver the line, why it was effective (it made a bypass of a congested inner section), and why it is so quick. It’s close!

          To put that in perspective, Sydney airport is closer to the CBD than Auckland airport is to Puhinui Station!

        4. Sydney’s international terminal is closer to 8Km from Central Station. AK airport International terminal to Puhinui is less than 7Km.
          Although Sydney’s international terminal is only 1.3 Km from the Southern Line at the nearest point, they chose to build a new route to the city as well as connecting to the Southern Line, forming a 10Km loop. A bit like going from Onehunga to AK airport via Mangere, then looping round to join AK’s Southern Line at Puhinui.
          The big difference with Sydney’s airport line is that it is all in tunnel. All 10Km of it!
          AK airport HR might need some tunneling but nothing like that.

        5. The first time I flew out of London Heathrow in the mid seventies the only PT transport choices to the airport were an expensive, and not always reliable, coach trip from the former West London Air Terminal, or tube to Hounslow West and then a normal red London bus to the terminal. A struggle with a full luggage allowance on a very full bus. Queuing for the bus outside in a snow storm was bleak. Even current Auckland arrangements are better, although at that time Heathrow probably handled a similar number passengers to Auckland now.

        6. The distance governs the time taken for the trip. Even if there was a dedicated line between between AKL and the CBD it would take around 40 mins.

          Sydney is quick simply because it is much closer.

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