Back in April the government finally announced the next steps for light rail, the creation of an Establishment Unit – now called the Auckland Light Rail Group (ALRG) – to recommend the route, mode as well as a delivery entity for the project before the end of the year.

More engagement with stakeholders and communities was also promised and on Thursday the first stage of that kicked off, including a new website.

Auckland Light Rail Group Board Chair Leigh Auton says hearing from communities is key to understanding the needs of different neighbourhoods along the way.

“Whether it’s residents in Mt Roskill and Māngere or business owners in Onehunga and the central city, our engagement events will give people a chance to take part and learn more about what the project means for them.”

Mr Auton says the project is no longer just a transport solution, but a foundation for new homes, shops, community facilities and public spaces. It will open up new planned housing areas in Mt Roskill, Onehunga and Māngere.

Transport Minister Michael Wood says it is important for conversations to start now as the project will be shaping the city for the next 50 years and beyond.

“We’re really encouraging Aucklanders to see what this could look like and transform the way we work, travel, study and play in our local areas. Light rail is an essential part of Auckland’s future and we’re keen to get them involved.”

That all sounds great but already we’re concerned about what we see. At a high-level there’s simply not enough information to help have a proper conversation yet at the same time what has been presented is concerning in its own right. Let’s just work through some of the information they’ve published.

Why Light Rail?

A big part of needing to engage with communities is that through a combination of elections and then the previous poor process, the project has been silent for years. There is a need to go back to square one and explain why this is even been looked at. So first up, a page titled Why Light Rail?

The page goes on to talk about some of the benefits of light rail.

Why are we looking at light rail as an option?

Investing in high capacity, high quality, rapid transit is critical to developing a modern, connected city which supports improved and new public spaces, homes, shops and community facilities. Connecting to buses, ferries, trains and walking and cycling, means people living along the route don’t have to rely on cars to travel to the places they want to go to.

Light rail offers convenience, reliability, safety and comfort, making it a highly attractive public transport option. Unlike a bus route, rail is permanent and carries a lot more people. This encourages greater investment along the route because businesses and people want to be close to stops or stations.

This enables more people to live in existing communities and can reduce the need for new development on the edges of the city.

That last line in particular is great but for those that haven’t followed this project closely for the last six and a half years, there’s nothing there highlighting all the work that’s been done so far. Light rail may have been an election promise from the government but it didn’t just appear out of thin air. Even just including something like below would help give greater context to the project.

Previous studies have identified light rail as the best long term solution to improve public transport and support growth between the city centre and Mangere

Even better would be including a section on the website publishing all of the work done to date.

The page also includes my first major gripe, an artists impression of Māngere Town Centre.

Light rail in the middle of a town centre, what’s not to like?

The issue I have is that because there’s no other information about the idea so nothing to explain the trade-offs needed to achieve it. The station shown is on Orly Ave and you can see the tracks curving around from Bader Dr. There are two possibilities.

  1. If the route was following the motorway corridor like the original Auckland Transport proposal (red in the image below) you’re adding a bit of slow wiggle to the route.
  2. The route had been following Bader Dr for a lot longer in order to serve a lot of the Kāinga Ora housing in that area (blue in the image below). The downside is it would mean a lot longer travel times. I understand this kind of change is what happened after Waka Kotahi took over the project in 2017 and was in part responsible for the NZ Super Fund jumping in with their proposal focused on fast times to the airport, which derailed the process.
The sections in grey are Kāinga Ora owned properties

There are pros and cons to all the options and of course other trade-offs, such as how it impacts local traffic and buses etc. but by just publishing that image without presenting those trade-offs or any analysis it undermines the conversation – which is not a great start for the process.

Type of Light Rail

The ALRG give a very high-level breakdown of the difference between light rail and light metro.

The big things missing here are any discussion of costs and the level of construction disruption that will occur. Given there’s already been a bunch of analysis over the years on these topics this should be doable. Alternatively even just giving some broad ideas based on similar projects around the world would be useful. It took me an afternoon to do something similar for this post comparing the two modes and which highlighted that a light metro solution is likely about to be about 3.5 times the cost. That kind of difference is significant and would have a big influence on community expectations.

One significant thing that was included was this image below showing what the two modes may look like at the street level. The big revelation here is the suggested light metro solution would have an open trench down the street surrounded by motorway style barriers. It’s incredible that they’ve even considered this to be a realistic solution. Did someone look at the New Lynn trench and think “you know what? We should do that down the middle Dominion or Sandringham Rd“. While it may just be an impression it also looks like a dangerous design, for example even the adult crossing the road is barely taller than the trench barriers.


There’s nothing particularly new for the section on the route other than the mention of a potential university connection. Again the issue here though is there’s nothing about the kinds of trade-offs that the ALRG will need to make. For example, whatever mode is chosen, geometry means there’s no way that the Sandringham Rd route can be faster for someone travelling from the city.


Finally, the ALRG are asking for feedback but the questions seem meaningless and it’s hard to see what they do to help answer the questions the government have asked – or to build buy in. The questions are below but there’s also an online version of this form. Here are a couple of quick questions about the specific questions they ask.

  • Why even ask if climate change is important anymore? Both the government and council have declared climate emergencies and we need to just get on with responding to it.
  • Why is it only new homes that seem to be important and not also serving existing populations? Furthermore, we shouldn’t be building light rail if we’re also not changing zoning to enable more houses to be built – and the National Policy Statement – Urban Development requires it.
  • Light rail will have much wider impacts than just those who live in the area. Does that mean people outside the area can’t take an interest in this city shaping project?

Had there been information on the kinds of trade-offs that will need to be made they could be asking for community views on them. For example they could be asking questions like:

Would you prefer fewer stations for a [slightly] faster trip but with more intense development around stations or more stations but with less intensity around each station [but still more than exists now].


Do you prefer light rail travels via Dominion or Sandringham Rd and why – what issues are there that we should be aware of on each route.

I do also wonder how much any of this feedback is really going to matter anyway given it’s open until the end of August and they are providing a recommendation to the government in September.

The short timeline and what we’re seeing, with work seemingly starting from scratch despite all the assurances from the government that it wouldn’t, has me very concerned that we’re going to see another failed process. This is incredibly frustrating for a project that should have been near complete by now.

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  1. Light rail to Mt Roskill by 2021¡ So said our PM. What year is it again?

    Talk about putting this through the complicator. And all the more revealing that Twyford had done none of this for 3 years anyway.

    Anyone can see a semi demarcated transit system is far better than buses. Not only that but it will be electric and not reliant on batteries, wins all round so far.

    It will be smoother, should be faster if they don’t go crazy with stops, units that have a fast longer life than the current 20 years a bus has and theoretically lower staffing costs given the ability to run coupled units.

    There is so much logic in this and the public don’t need a marketing campaign. Businesses do need reassuring however because any public works in Auckland Council areas simply take far too long.

    But Wood has started from year zero and this is like a policy research paper, something I would have thought Phil Twyford would have done.

    I can just see this is NEVER going to happen. I suspect Minister knows it too. This is the beginning of a process made all the more fraught by starting all over, again. And worse, Labours now legendary inability to get their ministries to do anything they want.

    1. There has been vast amounts of transport planning done on light rail. There is something like 60-70 people working full time – that Simon Wilson revealed in his NZ Herald article. And there is all the information from the two-bid process. The problem is the public has not been allowed to see the information which will determine the outcomes of important tradeoff decisions. It is the mushroom approach from public service officials – keep the public in the dark and feed it…. This truly is BS.

      1. The two bid process was so poorly conceived and administered that the information it generated is useless. Better to forget that ever happened.

    2. Now that the Government has bundled rapid transit stops with high rise apartments through the NPS-UD it is going to be hilariously funny if people start to oppose light rail in order to prevent apartments in their backyard.

      1. Whereas in Wellington we have the dead opposite. Not even a sight of Rapid Transit within Wellington City, and yet we are being asked / told to have multi-storey development clustered around the future, eventual, maybe possibility one day locations of potential stations, of something that possibly, conceivably, ideally and ideologically preferable existence of a remote chance of one day being a Light Rail route. We’ve been waiting for over 10 years and they haven’t even started to propose a route, let along pick a method that might be a suitable option for that possible route, for Light Rail. Or Rapid Transit. Maybe faster buses. Maybe buses with skirts so we can call them Trackless trams, or maybe the word Tram is too provocative, and so they’ll be called Personal Rapid Automatic Mass Transit Modern Transport. Then they’ll make up a new acronym, consult it some more, and then cancel the whole thing.

        1. Well I am sure if you ask the Government will promise you a light rail system too. Of course like the Auckland system and the bike harbour bridge they will have no intention of ever actually building it.

    3. My cystal ball:
      Lightrail -> not ever built
      Cyclebridge -> not ever built
      Bus way to botany -> Delay until 2030 and then cancelled

      So the PT project not built, and the roading project already cancelled like mill road and east-west.

      We ends up with nothing. No PT no roading. But the city has more population and congestion.

      This Labour government delivery is a joke.

      National government at least started the CRL in their last term

      1. The CRL? It took them 9 years to start it after opposing the it vehemently for 7 of those years.

        Labour have only been in power for 4 years.

      2. You’re probably right about the cycle bridge, hard to say with light rail.

        However, it’s impossible to take you seriously regarding the Eastern Busway. For a start it’s an AT project and has little to do with the government, also it’s reasonably well advanced and the 1st stage is almost complete.

        The cycleway has significant BCR issues , LR has the challenge of Dominion Rd, the Eastern Busway has no such opposition or technical challenges.

        1. The Eastern Busway has been pushed back to 2028 completion already this month, from 2025 purely due to funding which is just shocking considering the desperate need for it

        2. I’m aware of that. The first stage also got delayed quite frequently due to funding issues, however I think it is very low risk of being cancelled outright.

  2. I have issues with the ‘modern trams’ image, because it doesn’t illustrate the tradeoff choices between allocating space for footpaths, cycle and micro-mobility paths, road space for cars, and road space for the modern tram – all of which needs to fit into the existing narrow 20m wide road corridor.

    I think there is some benefits (faster housing/commercial built response, higher quality public realm) in considering widening road corridors to create a boulevard. Others (GA) think the best choice is to remove cars – by closing the arterial roads to through traffic.

    1. Yes to date everyone involved in the project has pretended you can have pedestrians, cyclists, cars and light rail in 20m. That is why the propaganda they have produced to date focuses on a picture of the northern part at Ian McKinnon Drive where there is more like 50m available.

      At some point someone involved will put their hand up and point out that their images don’t actually work.

      1. Dominion Rd is like 23m average width due to widening for buses in the 2000s. There’s only a few front yards or properties you would need to buy out

    2. I have issues with how pervasive the 20m corridor width myth is. There is less than 500m that is that narrow.

  3. I’m having a bit of trouble getting my head around the author’s aim with this article.
    There seems to almost be an anti attitude in it rather than one that constructively looks at the process.
    The anti attitude even comes out in the criticism of the artist impressions of how various concepts could be implemented.
    I personally like the idea of the trenching and cover where necessary approach which would improve the safety of the system and more than likely meet a lot of criticism of light rail interfering with traffic flow.
    As an aside, a trench and cover approach could (maybe, possibly) allow for existing heavy rail vehicles to operate the service. Obviously to use heavy rail would require a different approach to integrating the route in to the surrounding areas.
    The suggestion of a “tour” of the route to include Mangere Town Centre has to be worth while option and one that will help the area to grow.

    1. This consultation process is poorly implemented because it doesn’t explain to those being consulted the trade-offs involved in the different options being consulted on. That’s what this article explains and provides constructive suggestions on how to do it better.

      Trenching looks like a less intrusive way of putting light rail in the existing built environment but it’s a seductive mirage: The construction impacts would be so huge (see CRL Contract 2 down Albert St) that communities would likely prefer on-street running if they were better informed about each option. And that’s before you even take into account the cost of construction.

    2. The partially covered trench idea is a nonsense for Sandringham or Dominion road but it might be a more affordable option in Christchurch for a new city-centre rail spur up Manchester Street to a High Street station near the bus exchange.

    3. Jesus! A f****ng trench down the middle of a suburban town centre and all for the benefit of people driving? What sort of anti-place maniac even suggests this?

      1. I don’t think it’s about driving at all. The advantages I see are:
        – Being able to cross the road without having to watch for 2 lanes of traffic and 2 lanes of light rail with no median in between
        – Ability to have lots more public space at town centres including Queen Street
        – Proper separation. Cars can’t block it, it can’t get stuck at intersections.
        – Higher speed as no pedestrians etc
        Its pretty much exactly what I thought they would do (real fully covered would be way to expensive). The question is do the benefits outweigh the cost.

        1. The “being able to cross the street” thing doesn’t sit well with the artists’ impressions, as highlighted by Matt.

          Anyone who’s used that midblock crossing on Upper Symonds St (where cars regularly sail through the red light), or just walked along the average Auckland street with high fences, will be thinking twice before stepping out from behind that concrete wall…

        2. How do you cross the road in the Modern Tram scenario? You either need a gap big enough to cross the whole 4 lanes, or you wait in the middle and hope a tram doesn’t come. I still don’t get why the tram needs to run up the middle?

        3. Of course it’s about cars. Take cars out of all the “benefits” you’ve listed above and there is no need to trench.
          No cars and you can have a median and you are only crossing 2 lines of light rail
          No cars – you have the ability to have loads more space for town centers (not sure how you think a massive trench gives you more space)
          No cars – cars can’t block it
          Higher speeds – I’ll give you this one but do we need higher speeds through town centers would it be OK if the speed was focused between town centres.

          The mistake you are making is giving the car status quo some sort of mythical/eternal priviledge. Take out the cars and *everything* works better

        4. OK I agree without cars everything does work better. But I don’t think that is one of the options being discussed.

        5. Its actually really easy Jimbo, far easier to cross than the road today.
          If it’s anything like the gold coast you can see up and down the street and see the trams coming miles away. With one every four or five minutes you have four or five minutes clear gap in between.

          So you check the tracks are clear, see a gap in one lane of traffic, walk across to the middle, then cross the second lane of traffic when there is a gap. Compare that to standing on Dominion Road or Sandringham and trying to cross two to four lanes of traffic in both directions in one go.

          And of course at the shops or any intersection you can just use the crossing.

      2. But a trench would be handy. If you miss rubbish day and you live on Dominion Road you could wheel your bin to the middle and tip it in.

    4. Good work Matt.

      Trenching would be more like Albert Street than New Lynn:

      in New Lynn you only had 12 landowners all single storey, and the project fully complete inside 3 years. Plus well orchestrated land developers.

      Albert Street C2 went from November 2015 to October 2020 for just 600 metres of rail trench, and the second half of Albert Street will be ready in 2025. 10 years of hard shopowner grief and traffic chaos.

      There won’t be many bidders for this project given the points you make, as well as the total procurement disasters costing prospective bidders multimillion $$ already. Little trust to find anywhere in the market.

      We also need to see a government truly ready to make beneficial landowners contribute $$$$ to this project. Or buy huge sections of adjoining roadway houses under the PWA.

      Best of luck Leigh.

      Trench option omg. They’ve put that in there just to make it look astonishingly bad compared to At Grade.

      1. Surely this trench is a lot more shallow than Albert Street? I assume it would by powered by the rails so just needs to be train height deep.

        1. Who cares how shallow it is? 2m? 4m? 10m? It’s a massive f****ng trench in the middle of your high street.

        2. OK, but I’m saying the cost of the trench option is irrelevant, it is a place destroying abomination. Could only be dreamed up by a team who have no concept of what makes a desirable place to be in.

        3. Cut and cover is very different from cut and leave open… All New York’s north-south metro/transit lines are simple cut and cover only a few feet below the surface – done relatively quickly. They dug a series of big trenches, put steel beams over the top and a quick layer of waterproofing, then laid the concrete road topping over that again. Result: hundreds of miles of quick transit routes installed, and 94% of Manhattanites do not drive to work. Everyone takes the MTA.

        4. You’re looking at a minimum of 4m for the train clearance, plus the height of the foundation below and the bridges above. So the dig would be at least 7m, or two to three storeys deep.

      2. The cost of trenching is hugely impacted by having to relocate gradient dependent underground services of storm water and sanitary sewer pipes

        1. This is a major problem that will slow the progress of the whole delayed system and incite much opposition from all those impacted by the construction. It seems totally unwarranted.

        2. you would still have to relocate underground services with modern trams, in waterloo – Kitchener in Canada businesses suffered for years as the entire road had to be dug up to put a slow tram that is slower than a bus

  4. -The time this is taking is disappointing, but unfortunately not uncommon with big transit programme across most of the world, or at least the more democratically order parts. The first part of any new system is always fraught, with many competing ideas and interests. If there is one advantage with such a clunky process it is that there is more chance that most sensible scheme (often the most obvious) gets a better chance of finally being implemented over other more showy but riskier alternatives.

    I agree however with the post, the failure to acknowledge and describe trade-offs, even in the broadest terms, is a very poor choice at this stage. Trade-offs are everything in RT system design and implementation, everything. Especially cost and construction time. The sooner these are daylight the better.

  5. There is nothing meaningless about this consultation. They know if that every year they waste means they can delay spending $10 billion. This is a very serious bit of can-kicking.

  6. The best public feedback they could get,is probably about the route. This project could potentially cut neighborhoods in half. Thinking of Onehunga,already sliced up by the motorway and train line, another dividing line could be problematic, ln that regard,it should follow existing motorway, but then doesn’t capture potential users.

    1. On the contrary, at-grade light rail would stitch neighbourhoods together, particularly if stops are frequent. Stops will become destinations within a catchment from all directions, and businesses around the stops will do well because of the increased foot traffic the LR stops create.

      The reason motorways cut neighbourhoods in half is because they are literally an un-crossable river of traffic.

      Light metro (the trenched option pictured in the post) probably would have a severing effect if designed with chest-high barriers down the middle of the street.

    2. Currently both Dominion Rd and Sandringham Rd create severance, with places where it’s difficult for pedestrians to cross. There are plenty of places along the streets where the noise, fumes and traffic dominance are repellent to people, too.

      When you suggest this project could split the community in half, are you thinking the trenches would create severance? I guess that’s true, and you’re right. It’s one of the trade-offs they should be pointing out. And they should also be talking about the benefits of light rail in this regard.

      Nowhere in the website is there discussion about the huge transformation of streetscapes that light rail can bring, apart from the images, which have their issues. This is about as close as they get: “a more liveable, connected city”

      Light rail has the potential to heal severance significantly, and bring parts of the community together. It is far safer to replace many buses and cars with one light rail vehicle, and this would make the street much easier to cross. The reduction of traffic and of noise would make the streetscape much more attractive.

    3. Absoulutely, the route is the only important thing, accompanied by the station locations. There is no argument for Light Metro, except preserving car space, which would defeat the purpose of adding a rapid transit system. It is important to focus on Light Rail, the best route for efficiency and catchment, and making decisions on road space. All proposed routes would be planned at the same time, there must be some economy of scale there. Those who ask too many questions are not looking for an answer, and the current ALRG is asking too many futile questions.

      1. “There is no argument for Light Metro”: surely light metro is the optimum solution if cost isn’t a factor right? Maybe the trench option isn’t as expensive as we have all been guessing. It would be nice to have that info though.

        1. Surely not, no. Having to climb or descend between stations and street is not superior. Look at the frequent accessibility issues that arise wherever there’s a change in elevation on the rail line, like Henderson. Lift stops working, takes ages to be fixed, the stairs are locked presumably to save money on cleaning, so people who can’t use elevators have no access.

        2. Fair point, but I suspect money does have something to do with this project, it is not a road after all! I don’t think that light metro cavity system in the roadway would be very popular anyway, how high would those barriers need to be? With my kids I would want at least 1.5m, and that starts to change sight lines. A terrible idea surely.

        3. Why 1.5m? 1m is standard balustrade height for a deck on a very tall building for example. Or maybe they could cover it with a mesh or something, or decking and make it a walkway. I am not sure why they need so much exposed anyway, surely it could be mostly covered.
          I agree cost is definitely an issue, but we haven’t been told how much it is yet. Maybe it is only $1 billion more, that might be worthwhile for the speed increases.

        4. Or, again, like New York: stainless steel grilles set in flush with the road surface, so the air can move and no-one has to walk around 1.5m high barriers in the middle of the street.

          I don’t understand why New Zealand has to think it always has to find a newer and dumber way of doing everything. Everything has been done before – choose one of the 10 best examples, and avoid the 10 worst examples, and get it done fast. Those pictures up the top are possibly the stupidest examples I have ever seen.

          Just Don’t Do It.

        5. Cost is always a factor. Just the sheer cost itself, and the things high cost makes you do like picking odd alignments, skipping stations or putting them in places where you can build rather than where they should go. You can bet those underground stations won’t be in the historic village centres where the tram stops would be, that’s about the worst possible place to try and dig a huge box for an underground station.

          There is a reason the public hasn’t been told the cost of this metro trench plan yet Jimbo, it’s because the cost is politicians-job-losingly high. You only need to look at international projects to see Matt’s estimate of three times higher is on the conservative side. The surface light rail estimate was last at $4 billion, so the metro will be at least $12 billion for the first line.

      2. both light metro and light rail proposals keep the same amount of car capacity because there will always be people ignoring transit and driving

  7. I support light rail.
    It is the easiest, could be built quickly and with the lowest cost.
    Meto rail is very expensive, would take too long. With AT and Waka Kotahis record there would be delays, cost blowouts, complications. They prefer grand projects at the very highest cost such as TG, Puhinui station and the Eastern busway rather than basic functional stuff. They won’t do low cost bikeways.
    That would then have an negative effect on other projects and slow them down and we will end up in a worse situation.
    Auckland has huge congestion problems and we are spending $31 billion over the next 8 years. Getting LR to Mangere up and running quickly would allow all the other projects to start sooner.

    1. Yup. Once we know what we’re getting and what we’re running on CC2M, the following projects become workable:

      1) NW Light Rail
      2) North Shore Busway upgrade & solidified future AHWC plans
      3) Crosstown + possible East Auckland Light Rail in the longer term.

      All hugely transformational, climate-emergency friendly and congestion busting projects, and all will be needed sooner than Wellington will ever acknowledge.

      I note that almost all of these projects are now deferred or have no funding available, other than a hugely expensive one-trick walking and cycling bridge, which would trigger the need for an extra $10b spend on tunnels across the harbour. Guess where that money will likely come from.

      1. It does seem like a bunch of unelected civil servants using a combination of tricks are the key decision makers for shaping the built environments where the majority of us live.
        P.S Just take the lane on the Auckland Harbour Bridge for cycling and then get on with those other important congestion free network projects.

      2. there is no need to change the existing busway – It is already incredibly reliable and I know that because I have used it, the entire reason they are doing the eastern busway is because the northern busways sucess and low cost

  8. That ‘light metro’ table is hugely disingenuous. If it could be ‘elevated, underground, or on the street’ then show those options, instead of the most expensive one with no mention of cost.

    I’m guessing this isn’t happening because rendering the Epsom/Roskill burbs with Skytrain spans isn’t going to get them the answer they want, no is explaining that cut-and-cover or tunneling is going to cost many many times what street-level running is going to.

    Also, we need to reframe this in the same way that the walking and cycling bridge from NZTA was: This isn’t the cost of the best option, this is the cost to preserve car access in all places at all times, regardless of the opportunities for different corridor environments and space allocation along the route presented by rapid transit.

  9. Mangere Town Centre is a really fascinating conundrum.
    On one hand it would be inequitable to not bring light rail into the centre. Running it along the motorway only reinforces the severance caused in previous decades that split the town centre from its walkable catchment (similar to red-lining as seen in the USA where poor suburbs bear the brunt of infrastructure that serves the rich).
    On the other hand, will a station catalysis all the bad parts of gentrification? Will it see poor quality buildings built for a quick buck push out the life that existing today.
    In my view Mangere Town centre deserves a station in its heart. How it is achieved will need to be nuanced and measured to ensure that the centre is enhanced without losing its charm.
    I think for Mangere Town Centre we need to think of it a place based project – rather than a transport project.

    1. Yes. There are so many options available, too. Several different routes – all with issues. Several ways the centre could instead be moved closer to an undeviated route – also with issues. And several ways the route could be connected to the existing town centre using public and active transport patterns that significantly increase transport options in the wider area – with the issue that the centre wouldn’t be on the light rail route itself.

      This is exactly the sort of public conversation that should be being had.

    2. Mangere deserves a heart full stop, the old mall in a sea of carparking isn’t exactly doing it. Might be better to redevelop a proper town centre around the station than take the station to the mall.

  10. Why are they using the phrase “Modern Tram” ? Does Orsman get to name our transport infrastructure?

    1. They can take all the teeth out of it by owning that phrase.
      Instead of it being a negative it’s more of a yeah they are modem trams, and address the key issues where the old trams were bad, namely the mixed running with general traffic, comfort, reliability, and capacity.

      Instead of people being able to derail the conversation now it can be focused on something more productive. (If only they released more information)

    2. This is because that is how everyone outside this comment thread calls it.

      We have a northern busway, and we’re still calling the things driving on it ‘buses’. It will be fine.

      1. Except it’s universally called a busway, not a bus lane or a bus route because it’s quite a lot better than those things. The only people that ever called the busway a bus lane were the ones in the Nz. Herald trying to rubbish it.

      2. The Gold Coast/Sydney systems are not called ‘Modern Trams’ in service – they’re called Light Rail.

  11. Stage one should be Onehunga Station to Mangere Town center via Coranation Road and Bader drive. Get Kiwirail to build two basic concrete bridges just like all the other ones it has replaced on the North Auckland line and on the Main North line after the Kaikoura earthquakes over the last five years. So that’s the bridge out of the way. Build the elevated light rail stop as planned above the Onehunga station so passengers can transfer. So down the rail right of way to the port over the new bridges through the main street of Mangere Bridge then along Coranation Road, Bader drive and terminate at the main bus stop outside the mall. Purchase some basic split level trams with the raised sections over the bogies. This gives low level access in the middle section without making the design to expensive. Build a tram shed maybe at the port as there would be good security there and there is already a rail underbridge there from back in the day. So stand alone section which will be a proof of concept and the street running section can continue to run with appropriate sized vehicles even
    If a more direct line along the motorway is built at a later stage. After all you can have a branch or a deviation on a tramway. I expect the community would welcome it why wouldn’t they as it right next to the motorway and its not a particularly congested route. And it’s Stand alone when other suburbs see the benifit they will want one too.

    1. So possibly there could be a Tram route Avondale to Mangere Town center sharing some of the track with CDB to the airport. Avondale to Mangere Town center built first and to have its own appropriate sized rolling stock.

    2. The current Onehunga station doesn’t really have a long life as it can’t accommodate either 6 or ultimately 9 car trains. It also isn’t ideally placed in relation to the town centre. So at some point it will be repositioned or may be disappear and be replaced by a bus service to Penrose where you can interchange. So I personally wouldn’t plan for an interchange at that location.

  12. I see they are having a consultation day at the Otara market. Fair old way from Mangere or the airport. Maybe they will build something there. I have often thought of a tram through Otara but haven’t being able to work out where it would go.

  13. I’m rather confused by this public consultation.
    The questions being asked are meaningless.
    The description of light rail only modern trams or light metro but there are many options inbetween
    Like protected lane street level signal priority loading gauge and traction power.

    1. The issues isn’t about what kind of power units will be used, its more about where the route will go, to serve the most people. This is why Onehunga to anywhere, or Otara to Mangers will not be included in the consultation. The Light Rail project is all about urban renewal along one or more of the existing congested Auckland Corridors. ie Dominion Rod or Sandringham Road. You then bring the bulldozers in and clear way all the damp, mouldy, 1940s houses and turn them into firewood. They are then replaced with three to four story mixed use retail, offices and apartments.

  14. My real concern is the governing team for the project. Political hires with no experience in delivering a rail project or transit orientated development at scale. The fact that this happened is really concerning…… How did they decide the team for this project?

    Watch what happens when tough decisions have to happen and public opinion turns. They will start bagging their own project for political gain.

  15. 10 years to see a light rail – that is far too long.

    We need to put in a designation zone now or it will become too difficult to do it later.

    1. As a light metro or light rail line would have no physical connection to the current heavy rail network, there is no need to use the current networks 1067mm (3’6″) gauge. Standard gauge is most likely due to widespread use on similar systems overseas.

      1. A standard-gauge railway is a railway with a track gauge of 1,435 mm (4 ft 8+1⁄2 in) – is that what you mean?

        While I totally agree with you, perhaps you could explain what the advantages would be? Wider cars? More people? Would it be more stable? Less rocking? Therefore maybe Faster? Would it be less costly to buy as it is more common size?

        1. It’s industry standard, so cheaper, easier to maintain, more bids from a bigger range of suppliers, standard sizing for replacement and renewals, guarantee you’ll be able to source parts and supplies for decades to come.

          Pick an odd size and you’ll have to pay top dollar to the one or two suppliers that have an odd size product already, or can be bothered retooling a production line to suit.

  16. when I saw the timeline predicting 10 years just for consents and building and consents won’t even start this year I already know: it’s not gonna happen. Even if this government would start the process (which I don’t believe it will) then the next one will most likely can it or change it into something meaningless. and 10 years foreseen by politicians mean at least 15 anyways. Lost any hope that Auckland will have any meaningful transport project in my lifetime. Even though I don’t like it I will stick to driving for a long time. That is if I won’t move to some normal place at some point.

  17. that survey is truly pointless and embarrassing. They could’ve asked what you had for breakfast and it would have the same meaning. Question example: ‘What is important to you in public transport? (tick all that apply): – safety, – convenience, -reliability, -close to work, -close to home, and few other options like that. I cannot even imagine someone not ticking all of them. Project was paused for 6 months for that consultation. I mean seriously. They just don’t want to do it and that is it. I can’t see any other explanation. It’s just laughing straight into peoples faces and taking their money. Nothing more.

  18. This is the project – given its sorry history – that you’d expect the government to be attempting to use its most inclusive and collaborative methods of engagement. Change management is crucial – so if this is the standard of consultation we can expect, we’ve got a problem.

  19. I suspect that it will take some crisis or emergency to get things moving here. I can’t imagine what. A major oil shortage maybe, or a significant climate disaster that actually galvanises some action. Or something totally out of left-field like Covid proved to be. Something that disrupts our ability to remain comfortable with the status-quo and our preference for not rocking the boat.

  20. Shame 😀 Twyford should be hanged. But yeah NZ is living on borrowed money with more and more animals having to be killed poor things just to pay China of for our debt.. That’s your Woke World Liberals All the things you say you hate in full force.

  21. How many of the 60 to 70 staff working full time on this did it take to create the feedback form? It is brilliant! The best I have seen from AT and friends.
    The questions are vague enough that they can read into any answers what they want but topical enough that they can say they have consulted. Well worth the 6 figures we will be paying them!
    Bring on 2035 for Mayor Lowrie to break ground on the Lady Adern Light Modern Metro Rail project

  22. Techno Tom, I don’t believe it is liberals who have made us so dependent on China. This has come about through progressive closing-down of so much of our home-grown manufacturing capability and instead buying “Made in China”. This is a result of business decisions over the decades and also of legislative changes such as allowing parallel importing which have undermined our local industry. Right-wing governments have probably been more to blame for this than left-wing. And this has happened all over the world. The whole world is now in thrall to China.

  23. Please, lets get on with it. Light Rail is the way to go.
    We need to be thinking of a much quicker roll out to the north west to try and serve the new suburbs being built now so that they do not become car dependent from the start.
    Airport users will take what they are given like those overseas where if you use PT you take what’s on offer and that includes the changes. Heavy rail to Puhinui and the change to get to the airport is a good option now.

    1. The best thing for the long term is not usually what we should build now. I could use a road analogy, if you’ve got x number of dollars and you’re building a network from scratch, you don’t build 10km of motorway, when you could build 100km of a lower grade road and on the key routes reserve the area to upgrade that motorway section later.

      Same can be done for our second rail system. Perhaps the at grade queen street section will be bypassed underground later and can be upgraded to higher capacity metro for example.

      1. all of those options would require service disruption and spending more money in the future instead of getting the best option now

        1. Option a) spend heaps of money now, have a system that runs significantly under capacity for decades, have the extra capital investment funds tied up for that amount of time, not producing anything.

          Option b) spend less money now, spend some more in the future. Have a system with less latent capacity, less capital tied up, can be invested in other things and be put to work now, instead of being put to work in 30 years after sitting for that long.

          We dont have a golden goose or infinite pockets to “just spend more now”, any extra spending on a project directly delays or cancels some other civil project, that will also cost more in the future. We need to spend money in areas that will give the best return for the next 30 to 40 years. And then in the end we have more money overall.

    2. Canadas Canada line in Vancouver and Montreal’s REM are automated light metro projects with low disruption, low cost and fast construction that have been highly successful, why cant our government get its sh*t together

      1. Of course Montreal’s REM was low disruption on the surface. It was a conversion of existing tracks to a higher standard. How is that comparison remotely relevant to SW rapid transit?

  24. I think it’s better to bring the math before telling that this path wiggle is so bad. I just checked on google maps the travel distance bettwen Mangere bridge and Mangere school, it seems like one along motorway is about 5.3 km, and wiggly one is about 5.7 km. Considering there would be the same number of stops, the travel time difference should not be more than a minute for the “modern tram”. I think if it’s the only one crazy wiggle on the route which helps to serve more people then one minute delay is not such a great deal for non-motorway thinker.

    1. 5.3km at 100km/h along the motorway vs. 5.7km at 40km/h on suburban streets is a difference of at least five and a half minutes. More probably with tight turns and intersections.

      And I think they’d have at least one extra stop too, otherwise why would you bother going down there? Six or seven minutes longer, easy.

      1. I don’t think tram is going to go anyway near that fast as 100km/h. 100km/h is a heavy rail speed, trams usually don’t go faster than 80km/h.
        But yes, If average speed on this route would be 60km/h in one case and 30km/h in other case the difference would be about 6 minutes. Such a big difference could only be the case if there indeed an extra stop.

        1. Yes trams don’t usually go that fast but proper light rail can easily do 100km/h in service. There’s a difference between trams designed for only running on street and those designed to run long distances on grade separated light railway (wheel profile, articulated bogies, etc).

          The tram via the local streets will be a lot slower than the light rail along the motorway.

        2. Riccardo in which city is light rail as opposed to light metro doing 100kp/h in regular service?

        3. A few examples: Los Angeles, Seattle, Salt Lake City, Istanbul, Cologne, Hannover, Kassel, Nantes, Alicante…

        4. You need to check those networks again, I checked them, you’re confusing light rail with light metro, some cities have both like Cologne and Istanbul, I also don’t think you can compare what is used in the US with anywhere else in the world, the US has very different crash regulations than elsewhere.

        5. With respect I think you are confused, they all run sections on street with signalised intersections. That’s the definition of light rail.


          Light metro is 100% grade separated, that’s the defining characteristic that makes it different from light rail. Some of those cities have various metro lines as well, yes, but the lines above are all light rail.

        6. Ok here you go.

          LA Metro A Line from your link 55 mph (89 km/h)

          Rainer Beach Station (Link light rail) Line 1 55 miles per hour (89 km/h), Line T 25 mph (40 km/h)

          Red Line TRAX I’ll give you this one Maximum: 65 mph (105 km/h), when you read the design criteria for new trams it’s 55mp/h maximum speed. › media › Files › Doing-Business › Design-Info

          T1 (Istanbul Tram) from your link the maximum speeds are Bombardier Flexity Swift A32 – They have a top speed of 70km/h
          Alstom Citadis X04 – They also have a top speed of 70km/h

          Cologne Stadtbahn no speed is mentioned except the average operating speed of 16.2 mph (26.1 km/h) . When you look at each of the different types of rolling stock you get:
          Bombardier CR4000 – 50 mph (80 km/h)
          Bombardier M5000 – 50 mph (80 km/h)

          One out of your list is faster than 100kp/h, but the specification for new trams for that system has a lower maximum speed.

        7. My apologies, you are correct that the nominal service speed limit of many of these systems is 11km/h slower than the arbitrary 100km/h that Andrew K decided only heavy rail could do, but 9km/h faster than the supposed limit of 80km/h for ‘trams’ he cited.

          If that sort of detail is important to you I’ll restate my position: there are dozens of light rail systems around the world that go much faster than trams running in mixed traffic because they are designed to run on long stretches of separate light railway as well as having sections on street where it is convenient.

          This kind of light rail would be just as fast as any metro or heavy rail running on the same grade separated alignment in the Auckland context , but because it also has the option of also using a street level alignment it could save billions of dollars on tunneling and underground stations downtown and across the isthmus that could be used to make even more light rail lines instead.

          I would be more than happy with a light rail line that does up to 89km/h out to the airport, thanks.

  25. I have just reread this and all the comments and the whole thing is very depressing if they can’t give us some detail of what they are proposing they need to tell us why. I won’t be giving it any support not that they would need to be worried about what I do or say. What’s all the secracy about what are they afraid of. Do they think they will be sued. I think Greater Auckland and reporters who are supporting this project are just being treated with utter contempt as are the general public. Tell them we need more detail when we do the consultation.

  26. 4 – What would make light rail attractive to use? Actually having a light rail system to use. Or at least starting to build the lightrail system that was “shovel ready” three years ago and was expected to be in operation later this year. Where did all the planning and design go? Why will it take 10 years to prepare a business case (why is one needed if you have decided to build it?) and consent and build it? I find my mind just spinning, do we now live in some form of parody? I couldnt believe we are going to waste another 6 months on consultation to get buy in. We expected to be using the damn thing by now. Its like the story of the company where they kept coming up with plans to improve efficiency, until one day they found there was noone left in the factory to actually make anything. In this case they can make incredible plans but seemingly lack the skills to actually do anything. For gods sake hire someone who has built one of these things from overseas and give them a shovel.

  27. The best thing this government could is sack anyone in Waka Kotahi who proposes stupid ideas designed to run up the cost and delay things. A good old bureaucratic purge I’m is needed.

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