It’s Friday and here’s out weekly wrap up of stories.

National’s Wellington Plans

Another week and few more transport announcements by National.

On Monday they were on the Kapiti Coast to announce $330 million to

  • Electrifying and double-tracking the rail line between Wellington and Ōtaki
  • Building a full expressway interchange at Peka Peka
  • Completing the Horowhenua Expressway (Ōtaki to Levin)

An extra 15km of double tracking and electrification sound positive but it’s notable that the idea isn’t even on the long term list of Greater Wellington or Kiwirail. What they do want funded is to buy new bi-mode trains to improve services to on the Capital Connection to/from Palmerston North and on the Wairarapa. Though National said they’d fund those in their subsequent Wellington announcement. Judith Collins also said they want to eventually extend double tracking and electrification to Levin.

On the Peka Peka interchange, Collins said “It was a short-sighted decision to not include an interchange at this fast-growing area”. The contract for the Peka Peka to Otaki expressway was signed in November 2016 under the watch of then Transport Minister Simon Bridges so was she directing that comment at her own party? The interchange was dropped by Waka Kotahi NZTA last year as it didn’t represent value for money.

Notably that expressway was also in the news yesterday as like many of the other RoNS it too has suffered a budget blowout. The cost of it has increased by $92.7 million to $405 million. The project already only had a BCR of just 0.6 so how much lower is it now? The project was also initially meant to open this year but now that won’t happen till 2022. That cost increase follows increases in cost on the Mackays to Peka Peka section and of course more recently with Transmission Gully.

As for the Otaki to Levin expressway, that has an even worse business case but the current government agreed to fund it as part of the NZ Upgrade Programme. They say it will start construction in 2025 but National are promising to start it by the end of the next term if they’re elected. Given the NZTA are still at an early stage of investigating and designing the route and don’t even have consent yet, it seems unlikely this promise could be achieved.

On Wednesday it was the rest of Wellingtons turn. National say they will spend $12 billion on transport projects in Wellington over 20 years, $4 billion more than the current plans. Included in that cost are three new tunnels.

National’s Wellington and Hutt Valley Transport Package includes:

  • Fast-tracking construction of a second Mt Victoria Tunnel and delivering a second Terrace Tunnel ($700m & $400m respectively)
  • Fixing congestion at the Basin Reserve through grade-separation ($190m)
  • Rapid transit between Wellington’s CBD and airport in the form of rapid buses or trackless trams ($2,200m)
  • Removing highway traffic from Wellington’s inner-city streets by undergrounding SH1 through Te Aro ($1,100m)
  • A new highway connecting Seaview in Lower Hutt to SH1 north of Wellington ($160m)
  • Upgrading Wellington’s metro network, including new trains to improve services between Wellington, Masterton and Palmerston North ($300m)
  • Widening SH1 to four lanes between Wellington’s CBD and airport (Ruahine St and Wellington Rd)
  • Widening SH2 to four lanes between Silverstream and Whakatiki St in Upper Hutt, and fixing dangerous intersections through new interchanges ($150m

They say those three tunnels alone are expected to cost $2.2 billion although it could well be higher by the time they got to actually start them. This is especially so given they say both the Terrace and Te Aro tunnels wouldn’t start till 2029.

It will also be interesting to see how they deal with the consenting issues given the Basin Reserve was consent was previously declined by the Board of Inquiry. Bypassing that decision via way of a legislation seems like something that would be challenged in the courts which could well push back National’s claimed timelines.

The rejected basin bridge concept

In addition to all of this, National want to set up an equivalent to Auckland Transport to run transport in the region.

Water infrastructure for housing

On Tuesday the government announced $188 million from the shovel-ready funding for eight mainly water projects that will enable more housing.

  • Tāmaki stormwater and park upgrade bundle ($11m)
  • Tāmaki wastewater upgrade ($25m)
  • Northcote Development Stormwater Trunk Provision ($13m)
  • Roskill South housing infrastructure bundle – Roskill Development ($10m)
  • Ōwairaka Stormwater Network Provision – Roskill Development ($31m)
  • Mt Roskill Priority Water and Wastewater Upgrades ($65m)
  • Unitec Water, Buildings and Roading (75m)

Road Deaths in July

July was not a good month on our roads with 32 people losing their life, more than double what July last year was.

Hamilton’s new train station

The new train station at Rotokauri for the start up Hamilton to Auckland service is looking more impressive than most Auckland stations.

A showpiece feature of the Rotokauri Transport Hub will be an over-rail pedestrian bridge, linking Tasman Road to the centre platform and The Base shopping complex.

“Everything will look really cool, the stairs and lifts [for the pedestrian bridge] will be in place, it’s just the final bits of commissioning the lifts and bolting down the stairs and everything,” Allen said.


The bridge will have a burnt orange and “electric cow” (dark grey) colour scheme and will carry pedestrians about 7m above the ground.

Workers shifted the rail line carrying northbound trains nine metres west to allow for the construction of the hub’s 140 metre-long rail platform.


While a lot of attention has been given to the hub’s rail function, it will also serve as an important bus station, Allen said. The Tasman Rd side of the hub will have 170 bus movements from day one. This will increase to 300 movements when the Frankton and Dinsdale routes get extended to Tasman Rd.

Here’s an idea of what it is expected to look like when finished.

Some potentially good news coming for Inner Link users from Waitemata Local Board member Graeme Gunthorp

Interested in the outcome of Queen St

Parking for trees

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    1. I am not surprised that one of them folded,
      I was always amazed that there was enough interest to have two railway mags in NZ….

      1. As a subscriber to both, each focused on slightly different things. Will be missed, especially the editor. RIP.

  1. “the Basin Reserve was consent was previously declined by the Board of Inquiry. Bypassing that decision via way of a legislation seems like something that would be challenged in the courts which could well push back National’s claimed timelines.”

    I think when they say legislate they mean they will specifically consent the project in legislation. Parliament is supreme so the courts will have no say in the matter. Shows we need the Randerson review for the RMA to be implemented as the law in its current state means politicians have and will just bypass all environmental and planning restrictions for large projects.

    1. But Parliament can always do that no matter what any act says. It doesn’t matter if it is the RMA or some other Act, our system is correctly based on the concept that Parliament is sovereign. It keeps our courts in check and prevents us being like the USA where major public issues are decided by some politically appointed judges who never have to answer for their decisions. Ironic really, they wanted freedom and got their stupid constitution instead.

    2. Maybe by ‘grade separation’ they actually mean building another tunnel? That’d make 4 new tunnels by my count.

        1. The length of the CRL, for cars, so way bigger, to drive to the Cook Straight.
          Think what else could be built for Welly with that money?
          Certainly could unblock the rail terminus with an extended line through the city, the planned LR for example. And still have heaps of change.

    3. No one is talking about ever resuscitating the dead Basin Bridge concept. Never made any sense to cross over a 20m wide road with a 250m long bridge. The Eye of the Fish blog site has correctly identified what the more likely end result will be ( with the SH1 going UNDER Sussex St in a small local bridge about 30m wide at max. Its all set up to go and everyone knows it will be there right result – their big issue really is more that they also want a second tunnel through Mt Vic, and that is an entirely different kettle of fish…..

  2. The Hamilton station is a large goldplated structure. But simple escalators that work wonderfully well are missing. Much better than steps or lifts. The planners should put the customer satisfaction first.

    1. It’s not goldplated, it’s built correctly from the start. The bridge is an absolutely necessary link to “The Base” shopping centre. Escalators are used inside buildings, not on outdoor structures like this bridge. Especially on a station, which at this stage, will only see 4 trains a day.

      1. There are plenty of outdoor escalators around the world; the problem with escalators is access for people with wheelchairs and most of them don’t allow prams.

    2. Lifts would always be required for disability access, you can’t avoid that cost. Stairs are much cheaper than escalators so this configuration is the cheapest option.

    3. Never heard of escalators being open to the elements before. Seems pretty risky to subject escalators to clogging from dust and leaves.
      What would be the point if it’s got lifts anyway?

      1. Daniel Eyre – When I was visiting Singapore in ’85’ they had Escalators leading up to the overbridges that lead across the roads of Orchard Rd , and they were all out in the semiopen as the only covering was a canopy similar to what is at Hamilton . And they seemed to work fine considering it was the monsoon season .

      2. Roma Street Station in Brisbane has them. They must be able to handle a reasonable amount of rain too if they’re in Brisbane.

      3. Singapore had them in ’85’ when I visited there and Auckland was going to have them on the side of the NZI building up by Bankside and Chancery St before they closed that site down and turned the basement area into a carpark .

      4. Quite common across the UK, Europe and North America (Google Beaver Creek escalator that takes you to the snow!).

        NZ is just behind the times on this, like everything else.

        I do think an underpass would have been a better option then the bridge which is clearly used as it’s the usual cheap kiwi option. ☹️

    4. Take a walk down Station Rd to the Otahuhu station with your older friend and then to the far platform. Through the large expensive bridge. Notice that there are few older people there who do it. It’s quite a challenge.
      I hope they can get platform 1 opened soon.

    5. Escalators are not put in for lazy people or because a few folks enjoy riding on them. They are used to avoid a bottleneck that can occur at stairs when they will be overloaded for significant periods. This station will have a crowd of people a couple of times a day at best. Even then they are probably only expecting a smallish crowd.

  3. And for you book fans Elaine Sciolino’s book on Rue Des Martyrs is wonderful and available in Auckland libraries.

  4. The numbers at the too need amedung. The horowhenua expressway is 800 mill. The 330 might just be for the rail?

    1. I think it’s a case that the ~$800m for Otaki to Levin was already announced and funded through the NZUP so that isn’t new funding they’re promising.

  5. National’s rail upgrade announcements should be celebrated for thinking a bit further into the future than just the next election.

    Currently track electrification is only done piecemeal. Each individual project is vulnerable to political whims and the election cycle. The project costs are escalated by the supply chain not knowing whether there will be any work after the current project.

    What NZ needs is a long term plan for electrifying as much of our rail network as possible over the next 10 or 20 years. Prioritise the sections of track that offer the most value. Break projects down into chunks manageable for local contractors (<$1B) and timed to provide a continuous pipeline of work.

    1. Is the Auckland electrification, the central north island electrification and the Wellington electrification all compatable?

      1. No it’s not, AKL and Central is 25kv AC, WLG is 1500v DC. There is also a slight difference in the first two that means AKL units could run on the Central section but the EF locos couldn’t in AKL.

        If the whole NIMT is to be electrified and it’s to one standard, when to change over the Wellington section (and presumably other wired lines in the region) needs to be considered before any more wires are strung up here. In the mean time dual mode units like has been suggested for Manawatu / Wairarapa lines are probably the way to go.

        1. I’d hope that any new electrification from Levin is at least build such that it can be converted to 25kV at little cost, and assume its just insulator sizes and clearances?
          How many 1500V locomotives are actually in service and how much would it cost to covert it all now?

        2. Anthony – there’s no 1500V locomotives, only the EMUs used on the Wellington suburban network.

        3. Steve – A changeover of voltage would require the entire Wellington suburban fleet to be changed at the same time including the Hutt Valley line, which isn’t NIMT anyway.

          Much more likely in my opinion would be a voltage change at Palmerston North.

        4. 1500v DC is no good for heavy freight trains. It means very high currents, much thicker conductor wire, multiple feeder stations etc etc.

        5. Actually – I asked a Kiwirail locomotive engineer working on the Hyundai Rotem (Matangi) trains in Wellington just yesterday, if it would be possible to have a dual voltage system on a train from Auckland to Wellington – he replied that this would not be an issue at all, as the electric motors have to convert DC to AC anyway in order to drive the wheels. So – all doable.

        6. The engineer told you that the trains can easily be changed over. The power supply is really difficult, which is why 1500V DC is so rare for freight lines.

        7. Matangi units & 25kV AC – I got a slightly different story (also from an engineer previously involved in the project). Apparently they lack space for the sizable transformer & rectifier required for 25kV AC, otherwise fine.

        8. There are Locomotives all over the world that are dual voltage as shown here in India with the Loco changing the power supply . And we use to have 1500dc’s made by toshiba running through the Otira tunnel ;-

      2. Apparently the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars line was recently converted from 3kV dc to 25kV ac so maybe Kiwirail can import the specialist knowledge from Azerbaijan.

  6. I would quite like to go to the races tomorrow at Te Rapa but when I think about driving or shagging about with the vagaries of making a last minute booking on the Intercity website the idea just seems to fade. I would just like to be able to wake up in the morning look out the window see how I feel then if I make a “Yes” decision walk down to Papatoetoe station with my HOP card and train to the base and pickup a bus which would drop me at the gate. Might need to have a Waikato card as well but I could get one of those as well. And I could even have a couple of beers and have a sober train driver run me home.

    1. Yes, quite. Btw I passed through Hamilton the day they rolled out the Bee Cards and was impressed with how they managed the many people all wanting cards at the transport centre. Took the Busit bus to Te Aroha which was a very nice drive.

      1. I suspect that Royce might be happy to pay the full train fare if the road was tolled to reflect the costs of it. We could expect that road toll to be upwards of $12.
        Roll on the day when NZ has a system of road tolls like Italy. If you want to pay the cost of driving you do, otherwise because demand for driving is lessened and commensurately demand for PT is heightened there are many bus and train options available.
        Many people will travel to Te Rapa by train; and to the Base; and possibly cricket and rugby. It’s what a carbon reduced future must look like.

        1. Bill, the world is stumbling further into a climate crisis. We are past the stage where we allow everyone to do what they like. As a comparison with the other crisis that we are in right now, many people will not want to wear masks if NZ’s situation changes. Will NZers allow them to conduct themselves that way because that’s what they want?

        2. Are you suggesting we need a law mandating people to ride a train rather than a car? In the same way we’d need a law mandating masks?

        3. Bill, are you willing to meet the full costs of driving? And, if not, why not?
          Roads & driving are currently massively subsidised…

        4. Bill, I am saying what GK is saying – people who drive should meet the true costs of it.

        5. Sure, and that’s not very much. Public transport is only expensive because too many people aren’t using it. Buses use very little road space and fuel.

        6. And people don’t use it because it’s a second rate alternative.
          So bad everybody else has to pay half the cost of it.

      2. Bill there should be an all day probably hourly bus or train service between South Auckland and Hamilton. When numbers justify it it would be a train if not a bus. After all Heidi travelled on a bus from Hamilton to Te Aroha which is 30 miles and you can catch an AT bus to Wellsford which is probably further. And not have to go on Intercities website and navigate your way around their yield management system with prices changing by the minute as they fill up their bus. So why not Auckland Hamilton it’s not much further. It just means spontaneous travel becomes car travel. So yes it would have a subsidy just like all other public transport. I don’t know how much Intercity would care my impression is they are focused on longer trips like Wellington or Hastings.

    2. Royce – Hamilton is using the Beecard as the Waikato Regional Council is one of the 9 regions connected to the Beecard ‘tap n pay’ payment ticket system.

  7. The new station for Te Rapa is a good strategic asset regardless of what else occurs in the future. Hopefully, good usage will be made of it and it won’t end up abandoned like that station platform under Hamilton’s CBD.

    As for Chris Bishop’s pork-barrel promises: Not even worth considering. Even if National are in the next government: He won’t make good on them. The money’s not there for them. And many of them aren’t even necessary, like extending electrification at this stage.

    1. It’s not explicitly mentioned in National’s plans but a couple of comments about regional rail with the 4th main and also funding new Palmerston North and Wairarapa makes me think there is now a political consensus on Auckland – Hamilton trains.

  8. What caused such a significant spike in the Road Toll?
    Is there any common factors?
    I liked the idea of making the roads safer that the Green’s are trying to do but does this show it isn’t working? If so, why so?

    1. Little of what the Greens proposed has been implemented yet. Road tolls can be quite random on a month by month basis but this is a worrying jump.

    2. I honestly think a lot of people forgot how to drive after their month or two of enforced lockdown. People driving along at night with no lights on, people speeding on roads and then getting surprised to find another car in front, people generally behaving badly and forgetting what good driver awareness needs to be. There was a definite change of abilities being displayed when we got back to level 2…

      1. I think kiwis are generally poor drivers, the older the worse in fact.

        We find it easy to blame foreigners but I see so many fellow kiwis struggle in the UK and Europe to drive safely.

        Most of my British friends who’ve had driving holidays in NZ have told me our lack of driving ability is the worst part about visiting the country. I too notice this when ever I come home.

        I’m forced by UK law to have driving competency tests yearly as I work around heavy, expensive plant and machinery and really think this has improved my own driving awareness and ability.

        1. I won’t argue with you on that, I doubt many kiwis could pass a European driving test. We are awful drivers, you can build the safest roads in the world but if you don’t teach people who to drive properly they will still die.

          Parents shouldn’t be allowed to teach there kids, driving school should be mandatory, there should be multiple tests, night driving, highway driving, skid control, nobody should be allowed on the roads until they reach a certain level of competence.

      2. I noticed that too. As an aside, way before COVID-19 when we didn’t have a car for a little bit at one stage, I hardly drove at all and was just using PT or cycling. Man was it weird driving again at first, everything seemed so fast and dangerous. It really showed me the priority Auckland gave/gives to driving.

    3. The Greens policy will never make that much of an impact in its current form, because it can’t and won’t work until it addresses behavioural issues. While it is better to have a road that has barriers it won’t prevent an accident by a driver who is drugged (a greater source of deaths than drunk), intoxicated or distracted. The chance is that if you bounce off a barrier travelling at somewhere around 100kph you are still going to cause someone in your vehicle, or maybe someone else’s vehicle significant harm, or death. When you add to that equation the fact that people in those cars may not be retrained (about 30% of all deaths) you have a further recipe for disaster.
      In my opinion a whole heap more could be achieved if the $900 odd million was spent on testing for drug impaired driving; an approach to
      cell phone infringements that is more akin to a deterrent than a joke; and a new way of enforcing seatbelt use. I believe that there isn’t a single car available that has an immobiliser if the seatbelt isn’t engaged. Let’s have a tax on every vehicle that lands in NZ without one. It may not persuade the big suppliers to change their production because they may not be as committed to safety as we are, but at least the country would have extra funds to deal with the significant injury and death that occurs currently. Car buyers have embraced the cost of air bags and now should be the time to progress safety measures further.

      1. Barriers are not about “preventing accidents”; they’re about reducing the deaths and serious injuries that come from those accidents/crashes. Bouncing off a median barrier and maybe hitting something/someone on your side of the road has a far less chance of causing deaths/injuries than heading into an oncoming motor vehicle – the stats are pretty compelling on that one.

      2. “The chance is [almost 0] that if you bounce off a barrier travelling at somewhere around 100kph you are still going to cause someone in your vehicle, or maybe someone else’s vehicle significant harm, or death.”

        Fixed that for you. The barriers on the Longswamp Section got hit hundreds of times in the 20 years they were in and only 1 person died, very few serious injuries too.

        Also, it’s a total myth that there are more drug driving deaths than alcohol.

        1. “About 400 Kiwis are convicted of drugged driving a year. In 2017, 79 fatal crashes involved a driver who had drugs in their system. Studies in New Zealand have found about one in three drivers in fatal and serious injury crashes had some type of drug in their system – mainly cannabis.”
          from a quick google search
          Are you sure Sailor Boy?

        2. Add this one to the mix, John: sleep experts say that insufficient sleep is a major contributor to crashes; its effect is slightly different to that of drugs or alcohol. Drugs and alcohol affect reduce capability but the driver still retains some awareness. Insufficient sleep affects overall capability too, but it also creates complete black-outs during which the driver has no awareness. It may be worse than either drugs or alcohol. Of course, people on drugs or alcohol have often stayed up late for a party, too, or if they often take the drugs or alcohol, are suffering from a poor quality of sleep and will be sleep deprived, too. In which case they get a double whammy; it may be the sleep deprivation that actually has the biggest effect.

          So do we test for sleep deprivation, too, and make sure all those shift workers, mums whose kids kept them up through the night, and elderly folk who are finding sleep difficult, are nabbed?

          Maybe. Nobody should be putting others at risk.

          But I think the evidence is we need to:
          – create a more forgiving environment so that errors – whatever their cause – don’t cause death and serious injury.
          – create transport options so that everyone can get around without having to drive, so telling people who end up sleep deprived that they can’t drive doesn’t lead to such transport poverty.

        3. Yes I am sure.

          That news article that you failed to link to completely ignored that canabis can be detected for 6 weeks, but is only psychoactive for about 12 hours. Many other drigs are similar.

  9. What are the ptions for getting better PT from the Wellington Rail station to the airport?
    What are the ways that could be used to dicourage people from driving to the Wellington Airport or rather encourage them to use alternatives that would enhance the Cities PT infrastructure?

    1. Terminus of the Newtown & Eastern Surburbs Mass(Rapid) Transit proposed in LGWM. No special airport service required. Most travel to/from Eastern Suburbs is has nothing to do with the Airport.
      Current concept:
      (Note that all concept renders show trackless (fake) trams despite (apparently) no mode choice being made (its not just the National Party boosting them)).

    2. There is only one option and that is a system with a dedicated right of way along the whole route. If it has at-grade intersections with other traffic (and it probably will because this is much cheaper than full grade separation) then it must have signal priority.

      The vehicles used should be determined by the forecast patronage (taking into account that a quality of service increase will induce greater demand). If double-decker or bendy buses running every 5 minutes can cope with demand then build a busway. If that won’t be enough then build light rail. Simple.

    3. Most of the non-essential traffic that goes to the airport originates outside the the wellington City boundaries.

      At present NZ Bus is still operating the Airport Flyer from the Wellington Rail way Station but NZ Bus wants to abound the service and the GWRC is looking at the option of putting the route up to tender.

      Once the GWRC restarts Route 2A – Wellington Railway Station to Miramar in early 2021, a person will be able to travel from the railway station to the airport but there will be still at 10-15 minute walk frm the nearest bus stop to the terminal.

  10. Google maps has introduced a Transit view for Auckland. Cities like London and Sydney have had this for years.

    Somehow the Auckland layer is missing parts. At first glance I don’t see the busway or Manukau branch. How are the contributions to these map layers made?

    1. I don’t think that’s new. For years now Maps has been able to give you directions on public transport (including multi-modal trips). Works as well or sometimes better than AT’s Journey Planner.

      1. It is just the overlay with the colour coded rail lines is new, as of a couple weeks ago.
        I never bother with the AT planner, Google maps does a much better job!

    2. I believe the layer is determined by the GTFS feed that AT produce which is what can be used by any app and what google feed into their journey planner.
      The GTFS specification allows for a hierarchy of services and it is up to each agency to make use of that and last time I looked (quite some time ago), AT didn’t. The change to google maps happened at least a few months ago and I suspect it’s a case of AT having changed their GTFS output but in typical AT fashion, it’s likely been done in isolation of the wider network as ATs rail team are notorious for living in a silo

      1. I think its mode based & just done by Google, coloured lines were added for the Wellington rail network around the same time. Looking at a few places round the world it seems to be for rail & similarly guided systems only.

    3. I used to almost totally use Google maps, then “Transit” app (A while back it went “weird” but seems OK again) but I will more commonly use the AT one now as it has improved greatly and has walking bits that Google has wrong. You can also exclude school routes (Transit also has this & can exclude SkyBus etc), know the cost, put the max walking time specifically. Worse thing is I like to see the actual scheduled time easily with the live estimated time like most other apps can easily. One reason for this is when you are near a holding/exact timing spot for a bus a ahead of schedule you know the scheduled time is probably more accurate than the estimated (eg 66 bus towards Sylvia before the train station). You get to know what app & function is best to use for different journey’s and places…then get confused between the different way they work when you are in a hurry…sigh.

      My main point I set out to make below!

      What is weird is we have some local stops that are still not correct on the AT or other apps but now one of the pair is finally correct on Google but the other is not there at all. AT still has the older location which means planning things will not always work that best as it thinks you have to walk a bit further. Google is a pain for Sylvia bus to train connections for example as it thinks you can’t walk directly through the shopping ctr (I’m guessing as it thinks it is not always open, is privately owned or something similar) so won’t pick fast connections as it assumes you have to walk around the long way on the outer edge.

  11. In the twitter post it states ;-

    A wrinkle: Dilworth Trust are challenging the sale, court case 9 September.
    Unknown what Dilworth plan to do with the land should they get it, but given it’s under the m’way & has height + underground restrictions, a bus station seems perfect.

    The underground restrictions is because of the Vector tunnel which runs under the slow lane going South under the motorway from K’rd to Penrose .

    1. There are fire and seismic considerations, both for the protection of the viaduct, that limit development options. Bus usage of the area is sensible IMO.

      1. This is what is under the NewMarket Viaduct as what I was talking about , it starts under the silver chimney next to the rail line in the old AEPB workshop grounds and then heads to under the Viaduct and then goes both ways . And it’s roughly 60metres underground at the entry . ;-

  12. I’m not totally opposed to the Ōtaki to Levin expressway. Not sure about the business case and necessity for a 4 lane highway, but that road is dangerous, falling apart, and vulnerable to closure. It is the only usable route between Levin and Ōtaki.

    If neither central or local govt is going to commit to more regular trains between PN & Wgtn, then the road is necessary to cope with the freight, commuters, and holiday traffic. Increasing speed & capacity of trains needs to be priority for that corridor, but roading upgrades to increase safety/PT usage are needed too

  13. Will there be buses delivering people from around Hamilton to the station in time for the 0620 train departure, or will the bus service start after the train has departed?

    1. Yes, for some Hamilton city Busit bus services like the Comet services from Mahoe and Glenview, the Orbitor, 9 Nawton, 8 Frankton as this stage. Nothing at stage from Cambridge but I believe the Waikato Regional Council is looking at a early morning limited stop express from Cambridge to the Rotokaura (The Base) bus/rail interchange.

  14. Can anyone more clued up than me on rail please tell me if the third line announced today will reduce travel times from Manukau to Britomart on the eastern line? I assume it won’t but selfishly it would be nice for me if it did!

    1. It will help reliability of all rail movements In Akl, freight and passenger, by providing 50% more capacity on the core of our highly overlapping services. So yes, to some degree.

      Though is more of a catch-up to a good base than a leap forward.

    2. Yes. To maintain clockface (every ten minutes) at Manukau and Britomart there’s an extra couple of minutes fat in the timings at the moment. This means they can be staggered at 8 and 12 minute intervals through Papatoetoe etc to allow for freight train movements.

      This won’t need to happen anymore with the third main.

      1. Yes it used to be staggered at Sylvia Park but was updated to nice 10 min timings a while back from Middlemore (in theory anyway, seem to be off lately with works going on or something). In fact it’s currently staggered at Manukau even. This is all in the context of going north. Going south it’s messy again from Panmure south.

  15. A couple of interesting items I have just found;
    (1) One of the reasons for the third rail is ‘to enable express trains to pass
    stopping services’.
    {2) The rail track under the Drury bridges will be lowered to allow overhead wires
    to be installed.
    So it does look like express commuter trains are being considered.
    Both these items are from ‘Auckland Metro Rail Programme’ online.

    1. The second one is interesting as KR have always said that they can’t lower the track under the motorway because of the bridge over the Hingaia Stream.

      Somebody must have been on site to have a look recently.

  16. Some more examples for AT to look at for Queens Street, of turning central city street parking into gardens, pedestrian streets and cycle ways from my home town:

    And recent praise in the local paper, which is usually scathing for these upgrades:

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