Auckland Transport announced on Friday that the $60 million upgrade of the Puhinui Station into a full bus/train interchange will start at the end of September. The station will eventually be part of a busway from the airport to Botany, making it much easier to access the airport via public transport. There is a catch though as to facilitate the upgrade, Auckland Transport are closing the station.

The station will provide a seamless experience for bus and train commuters, particularly those heading towards Auckland Airport. The new interchange will open in early 2021 and is part funded through the Regional Fuel Tax (RFT).

During construction the existing train station will be temporarily closed, from Saturday, 28 September to early 2021.

This is required to enable the build to be completed as quickly as possible, and to remove any health and safety risks to members of the public.

To limit disruption during the station closure, a new, free, Puhinui – Papatoetoe loop bus service will run everyday – with services every 10 minutes during peak times – providing station users with southern and eastern train line connections from Papatoetoe Station.

The 349 Puhinui – Papatoetoe service will not require a HOP card or cash ticket, and takes 10-15 minutes in each direction.

Auckland Transport Chief Executive Shane Ellison says the temporary station closure will be worth the wait. “We understand any level of disruption is challenging, however, when we re-open the Puhinui Station Interchange in 2021 we’ll have an amazing, new and modern facility that will transform and revitalise the area.”

“The new station will also allow for easy bus and rail connections from the interchange to the airport, Manukau and Britomart. Travel times to the airport from Puhinui will be only 10 minutes along priority lanes.”

The Puhinui Station Interchange is being delivered in stages, the first stage is an early improvement of the Airport to Botany Rapid Transit project. This project is led by Auckland Transport, and forms part of the wider Southwest Gateway programme.

The Southwest Gateway programme involves the NZ Transport Agency, Auckland Transport and Auckland Airport working together to deliver transport projects that will improve access to the airport and its surrounding area to benefit workers, travellers, tourists and freight movements.

As part of the announcement they’ve released this video. Overall I think it’s nice and clear with my only real gripe being it is heavily focused on city to airport trips and should also show the southern line extending past Puhinui as it will be able to be used by those using trains south of Puhinui, such as for trips from Papakura to the Airport.

Closing the station is obviously a big step and off the top of my head the only other station that has had to close for an upgrade was Newmarket, and temporary stations were built while that happened. Puhinui is used a lot less than Newmarket is/was though and based on HOP data my guess is approximately 750 people will be impacted. A brief explanation of how I got to that number is below.

Using the annual boarding/alighting data I have from Auckland Transport, during the 2017/18 financial year there were just over 176k boardings, and slightly less alightings. About 87.5% of all train trips occur on a business day so that that works out at about 600 per day each way. However, that number doesn’t include transfers between Southern and Eastern Line trains, such as for trips from Papakura to Manukau. Including those adds about another 42k or about 150 per business day.

Despite not being the busiest station, it is good to see AT are putting on a shuttle for people to use. More details about it are on the project page.

I wonder if the rail timetable will be updated to reflect one less stop being made – this should equate to trains being about 1 minute faster on both the Southern and Eastern Lines. Also, in the last AT board papers it suggested a new rail timetable was coming soon, it would make sense to tie it in with that.

The announcement that construction is starting follows the project being confirmed in May after having been delayed by the NZTA. With these latest details, having AT only say the project will finish in early 2021 and Phil Goff’s press release only saying it will be completed before APEC, it suggests the NZTA delays have meant it won’t be completed prior to the America’s Cup in March 2021, like originally intended.

The station itself looks to be impressive and a second stage will see the busway connect on a new bridge over the tracks and directly into the upper concourse area of upgraded station.

There’s no date or information yet on exactly when that second stage of the upgrade will occur, or more on the rest of the Airport to Botany route, such as how it will connect to Manukau. In response to questioning that on Friday, AT told me: “it’s looking like the second round of public engagement for this will take place later in the year, and will include a suite of information – including the preferred route.

Once construction starts at the end of next month it will mean we have four separate and major parts of our Rapid Transit Network under construction at the same time with the others being the City Rail Link, Northern Busway extension and the Eastern Busway.

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52 comments

  1. It is good to see this starting and also nice to see the bus service to help those of us who us the station daily. My only comment would be that it would be really nice if the temporary bus stops got some sort of shelter. During winter waiting 10 minutes in the rain is not great.

  2. I wonder if it would be built with a third (or fourth) rail line. Hard to tell from the pictures. Around otahuhu there are signs of another line being laid (foundations being built for overhead gantry system and clearing of land. But no news on any websites (AT or KiwiRail). In an earlier post (https://www.greaterauckland.org.nz/2018/11/08/third-main-update/) it stated that the third main business would be approved around now….but no sign of a press release.
    Also, another rail project which we should be hearing about but haven’t is the delivery of additional electric trains. This AT press release (https://at.govt.nz/about-us/news-events/more-trains-means-more-services-for-aucklanders/) suggests that they will arriving in 2019. Just had an uncomfortable trip in a pack 3 car unit …so more electric trains would be good.

    1. If you look closely you can see the station is designed for four tracks. I don’t know if there will be four tracks open on day one, but there are three tracks at Puhinui already so undoubtedly there will be at least three.

      1. So when the station is finally open will the Hamilton Auckland service stop there ? or will they have to transfer to AT service to get to the airport . Or will nothing happen until after the 4th main is up and running .

        1. The June-July Railway Observer mag had an article about the new Hamilton-Auckland service and says it’s planned to extend the service to Puhinui from 2022.

  3. Question re the shuttle bus; why go all the way along Carruth Rd if the bus isn’t going to stop there? Wallace Rd cuts the distance in half so unless they add bus stops along Carruth what’s the point?
    The western side isn’t as bad but the same could apply there.

    1. They are using the existing bus stop which is before Wallace Road, ie have to travel Carruth to be able to stop at it

    2. There may be shorter routes but the question would be how hard would it be to turn right on to Puhinui Road and right off Bridge Street in peak taffic? The way they have done it this way to avoid having right turns away from traffic lights onto or off busy roads.

        1. Left hand turns are often hard to track a bus on, if they weren’t designed for it in the first place.

    3. I love how their route map for the bus doesn’t show the names of the roads it travels on. Just has road names for all the roads it doesn’t travel on. Genius.

  4. Let’s hope they provide adequate security to prevent the sort of feral behaviour that’s been highlighted in the media last week as occurring at Papakura and Middlemore Stations.

    1. I’m not an architectural expert, although I suspect security was an integral aspect of the design of the station, which will likely include CCTV and personnel (if only to man gates, although perhaps also security).

      And, of course, then you have increased passive surveillance associated with many more people using the station itself. As we’ve seen at Panmure and Otahuhu, good quality stations with frequent service support rapid growth in passenger connections, leading to more “eyes on the street”.

      So, while nothing is ever perfectly safe, my hunch is it will be a whole lot safer *after* the upgrade than it was *before*. Glass three-quarters full etc.

      1. CCTV doesn’t prevent crime as I assume there’s CCTV at most stations and yet there’s still rampant vandalism being committed.

        1. Free wifi apparently causes it, better dump it ASAP…

          As for CCTV, correct that it doesn’t work in isolation. But Stu didn’t claim it did. Classic case of taking a single point out of context…

        2. CCTV can be very useful if someone is watching it, but I don’t think
          that is done.
          And, where are Transport Officers on the Southern Line ?

        3. Nothing prevents crime, not even security guards. That said, a lot of features can reduce crime, including surveillance passive or active. Like I said, glass three-quarters full.

    2. Gating tends to drop the antisocial behaviour because the kinds of people who do this don’t have the money or the buy-in a fare gives or the intent to pay anyway stay away.

    3. Vance a lot of the feral behaviour at Middlemore started after AT closed the Mangere station and you had 2 different High Schools coming together causing inter school problems , Basically rich v’s poor .

        1. No , But I use to have a friend that lived down the end of Grey st and it was quicker to get to his place than it is from Middlemore .
          The School that used that stop was Kings .

        2. Good. Ironically that old station was much better placed to connect with bus services than Middlemore.

  5. The thing that I have noticed is the turning bay for the Buses this seems to be very tight for 1 bus , what will it be if there are 2 or more buses in that area at the same time ?

  6. Will they be building the buslanes along the Puhinui Road SH20B when the new station opens or will they building those after the station open.

  7. Only two buses currently come near the area -313 and 380. I guess they will reroute them. Will any more services change and go there?

    1. 380 will become a proper frequent 38 on the Manukau side and be rerouted to there. I guess 380 Onehunga side will be kept as is or I think reroute to Puhinui.

  8. Does anyone know what the platform lengths will be? It looks like aotea station will be built with 300m platforms and kroad station will be built with 150m stations.

    It seems like a lot of inconsistency. Aren’t all the trains standard lengths these days?

  9. I can’t find any mention of that on any official website. Three k road station is explicitly stated as being 150m long Vs 300m long for aotea. Will there be two trains at once bunching up at aotea?

    1. It’s because it’s roughly 300m between the Victoria/Wellesley entrances, and the cut and cover method probably means it’s relatively efficient to design it so the platform level extends from one end to the other.

      Karangahape is 150m from mercury entrance to bereford entrance – not likely to be oversized, because of the cost factor 30m below ground.

      Anyone know the length of a 9-car train?

      1. 9-car should come in around 216m long. Due to drivers cabs at each end the required platform length is slightly less ~214m

      2. 150m was the original plan for Karangahape Rd but that will now be longer as it has been agreed to build the stations to handle 9-car trains. Karangahape was the hardest to do this to. Longer platforms also require the Beresford entrance so is why we’re getting that too so the whole station will me much more useful

  10. I can’t see any reduction in travel time through the build site.

    There is likely to a speed restriction anywhere between 10 and 40kph due to construction on the platform

  11. The 45 minutes journey time assume the transfer has no wait.
    Since our train runs 20 minute frequency during off peak, in worst case scenario the journey will take 65 minutes.

    1. You assume frequencies stay the same. We expect there will be progress on the 3rd main by the time this is completed and if not completed at the same time, shortly after this should allow for off-peak frequencies to increase

    2. Also it’s only 31 minutes Puhinui to Britomart, and they report 10 minutes Airport to Puhinui.

      So perfect timing would be about 42 minutes, average at peak around 44 minutes, and worst off peak would be 52.

      1. Plus we do have some better timetabling to follow – surely… in terms of doors/dwells, and padding…maybe even some stopping pattern larks this should be about 28.

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