Last week during the council’s new Transport and Infrastructure Committee, City Rail Link, Auckland Transport and Kiwirail gave an update on the CRL and the future of the Auckland network.

The update and subsequent questions by councillors was quite long, coming in at nearly two hours all up but I’ve put the videos at the end of the post in case anyone is interested in watching them.

While for regular readers of the blog a lot of the information won’t be new, a couple of things stood out.

  • City Rail Link are giving a briefing Ministers and the Mayor this Friday on the updated costs and completion date of the project. In a list of challenges to date, it was noted there had been “severe price escalation since 2020 so the figure could be high. It’s not clear when that will be made public.
  • The civil works are still on track for completion early next year at which point the project moves to fitting out the stations, tunnels and rail systems. However, the delays due to COVID mean many parts of the project are now on a critical path. They’re hitting their deadlines so far but there’s not much slack so if any one of those parts of the project on a critical path experiences delay, it could throw out the completion of the project.

Works to be completed

  • Fitout
    • Mechanical, Electrical, Fire, Hydraulic fit out
    • Continue Rail Systems fit out
    • Architectural & Station fit out
    • HV Energisation & overhead line energisation
  • Testing
    • Site Acceptance Testing
    • All Systems Testing
    • Train Running Testing
    • Operational Readiness Testing
  • One of the concerns is that from now on in, many of people that are needed to do the work on the project will be coming from Australia where Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne all have big rail tunnel projects due for completion at about the same time as the CRL. We’re competing for that same resource and that may have impacts on the CRL.
  • Before the pandemic, we hit a maximum of just over 22 million trips but the pandemic has reduced that to just over 8 million as of September but AT are forecasting 12 million by the end of the financial year. However, Auckland Transport are modelling that two years after the CRL opens we’ll be at 30 million trips.
  • AT also talked about some of the things that need to be done before opening, such as:
    • ensuring there are sufficient numbers of trains and drivers
    • changes the network such as the removal of some pedestrian level crossings as per a mandate from the regulator (Waka Kotahi)
    • wholescale replacement of AT’s mapping system and wayfinding
    • integration of stations and other modes
  • Kiwirail noted that they’re three months ahead of schedule for the 3rd main project and are in the closing phases of mediation with NZ Health about the station works in with Middlemore Hospital.
  • On the Drury stations, there cost inflation means they can’t build all three new stations within the budget they have and AT and Kiwirail have a difference of opinion on what should be done. AT want to do just two stations (Drury Central and Paerata) while Kiwirail would prefer to do all three with lower specification for ‘day 1’. Given how over-spec’d these stations already are, perhaps that’s a better option, cutting out things like the superfluous car parking.
  • Kiwirail said they are moving to operating the network more like a metro without big shutdowns like they have done for decades.
  • Following the comments from other Councillors, Councillor Shane Henderson made a case for upgrading Swanson quoting our post from a few weeks ago. It was noted that this likely to be part of the cost discussion that occurs this Friday.

Day One Services

The aspect of the presentations that I found most interesting was that AT shared a draft of their current thinking for how services will operate on day one of the CRL. The map they showed is only a draft and subject to modelling as well as consultation next year and there are a number of aspects worth highlighting, some good, some not so good but perhaps what concerns me the most is it highlights that AT still don’t understand the purpose of the rapid transit network that they’re building.

The plan is quite different to what we’ve seen before. It has two core all day routes, of Swanson to Manukau and Pukekohe to the city and then back out to Otahuhu. At peak times this is augmented by a number of additional services, including some running express patterns.

We’ve created a bit more readable version of AT’s strip map of this.

With the exception of the two stations on the Onehunga Line, all stations appear to have at least 8 trains per hour (TPH) at peak times, that’s an average of one train every 7.5 minutes and so an improvement on what we have now of a train every 10 minutes. I’m also personally pleased to see this is from Swanson.

However, at least in the case of the Eastern and Western lines, half of those trains are only in the peak direction with the train passing through the CRL and terminating. That means say you wanted to travel from Kingsland to New Lynn in the morning peak, you’d only have 4TPH  you could catch which is less than the 6TPH we have today.

Services off-peak are also only 4TPH, or a train every 15 minutes. While this might meet AT’s technical definition for a ‘frequent‘ service and is an improvement on the 3TPH we have today, in reality it’s not really frequent and in my view, not appropriate for our most important public transport network. It also falls short of the aspiration AT sets out in their Regional Public Transport Plan (RPTP) which calls for services every 10 minutes.

Furthermore, this slide from the CRL part of the presentation suggests that in the evenings we’ll still only have a train every half an hour on our main lines, no better than we have today – the 4TPHPD mentioned will be split across both Southern and Eastern/Western lines. By comparison, The NX1 still runs buses every 10 minutes late into the evening with the NX2 doing every 15 minutes.

The Day 1 map earlier is not always easy to read with the draft text over it but it seems Otahuhu could be the station with the most services to the city. A quick count suggests at peak times it could have:

  • 4TPH all stops via Grafton
  • 4TPH all stops via Parnell
  • 4TPH via Grafton skipping the stations between Newmarket and Penrose
  • 8TPH via the Eastern Line
  • 2TPH express service that stops only at Panmure

All up that’s 22 services per hour in the peak or a train less than every 3 minutes.

Puhinui comes in second best with 18 services per hour or about one every 3-3.5 minutes. That’ll be great for those arriving in the morning and transferring from the Airport Link bus.

For the Onehunga Line it seems the plan is to keep running it like happens now, only running between Onehunga and Newmarket – though it’s hard to tell and it may actually extend to terminate at Maungawhau.

Another thing that isn’t clear from this all of this s just how much faster those ‘limited stop’ services will be given a lot of the time they’re likely to be following other services. I also wonder how much faster they’ll be compared to what would be possible if AT ran the trains to what they’re capable of e.g. they’re supposed to be capable of Papakura to Britomart all stops in about 41 minutes.

You can see there is a proposed express service from Pukekohe to Britomart only stopping at a few stations. If we were to upgrade Te Huia by extending electrification and/or battery trains, it seems like an ideal opportunity to combine with this.

Overall I can’t help but think this is just a continuation of AT’s ongoing focus of peak time trips to the city centre and we deserve more sophisticated thinking than that.

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  1. On day 2 Kiwirail and AT will close CRL for 8 months to repair the rock under the rails, something they knew was needed for 5 years but hadn’t told anyone else.

    1. Once it included an Active Transport Corridor between Drury and Pukekohe – also no longer mentioned…
      The MADE legal challenge was identified as a risk – but wasn’t addressed in the meeting. There is more to that story.

  2. 4tph at peak from the west is surprisingly low. Would have expected a bare minimum of 6tph, and even then that’s adding a potential 10min of waiting time to a planned commute. A true “turn up and go” service is what will get peeps out of cars and onto trains- especially if they can count on the return trip being just as frequent.

    Out of curiosity, were driverless trains ever considered? They’d help with boosting train frequency on event days or more frequent late-night services.

    1. So in real terms, CRL reduces frequency from the west. 2 Trains fewer per hour in the peak direction than what we have now.

      Seem to be trading off speed and frequency. No real surprise though, AT hates spending money out west and will do anything to avoid it.

      1. “So in real terms, CRL reduces frequency from the west.”

        If you travel at peak against the flow, you will have a 15 minute frequency rather than a 10 minute frequency.

        1. You are reading it wrong.

          “With the exception of the two stations on the Onehunga Line, all stations appear to have at least 8 trains per hour (TPH) at peak times, that’s an average of one train every 7.5 minutes and so an improvement on what we have now of a train every 10 minutes. “

          “However, at least in the case of the Eastern and Western lines, half of those trains are only in the peak direction with the train passing through the CRL and terminating. That means say you wanted to travel from Kingsland to New Lynn in the morning peak, you’d only have 4TPH you could catch which is less than the 6TPH we have today.“

          Against flow peak is lower on west and east, nothing else is.

        2. Unless they run it like the Northern Busway where most of the reverse peak vehicles don’t stop for passengers. You get to watch five buses go past empty.

    2. Driverless trains would require the network to be free of level crossings and freight trains so they’ve never seriously been considered.

      It’s 8tph at peak from the west, the issue it it’s only 4tph counter peak.

      1. Pretty much all the level crossing are going to need to go when this opens anyway. The one on the western line are hardly work at peak time anyway.

        Is a handful of freight trains really such an issue?

        1. It’s theoretically possible but there’s good reason no one else has done it on an open rail network.

          Driverless trains will never be justified based on being able to run more services for events alone. It will be to increase headway at some point in the future, having even a few long freight trains with slow acceleration would seriously erode these benefits.

        2. I would have thought all trains entering and exiting sections of track using a train management system.

          TBH, my train experience is mainly model railways back in the day, but I think I would rather rely on a highly automated fail safe computerised system that a driver who might notice another train; if they are paying attention.

          But apparently train drivers also human mistakes and drive through red lights.

        3. Grant – the current system has a basic level of automation which stops EMUs running red lights, this alone gives a high level of safety.

          The cost of full automation is significant both in terms of the signalling system and the kit on the trains, which is why it is generally only used when there is a need to boost frequencies

        4. @Jezza

          “The cost of full automation is significant both in terms of the signalling system and the kit on the trains, which is why it is generally only used when there is a need to boost frequencies”

          That is the bit that confuses me since I work in IT.

          There must be a sophisticated signal system and on train kit already in place; so upgrading to allow for remote/driverless operation will no doubt cost more; but paying off the capex for that kit would cost more than the opex of 250+ drivers?

          I mean, does the extra costs of allowing trains to operate remotely something like $100m+? I assume this would also allow perfect positioning of trains on platforms as well & safety doors on the platform

        5. @Jezza This forum doesn’t really allow deep threads does it.

          But thanks for the link. The writer does say:

          “Level 3 functionality can be implemented without significant incremental capital expenditures (beyond those needed to implement Levels 1 and 2) and thus often falls under the budgets for operating expenditures. However, while Level 3 is economical to implement…”

          My feeling from a quick poke around the internet was that the total price is expensive, but incremental price over base systems is not quite as bad. And assuming the cost of a train driver to the business is $100k (salary + overheads) if you can keep your current headcount for manual cover and avoid hiring 250 more, that ~$25m per year could cover $500m+ of automation

          And yes, Hop card seemed really expensive. I helped implement a small scale smart card scheme in Sydney and think our budget was in the order of a few hundred thousand. I totally understand it costing tens of millions – I separately also worked on a scheme to do complex billing on 250,000+ active users and that cost $5-10m+

          I am not sure I understand $100m+ but then maybe I am not ‘enterprisey’ enough

        6. That level of automation requires a full new signalling system, both IT and physical elements, and supporting works. It also requires physical changes to tracks, and fitting out every train that would use the system (ie all the freight too).

          It’s more like two to three billion dollars. Sure you get a metro out of it with better service levels, but it’s not worth the saving on driver wages.

    3. As somebody who know very little about trains, it would seem to me to have the option of a driverless train seems to be a good idea. I would have thought investing in a self-driving system would be cheaper in the long run than 250+ drivers, and would allow more frequent trains at night.

      I remember being in an underground train overseas and see some training where they unlocked the little control panel at the front of the train and had some guy use the levers to manually control the train; seemed like training for a failover situation, but most of the time I used to stand in the front of the train to enjoy seeing the perspective change in the tunnel lights as we whizzed around curves

      I guess the problem is that when the train is underground a driverless solution is very easy to manage. Above ground, when you have people/cars and other hazards on level crossings, then you have a much more complex operating environment that needs a human to deal with exceptions.

      But self-driving cars can already do pretty well in more complex environments, so a train on a fixed and very precisely mapped track that can be tuned to automatic camera systems should be possible; and removing more level crossings (or putting up more substantial walls/gates/barriers) would be a general benefit anyway for drivers and driverless trains.

      1. You’ll never get it past KiwiRail, who operate freight trains on the same track… Unless you want to pay to fit it to their locomotives and ensure that it is compatible with all of their other systems.

  3. A few extra points from last Thursday.
    – need to hire and train 250 extra drivers
    – new control centre being built right now at Ellerslie – will be capable of standing in for Wellington (if forced to close in an earthquake) and run entire network throughout NZ. Not clear whether they plan to upgrade to ETCS-2 on Auckland suburban lines to cater for much tighter headways.
    – a warning that the remaining level crossings on the Western Line will prevent the same level of service possible on the Southern and Eastern Lines which will soon be fully grade-separated

    1. I would love to be a train driver, would be a childhood dream come true!

      Would the salary cover the cost of a mortgage and raising a few kids in Auckland?

        1. We need people to accept a European culture of renting for life – it will make for a better city.

          Now excuse me while I get back to managing my valuable portfolio of rental properties and basking in the tax-free capital gains.

        2. “We need people to accept a European culture of renting for life – it will make for a better city.”

          I know it was partly in jest – but SOME aspects we really should import. Like security of tenancy, ability to keep pets, ability to make minor modifications and not be treated like a criminal for hanging up a picture without permission from the landlord – renter’s rights are woeful here.

        3. Yes Max I agree 100%

          I also argue that renting being so shit puts more pressure on house prices. Particularly in the covid price runup. The Rhetoric was “if you dont buy now then you will be locked out for decades if not forever”. With renting being as shit as it is, que bumrush for purchasing. If it were no great loss, because you could still have a good life renting, then people wouldn’t care so much. Purchasing would be more an upgrade in extra flexibility for the very long term.

          I’m super glad I wasn’t in the postion to buy just then, and now I’m biding my time, got a rental that lets us have a cat. Happy to wait while the market falls to pieces, then swoop in and purchase something decent at a lower price.

      1. Locomotive Engineers (the name for a driver in the UK) take home £50-80k. Good earnings and well over $100k NZ (£1 about $1.90).

        1. But are you thinking about it from a resident or are you converting it to NZD and thinking of what you can buy with it.

  4. I really hope they are planning on extending the Onehunga line to Maungawhau, because otherwise there will be NO TRAINS Mangawhau-Grafton-Newmarket, an impermissible oversight

    1. There will be trains between Maungawhau and Grafton-Newmarket, you’ll just have to transfer. Admittedly that will be fine at peak, but maybe not off peak.

    2. Agree, especially given there will be two brand new platforms at Maungawhau that are sitting idle based on this pattern.

    3. It’s nuts that Onehunga doesn’t get its city centre trains back. The whole point of CRL is to increase capacity. Why not loop the Onehunga trains through the CRL and out via the Eastern line to Manukau?

      1. The plan is to only have 6-car trains through the CRL at peak to maximise capacity, this rules out trains from Onehunga. Also they only run every half an hour, which makes for a messy pattern for trains running out to the east.

        1. Lengthen the Onehunga platforms to accommodate longer trains and add a passing loop to increase frequency?

        2. Te Papapa is extendable to 6-car but Onehunga in it’s current configuration is not (would likely require resumption and demolition of the terraces by the station, or moving it). Penrose 3 is already capable of 6-car trains.

        3. gonna be years at least before frequency saturation meaning degradation of service on main lines. Why not have a better service Onehunga service in the meantime?

          The goal should also be to be to maximise the frequency of trains in the core, so if you want to go Aotea to Newmarket then you can wait less time.

          IMO using CRL as a turning loop would have made a ton of sense. Would only ever have O-line trains going one direction through CRL but that would have been fine.

        4. Jack, that Day 1 train plan uses all the capacity of the CRL, its saturated immediately. 32 trains an hour through the tunnel plus another two terminating at Britomart.

          If you want to put the Onehunga line through it you’ll have to take trains away from somewhere else.

    4. If you look closely, it looks like the Onehunga line terminates at Mangahwau. Sad there won’t a freqeunt connction from Mt Eden or any of the Western Line directly to Newmarket anymore 🙁

  5. I thought the turn back at Otahuhu would be to service extra Eastern Line services to take on Eastern Busway passengers…

  6. I’m puzzled. Wasn’t the whole premise of the CRL based on the outcome that there would be numerous more train services available – an approximate doubling of services? Going from 6 to 8 is not doubling. Are you seriously telling me that after the spending of umpteen billions of dollars, quite a bit of disruption, and untold dust and noise for years, Auckland is going to end up with a Rail service that is actually LESS in parts than before? Half-hourly trains is not much better than the service we had back in the 1950s – possibly worse! Just wait until the Press gets hold of this news, and the Public start to clamour. What a shambles!

    On top of the debacle of the proposed digging up all the tracks, everywhere, and replacing all the lava with loose tamped bedding – AT and KiwiRail would seem to have killed off the chance of a great new future for PT in Auckland. Comments like “AT still don’t understand the purpose of the rapid transit network that they’re building.” really do not fill me with confidence.

    Regarding the new Drury stations – although Puhinui is nice and easy to use, I’d have to say, the design is way over the top, and a far, far simpler design could / should be implemented. There are hundreds of millions to be saved if a simpler design is built instead of the swoopy bling of Puhinui.

    1. There’s never been a plan to double services from day one, the original plan was to run 9tph on most lines at peak.

      Doubling of services will come later only after significant investment on other parts of the network allow 24tph through the CRL.

      1. The final outcome of the CRL is the almost quadrupling of services.

        Not getting a quarter of that on arrival is kinda frustrating.

        1. The final outcome is 48tph into the city, the current situation is 20tph, that is definitely not quadrupling.

          What we are about to get it 34tph into the city, although on 32tph will go through CRL.

        2. It’s almost quadruple capacity once you also take into account longer trains.
          Current capacity is 20 trains x 6-car trains (750 people) = 15k
          Total CRL capacity in future is 48 trains x 9-car trains (1125 people = 54k.
          Actual capacity will be even higher again as we could reconfigure trains to hold more people. Possibly as many as 1500 on a 9-car train which would bring capacity up to 72k per hour

      2. Thanks Jezza. Can you outline roughly what that other “significant investment on other parts of the network” involves?

        1. It’s a mixture of signalling, removing level crossings, grade separation at Westfield and a few other bits. Matt did a post on it a year or so ago but I can’t find it.

  7. Matt – it looks to me like only the Western line has 4tph counter peak, the light green on the Eastern line appears to be both directions, with four of them looping round to Grafton.

    If I were to guess, they are concerned about running 8tph on both directions (so 16tph all up) with the number of level crossings on the line.

    1. I agree this is probably what the image shows and the level crossings are the limit on the western line.

      I don’t think it would be practical to terminate a train that came through the CRL from the west/south at Britomart/Waitemata. The two middle tracks they can use to terminate trains there face east towards Orakei and Parnell so a train would need to travel through the station and then turn around to get to them.

      I’d guess that’s also why it shows the ‘pink’ line from Papakura ending at Parnell. They need to keep the trains moving through the CRL tracks and it wouldn’t be wise take the time to terminate a train there before turning around or taking it out of service. Parnell doesn’t have that much service in the plan so there’s capacity to terminate there.

    2. Could be the 4 light green are split between Swanson & Grafton. In any case why is it so unclear, as always, and for a multi billion dollar project?
      Looks overly complicated to maximise train inefficiency from an operator point of view rather than a user point of view.

  8. Day 1 CRL: All trains cancelled due to track fault. Replacement bus service. Replacement buses largely cancelled due to no drivers. You could still cycle, but the Boomer mayoralty cancelled all the cycle lanes.
    Day 2 CRL: All trains cancelled due to signal fault. Replacement bus service. Replacement buses largely cancelled due to no drivers. You could still cycle, but the Boomer mayoralty cancelled all the cycle lanes.
    Day 3 CRL: All trains cancelled due to police incident caused by rioting passengers. Replacement bus service. Replacement buses largely cancelled due to no drivers. You could still cycle, but the Boomer mayoralty cancelled all the cycle lanes.
    Day 4 CRL: All trains cancelled due to lack of interest Replacement bus service. Replacement buses largely cancelled due to no drivers, but no one noticed because they were waiting to get onto the motorway at rush hour. You could still cycle, but the Boomer mayoralty cancelled all the cycle lanes.
    Day 5 CRL: AT sheepishly admits that despite it’s billion dollar budget, there are no trains, buses or cycling going on in Auckland today, or is planned for the next fortnight. However, it’s workforce remains fully and gainfully employed.
    Day 6 CRL: National/ACT announce they will mothball the CRL, sell the cycle lanes to General Motors for conversion to user pays toll routes and donate all the buses to Bangladesh. AT budget increases to three billion.

    1. They could use the Train Drivers to operate the Buses as they must have , I think a P Endorsement to operate a Passenger Train .

  9. AT seems to be hellbent on removing the pedestrian level crossings, irrespective of whether or not they are safer than the grade-separated alternative (e.g. Glen Innes) or essential for local connectivity (e.g. Kindon St, Newmarket). It’s a perspective centred on moving trains around, with scant regard for people that might actually want to walk to/from the stations.

    Level crossings can work with frequent railway services – the Japanese use them fine. If the level crossings have to be removed, a like-for-like programme of replacement with high-quality ramped underpasses would be a good use of the forthcoming shutdown. But I’m not holding my breath.

    1. The professional scope for closing the crossings I’ve seen does involve looking at alternative walk / cycle links for local access. But I agree that the current financial straits will mean there will be a huge pressure to do a few added pram ramps at nearby intersection and then call it a day.

      1. An “alternative walk / cycle link” sounds like the kind of provision pedestrians get during roadworks, when a pedestrian crossing is removed but an “alternative” is provived 200m up the road, for a round trip detour of 400m. Of course this doesn’t affect the traffic modelling, which is the main/only thing.

  10. Extremely pleased to hear KR’s Dave Gordon saying they (as network owner) see the AKL network moving to a ‘Metro’ pattern and management model post CRL and 3rd main. That means a focus on consistent all day turn-up-and-go frequencies, long spans (hours of operation), continuity (no/very few service shut-downs), consistent service patterns regardless of day of week or holidays etc.

    The above service plan does not meet this frequency criteria at all. 10 minute frequencies across the day at all stations (ex a couple of exceptions) is the minimum for this.

    I look forward to seeing a service plan that does meet these standards for post CRL, as we all expect given the massive investment. Anything less is inconceivable.

    Gordon is clearly saying the network will be able to support this so it will be up to AT to find the will, competence, and resources to deliver it. Perhaps a directive from Mr Fixit and friends is required?

  11. Where are these trains all supposed to terminate after their peak one way run? Wouldn’t they be needed back at their origin for another peak run (seeing as how peak is much longer than 1 hour)?

    1. Yes this has puzzled me. Or will it be like the Northern busway where they shuttle “not in service” buses back again? Seems very inefficient

      1. Like they should with the Northern Busway, they should shuffle them back in revenue service. Instant all day metro frequency.

      1. The peaks on the Western line are longer than 2 hours though. Presumably the first peak trains will need to go back to run some of the later peak services?

  12. Am I reading the map right in that two of the new Mount Eden platforms will not be used at all?

    Why the hell are Onehunga services still terminating at Newmarket? Are they trying to kill the line?

  13. “ all stations appear to have at least 8 trains per hour (TPH) at peak times”

    Frequent user of Parnell station here …

    Map seems to show only 4 TPH. Am I reading it wrong?

    Also not sure of the direction of city-bound southern line trains. Do they go into town via Parnell alternating with Grafton? Half each?

    1. Pattern for southern line is Papakura -> CRL via Grafton -> Parnell -> Otahuhu. Then the reverse.
      So if you’re on a platform between Newmarket and Penrose you could have a Southern Line train turn up with 4 different destinations.
      Also it’s hard to see but that pink line has a little curve on it suggesting it too goes to and then terminates at Parnell

  14. It amazes me listening to Sean Sweeney’s presentation to the council (about 9m in) that in the list of benefits of CRL he repeats the old line “a train every 10 minutes in peak”.

    I mean Sean’s a very smart guy but we already have 10m frequencies and have done for about a decade.

  15. Lots of goodness being delivered by the CRL – but it does seem like just putting in the 3.5km of track that the Britomart-as-a-Culdesack project didn’t make happen.

    Feels a bit like the footpath that was left of the harbour bridge.

    Makes me wonder what got discarded on the CRL project – sounds like henderson/swanson option may need a whole new project in a few years to fix ??

  16. Disappointed in the Onehunga decision – I blame the Labour Party – this is a government who just wants cars on the road

  17. The complexity of the overlays does make me wish for an alternate timelinewhere the Onehunga branch was able to be extended to the Airport.

    A modification of the CFN’s 2-line CRL pattern, Western + Onehunga/Airport and Southern + Eastern, seems like the simplest and easiest to understand option for any Auckland heavy rail network.

    – Peak hour overlays run the same route as the all-day main patterns, and don’t need separate line/route markers on maps and diagrams. (Only exception being peak overlay services south probably can terminate at Papakura instead of running all the way to Pukekohe)

    – All stations across Auckland have at least 10-15 min frequencies off peak, and avoid the problem where Parnell only gets trains every 15 mins at peak times post-CRL

    – When the CRL gets upgraded from 16/18TPH to 24TPH, the service patterns can simply be scaled up as they are.

    And at least while the CRL capacity is at 16/18TPH, it would still be possible to fit in the West-South crosstown line via Newmarket at up to every 15 mins, as well as half-hourly Pukekohe/Pokeno express service from Britomart if so desired.

    1. Any Express will only go as far as Pukekohue as that is where the Electrification ends and anything pass there is in the Waikato region .

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