Transport Minister and now also Minister for Auckland, Michael Wood has confirmed that the light rail project is part of the government’s policy refocus.

Wood said the light rail project was under review as part of a ministerial refocus on key Government projects.

“We are undertaking a stocktake about how we move things forward. We will be able to confirm the direction in a couple of weeks,” he said.

He said he did want to focus on fixing Auckland congestion and said public transport, even if it wasn’t light rail, would be a priority.

“The scale of Auckland in terms of population and economic activity means that if we do well in Auckland, the whole country will be better off. For example, we currently lose about $2 billion worth of economic activity every year because of the congestion in Auckland.”

Asked if he was still committed to Auckland Light Rail, Wood said the Government was “in general, committed to high quality public transport”.

He said other projects would include water infrastructure, especially storm water. He said there needed to be better coordination between transport, council, and water agencies about storm water – which had meant the flooding was impacting some suburbs more severely than others.

The wording used by Wood is ominous and suggests a major change is potentially coming, including potentially dropping it altogether.

We’ve long criticised the project in its current form and hope as part of this review that the project is right-sized not dropped.

As I wrote late last year, we think a more sensible plan would be to first scale the project back to something that is achievable but that can be delivered and upgraded over time rather than trying to do a massive project all in one go.

The first stage should be to build a surface line down Dominion Rd to Mt Roskill. As I said at the time, we will always need some form of surface solution on Dominion Rd and it doesn’t preclude us building tunnels in the future to compliment it and would be a sign of success if we needed to.

Stage 1: City to Mt Roskill

That could also include green tracking in parts to provide both amenity benefits but also to help manage stormwater better.

Green tracks in Barcelona, Spain (left) and Grenoble, France (right)

Later stages could include extensions to Onehunga, Mangere, our crosstown option and of course to the Northwest. Given the government are so keen on improving access to tie into their housing programme, building the first stage of the Northwest as far as Pt Chev to help serve the Unitec site could be a good idea.

A key thing to make this right-sizing work though is to get the costs more realistic. When the light rail team presented their work at the end of 2020 their costs for the surface solution were astronomically high compared to many other cities, averaging nearly $300 million per km, 2-3 times what most other cities are able to achieve, even after adjusting for currency and inflation.

I know some of the costs for projects in this graph have increased since I first made it but even $200 million per km seems more than reasonable for Auckland to achieve. At that price, a line from Britomart to Mt Roskill would come in at under $2 billion with the total cost for city centre to Mangere at around $4.5 billion.

In fact based on $200m per km, the entire network shown above of City Centre to Mangere, Northwest and Crosstown LR could be delivered for about $9.5b, that’s still about $5 billion less than the tunnelled light rail option and I would bet, if modelled, would provide far greater benefits than a single gold-plated line.

If the government were to commit the $15 billion for the current proposal to rapid transit projects it would also be enough to fund other projects proposed for the city’s rapid transit network. Projects like Airport to Botany (about $2 billion), something for the Upper Harbour corridor, improvements to the Northern Busway and for between Albany and Silverdale. There may even be money left over for improvements to bus priority on local roads.

A 2019 artist impression of Ti Irirangi Dr with the Airport to Botany corridor running down it

Effectively, spent differently, the $15 billion (or more) currently planned to be spent on light rail could fund a region-wide PT upgrade programme. A programme that would be much easier to break up and deliver into smaller, independent projects and one that would drastically improve the usefulness of PT, thereby truly helping us to meet our goals for addressing climate change, improving accessibility across the region, reducing congestion and improving safety.

So I hope as part of this process the government think about how they can deliver high quality public transport to the entire region. That would be a far greater legacy to leave than a single, expensive tunnel.

Share this


  1. I would really like to see 1 billion allocated to covering the CRL costs and taking some of it off Council. It would free up budget for a lot more small projects.

        1. He’s got one hell of a grip, although I don’t think that’s come about through tennis.

    1. I would really like to see AT charge a realistic price for its parking assets. It would generate money for a lot more small projects.

      1. Not entirely sure they can charge more

        Was in and out of town a lot over last week, using a bit of onstreet, Victoria st and Downtown carparks.

        They always seem to have large numbers of vacant parks, so parking wasn’t a problem. Only $10 a day as well

        Might be more effective to remove some parking; selling off park space or getting more value out of it.

        1. Yes, that’s another good solution. If there is an oversupply then sell it. If you were a mayor committing to fixing things wouldn’t this be top of the list, because it is clearly broken? I know it’s not on the list because there are more important things like ECE centres that will save $200k once the redundancy is paid.
          Oh for a bit of economic and environmental sanity.

    2. The reasons why Light Rail was originally proposed still stand (short term reductions in bus volumes notwithstanding). So simply canning it would be as stupid as the govt’s (or Waka Kotahi’s) unwillingness to do anything about the lack of walking and cycling on the Harbour Bridge. Simply throw it all in the “too hard basket” and go to the next flavour of the year instead.

      Govt is (well, should be) about chipping away at society’s problems, not just announcing, and then cancelling and building another motorway.

      1. It was a solution looking for a problem. AT hadn’t articulated any issues that needed solving before the blind-sided the Mayor with a light rail project. It certainly wasn’t in ATAP.

        1. AT announced light-rail in January 2015. The first ATAP wasn’t commenced until August 2015. So while I guess you’re technically correct that light-rail wasn’t in ATAP, that’s because ATAP didn’t exist yet.

        2. Surely the main issue is congestion! If you don’t have decent PT then people drive cars instead, right?

        3. Their original report states the problem/potential at the start:
          “Light Rail Transit (LRT) will help relieve congestion, improve amenity and unlock the city’s development potential – it is the only long-term solution to effectively address bus congestion and capacity issues in Auckland’s city centre.”

        4. More from the report, basic stuff that perhaps needs reiterating:
          “What are the benefits? The LRT network in Auckland has a strong focus on developing a reliable network with seamless, convenient interchanges supported by integrated customer information and way-finding. LRT offers significant benefits for commuters, residents, tourists, pedestrians and other road users, including:
          – Increased capacity (450 people per vehicle)
          – Faster, simpler and more reliable services
          – Accelerating urban development
          – Reduced operating costs
          – Reduced congestion
          – Increased productivity and economic growth
          – Safety benefits
          – Improved pedestrian and urban amenity
          – Environmental and health benefits”

        5. “Currently about 380 buses enter the city centre in the morning peak, with about 120 buses per hour along Fanshawe Street and 140 per hour along Symonds Street. The growing number of public transport trips will see this need to increase to almost 500 buses per hour by 2036.”
          “By 2026 Wellesley Street will have 180 buses per hour in the morning peak – the equivalent of one bus every 20 seconds
          Key city centre bus corridors are close to or at capacity, resulting in lengthy travel times and poor travel time reliability. A 25% increase in buses alone would be required just to meet the additional demand for travel to the city centre over the next 20 years. The existing city centre transport system cannot accommodate this growth in buses – road and bus terminal capacity is reached at about 400 buses in the city centre.”

        6. “Strategic Alignment
          The City Centre Future Access Study 2012 (CCFAS) identified the need for the CRL and surface bus improvements. The study showed that Auckland’s growth will outstrip its road capacity and maximising rail (CRL) is an essential part of an integrated access solution.”

        7. “An integrated transport network
          While the CRL will address regional needs it will not provide the total answer – CRL does not address access from the north, the central and southern isthmus or University and Wynyard Quarter. Buses from non-rail served areas will create significant congestion and affect economic growth.”

        8. “The following modal options were assessed:
          – LRT
          – Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)
          – Metro rail extensions
          – High capacity bus
          – Combinations of the above
          The table below shows the relative performance of the options against the study assessment criteria.
          An LRT solution was identified as the best solution to address access issues to the city centre, performing strongly against the objectives of the study – particularly in terms of accessibility, urban amenity and supporting economic growth.”

        9. Someone at AT must have figured it was a good idea spending billions on a public transport project that would divert people from buses rather than finding a scheme that might divert them from cars.

        10. LR only removes the Dominion Road buses from Symonds Street. They could do that right now by making them use Upper Queen Street. They terminate at Aotea anyway.

        11. Dominion Rd was only the initial route the other isthmus roads would follow. If buses go down Queen st where would they turn around then? Symonds st.

        12. miffy you’re being particularly wooden on this.

          Almost every light rail scheme replaced an existing bus service, and didn’t just shift people from buses to light rail, but grew ridership usually in a significant way.

          Are you claiming Auckland is exceptional in some way? (Yawn)

        13. Not just Dominion Road Jimbo, it also replaces half the buses across sandringham and Mt eden, plus some of the manukau road and the direct ones out of Onehunga.

          A lot more than you could fit on Queen Street, even if there was somewhere to put them.

        14. I don’t get this whole “but what’s it for?” idea.

          It’s for building a rapid transit line through the middle of the isthmus and the west side of south Auckland, a big chunk of the city that doesn’t have any trains or busways.

          The ATAP plan has six radial corridors and two ring ones. We’ve got about half of it. Auckland needs another three or four transit lines to have a network covering the city, so let’s get on with doing them.

        15. What’s the point in voting Labour? Seems to me like they won’t do much more on public transport than National. We’re moving even further back to John Key style insipid centralism

      2. You are being naive Amanin. I think it’s the car centric upper echelons at Waka Kotahi who have put up a (delicious to Michael Wood) scheme that will never be in danger of getting built as a delaying tactic to get them through to the next election cycle and more road building with a National government. Michael Woods was sucked in by WK just like this with the new cycle only Auckland harbour bridge proposal.

    3. I would like to see it re-balanced to 60/40; the same deal Wellington is getting for LGWM – with no regional fuel tax, I might add.

      Wood could pitch this to Robertson on the proviso that the freed-up funds on AC’s end are used for active-mode funds and we could get some of those Covid-deferred walking and cycling connector projects back up and running, without worrying about the debt ceiling.

    1. That’s the real issue. Minister needs to ask the hard questions about the calculated costs per km and whether they were unrealistic in order to make another option look more favourable.

      That single weighting of cost has set back the cause of Light Rail by years. If it had been properly costed, the huge scaling up and scope creep could not have been justified, pre- or post-Covid.

      1. weren’t the costs so high because of the assumption that the only way to do it was to buy a whole a bunch of properties along the route to maintain current levels of amenity for drivers?

        Part of the project is that it’s supposed to drive behaviour change – so be bold and change stuff.

        if you dump the assumptions that everyone needs to be able to drive through and park in the three town centers, and that they be able to turn right into and out of every side road and driveway, the costs could be cut down massively.

    2. It won’t be surface. It will be nothing the language he’s using makes it pretty obvious it’s being dropped altogether.

  2. Yes, completion of a rapid(ish) limited stop network, irrespective of mode, is the top priority, and should always have been the authorities’ underlying strategy. That’s what we really need to get people away from the twin excuses of “it takes so much longer than in my car” and “decent public transport doesn’t go where I need to go”.

    Once we have a network – a real network like the CFN where you can change lines at interchanges and which covers the entire region, THEN let’s review the modes and develop full separation etc as needed.

  3. Downsize to surface light rail? Yes
    Recost it at internationally relevant prices, not worst case scenario levels? Yes.
    Focus on building a network that reaches south and west? Yes.
    Link it up with the bloody heritage tram if you have to? Why not.

    But as we all know, Light Rail has become a proxy project to justify uber-expensive harbour tunnels that could be bridges at a fraction of the cost, so that’s the prime motivator for the spec we’re getting, not the actual needs of the city.

    Just dropping it altogether is essentially total capitulation when it comes to Auckland’s climate mitigation needs, and should be accompanied by the immediate removal of the fuel tax should that happen.

  4. “We’ve long criticised the project in its current form and hope as part of this review that the project is right-sized not dropped.”

    You know perfectly well it’s going to be dropped; and everything Michael Wood said here will turn out to have been a lie.

    This is particularly irresponsible considering they made a new appointment to the board just last week:

      1. I hope that he doesn’t get an inkling that there might be spirited debate at the first meeting so does not turn up.

    1. This government surely will go down as the most disappointing in history, in terms of delivery relative to policy promises.

  5. But the project has no major financial implications for years out,,,

    Sure there is $200 million for the Detailed Business Case, which while a political headache is not going to change the dial on overall spending …

    There is nothing in the 21-24 NLTP for the project design or build, so cutting it doesn’t free up anything like useful money until at least 2025…

    So if its “paused” or “re though” its really all smoke and mirrors…

    1. Yep 100%. The current mega project won’t begin construction for ages so cancelling it for “Bread and Butter” issues wouldn’t make much sense.
      I reckon the cost has blown out even further. And the appetite for more disruption is very low, it will be nice to finally get our city back one day. A decent bus system for the entire isthmus would be a better option IMO.

      1. “so cancelling it for “Bread and Butter” issues wouldn’t make much sense.”

        The very use of such terms shows that it is (as much) about PR as about actual transport policy. They clearly (and correctly) feel that while a lot of Aucklanders may still support it – especially if it was cut down in cost – it will be a dead weight around their neck anyway. The supporters won’t vote Labour because of it, seeing that Labour has shown it isn’t able to actually get it moving (they may still vote for Labour for other reasons but I am saying it isn’t actually a vote-GETTER for Labour) and it will put off a lot of soft National-Labour switch voters who aren’t into PT in the first place.

        It will either be cut back a lot, or soft-cancelled.

        1. I would have a lot more respect for a government that gets on and does the right thing, not what gets them the most votes

          There are lots of ‘reckons’ from people who don’t take PT, don’t see the advantage (less congestion = better driving) and still just lap up all the classic tropes. You could play bingo with catch phrases when Auckland transport is discussed:
          ‘our emissions don’t make a difference (China/India)’
          ‘nobody uses expensive cycleways’
          ‘needs more lanes/light phasing to fix congestion’
          ‘86% of people use cars, so need to cater for them and not put money into PT’

        2. Its just like Kiwibuild, they might have got there in the end but they would lose too many votes in the process. They should have just started on the surface level solution on day one of getting elected. I think it is too late now, they will cull it claiming it is too expensive in the “current economic climate” (as it has been in every economic climate beforehand).

        3. It’s all well and good saying you are going to cancel it, but you still need to have some sort of PT policy / plan to ease congestion, they need to say what they are going to do once they pull the plug and have that ready to roll. Even National have a plan for Transport albeit it roads, roads, roads and some ‘trackless trams’.

  6. Just imagine the screams when Mr Wood tells everyone we are going to dig up Queen Street again and once more. So the options are terminate it at Mt Eden or Newmarket railway station or scrap the whole project. I favour the latter. Another option may be heavy rail in conjuction with the Avondale Southdown freight train route. But the need for the freight route is years away from being needed or maybe it will never be needed.

    1. Agree. We’re finally building our first rapid transit route in the CBD, the idea we were suddenly going to start building the second was fanciful.

      1. And yet how many cheered and voted for Ardern when she promised Light Rail.
        This lie of hers added to the numerous other lies that gor her into government. Why she even lied to Peter’s, the wiley old fox got outsmarted by the pretty young thing.
        And then when her lies finally caught up with her she folded like a pack of cards and quit.
        And for those who believed those lies? There’s one born every day

        1. I think there is a difference between lying and overly optimistically promising something. To me any political “promise” always has it’s caveats anyway. Due to various reasons, things have to be changed from their original intention. Regarding the light rail, it’s somehow has gone off on this tangent unfortunately but it’s not too late to bring it back to something realistically affordable, and by nature more appealing to be quite honest.

    2. How would you solve the Wellesley St bus sausage then, Royce? All those buses crowding into the city centre is going to become unsustainable sooner or later, and light rail is unequivocally the higher-capacity solution to bus overcrowding and congestion.

      Even if heavy rail somehow gets re-picked for the Airport, light rail on the Isthmus is going to be necessary at some stage.

      1. Well I certainly wasn’t advocating for heavy rail to the airport. The bus link from Puhinui station is superior. An Otahuhu Britomart heavy rail line via Southdown Onehunga Mount Roskill and Avondale was what I had in mind but as indicated above its not a project that can start tomorrow or ever. As for buses up Dominion Road they will have to run in a loop in the city center with driver and bus exchange taking place out in the suburbs.Mangere town center is another problem but Matt.L hasn’t addressed that either. My preference is an extension of the Onehunga railway to Mangere Town center.

      2. The Wellesley St Bus Sausage is a result of several things – AT is currently in detailed design for a proper mid-town bus corridor, with proper priority and a bus only segment that will sever E-W general traffic movements. Auckland has no peak pricing for PT, which has meant that there has always been (pre-Covid) a huge, but narrow peak. AT pre-Covid was focused on meeting peak demand with ever more buses, but with an assumption that people won’t stand (like they do in proper cities everywhere) or retime their trip to hit slightly less full buses. Auckland has designed a bus network that terminates all services in the core of the city. Auckland has never delivered proper, effective bus priority through Fanshawe St / Customs Street. As has been said elsewhere on this thread – the LRT project came out of nowhere and now a whole industry has built up to justify the supposed need for it. AT does not offer any form of active headway management to keep buses spaced out. I could go on… There are many, many things that Auckland could do with its bus fleet, network and supporting infrastructure before a bus solution is actually “full”.

        1. “Auckland has no peak pricing for PT”
          You have to be joking? Auckland PT is too expensive for regular commuters. Look at the high public transport mode share cities and patronage is driven by cheap monthly and yearly passes.
          The most effective to spread the peak is probably by having secondary schools start later, as is being discussed, and maybe retail opening at 10am.
          Auckland needs more people on buses and not less and at some price point people consider alternatives.

    3. “Just imagine the screams when Mr Wood tells everyone we are going to dig up Queen Street again and once more. ‘

      SOLUTION. Run a surface light rail from Mangere Town Centre via Dominion Road, then along Symonds Street, servicing the Unit then down to Customs Street.

      This route would then go past Britomart Station, where you can connect to and from Eastern buses, the Tamaki Link and Inner Link bus

      Then it would go past the corner Quay Street and Queens Street for connections to the City Link bus

      Then at Quay Street and Lower Albert Street there would be connections to North Shore buses (including the NX1, ) and route 18 and other Western buses

      Then continue on to Fanshawe Street with a loop around Beaumont Street, North Wharf and back to Fanshawe Street via Halsey Street.

      On Fanshawe Street you can connect to the NX2 and other Northern Buses.

      At some stage the loop at North Wharf could extend under the harbour to Takapuna or the existing bus station at Akoranga ( AUT Uni ), with a possible extension that would replace buses in the Northern Busway.

      Mike Lee’s toy tram would no longer be needed, with the associated cost savings. Queen Street would be untouched.

      1. The original LRT report says:
        As Symonds Street is Auckland’s busiest bus corridor and congested in the peak, there are no practical options to redistribute buses and construct LRT on Symonds Street first. The Queen Street spine needs to be implemented before Symonds Street can go ahead.

  7. I believe the Greens a while back wanted to run a similar plan to the above, but starting with the corridors as busways and upgrading them? Has this ever been costed? Is it even worth it if you have to lay tracks anyway and would a busway actually do the job of light rail in any of these cases for a significant period of time?

    1. The problem is how do you upgrade it? Once a bus system is popular it would be hard to take it away for a few years while building LR.

      1. If it’s popular, frequent and reliable do you need to upgrade it. If the problem really is to fix bus congestion then their must be a cheaper way, if its capacity constraints along the route that even articulated electric buses can’t fix then skip bus and go with Light Rail…but I’d certainly take busways than nothing at all other than Wayne Browns traffic light transponders.

        1. Yes do it once, do it right with light rail. A proper busway would end up costing us just about as much but without the space saving benefits LRT can bring (city end mainly).

        2. I doubt a decent bus solution would cost even a fraction of LR. Aotea to Mt Roskill its just paint and traffic light priority and better buses. Mt Roskill to the airport they could probably do something similar to the NW using the motorway shoulders. They could build something quite decent for less than 1 billion, it would easily have the best return on investment of any option. Combine it with the NEX and have a one seat ride from Albany to Airport.
          But once they choose that option it would be hard to go back. I guess they could do LR from airport to city via Manukau Road or similar at a later date.

        3. Grant no you aren’t – although if they used upper Queen Street it isn’t adding to Symonds Street congestion, and if it was a continuation of the NEX then it could actually decrease congestion as neither Dom road nor NEX buses need to turn around in the city.
          I have never believed in the city centre bus congestion problem – there is plenty of road space used by cars that could be given to buses.

        4. Yes through routing is a good idea discussed before by a prior post even but I still think you will get to saturation point. Keeping the route reliable over that distance could be an issue.

      2. Isn’t this the issue with the Northern Busway?

        Designed so it could be upgraded to LR, but now it has so many users, you can’t just close it for months to upgrade sections to LR without causing chaos.

        And even if you could do section by section overnight or some mitigation, you end up with a bit better mass transport solution on the same route, so you might be better building a new parallel route to expand rapid public transport options than just upgrading the existing working route.

        Though most of us north shore types, already factor in access to the busway (and/or Onewa buslanes) road as a important factor in considering commuting into town options

        1. Theoretically you could get up to 18,000-20,000 people/hr/direction capacity by running bi-articulated buses every 30 seconds on the Northern Busway, but that would be putting a lot of pressure on the infrastructure – particularly the non-busway sections south of Akoranga.

        2. @frequencyisfreedom

          “the non-busway sections south of Akoranga”

          I played with the map looking at options there when there was discussion about the ‘cycle bridge’

          I run around that area to the east of the motorway, and it strikes me that there is already plenty of space for at least one southbound lane, if they had built a combined active/modes PT bridge alongside of the current bridge.

          Doesn’t help if you were heading north, but it seems like might need another solution.

          But of course, the bridge is another project killed by WK and with lack of oversight from the transport minister

        3. I thought that under all the proposals WK had for the AWHC, the busway needed to stay and the new rail line (whatever mode) would compliment it.

  8. One way to reduce the cost would be for the government to say it can go ahead if Auckland is willing to reprioritise road and parking space for a surface route to keep costs down. In addition, the government could consider a law change to liberalise zoning on the Auckland isthmus now. This would increase potential passenger numbers in the future.

      1. then send in the commissioners, or take it to a vote at council considering a) he is only 1 vote and b) he has p****d nearly every single councillor other than Mike Lee off. I think people keep fogetting old mates limited power even if he think’s he is leader of Make Auckland Great Again.

        1. I agree with “send in the commissioners” but what makes you think that they will save light rail?

  9. One would assume (and you know what they say about assumptions) as part of their review that led to them deciding on tunneled rail as they would have already done an amount of work on other options, including a big bang or phased approach for surface rail to pick from. I assume they will fall back onto the phased approach to at least get it started.

    If only it didn’t take them two years once they have decided anything to put a spade in the ground.

  10. This plan is great. Unfortunately, I feel it is more likely it will be scrapped completely and instead we will get a 4 lane expressway to the North.
    From RNZ this morning:
    The Northland Chamber of Commerce president Tim Robinson says a four-lane expressway between Northland and Auckland is needed for the region.

    Usually, Aucklanders flock to Northland for long weekends but ongoing road closures caused by weather damage are turning people away.

    Robinson says decades of underinvestment in roading infrastructure means slips and closures can close roads for days.

    He says an expressway would properly reflect the population growth there.

    1. I don’t know why people think reliability can only happen with 4 lane expressways. For a fraction of the price of a full new alignment, you can make a LOT of ground improvements on the existing route.

      Of course the answer is that it’s not as sexy.

      It doesn’t have the traffic volumes to come close to justifying a 4 lane expressway. If congestion on a handful of days a year justifies billions in spend, then there wouldn’t be any road spending outside of auckland for the next 30 years.

      1. “It doesn’t have the traffic volumes to come close to justifying a 4 lane expressway.”

        National after (possibly) winning the elections:

        “Hold my beer. 6 lanes or bust.”

  11. Light rail will do its impression of a dying fish for a year or two. A few gasps and some flapping until someone has the heart to dispatch it.

    1. Then Auckland traffic will do its impression of a person drowning for the rest of the century, until the inevitable (and well-deserved) self-inflicted extinction of the human species.

  12. Speaking about transport. Was it ever considered to make a circle express bus route going on motorway, partially overlapping with NX and WX? Something like: Constellation Station, Rosedale, Greenhithe, Hobsonville Point, Hobsonville Business, Westgate, Lincoln Rd, Te Atatu, Rosebank, Kingsland, Victoria Park, Akoranga, Smales Farm and around. I believe this should significantly improve cohesion of all these otherwise not very connected areas.

    1. How well does our existing circle route (the outer link) work?

      The answer is very poorly, people complain about it literally all the time, sitting at victoria park for 10-15 minutes for absolutely no reason. Why seek to replicate that unreliability with a much larger route?

      1. That 15 minutes wait was beyond my understanding. The outer link could have worked a lot better if it was simply following with an interval rather than sticking to the mythical timetable, even existing 10 minutes interval seems reasonable, anything under 10 minutes would be even better.

        1. It would still require a timing stop, irrespective of whether there is a timetable or not. Otherwise by the end of the day there will be 6 buses arriving at once then nothing for another hour.

          Even the tube has an operational timetable, even if it is not visible to the public.

        2. I never seen circle route underground train waiting for 15 minutes in other countries. The timing stop does not have to be 15 minutes with closed doors, there could be a simple rule for drivers – if you see a previous bus in front of you stay on the bus stop for 4 minutes, something like that will make completely different impression for passengers.

        3. Having passengers waiting on a stationary bus for four minutes with no advanced warning is even worse, especially if the passenger is only taking a relatively short journey.

          The best place to make up timing and bunching issues is the end of the route when there are no passengers on board. This is an obvious issue with circle routes and is why London Underground got rid of theirs about 10 years ago.

        4. London is not the only city on Earth. I recently have read a research concluding that circular routes play important role of connecting subcenters and basically periphery in circular cities benefit from them a lot. I’ll try to find this paper.

        5. Andrew, you can get the same orbital service as a complete-circle line with interchanges between high-frequency point-to-point lines.

          A Upper Harbour Express (UHX) between Henderson, Westgate, and Constellation would interchange with both NX1/2 and WX1 services, providing the same coverage as your proposed circle express but with better quality service freed from delays and bunching.

        6. frequencyisfreedom, maybe you’re right, but I personally see interchange even worse than occasional 4 minutes stop, because bus change is anyway going to take much longer. Also, there’s already bus 120, which unfortunately is far too slow, similar 112 and 114 are even worse (and almost always empty, as they are close to walking speed and slower than cycling).

        7. Interchanges won’t take longer given high frequency routes. Imagine if all 3 bus routes – Northern Busway, Northwestern Express, Upper Harbour Express – ran at 5-7 minute frequencies all day and had cross-platform interchanges. Timetabled right the transfer time would likely be less than 4 minutes.

          Agree that something better than the 120 is needed. There should be a busway alongside or in the median of the Upper Harbour Motorway between Westgate and Constellation.

        8. It doesn’t need a busway rn. Create a ’12’ bus – direct from Westgate to Constellation. NZTA can build shoulder stops and expand shoulders for pinch points as desired, but local trips are already covered by the 120. The rapid transit loop could be completed without any infrastructure adjustments (as while the NW stops are being created, the 12 could just terminate at existing stops in Westgate)

  13. Constellation to Westgate always looks like a missing gap to me in those RTN diagrams

    Maybe as I work in the Albany/Rosedale end, I keep seeing the massive amount of money being spent on the NCI. I think about $850m?

    And in the afternoon/evening, there are queues of cars ending out west to Hobsonville, West Auckland out as far as Kumeu

    They are pouring vast amounts of money into a key North-South to East/West link, and building the new Rosedale bus station purely as an extra stop a few hundred meters north of Constellation.

    So why wouldn’t they think about an LR or busway from either of the new stations to terminate at say a Westgate bus-station? A busway would be good, but LR track looks like it could take less room on a nice wide motorway

    Given the amount of growth in the NW, seems like little planning is going on to deal with that growth, other than a gold plated motorway interchange to speed cars coming to/from the West faster to/from a choked up northern motorway

    1. Once NCI is finished, it should be possible to run buses Westgate to Constellation just by adding stops at Hobsonville, Tauhinu Rd and Albany Hwy. Need to be a bit better than NW temporary stops.

      1. It likely doesn’t – the important part of the journey is the Westgate to Constellation part. Local trips are already covered by the 120, so the ’12’ could go directly along the motorway from Westgate to Constellation, stopping at motorway exit shoulders when stops are created, but the function of it isn’t to serve local trips.

        1. Well, yes “12”, maybe, a bus similar to 120, but taking more advantage of motorway and taking less tops would be a great option. Something like Constellation, Greenhithe, Hobsonville Point, Hobsonville Business (Waiarohia Stream?), Westgate, Lincoln Rd, Henderson transport hub. Without all these stops and local roads this would take about 15-20 minutes against 36-50 with 120.

          West with all this development in Westgate and Whenuapai looks really concerning with current pathetic transport options.

        2. Still feels like too many detours.

          Constellation, straight onto the motorway, Albany Highway offramp (not initially, but when a stop is created by NZTA – connecting with the 883/917, and walkable to the 120), Greenhithe Rd motorway shoulder (not initially, but when a stop is created by NZTA – connecting with the 120), Brigham Creek Rd offramp (not initially, but when a stop is created by NZTA – connecting with the 114), then to the NW bus station at Westgate.

          The 120 covers the Henderson – Westgate stretch fine, and all the detour parts of Westgate – Constellation. The 120 could be upgraded to a frequent route, the 12, and the direct via motorway express of Constellation – Westgate could be called the UHEX. Eventually it could be expanded down to Henderson, but a frequent 120 (12) would meet the need.

          The UHEX isn’t for helping local trips – it’s purely a node to node to meet the ATAP rapid transit plan. If someone was wanting to go somewhere in the Upper Harbour area – they’d take the 120 (12). The UHEX is purely for people wanting a shortcut from the North shore to the West without going through the CBD, so the less stops the better. There would be literally 0 intermediate stops if it was implemented today (only needs buses and drivers), as there would be no motorway stops, so it would go direct from the Westgate node to the Constellation node.

        3. Freddy I still believe that there could be some benefit in a UHEX bus route that extended from Westgate via the NW motorway/bus lanes and Lincoln Rd to Henderson.

          The 120/12 winds its way along Don Buck Rd and Swanson Rd, often getting stuck in peak traffic. It would certainly be a good frequent route along that corridor for Massey & Red Hills, but not the fastest or most reliable for the Westgate-Henderson leg.

          The old concepts for a Northwestern Busway included a Lincoln Rd busway/bus lanes, which leads me to assume that the intention was to have UHEX buses coming from Constellation run through Westgate, along the busway to Lincoln, and then down Lincoln Rd to Henderson.

        4. @FIF

          I wasn’t sure if there was much need rn for the Westgate – Henderson route. Or if the UHEX and the Lincoln Rd buses were meant to be one route duplicating the NW route between Lincoln and Westgate, or two connecting into the NW route.

          No particular issues with it, as the speed disadvantages (getting caught in traffic) is probably outweighed by having a one seat ride. If the frequency is high enough, the disadvantages of Westgate no longer being the terminus becomes irrelevant, as you don’t need a timetable/bunching becomes less of a problem.

  14. Wood refused to commit to light rail so clearly it is dead. He came as close as he could to saying it’s not happening. As with all the other big Labour policies, they failed to articulate to the general public why they were doing it or what they were actually doing.
    When people ask me to explain light rail, I can’t as I can’t remember what the last version was and there is not even a clear business case to point the curious to read.
    A failed opportunity to do something for Auckland’s growing transport woes. Oh well, they are keeping on the petrol discount so I can drive my Ford Ranger everywhere -it’s great for getting through the climate change-triggered flooded roads.

    1. Even worse it may be delayed until they get inflation (cost of living crisis) under control. Which means it is dead but no alternative will be built as it is technically just delayed.

    2. “As with all the other big Labour policies, they failed to articulate to the general public why they were doing it or what they were actually doing.”

      MUCH worse, they failed to actually do it.

      National never really made a stronger case for their RONS either, beyond “Tarmac good for economy!” – but by the time they were voted out, so many projects were underway that Labour pretty much continued all of the ones that hadn’t been completed yet. You really think Luxon would kill off a Light Rail project (even a surface one) that was halfway down the road already? Even if it was 3 or more years from completion?

      Labour was simply incompetent in getting started (and in getting agencies to actually do what they were told – i.e. AKL Harbour Bridge Cycleway). Their government was a masterclass in incompetence on pretty much anything except Covid in my view.

  15. Back to the surface options is the way to go alright. I hope they don’t go to a busway option as the extra space and turn around issues in the city will make it ugly. Also buses can’t really take bikes, mobility vehicles etc like a train line vehicle can take.

    1. Bikes on trains is not a thing that will scale for the long term. You double or triple the amount of space taken by each person. Plus make getting on / off the train harder.

      Bike parking at stations to expand the catchment is the real power. But it’s only a matter of time before bikes are booted off Auckland trains, at least during peak times.

      1. All the more urgent that hire bikes and scooters are available for the last mile.

        Allocate a car sized parking space for dockless micro every metres of residential roadway and commercial frontage.

        Penalties (not just fines) all round for drivers who park there and riders who don’t.

        It should improve profitability for the dockless companies, since they’ll have easier juicing and rebalancing from fewer, more predictable locations.

  16. Why do GA always miss off the obvious station at the corner of Dominion Road and Denbigh Ave? Considering Kainga Ora are building 1000 houses within walking distance to there. It also seems like the best place for bus transfer rather than having to sit through another set of lights to get to the Mount Roskill shops.

    1. Actually its another 2 sets of lights to Mount Roskill shops. And with no bus lanes as they will be taken up by LR.

  17. And here I was thinking from the UK that the Edinburgh tram was the biggest light rail fiasco in the world. That has at least been built and is wildly successful.

    Congrats again NZ for achieving yet another unwanted international best of… Doing nothing very expensively.

    While waiting for this very important piece of infrastructure in my home town, I’ve watched the universally despised HS2 go from a dream to being half built all so a few rich businessmen in London can go up to Birmingham on the weekend to watch football and spend 30 minutes less getting pissed on the train.

    1. The equivalent here has been the original AT project to Mt Roskill getting hijacked in the interests of senior businesspeople and MPs who go to the airport a lot more than the rest of us. With gullible Twyford having rings run around him by NZTA and pension funds.

  18. Awesome. They might get my vote back now.
    I would say use the money to buy property and protect future routes.
    So an elevated line in 15 plus years time will be an option.
    Unfortunately to build great rapid transit you need someone in charge with vision, and it was clear this project lacked that.

  19. Light rail from Dominion Rd to Mt Roskill would be immediately attacked by the PT-as-a-front-in-the-culture-wars crowd as a billion dollar “trams to nowhere” waste of money to make arty liberal happy. Oh and it would be opposed tooth and nail by Dominion road business interests.

    1. then with no self-awareness at all they’ll complain about traffic jams and the ‘unreliability of public transport’

    2. Which is exactly the audience Labour need to stop trying to convince to vote for them by being a Centre right Party with a be nice attitude and some extra benefit increases. Anyone that uses the term ‘war on cars’ were never going to vote for them anyway..

  20. Ditch it entirely, build elevated light metro along the NW route (to Westgate, and route protect the route west). Leave the surface LR to AT, if they want it, AT can build it if they think buses can no longer cope, but the gov should stay out of that route for the next decade or two until Auckland has multiple functioning light metro lines.

    There should be some bus route additions/upgrades in the isthmus to airport area – but again, that’s AT’s job, not the NZTA’s.

    NZTA should give shoulder bus stop treatment to the Upper Harbour Motorway – but it’s main focus should be on the AWHC/NW light metro and improving links with Northland. 2nd decade extending NW light metro/SH16 westward. People want to see things happening, and PT along the same route as motorways is the best way to both advertise for the PT, and for people to see things happening.

    1. I agree, most of Auckland’s new rapid transit routes will happen alongside motorways, and when you are stuck in traffic or even if the traffic is flowing there’s nothing better then seeing a train whizzing past, many will wonder why they are not on it.
      Many metro systems can travel faster than 100km/h which will suit the long straight motorway corridors. Most light rail trams top out at 70km/h some can do 90 but it’s not fast enough.
      The LRT should go back to the original AT dominion road route. The airport needs to be forgotten for now

      1. There’s an old GA article that talks about speed and travel times with regard to station spacings.

        For 2km station spacings – which I’m assuming would be typical for motorway-adjacent heavy rail or light metro lines – there is very little advantage in top speeds of 110km/h versus top speeds of 80km/h, the difference between the two is 10 seconds. And the difference between top speeds of 110km/h and 90km/h for the same 2km station spacing is 5 seconds.

        Obviously where station spacings would be wider (Albany to Hibiscus Coast, Pt Chev to Te Atatu, Westgate to Huapai) there would be an advantage in rolling stock that can reach 100+km/h. But within the Auckland urban area proper? There’s no advantage in trains/metros going faster than 80-90km/h.

        1. It’s the track rather than the rolling stock which is typically the speed limiter. As long as it can reach 120km/h in perfect conditions (and most trains can) it likely won’t be an issue the max speed of whatever rolling stock exists.

          The reason you’d have faster trains isn’t for travel time (wouldn’t make much difference), but for perceived travel time, and perceived travel time is far more important than actual travel time. Ideally they’d be the same, but often they aren’t.

        2. Most stations will be spaced between 2 and 3 km apart, some inner city stations about 1km apart, yes an extra 30 km/h of speed won’t save much time, the real savings will come from shorter dwell times, and even coming into the stations hot on the breaks, so more doors per carriage and platform screen doors may offer better time savings then higher speeds.
          But as stated below perceived speed is important, when you are rushing to get to work, (most will be) you want to know you are on the fastest option, even if an app on your phone says so, you don’t want to see cars whizzing past on the freeway.
          Remember this is just as much about getting suburban commuters out of cars to reduce congestion, not just urban renewal.

        3. I’m not convinced perceived speed is worth double, triple, or quadruple the expenditure, though. Mind you that’s more of an issue for the CC2M line, i imagine that construction costs for light rail vs light metro would be broadly similar for the motorway-adjacent Northwest and North Shore lines

        4. The rolling stock generally can reach the required speeds. As long as we don’t under build the rail, we can have high speeds in the bits that need it, without overpaying for it.

          Light rail vs light metro – it’s less about the mode, more about the route. Grade separated light rail/light metro can essentially be the same thing – I use light metro as it’s got a different name/connotation to light rail (given LR has the image of trams even when it’s not)

        5. I don’t see why we are waiting to run LRT along our motorway corridors,
          Unless they are planning on having branch lines at every suburb where the LRT will act like a feeder bus running a local route and then joining onto the main LRT line so more people get a one seat ride. But I don’t think this will happen, it will also destroy the ability to have high frequency,
          I think most people don’t mind a transfer especially if they are getting off there local slow bus and onto a mode that will shoot them across town.
          so if you are not going to use the the LRT for what it’s designed for then why deal with all its downsides.
          I also don’t understand why we refer to them as light rail, they are the evolution of the humble tram or street car but with low floors and higher capacity.
          Metro’s on the other hand are designed purely for moving large numbers of people across town fast.
          There is also more off the shelf technology that can be integrated into Metro’s like screen doors, real time information etc.

        6. Cost, John. Light metro is 3-5x more expensive than surface light rail according to the costs per km in the 2021 Auckland Rapid Transit report.

          It would take getting light metro construction costs in this country down to $200-300 million per km (Italian underground light metros seem to cost this much per km) for me to consider it worthwhile. Otherwise I would rather spend multibillions on a more extensive surface light rail network.

          Light rail really doesn’t have the disadvantages you speak of when it has its own right-of-way. It can travel the same top speed as the Northern Busway (80-90km/h), and with grade separation consist length can be up to 132m (900 passengers) so it essentially would function as a RTN line of the same calibre as heavy rail, light metro, or busway. As Freddie says, light rail alongside motorways would basically be low-floor light metro.

          On-street running would only be needed in the central city and Dominion Rd section, and those could be replaced by light metro tunnels at a later date as it should be easy to convert the existing grade-separate sections from light rail to true automated light metro. The street running light rail sections could then become QTN tram lines. That is an approach this blog and others have put forward several times.

        7. Yes, I’m aware I may have contradicted my previous comment. Most of the extra costs for light metro would likely come from the tunnelled central city and isthmus sections, and that is where most of my qualms lie unless tunnelling costs for the mode can be reduced from $400-600M per km to $200-300M per km

        8. To bore a tunnel and dig out a station for a tram or a metro costs the same.
          Where the cost savings come in for LRT are track alignment and maybe rolling stock, I don’t think a 3 car metro emu will cost that much more than a LRT emu with the same capacity, but it is known that LRT is less reliable and costs more to maintain.
          But yes if we are going to run down the middle of the street or off to the side then clearly LRT is the only option apart from a bus.
          My main concern with LRT is that it will lead to poor quality alignments due to small things like a local resident might hear a slight rumble or if blocks the view of a hill or tree that has some spiritual significance.
          So we get some rollercoaster alignment that metro won’t cope with but LRT could, this will lock in a slow speed limit and only those who have the time to waste will use it.

        9. That’s all very well, but if a light metro to Mangere is going to cost around $10 billion, then it’s not really worth it in my view. We have to ask what the monetary worth of a travel time 5-10 minutes quicker is.

          I think you’d have to get the cost of light metro to around $6 billion or below for it to be justifiable.

        10. I am very happy that the pin has been pulled on this LRT project, mainly due to it being out of scope with its original intentions and what really got me was there intention of using it across the rest of the future network.
          If they kept with LRT on dominion road I would be keen, even if they built a link across the harbour and up Onewa Rd and along Glenfield road past where I live, I would be jumping for joy, but that won’t ever happen, it will just shoot up the motorway in place of the Busway. So Would I see the benefit of transferring from my local 95b to a potentially non frequent cramped and slow LRT at the end of Onewa Rd?
          There is nothing wrong with building both LRT and metro and even down the line we could use LRT to feed metro lines.
          Instead of buses.
          And I did not know that the light metro option was just a fully grade seperated tram, I assumed something more like the Alstom metropolis more like Sydney or Montreal REM metro.

        11. I also believe tunnels will only be needed in and near the CBD, if a system is successful Les then half will have the CBD as there morning destination, a street running tram will rule out those
          Who will be ether transfering and passing through the CBD to many other commercial hubbs in Auckland that are currently only served by car and bus.
          I also don’t think elevated lines are out of the question, if a elevated line was to be built through a neighbourhood, you could just offer current market valuation plus 5 or 10 percent to everyone near by and build the elevated line and sell the existing properties back to people who are aware and positive about the rail line and potentially covering the 10% extra cost or if they are smart they could just demolish everything and replace with higher density and make even more from the development.

        12. John I see light rail as being capable of both FQTN and lower-end RTN roles, in the long-term.

          The Sydney Metro is more a heavy rail metro, but the Montreal REM and Vancouver Skytrain are. Light metro has the same track construction and axle loads as light rail, but being fully grade separated means it can have high floor rolling stock and more generous loading gauge. I mean in operation a grade-separate low floor light rail and a light metro are fundamentally the same.

          Elevated would possibly be cheaper than tunnelling, except I really see it being strongly opposed by NIMBYs which would be a major roadblock. I think for a light metro a tunnel would be required as far as Mt Roskill when the line can then run beside motorways the rest of the way to Mangere

          If surface light rail was chosen for the North Shore, NW, and CC2M corridors on cost grounds the same trips through the CBD to other centres would still be possible without transfers – admittedly 5 minutes or so slower, but likely quicker than current buses.

          With regard to Glenfield Rd I do think there’s a strong case for a Inner Shore RTN running Albany-Glenfield-Birkenhead-Onewa. I personally favour BRT as it would be easier to run that on bus lanes over the AHB and onto Wynyard Quarter & Wellesley St. Light rail for that corridor would be dependant on a 4 track AWHB bridge or tunnel for mass transit. The 2016 North Shore Rapid Transit report identified that demand for travel to and from Albany & Takapuna would be higher priority, and most of its explored options separated the Onewa Rd buses/BRT from light rail, light metro, or heavy rail further north

    1. Does elevated financially stack up (cough…) when you take into account supports, elevated stations, elevators, lifts, etc? I mean financially, compared to surface level?

      1. P.S. the NW motorway has had little love so far and I doubt that will change once the purse strings are tightened. They are fixated on the isthmus. It will be that or nothing.

  21. Forgive a comment from someone over the Ditch!!! (my Aussies sister and nephews live in Auckland with my Kiwi brother-in-law) The biggest cost in constructing underground rail lines is the stations. While on-street light rail might work across the Isthmus, it is unlikely to provide an adequately fast and reliable connection between the airport, and Mangere, and Queen Street. Here’s a suggestion: a station-less tunnel for trains between Penrose and Newmarket. Light rail could then use the existing railway lines between Onehunga and Newmarket.

    An initial light rail network could include on-street route(s), including Dominion Road, and an semi-express airport line connecting to a line down Queen Street. Train services from Papakura and Pukekohe would run express through the new tunnel. Quite possibly the savings on underground stations would pay for the Dominion Road route! Or at least part of it.

    If demand and a future North Shore line warrant it, the airport line might later be rerouted though a separate tunnel under the city centre.

    The beauty of “light rail” is that it can utilise a variety of rights-of-way. My local tram here in Sydney runs over the former Goods Railway and then through a pedestrian mall and city street. Last week, I rode the Route 96 tram in Melbourne, which uses the former St Kilda railway and city streets. My favourite city in Germany, Cologne, has an extensive light rail network that includes street-running, elevated lines, tunnels and former interurban railways. Too many planners – perhaps those in Auckland included – and many commenters on Greater Auckland fail to recognise this flexibility!

    1. It really doesn’t make sense to mix lower-capacity tram trains with higher capacity EMUs on the same tracks though, because that would reduce the overall network capacity.

      And we don’t have any abandoned rail lines that can be converted to light rail easily like the Sydney Inner West or Melbourne Route 96. Though there is is the Avondale-Southdown designation that would be perfect for a standalone crosstown light rail line.

      Your Newmarket-Penrose tunnel idea would arguably be *very* expensive, and I think the money would be better off spent building a standalone light metro via the central Isthmus to Mangere & the Airport, if you wanted a fast mass transit connection to the southwest.

      I am not anti tram-train, I simply believe that there are cities where light rail on heavy rail tracks would be suitable (Wellington, Christchurch, Tauranga) and cities where it would not (Auckland).

      1. Mate, you misunderstood me. I’m not talking tram-trains. To simplify, trains rerouted to a new tunnel. Light rail on-street from Britomart to Newmarket, then over the vacated railway Newmarket to Onehunga, then the proposed new route to the airport. Savings on underground stations may pay for on-street trams from Queen Street south end across the isthmus (say Dominion Road).

        Whether Auckland can afford it, I’ll leave to others. Whether Dominion Road warrants an underground metro, likewise. It may be best served by a street-running tram, with exclusive lanes and signal priority. I have assumed the main concern was serving Mangere and the airport.

        1. Ok, so your plan keeps heavy rail and light rail separate. Even so, converting a very active section of heavy rail track that also carries long-distance freight trains headed to Northland to light rail would be expensive and disruptive, and we cannot afford to have infinite shutdowns of major rapid transit corridors for works. I just don’t think it’s practical, and I think Auckland would be better off with either an extension of the heavy rail from Onehunga or a light metro line via Manukau Rd if faster access to Mangere & the Airport is really necessary.

          The Auckland Light Rail project – or any replacement project if the next government cans it – is meant to address 3 concerns – bus overcrowding on Dominion Rd and in the city centre, mass transit access to Mangere, and mass transit access to the Airport.

          Maybe those need to be split into separate optimized projects, or maybe a surface light rail line all the way via Dominion Rd is the best bet by economics even if travel time has to be sacrificed a little.

  22. I agree that the project will need to be broken down into small sections, I think getting a east west station built under Wellesley St with approaches into Grafton gulley (future south west airport line) Victoria Park (north shore line) and Cook st for (future north western line)
    And under Albert Park (future south east line to be converted once the port is moved)
    I think it will be a good time to do the hard city work now as the CRL work ramps down and many are still working from home.

    1. As far as I know the concepts for Northwestern light metro have it arcing around the CMJ from the Grafton Gully side, rather than via Cook St.

      So a train from the North Shore heading to the Northwest would run Wynyard Quarter, Victoria Park, Te Waihorotiu, Universities, Karanga-a-hape, and then west along the SH16 alignment to Westgate & Huapai.

      I don’t see a need for the Eastern line to be converted from heavy rail to light metro? If there is eventually a need for a second East/Southeast RTN I’d think a metro branch via Grafton, Newmarket, Remuera, and Stonefields connecting at Panmure with a reconstructed Eastern Busway would be better.

      1. I was thinking the northwest line be tunnelled under arch hill to Grey Lynn with a station at western park serving Ponsonby road.
        I was also thinking about balancing the network so no more than 2 lines share a track. So the current western line continues to the southern line and the north shore line continues to the current eastern line hence the conversion (as our main line heavy rail will not be used in future rapid transit) and the airport line continues as the north west line.

        1. Intriguing, but I would be wary of the costs of converting the Eastern Line (including disruption to heavy rail freight trains & long distance passenger trains using the Westfield Deviation) and the cost and technical difficulty of North Shore heavy rail.

  23. I’m kind of relieved they have come to their senses to ditch this underground light rail. Avondale to southdown heavy rail should be the priority. It’s the key to creating an ithsmus circle line that in turn creates a proper network.

    1. The Isthmus circle line is a dumb idea. Sharing tracks with the linear lines to the West, South, and East is a recipe for every single heavy rail line in the city to get delayed – same reason why the Circle Line is no longer a full circle, because its delays were causing flow-on delays on the Hammersmith & City, Metropolitan, and District lines.

      There is no way for trains on circle lines to make up time because they have zero chance to layover at a terminus station. So, like on the Outer Link bus, bunching and huge gaps between trains becomes a major issue.

      Avondale-Onehunga should be part of a crosstown light rail line, not a heavy rail passenger line. There’d still be space for 1-2 heavy rail freight tracks alongside 2 light rail tracks if that is ever necessary. And it creates a “proper network” by providing that orbital link without screwing up other lines and RTN services.

      1. “Avondale-Onehunga should be part of a crosstown light rail line….”

        Maybe that’s an alternative to get some runs on the board; Avondale to Mangere via Onehunga – LRT.

        A future extension could be to convert to O-Line to LRT up to Ellerslie and Newmarket. And then south from Mangere to the Airport. or vice-versa.

        Let the Isthmus see what they are missing out on.

      2. . “Sharing tracks with the linear lines to the West, South, and East is a recipe for every single heavy rail line in the city to get delayed.”
        It wouldn’t share tracks with the eastern and southern. Just the western from Avondale to the city. But this could be separated in the future.
        ” is no way for trains on circle lines to make up time because they have zero chance to layover at a terminus station.”
        Yes. There are dozens of circle lines in cities all over the world a d they have a terminus to prevent bunching however bunching on train lines is less of a problem than with buses getting stuck in regular traffic.
        There are options for terminus stations at otahuhu, or any of the new stations on the a-s line.

        1. Really? Cause last time I checked the “Isthmus Loop” would share tracks with the Western Line (CRL to Avondale), the Eastern Line (Southdown via Panmure to CRL), and the Southern Line (in the CRL). Those are opportunities for the Isthmus Loop to hold up all other trains and cause network wide disruption.

          Also by forcing another pattern through the CRL you are limiting frequencies on your Isthmus Loop as well as all other lines to 10-15 minutes at peak.

          I reiterate: a point-to-point crosstown light rail would be superior in both frequency and orbital mass transit capabilities. 3-5 minute peak frequencies and interchanges with all radial mass transit lines south of the city centre (NW rapid transit at Pt Chev, the Western Line at Avondale, CC2M between Mt Roskill and Onehunga, the Southern Line at Penrose, the Eastern Line at Sylvia Park, and the Eastern Busway at Pakuranga) with all those lines running 5 minute peak frequencies too. Tell me how that isn’t a superior option with more flexibility for all kinds of crosstown journeys.

        2. In response to frequencyisfreedom.
          The entire network would run as two lines only. The isthmus circle line. And then a through line all the way from Swanson to crl to papakura/pukekohe/ manukau.
          A large transfer station where the through line and circle line meet near Penrose/southdown to create more of a metro separation.
          This creates two lines meeting at the strand, and two lines meeting at avondale.

        3. MRB – that would mean Western line frequencies to Swanson would have to be shared between Manukau and Papakura/Pukekohe. This is despite there being significantly more growth planned in the Papakura/Pukekohe area.

        4. MRB – you are ignoring the fact that your pattern still has the CRL as a choke point where the Isthmus Loop can cause delays on the West-South line. Not to mention the West-South line branches to Manukau and Pukekohe, as jezza points out, so it’s in essence 3 lines through the CRL not two. You wouldn’t be able to run each line more frequently than every 7.5 minutes at peak.

          Meanwhile, without the Isthmus Loop and with a pattern like the CFN 2.0 (Swanson-CRL-Onehunga, Pukekohe-CRL-Manukau) you could run each through-line at 5 minute peak frequencies – much more convenient and attractive. The Crosstown Light Rail would be able to run at the same peak frequencies even if it shared the Mt Roskill-Onehunga section with CC2M surface light rail. Transfers at Avondale between Western HR and Crosstown LR, each every 5 minutes, would be very simple and allow for greater choice in travel options.

        5. To frequency is freedom. An isthmus circle with a western to southern would create a doubling of frequencies between Avondale and the strand.
          However the CFN. 2.0 lines meet to create double frequencies between the strand and Mt eden, then again between Newmarket and Penrose and lastly having the one line double back on itself to make double frequencies between Westfield and the manukau branch in the busiest section of freight trains in the country. Lots of potential hold ups there.

          As for manukau. I’d like to see a full Penrose to onehunga-mangere- maybe airport – manukau and beyond line. it would be nice to extend that manukau line out a few stations to the east with a transfer station where the manukau and southern line cross.

        6. MRB – you seem to forget that Westfield-Wiri is being triple-tracked right now, and is the most likely section of track to be quad-tracked in the future as well. Freight and long distance passenger trains would not be crowded out by the doubled Southern & Eastern lines.

          As for connecting Manukau with Mangere & Onehunga, there is probably more easily-had benefit in upgrading frequent bus routes like the 36 and 31 to BRT-lite standards (continuous bus lanes, larger bus stops, 10 minute off-peak headways). Or creating a new crosstown BRT line Mangere-Otahuhu-Otara-Flat Bush that has convenient interchanges with CC2M, the Southern & Eastern heavy rail, and Airport-Botany rapid transit

        7. To frequency is freedom.
          I’m well aware of the 3rd main project. There is another really good project that will separate freight services from areas of high passenger train concentration which is the Avondale southdown line. It allows freight trains to bypass the double frequency Newmarket to Penrose section on the cfn 2, and also the Mt eden station area.

        8. MRB – so it’s an excellent thing that Crosstown Light Rail would allow for a single-track Avondale-Southdown freight heavy rail alongside it between Avondale & Hillsborough when that becomes necessary.

        9. That’s not an excellent thing though. Building a light rail alongside a heavy rail would be a planning failure for the ages.
          For me, the avondale southdown will be built eventually as heavy rail as kiwirail already own the land. So the question is, how do we best incorporate that heavy rail line and use it without also paying another few billion for a light rail directly next to it.
          My answer is an isthmus circle line.

        10. MRB, you are still not seeing the bigger picture. The opportunity to have a crosstown orbital line spanning from Point Chevalier via Onehunga to Pakuranga, connecting all radial RTN lines would revolutionise Auckland’s rapid transit system, making many new journeys possible by public transport. Dogmatic Avondale-Southdown heavy rail and inefficient, lower frequency, delay-prone “Isthmus Loop” routing will prevent that and keep Auckland’s RTN reaching its full potential.

          I have yet to hear you make a valid criticism of my proposal.

        11. And if your concern is capacity then light rail would actually have more capacity than your Isthmus Loop by virtue of being a standalone system. Assuming 99m LRVs every 4 minutes at peak gives the Crosstown Light Rail a capacity of 10,125 people per hour in each direction.

          Your Isthmus Loop, with 9-car EMUs up to every 7.5 minutes, would be capable of moving 9,000 people per hour in each direction.

          With separate Crosstown Light Rail the Western Line would also be improved – at up to 5 min peak frequencies its capacity would be 50% greater than your proposal.

        12. And as for cost – 8km of at-grade light rail track between Avondale and Onehunga, at $100M per km, would come in at just under a billion dollars. Not multibillions as you insinuate, and arguably less than double-track passenger heavy rail especially on the steep Hillsborough-Onehunga grade beside SH20.

          I envision the Crosstown Light Rail passenger link being built first, followed by the Avondale-Southdown freight heavy rail line. Even if port activities moved to Marsden Point that might take until the 2040s, and the consensus seems to be that sending freight trains via Newmarket at night will suffice until there is a dramatic increase in rail freight from Northland.

        13. “have yet to hear you make a valid criticism of my proposal.”

          I suppose different people see different things as valid.

        14. And I don’t see the argument that it has to be heavy rail because of designations and mode dogmatism as valid.

          I think I’ve made my case well enough. I support crosstown light rail because it:
          – allows for higher frequencies and therefore higher capacity on all RTN corridors
          – has more flexibility to support a full orbital rapid transit link covering Pt Chev to Pakuranga, not just Avondale to Onehunga, enabling more travel choices, connectivity, and greater community & economic benefits
          – costs less than heavy rail over the same corridor
          – can easily handle the gradient alongside SH20 between Hillsborough and Onehunga, without needing massive viaducts
          – does not prevent a future Avondale-Southdown freight line alongside it (although there must be consideration to whether triple-tracking Swanson-Avondale and building a grade-separate junction at Onehunga is economically viable, or if the Ports should pay for some of it since it primarily would be for their freight traffic)

          If you have information that actually refutes those points I would of course be open to it. But repeating that “it has to be heavy rail, it has to be an isthmus loop” without any firm evidence is not going to change my mind.

        15. “And as for cost – 8km of at-grade light rail track between Avondale and Onehunga, at $100M per km, would come in at just under a billion dollars.”

          OH thats awesome. You should go tell the auckland light rail project that the above ground light rail from cc2m is only going to be about 1.5 to 2 billion. Not the 9 billion that was estimated.

          I don’t know about the cost of the – s line but I know that one heavy rail line is cheaper than one heavy rail line and also one light rail line right next to it.

        16. Yes, that is what many transit advocates HAVE been trying to do the past year. CC2M light rail was originally costed in the region of $2-3 billion dollars, and THAT is how much it really should cost.

          I don’t know about you but I think the lost connectivity and fewer transit benefits by building Avondale-Southdown as combined passenger-and-freight heavy rail, with lower frequencies and frequent delays from the circular operating pattern, would be in the long-run a worse economic outcome.

          As before, Avondale-Southdown freight line is really dependent on the ports moving to Northland, otherwise running trains from New

          By the NZTA’s costings based on overseas projects, surface heavy rail costs $250M per km. So Avondale-Southdown would cost something like $2-2.5 billion on its own as a double-track line – maybe $1-1.25 billion assuming a single track line costs half that a double-track line.

          Incidentally, a $1 billion light rail line and a $1 billion heavy rail line parallel between Avondale and Hillsborough before splitting off each to Onehunga & Southdown would therefore cost about the same as only double-tracked heavy rail ASL – and of course with much greater benefits as the Crosstown Light Rail can extend northwest to Pt Chev and east to Penrose, Sylvia Park, and Pakuranga.

        17. Regarding the so called Avondale Southdown Line you would be better off doing (as per the Patrick R post) a single track tunnel – straight. By the time anything like that was built our freight trains “should” be running electric or hybrid battery or something so tunnel won’t be an issue.
          Single bore won’t have all the issue of a surface route through all the hills etc. It’s such an old designation that.
          Just do this and your City to Mangere via Dominion Rd surface light rails system.
          Agreed with others that Onehunga HR line could be converted as well to LRT for a cross town which can have extensions added later.

        18. Good point Grant. An Avondale-Southdown line for freight would have to also include the cost of triple-tracking Avondale-Swanson (including a second New Lynn trench) Potentially very disruptive to Western Line trains and surrounding properties, would add another several hundred million to the cost.

          And if the Ports don’t move to Marsden Point but somewhere else – Tauranga, Firth of Thames, Puhinui – I think nighttime freights via Newmarket would suffice, and the Avondale-Onehunga corridor could be just for Crosstown light rail.

          Agree with converting Penrose-Onehunga from heavy rail to light rail too, would be cheaper than double-tracking and grade separating the heavy rail.

        19. I’ve read your points. I just don’t think they are good points.
          – You can’t assume the costs. Just saying that it should cost 2 billion or whatever is not firm evidence. That’s just a guess.

          Saying that two lines combing at avondale will cause delays and less capacity but two lines combining at Westfield, manukau, Penrose, and also newmarket is totally fine, is also not evidence. It’s bias.

          -Running light rail, which is a place making tool, along a motorway past Mt roskill and then through industrial Penrose and industrial otahuhu is also not a good plan.

          Here’s an idea.if you want crosstown light rail then What about Balmoral rd and greenlane rd? . Pt chev- st Luke’s -Cornwall Park- then connect to Greenlane station then cross to panmure and pakuranga? That’s a light rail crosstown plan that has light rail in its correct place, not around motorways or factories. And allows light rail to produce the most benefit for the city. Greenlane rd and Balmoral rd are actually also very wide and more suited to light rail.

          “does not prevent a future Avondale-Southdown freight line?”

          Again I don’t agree. this would be remarkably bad planning to spend billions on a light rail line right next to a heavy rail line. People around the world will gasp at how ridiculous it is. Especially building one line each so both heavy and light rail have running constraints. If you have one then use it.

          “costs less than heavy rail over the same corridor”

          The Avondale southdown designation is owned by kiwirail. If you want light rail then you will need to purchase the land.
          Also the Avondale southdown designation is planned for double tracks the entire length.

          For Grant. I very much doubt Swanson to Whangarei will be electrified. So having diesel locos in west auckland and the yard with refueling, brake checks, servicing crews, etc on the other side in auckland yard and then building an electric only tunnel in between is not a good idea. Although I heard there is a plan to have a small tunnel at the Avondale end to miss out the Avondale incline.

        20. MRB – you misunderstand entirely my criticism of circle lines, not junctions. Circle lines are inherently prone to delays because they have no termini to layover at, they must continuously run round and round. This also results in driver fatigue.

          When a circle line shares tracks with radial lines, those delays are passed onto the radial lines too – the whole network is disrupted.

          If you fail to understand that I don’t know how much simpler I can make it. Go look up ‘Where the Underground Shares its Track’ by Jugo Hazzard on YouTube, he makes the exact same argument I am making with reference to the Circle, Hammersmith & City, District, and Metropolitan Lines on the London Underground, before the Circle Line was reorganized.

          The best practice for true circle lines is to have them as completely independant from any other line even lines of the same mode. But a complete circle orbital line that bypasses the city centre entirely is not possible in Auckland because of geography. However, crosstown point-to-point lines are. The Constellation-Westgate future RTN is another example.

          You can get all pissy about specifics, but my point still stands. A crosstown line using the Avondale-Onehunga corridor but also *extending beyond* to Pt Chev and Pakuranga, whether metro, light rail, or busway, would serve a far superior orbital role than Avondale-Southdown heavy rail. By being seperate from heavy rail it would be free of conflicts, disruption on either mode would be contained to just that mode so there is greater resilience and reliability. No circle lines means that all services have the chance to make up time while laying over at their termini stations. And, crucially, such a Pt Chev to Pakuranga line regardless of mode would interchange with many more RTN and QTN lines, which is what orbital lines are supposed to do and is common practice overseas.

          Your claim that there are no light rail lines next to heavy rail lines is provably false – look at America. Many light rail lines run parallel to heavy rail freight corridors there. By your logic it is also ridiculous to build metros and suburban rail next to freight rail lines, yet those are also done overseas.

          I am simply arguing for higher frequency and better public transport outcomes, and quite frankly I think your isthmus loop is inferior in frequency and resilience – and that any suburban heavy rail option using part or all of the Avondale-Southdown designation would result in inferior frequencies and service for the Auckland suburban rail network.

        21. “There are options for terminus stations at otahuhu, or any of the new stations on the a-s line.”

          That was me like 25 posts ago.

          Also the strand is another option as a terminus for the circle line on the other end.

          It’s not that I don’t see what your saying, it’s just that is not a good enough reason to not do it. Every line has issues.
          The light rail one your are proposing doesn’t go through the city centre. Whereas mine does.
          Maybe I should harp on about that for 20 posts. But is that a sufficient reason to not build it?. You obviously think the pros outweigh the cons.
          Everyone understands circle line bunching. I remember waiting for the link bus at uni too.
          But I’ve also lived in places where circle line railways ran perfectly on time and added so much more than any issue they might have. So the pros outweigh the cons.
          Also these are not buses getting held up in traffic. These are metro running on tight schedules.

          Also If we are citing sources on YouTube then check out RMtransits video on “why are loop lines so succesful?”

          Separation of lines is key. Here we both agree. I’d love for the circle line to cross Avondale through the park to unitec, across to pt chev, along the motorway with stops at western springs, Grey Lynn.
          And just personally I always wondered why we couldn’t run the line along spaghetti junction with a stop close to karangahape station mercury lane side, then down grafton gully with a proper uni stop and then going over beach road to connect to the eastern line there. Making a completely separate circle line. Dreams are free I suppose.

        22. The advantage of Crosstown Light rail *is* that it doesn’t go via the CBD. It supports crosstown (i.e. non city centre) RTN journeys, and through interchanges with the City-bound rapid transit lines (Northwest RTN, Western Line, Dominion Rd light rail, potential Manukau Rd light metro, Southern Line, Eastern Line, Eastern Busway) transfers enable the greater range of travel options. Not to mention feeder buses and QTN bus or tram routes. This is a fundamental principle of hub-&-spoke public transit, that not all journeys need to be one-seat and higher frequencies + transfers enable more and greater variety of trips and more mode shift.

          It will be easier to thread light rail or light metro from Avondale through Unitec to Pt Chev, because of the less stringent geometric requirements of these modes.

          I don’t buy your claim that the circle line could layover at Otahuhu or Britomart, that would disadvantage certain journeys and arguably more than a quick transfer between 5-min frequency RTN lines would.

          Maybe what I’m proposing does have downsides, sure. But I stand by my conviction that higher service frequencies, and the resulting higher capacity and greater convenience, outweigh the cons.

        23. “It supports crosstown (i.e. non city centre) RTN journeys”

          So does the circle line but with the added benefit of going through the city centre as well. Buy one get one free.

          “don’t buy your claim that the circle line could layover at Otahuhu or Britomart”

          Seoul line 2 is a good example. It’s not each service. There are dozens of popular and successful circle lines in major cities as examples.

          As for your Jago video on YouTube there is another one he did on the history of the circle line in London thay had it running in a circle from 1884 to 2009 until a spur was built off it. Hardly seems an earth shattering problem if they ran it in a circle for over 100 years. The London circle line also intersected with 3 other lines whereas the one in auckland would only intersect with one.
          So I don’t buy your argument that this is a reason not to go ahead with it.
          I’ll put it down to mode dogmatism backed up with a few back of the envelope calculations.

          As for the 7 and a half minutes, Running manukau across the southern to the airport and back through mangere and up the onehunga branch to terminate at Penrose would get rid of the onehunga and manukau situation leaving 2 lines only.

        24. So you want to make crosstown trains go through the city but force Mangere & Manukau passengers to make transfers? Your illogic astounds me. Do you have a particular bias that makes you prioritise an Isthmus loop over direct City-Mangere & City-Manukau travel?

          Direct city trips from Wesley, Mt Roskill, Three Kings, and Onehunga could be had with radial RTN/QTN lines. Light metro, light rail, trams or BRT along Sandringham, Dominion, Mt Eden, and Manukau Rds. No need to force a more indirect and delay-prone route for passengers from those stations to get to the City Centre, with the added bonus that broader crosstown journeys become easier. Remember the Crosstown Light Rail can extend beyond the crosstown coverage of your Isthmus Loop, northwest to Pt Chev and east to Pakuranga (or even beyond, replacing the Eastern Busway to Botany or running up Pakuranga Dr to Highland Park and Howick.

          Like you accuse me of doing, I’ll put your ideas down to unreasonable devotion to heavy rail and the past with a side of back-of-napkin calculations. At least *I* do my research and base my costings of up-to-date real world examples.

        25. ” want to make crosstown trains go through the city but force Mangere & Manukau passengers to make transfers?

          So you want to make onehunga/manukau passengers go through the city but make pt chev to Pakuranga light rail trains transfer? Your illogic astounds me.

          I actually want to get the Avondale southdown line built as heavy rail and a circle line running as that’s the best city building and transport tool I’ve seen. It has all the benefits you speak of with a crosstown light rail intersecting with radial lines however with the added benefits of allowing through routing. Importantly allowing freight to accommodate our ports over the next 50 years. Allowing the same rolling stock, experience, organisations to be used. Putting the appropriate mode in the appropriate place. Heavy rail along a motorway and industrial area is fine. Light rail with its place making role not so much.

          Your point about bunching does not take away from the benefits with stub lines on either end. London ran its circle line for 100 years while intersecting with 3 different lines. It can be done.

          “Remember the Crosstown Light Rail can extend beyond the crosstown coverage of your Isthmus Loop,”

          The isthmus loop connects to an existing heavy rail system thats already there, doesn’t cost us anything and extends well beyond the limits of your crosstown light rail. It’s is more reasonable and realistic in scope as the land and route is already owned.

          The public just rebuffed a potential 9 to 15 billion light rail line that went from the city to mangere and the airport. Good luck trying to sell a longer line that goes from pt chev down the back of a motorway, through an industrial area to the bright lights of pakuranga but Of course with your costings I’m sure it will be fine.

          Here is a question you haven’t addressed.

          The Avondale southdown designation is owned by kiwirail. It is wide enough and planned for 2 x rail lines along its length. But not 4. How will you build your light rail line along the a-s route if that is the case?. It must be either heavy rail or light rail but not both. You can’t build one line each because that is nonsense and won’t get the frequencies you have mentioned. What is your choice?

          Like you accuse me of doing, I’ll put your ideas down to unreasonable devotion to heavy rail”

          I believe you were the one who made that accusation first. I was merely returning the favour.

          “with a side of back-of-napkin calculations. At least *I* do my research and base my costings of up-to-date real world examples.”

          I haven’t made any comments about costings. You have repeatedly. Terribly sorry to demean and downplay your excellent costings. I’m sure they are precise.

        26. Ah, I see you have learned how to copycat, MRB. Very clever, I applaud you.

          It might startle you to hear that I would envision direct-to-city frequent bus routes and radial RTN lines to supplement Crosstown Light Rail and RTN options that require transfers. Pt Chev passengers could catch Northwestern RTN, be it a proper busway, light rail, or light metro. Avondale passengers could catch the Western Line. Three Kings passengers could catch the 27 bus up Mt Eden Rd. Pakuranga passengers could catch the 70 bus – etc. etc. Your single-minded focus on an isthmus loop entirely forgets the public transport network as a whole, the feeder routes and the secondary trunks.

          Just because it “can be done” doesn’t mean it’s the best way of doing things. Extending legacy technology & networks isn’t automatically the best way either – and in essence I believe

          If it’s one or the other, I pick crosstown light rail. Or light metro, whatever. It creates more frequent, more flexible mass transit for Aucklanders, could be integrated with CC2M, and vastly improves the Onehunga Branch Line from a single-track half hourly service to a double-track high-frequency line extending further east and west, at less cost and technical difficulty than passenger heavy rail.

          I honestly think Mayor Idiot Wayne’s obsession with moving the port is self-serving and biased thanks to his time in Northland, same as Winnie-the-Peters. If a new location for the ports is to be built, I believe the reports have already indicated that a new port at Puhinui or the Firth of Thames would be superior, and these being south of Southdown would not require an Avondale-Southdown loop. Timing Northland freight trains to run via Newmarket or Quay Park at night could suffice, along with a freight depot and yard somewhere between Waimauku & Kumeu which has been proposed on this blog in the past.

          Or if Avondale-Southdown really is necessary, we could shrink the Southwestern Motorway a bit and make more space for 2 tracks light rail and 1-2 tracks heavy rail between Hillsborough and Avondale. Ideally rail *should* fall under the NZTA’s purvey, though if (as in the ATAP) a crosstown busway is decided on that would be easier.

          Also please do not misrepresent me as only advocating for Crosstown Light Rail. I am thinking of the RTN as a whole, I also support some form of CC2M whether a single project or split up into separate projects, Northwestern Light Rail/Light Metro, a rail replacement of the Northern Busway when it reaches capacity, extension of the Eastern Busway to Ellerslie, more crosstown BRT lines (Constellation-Westgate-Henderson, Mangere-Otahuhu-Flat Bush, Western Springs-Balmoral-Ellerslie). All with the intention of creating a well-connected network of lines running better than every 10 minutes all-day.

          Terribly sorry to criticize your Isthmus Loop, I’m sure it’s a sound plan but I think there are sounder ones.

        27. “The Isthmus circle line is a dumb idea”.

          “I’m sure it’s a sound plan”

          You’re too changeable mate. Should have stuck to your guns.

  24. Green tracking has also be used in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. The largest benefit I noticed was the reduction in noise compared with areas that were concrete/paved.

    1. It’s always hilariously frustrating how the pro-car crowd claim that rail is noisy, never realising the amount of noise that comes from car-clogged roads.

      Heck, even buses are noisy – unless they’re trolleybuses or BEVs, and you’ve still got tyre noise.

  25. 135 comments on Greater Auckland. The post also generated more conversation and comments on Reddit and other platforms

    Lots of comments, ideas, discussion, which is great, but anybody notice what is entirely absent in the conversation?

    Auckland Light Rail Limited

    You have a very expensive ($73m worth) of people who have a logo, lots of senior executives drawing salary, no doubt lots of consultants on board, but public engagement and promotion of the value of light rail is gone missing in action.

    You think they could have at least one person, dedicated to social media to keep messaging on target. We are asking questions like ‘what is the purpose of ARL’ in a vacuum as the communications from ARL ltd is just not there.

    They have an entire team of people who should be doing this:

    “Sarah Azam leads the communications, engagement, media and stakeholder functions within Auckland Light Rail” (

    Pretty much the only important news in the last couple of months is apparently adding Shane to the board. PR person is Ewart as a contractor?

    I am pretty sure I have seen this exact say thing play out in the Utopia series; a group of people well paid to go through the motions until the project is canned.

    Do the people at ARLL want this thing to be built?

    Love to see somebody like Matt added to the board

  26. Who does the costings for these projects? It’s almost as if they’re part of the road lobby. They balloon costs out so much in an effort to torpedo them in public opinion.

    They should make the stations smaller to save money. Almost like large bus stops. Should even cut some stations if required. Yes it may impact patronage but those stations can be built later. Get the cost as close to a $1 billion or less as possible. It’ll be much easier sell if the slimmed down project gets it down to even $800 million.

    The main thing is to just get the bloody thing built as quickly as possible. Then it’ll prove itself with the public who in turn will demand more stations and further extensions.

    Future-proof the project by making it as cheap as possible so it has political support to be built & has less disruption for all those businesses along dominion road. They’re all going to run to National to stop the project if it’s surface rail option so it needs to be as cheap and quick to build as possible.

    The rest can come later.

    1. Based on the mode costings per km in the NZTA Auckland Rapid Transit Plan, surface light rail for CC2M should cost no more than $3.2 billion even including elevated sections over the Southwestern Motorway between Mangere Bridge and Mangere TC. A third of what Auckland Light Rail bloated out their surface light rail option to.

      Underground light metro, on the other hand, would be closer to ALR’s costings – at $450-650 million per km, it should cost in the region of $10-13 billion.

      And just for the sake of it, heavy rail extended from Onehunga, largely elevated and tunneled, would cost $7 billion including upgrading the OBL, but not including Isthmus RTN. Heavy rail from Avondale would cost closer to $8 billion, and because Simeon Brown favours it heavy rail from Puhinui would cost $3.2 billion but not deliver any benefits to Mangere or the Isthmus.

  27. Any new passenger rail/metro/subway construction won’t happen with Wayne Brown as mayor. He needs to be replaced asap. He used to be against CRL and then came around to praising it after the construction work was well underway.

    The current light rail proposal has the costs of an underground metro but with only the speed of a tram. The current plans need to be cancelled or modified. But the routes displayed in the 3 maps on this page should be built.

    Congestion is expected to cost the Auckland economy around $1.3 billion a year (pre-Covid) which would be $65 billion over 50 years according to the NZ Herald. Surely all the proposed rail/metro/subway routes in Auckland can be completed for $65 billion.

    1. Wayne Brown’s generation are beholden to roads, and where they do support transit it’s usually buses, heavy rail, or gadgetbahn tech that doesn’t threaten the car status quo with the liberation of lanes. The most he’ll probably try to do for transit is Avondale-Southdown freight line since that supports his agenda of moving the Ports of Auckland to Northport. If National gets in this year I imagine Simeon may try to get Puhinui-Airport heavy rail built, or they might not bother and let the Airport-Botany busway/trackless tram be finished.

      A $65 billion budget over 50 years – probably more than that (or quicker than that) if we factored in the true costs of climate change. A firm commitment to that scale of investment would be a dream come true, as long as the costs could be brought down from the current light rail estimates. That funding would also need to go towards improving buses and active mode infrastructure as well as the RTN.

  28. Dear Wayne Brown, We don’t need any form of Light Rail or Light Metro running through our city in present time or in the future! It has come to my attention that Minister of Transport is trying to turn to the ALR into phased segments, would likely fail as a result since he would have to hope the phases would happen since alternative government in power and government. Light Rail or Light Metro is a mistake for Auckland as a whole, due to many things, durabilty, cost overall, No benefits, timeline of construction, environmental impacts and health. Wayne, as the Mayor of Auckland, you should reconsider your position on Light Rail, we don’t need it in-future due to no beneficial impacts it gives to communities across Auckland.


    Option A:
    Minister of Transport likes to complain about his area not being served well and not enough frequency of buses, start a new route onto Dominion Rd and Sandringham RD

    For Dominion RD the new route should continue until it reaches Walters St follows towards Sandringham RD, or the other option Tawari ST or Charles ST it follows along George ST and New North RD, Once at Sandringham RD/New North RD intersection, cruise along Bond ST, Great North RD, Ponsonby RD, College Hill and end at Victoria ST West STOP 1095.

    As for Sandringham RD, we need to get rid of Bus Route 20, and instead use the buses which operate 20 for Sandringham RD route. Same as follows, cruise along Bond ST, Great North RD, Ponsonby RD, College Hill and end at Victoria ST West STOP 1095.

    Option B:
    New alternative bus route for Dominion RD and Sandringham RD for time being until two new main roads created, but later bus routesshould be revised.

    For Dominion RD, need a bus running along Parau ST, Landscape RD, Dominion RD, Balmoral RD, Mewburn AVE, Woodside RD, Henley RD, Grange RD, Dominion RD, Valley RD, Sherborne RD, Bellevue RD, Esplanade RD and Mount Eden RD.

    For Sandringham RD, need a bus running along Renfrew AVE, Parry ST, Sandringham RD, Halesowen AVE, Eldon RD, St Albans AVE, Dominion RD, Burnley Terrace, Marlborough ST and Walters RD.

    Option C:
    Revisiting the Unitary plan and rezone housing around Dominion RD and Sandringham RD areas to make way for two new main roads which is greatly needed right now! Along with it, provide mainline bus services to the city.

    For Dominion RD, the solution is to widen Parau ST and turn it into a four lane street like what you got with Dominion RD, also link up Parau ST with Kingsford RD, link up Kingsford RD with Balmoral RD, link up Mewburn AVE with Valley RD.

    As for Sandringham RD, the solution is to widen Renfrew AVE and turn it into a four lane street like what you got with Sandringham RD, also link up Pine ST with Kingsford RD, also link up Eldon RD with Marlborough ST and link up Marlborough ST with George ST.

    1. Hello National Party roading lobby shill. Good to see you advocating for destruction of property in the name of pollution, parking, and no provision for congestion-free public transport (not)

      You mustn’t have heard of the polls that show a majority of Aucklanders still want light rail and improved mass transit to the lower Isthmus and Mangere.

      The real answer would be any of the following.

      1. Returning to the $2-4 billion dollar original surface light rail plan that AT put forward in 2016-2017
      2. Bringing down construction costs so a completely grade-separate light metro can be built for $5-7 billion, with improved isthmus buses and bus lanes on the side
      3. Reducing construction costs so that extending the Onehunga Line becomes viable, with a City-Mt Roskill-Onehunga light rail line on the side

      1. “Hello National Party roading lobby shill”

        Yes I’m sure no-one has a different opinion to you. This guy must be being paid by evil national party people to do evil things.

        “Bringing down construction costs so a completely grade-separate light metro can be built for $5-7 billion”
        3.” Reducing construction costs”

        Awesome plan. Bringing down and reducing construction costs. Why has no-one thought of this before??

        I can see the headlines tomorrow.
        ” CC2M to Now Go Ahead After Auckland Man Suggests Bringing Down Costs”

        1. Oh, I’m so sorry, yes yes you’re totally right, someone suggesting widening roads and destroying houses is *totally* a valid opinion and I must grovel and bow to it! /s

          Yes, unironically thank you! We *should* be trying to figure out why costs are so bloody high in this country and trying to reduce it. Overseas they build light rail for $50 million per km, light metro for $200 million per km. Unfortunately that doesn’t suit the anti-light rail crowd, though they’re blissfully unaware that their blessed heavy rail and motorways will also be more expensive than they hope.

      2. Wow, now your plan provides no realistic economic growth or support for communities who just want to get around Auckland easily and quickly within a budget that’s feasibly workable and workable construction timeline.

        The need for two new main roads to the city is needed to reduce time for commuters and improve quality of life. Once two new main roads built, upgrade Dominion RD and Sandringham RD, turn into New North RD where there’s bike lanes, two laned street and street atmosphere where you can relax and enjoy the scenery of “Paris”, be eat out at cafes and restaurants

        You’ll actually find that $29 Billion Light Rail, the idea of constructing new main road would cost less and less time due to part of it already built already. Light Rail is not supported by Aucklanders and finding that minister of transport having to revert his decision on making any light rail line, what you call cost blow out cause materials are expensive! Also where’s the money gonna be for other projects for other parts of Auckland going to be? Apparently it’ll pour from the sky as labour likes to think these days.

        As for your name Matthew Beardsworth, you’re not very clever or smart, just another sad little kid who’s entitled and emotionally attached all day to the screen. Just another originalist, not able create your own ideas or thoughts. Lastly not very smart at keeping yourself anonymous either.

        1. You’re clearly a lovely person making false accusations like that.

          Also, has it not occurred to you that overseas surface light rail is built for $50-100 million per km and light metro for $200 million per km. None of the light rail advocates in this forum are in favour of ALR’s road-status quo-biased plan, in case you can’t tell.

          It is sadly typical of the anti-light rail crowd to mischaracterise and make dishonest arguments.

        2. RD means rural delivery. The rest of your nonsense is not worth engaging with. And no doxxing people here thanks.

        3. ‘not able to create your own ideas’ says the person flogging the same story that’s been flogged for the last 60 years. Cool.

          And yeah no doxing please.

  29. I made ChatGPT write a ballad about CC2M. Obviously I had to tell it how to feel.

    Verse 1:
    In a land where buses once flowed,
    With ease along a busy road,
    A problem came, a common tale,
    Of congestion, delay and fail.

    Oh, the CC2M project was born,
    To solve the problem, bring a new dawn,
    But little did they know, oh so well,
    It would lead to a tale they’d soon tell.

    Verse 2:
    The local government took the lead,
    A solution they did plant and seed,
    But as they worked, with pride and care,
    A shadow loomed, a central snare.

    Oh, the CC2M project was born,
    To solve the problem, bring a new dawn,
    But little did they know, oh so well,
    It would lead to a tale they’d soon tell.

    Verse 3:
    The central government took control,
    With power and might, they took the role,
    And rerouted the project with a wave,
    Adjacent to their housing cave.

    Oh, the CC2M project was born,
    To solve the problem, bring a new dawn,
    But little did they know, oh so well,
    It would lead to a tale they’d soon tell.

    Verse 4:
    The local’s plan was left to waste,
    The problem still not solved in haste,
    And now they tell, with mournful voice,
    Of a project that made no real choice.

    Oh, the CC2M project was born,
    To solve the problem, bring a new dawn,
    But little did they know, oh so well,
    It would lead to a tale they’d soon tell.

    So now they wait, with bated breath,
    For a solution, one that’s best,
    And though the tale, it may be sad,
    They hope for change, one day, not far ahead.

    1. Lol. These bots are going to create many problems – poor old teachers are rethinking a fair bit at the moment – but the creativity I’ve seen people use with it has also been really delightful.

  30. It seems that like the Auckland Harbour cycle only bridge project, Michael Woods has been sucked int by Waka Kotahi into agreeing to something that will never happen. This delay in action on developing better public and active transport is what some in WK desire to get them int the next election cycle where they can build more roads, expand existing ones.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *