A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to be shown around the under construction Karanga-a-hape station and wow is it impressive. When it finally opens I think people will be blown away by what the CRL team have built. So here are a few images and thoughts on it.
We started the tour at the Beresford St entrance. There’s not much to see on the surface right now but looking down into the construction shaft you really get a good sense of just how deep the station is – at 33m deep this is the equivalent of about an 8-storey building. This is what the entrance is eventually meant to look like.
Passengers will use the escalators to drop users down a couple of floors where they’ll make a 180° turn to the ticket hall
Just past the gates is where a second, 40m long escalator will descend to the platform level. This will be one of the longest and fastest escalators in New Zealand and it’s there that this first construction photo comes from, though you can’t see the whole way down due to the various bits of construction underway building up a series of internal walls for rooms and additional floors. A couple of those rooms are for massive ventilation fans capable of moving 130,000 litres of air a second.
The diagram below shows a layout of the Beresford station entrance.
It’s worth remembering that this station entrance wasn’t originally going to be built but was confirmed in mid-2018 as part of works to future proof the station to enable up to 9-car trains in the future.
After making our way back to the surface, we then went to visit the Mercury Lane site. There work on the surface is now starting to be seen with the erection of steel framing for the station entrance. Moving into the station, the same process of building up internal walls and floors is underway here too.
On the surface the steel structure for the station building is starting to take shape but currently just looks like a maze beams and columns.
This structure will eventually house the station entrance with its Pupurangi shells (Kauri snail) on the ceiling.
It was then we got to the real stars of the show, the platforms, or at least the caverns where the platforms will be.
This is the northbound tunnel and only a few months ago the tunnel boring machine was passing through here, though the platforms were mined before it arrived. In just the days before the visit the TBM segments that the machine had used to push off had been removed giving a much clearer view down the platform area.
While it will look a bit different once the platforms and architectural features are installed, what really stounds out is just how big this area is, and I don’t think these images really do that size justice.
Trains heading North from Maungawhau will one day arrive through here.
Moving over to the southbound tunnel, workers are busy preparing to line the cavern walls with concrete. Interestingly, this platform was mined first but the other tunnel was lined first as they had time to do it before the TBM arrived. The blue plastic is a waterproofing layer.
Not far behind where I took this photo is where the long escalator from Beresford Square will arrive and provide access to both platforms. Unfortunately I can’t share that photo with you but I will say that there’s some pretty impressive formwork that’s gone the concrete tunnels, none of which will be seen as will be covered up by the architectural detailing that will start to be installed next year. This is what it is eventually meant to look like.
Shortly after my visit CRL released this video of many of the same areas.
As I said at the start of this post, the station is really impressive and think people will be blown away once they see it for themselves. It’s also a station that will be unique, being our only real underground station – as opposed to subsurface stations like at Britomart, Te Waihorotiu and a few others.
However, as impressive as the station is, it also drove home to me just how much work and cost, both in construction and operations, is needed for underground stations. So the thought of doing that up to eight times under the city and isthmus for light rail just doesn’t stack up, even if the stations are only half the size. This is even more so when you consider the tunnelled light rail option doesn’t offer that much more in capacity and reliability that a surface option provides.
Back to the CRL, just a quick reminder that they’re running a competition for five 11-13 year olds to walk the tunnels all the way from Mt Eden to Britomart and they’ve extended the competition to 31-October.
Tamariki in the Tunnels Competition
Calling all future public transport users!
Do you have an adventurous whiz kid at home who’s ready to get creative? Desperate to be the first tamariki (child) ever to enter the City Rail Link (CRL) tunnels?
CRL in collaboration with Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT) are inviting 5 intermediate-aged tamariki (11-13 years old) to walk the full length (3.45km) of the CRL’s brand new underground tunnels from Mt Eden through to Britomart.
To enter, send in a quick video of your child answering the following:
Tell us in 15 seconds your first name, age and where you would build Auckland’s next railway line and why?
Submit your videos using the below entry from. All entrants must also like the
City Rail Link and MOTAT Facebook pages.
The top five selected entries will be awarded a spot on our once-in-a-life-time ‘Tamariki in the Tunnels’ tour – along with one parent/guardian each.
The tour will be on Thursday 10 November from 5pm. Please allow for up to 3 hours for the event.