Last week at the Council’s Transport and Infrastructure Committee, Kiwirail gave an update about the state of the network and the work they’re doing to get it ready for the opening of the City Rail Link. There were a few aspects that stood out, so we’ve pulled them together in this post. You can watch the whole thing here – the presentation covers the first 25 minutes, followed by questions from Councillors.

Britomart Points Failures

The rail network this year has been plagued by a wide variety of faults and other failures. One area that has popped up a lot is points failures in Britomart, including one on the morning of this presentation. This is particularly notable because the points machines in Britomart were all replaced over the Christmas shutdown as part of the work to realign the tracks in preparation for the CRL.

KiwiRail said that following forensic examination by the manufacturer, they’ve finally found the cause of the issue to be a manufacturing defect with the frequency converter inside the points machines. Furthermore, they said there are 16 of these faulty frequency converters already installed around the network – six of which are inside Britomart – with more going into the CRL and some in Wellington. They’ll do what they can to proactively manage them, but ultimately, they all need to be replaced. Hopefully this is something that can be done overnight and will not need a full network shutdown.

KiwiRail also told Councillors that as part of investigating this issue they’ve had an international expert helping audit the issue. They’re going to extend that audit to a “complete network signalling/control system interface review” to make sure that everything is fit for purpose to run trains when the CRL opens.

CRL Commissioning

Kiwirail noted that the Matariki weekend network closure saw both ends of the CRL connected up to the signalling system and they’re now working on commissioning the signals within the tunnels.

They’re also starting to liven up the traction power systems, and say they’re working to a key date in August where the entire CRL will be livened.

This work is all leading up to the first test train running through the tunnels, which is currently planned for November. There will then be a further six to nine months of testing needed – and we know from CRL that then will also be significant driver training required.

Somewhat related: the Matariki Weekend also saw the electrification of Papakura to Pukekohe, livened up for the first-time. This means electrification of that section is now largely complete – although, as we’ve covered before, KiwiRail are keeping the lines closed for the rebuild works, with services expected again early next year.

Fixing the Network

Despite all of the work done so far on fixing the network, KiwiRail were also very keen to highlight just how much more work is still needed to get the network ready for the CRL. This is work that needs to happen over the next year or so.

Fixing the tracks south of Papakura is just one of the tasks of the Rail Network Rebuild, which is fixing/replacing things like the foundations under the tracks, improving drainage etc. As we’d previously learnt, Kiwirail had already used up all the funding they had on the Inner South, East and West sections meaning there was a lot of uncertainty over the outer sections of the Western and Southern lines.

One of the pleasant surprises from the Budget this year was that the government will provide an additional $159 million towards completing the rebuild work, which they say has to be completed by February 2026.

The government also provided $107 million to be spent over the next 12 months to help catch up on other overdue renewals in Auckland and Wellington. KiwiRail say they’re just finalising the exact share of that for Auckland – likely to be around $50 million – along with a work plan to spend it in order to replace these expired or expiring assets.

Finally, the charges that Auckland Transport pay to KiwiRail to access and help maintain the rail network have been increasing substantially over the last few years. Not that long ago, it was around $25 million a year, which is apparently far below what it actually costs to maintain the network. I understand that last year it was around $55 million, but this year it has risen to around $92 million.

All up, that means over the next year or so, hundreds of millions will be spent to fix and maintain the rail network. KiwiRail say that, on top of the typical Christmas and long weekend closures, they’ll also need ‘extended access‘ – which means more long closures of the network are needed.

Kiwirail say they’ll likely share those future closure plans towards the end of July.

Future Funding

Concerningly, while Kiwirail have a large amount of funding confirmed right now for maintenance, they also say they do not have assured funding for FY26 onwards. They’re working with AT and One Rail (who run the trains) on a business case to secure the maintenance and renewals funding needed to sustain the network after the CRL opens.

Rail Screeching

There was a bit of noise in the news earlier this year about the level of screeching on the tracks, especially from residents surrounding Hobson Bay. KiwiRail told Councillors they’ve first had to wait for rail grinding work, as part of fixing the tracks, to be completed. Most of the network is already completed and the final sections are due to finish around September. Some of the noise does settle in the months following grinding, but starting towards the end of the year they’ll be installing lubrication pots in key areas to further help reduce noise.

CRL Day One

Almost all of the work referenced by KiwiRail was in support of getting the network ready for the CRL opening. They reiterated quite a lot that this meant getting the network to be able to run a maximum 16 trains per hour (per direction) through the tunnels.

They showed off this map to highlight just what that would look like, though this also seems like a case of burying reality under a lot of detail.

We’ve seen the basic concept behind this plan before. Just like then, we’re not convinced by it. Here are some of the reasons why, along with a few other observations:

  1. Poor off-peak service – Most of the lines you see on the map above are peak time, peak direction only services. Once the peak is over, services will only run every 15 minutes on the main lines. While that’s an improvement on the current 3 trains per hour, we don’t consider a 15-minute wait good enough for our ‘Rapid Transit Network’. In our opinion, and conventionally, services need to be at least every 10 minutes off-peak to qualify as rapid transit.
    The peak time, peak direction focus also means that effectively people travelling counter-peak (for example, from New Lynn to Henderson in the AM peak), will see a reduction in service from the current 6tph (trains per hour) at peak times.
    Back in 2013, Auckland Transport was promising services every 10 minutes. AT needs to do better to support the massive transformation that the CRL promises to be.

    Planned rail frequencies in the 2013 Regional Public Transport Plan
  2. Confusing services – With so many different service patterns, including terminating services at numerous locations around the network, we’re concerned this will result in reliability issues and a great deal of confusion for users. It screams of the focus being about optimising to a model, and not serving customers. Especially with the southern line doubling back on itself – making for a hot mess for users at Otāhuhu in particular, where trains branded as the same line go to four different destinations.
  3. Henderson Upgrade Redundant? – It’s notable that both lines to the west go to Swanson. What does this mean for all the planned upgrades to Henderson Station? We’ve long advocated for Swanson to be upgraded instead.
  4. Onehunga Line short run – The questions around Henderson get even stronger now the suggestion is that the Onehunga Line will terminate at Maungawhau (previously they were to go to Henderson too). To me, the change makes sense by freeing up train slots on the western line to run the cure service at 6tph all day. Especially as freight services on NAL in the absence of the Marsden Link to North Port are unlikely to be at the volume KR seem to be reserving slots for?

The KiwiRail team stressed to council several times the idea that “this is a freight railway with metro services on top”.

This is historically accurate. Prior to re-investment this century – starting with Project Dart, double-tracking the western line, etc – passenger services were reduced to almost nothing, and KiwiRail freight did largely have the network to itself.

However, with Dart, electrification, CRL, the 3rd main, RNIP, RCF track replacement, etc, this is now clearly a mixed freight and passenger system. This mix of course makes for competing demands on the network and its operation. KiwiRail, as a logistics State-Owned Enterprise, has a strong need to prioritise its freight task. Looking at this proposed metro services pattern, that point of view seems fairly evident.

So what might a more legible and customer-focused service look like? Taking the core aim of every Metro system, from the point of view of the people using it (and therefore, this should be AT’s point of view also), the holy grail is a “turn-up-and-go” service, sufficiently reliable and legible, with clean and safe trains and stations. In our view this means a minimum 6tph all day, with a simple pattern that’s as regular as possible and doesn’t require ordinary people to have a deep knowledge of the network. A user-focused design.

In our view, there are a number of ways this could be delivered, working within the constraints of the freight and intercity services. The pattern below is just one example. Mostly we’d like to see AT take the lead on designing a more ideal passenger service – one that delivers on its promise of “putting people and places at the heart of how we design and deliver our transport system” – rather than settling for something designed for a “freight railway with metro services on top.”

CRL Day One: a possible operating pattern that prioritises legibility for the people using it.

Our CRL Day One Model

Through-routing enabled by the CRL enables a basic two-line pattern, with peak overlays as necessary. Here, our assumption is there’ll be more freight traffic to Ports of Auckland than to Northland, limiting the eastern line to 4tph off peak. So, we’ve terminated the red line at Otahuhu in order to remove the confusing double-back – but this also allows for increased capacity over lower frequency, as inbound (citybound) trains will be starting empty at Otahuhu.

The Onehunga Line gets a passing loop midway and a 50% increase in frequency, though at the cost of a forced transfer at Penrose. Work would be needed to align those platforms better, in order to improve this transfer for passengers.

This change also removes a major conflict at that junction which will increase reliability, safety, and capacity on the whole system. It also enables 6tph on the western line core pattern, which we suggest taking right through to Manukau City, taking advantage of the 3rd main to Wiri which separates freight and metro services there – to the delight of KiwiRail and Auckland Transport both!

We haven’t shown any express services from the deep south. These are possible in peak pattern, though they do take additional space/time to work through the pattern. The Red Line in the south will be able to run more frequent trains as that market grows, but for now this looks like plenty of service.

Keen readers will note the old Mt Eden platforms at Maungawhau are unused by Metro services in this pattern. Well, perhaps Te Huia could terminate there? A nice new station, very well connected to the rest of the network.

We acknowledge Auckland is an under-tracked complex little system. This is all the more reason to tackle the problem of its operation with imagination and ambition. Especially as getting it to work to its very best as a Metro passenger service is the most effective way to ensure future investment, which is vital to getting to that nirvana of separated freight and passenger networks.

No doubt our readers will have other thoughts – please weigh-in in the comments below!

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    1. You probably never seem a rail system before. Check Berlin… or just do a quick search about “Rail Loop” and you will see that a loop is probably the most used approach for a metro system.

    2. Sorry. What are you referring to?

      If you are referring to the red line, it’s just the change from the southern to the Eastern service.

      1. The southern line trains, the red one. Instead of going across town somewhere that might be useful, they loop back to where they’ve just been.

        1. Once the southern line huts britomart it then effectively becomes an eastern service going south, servicing different stations u til Otahuhu.

          If you wanted to go cross town from the southern service you would take the green line. Or make a transfer.

        2. Not on kiwi rails plan. Once the red line hits Britomart it goes back to Newmarket and the south on the same route it came in on.
          It should go east like the GA plan, the second one, but that’s not the CRL Day 1 from Kiwirail.

        3. Well, at least one of the services has to head south the same way it came in. I don’t thinknit matters that it is the same service that came in. An eastern service will run through Britomart as well on another running pattern, regardless.

        4. It doesn’t have to. The earlier plans didn’t feature lines looping onto themselves.

  1. Why are we such a backwards nation? Surely these faulty parts should have been inspected prior to installation? Or does Quality Control not enter our vocabulary?

    bah humbug

    1. If the fault has only now been identified how could it have been inspected? This is a manufacturing defect but Kiwirail gets the blame. Who is the manufacturer?

        1. Kiwirail has been stung by manufacturing defects before. The coupling break on the Te Huia train near Papakura was caused by a manufacturing problem. But Kiwirail still got the blame.

        2. The fault refers to the points motor which is part of the signalling infrastructure not the track material supplier.

        3. @ Zippo

          It’s probably due to buying the cheapest crap they could get eg DL locomotives.

          KiwiRail and our respective governments equally to blame in each of these instances.

          NZ is such a bodge it nation, always doing stuff on the cheap and canning needed investment like modern ferries or light rail.

  2. I would add. Future network development to pursue the twin aims of freight/pax separation and ‘metrofication’ ie turn-up-and go all day pax frequencies, in order:

    1. Level crossing removal AND 3rd main extension Wiri to Papakura.
    2. 4th main Wiri to Westfield
    3. 3rd main on Eastern Line (NIMT-E) for ramp up of port rail freight and separation.

        1. The challenge of sectorising the Western line, ie separating Metro and freight, only becomes urgent with development of NorthPort and especially the completion of the Marsden link. Until such a time it is a lower priority than the NIMT and NIMT-E (eastern line).

          Better to address current conflicts before possible future ones.

        2. Sailor Boy – Yes. While I don’t think Ports of Auckland will ever move there, I think it is inevitable that Marsden Point will end up being a container terminal both for Auckland overflow and growth in production out of Northland.

      1. I think Avondale-Southdown should in the interim be a busway, followed by an extension from Inehunga down to the Airport, connecting with the current Puhinui service.

        1. Why?. Kiwirail already owns the land on the asl. The expensive part of land purchases is done. Kiwirail would never just give away the designation. It’s rail or nothing really.

    1. Looking forward to the day where the dominant conversation around Auckland’s metro rail shifts from “we’re fixing what’s broken” to “here’s the opportunity for the future”.

      Hopefully the opening of CRL will mark the shift.

  3. Having half the western line trains doing a reverse manouvre at Grafton is weird. Looks like the result of not having the Mt Eden platforms on the right tracks – the CRL south lines should have had platforms to allow transfer between western and southern trains.
    And now there are no more one seat direct west/south trains which some people thought were a good idea.

    1. It’s not that but an example of what’s wrong with this plan.
      There are actually two separate light green routes. One will travel from Swanson to Britomart via the CRL where it will terminate and trains to to stabling. The second will be from Manukau, travel though the CRL to Grafton where it will terminate then head back down Parnell to the stabling yard.

  4. I caught a Southern line train which ran non stop between Otahuhu and Britomart on the Eastern line on Sunday. Very smooth run so they must be doing something right. It would be good to have an express or limited stop service at some stage however we have had quite enough disruptions over the last couple of decades so I would suggest maybe it’s time for a bit of a breather and give them a chance to bed in the CRL although if the Govt decides to go ahead with the Marsden Point branch then work on the Avondale to Southdown could go ahead concurrently without causing additional disruption. The focus post CRL should be building a coherent network of trains and buses with passengers increasing each year even if train frequencies are not quite what some poster on this blog would like. And we might be surprised to find over time what can be squeezed out of network in it’s current or lets say it’s post CRL configuration.

  5. It seems suboptimal that the national freight SOE is presenting, and appearing to be leading the design of, our city’s core rapid transit service.

    I would greatly prefer it if AT were presenting THEIR transit service plan to their owner’s key transport committee for scrutiny. That is the proper power relationship. Council can instruct AT (as owner), but only implore KR (as govt creature).

    Wouldn’t it be odd if AT presented a rail freight plan at government select committee? That’s the corollary here.

    As post says, the user seems very distant in these plans.

    1. The fundamental issue is more tracks so both can coexist instead of squabbling over the limited capacity. The Southern line was double tracked by 1932, almost a hundred years later it’s still only double track for most of the way.

      1. The two lane Great South Road was concreted during the 1920s and a duplicate four lane motorway added alongside from the 1950s. That has since been widened to six and in places eight lanes in the 2000s. Whereas rail is mostly still in its 1932 version as the equivalent of a two lane road. The dual mode role of the Auckland rail network really requires a 3rd and 4th main in many more places than funded or planned. Meanwhile we have a Transport Minister wandering the country drawing four lane roads all over any map, whether required or not.

    2. Yes, seems they are maximising some theoretical fill “every seat on the trains” ideal rather than a simplier more all day frequent setup.

    3. The timetables and rail paths are worked on between Auckland one rail and also kiwirail I believe. Kiwirail is not dictating suburban timetables.

    4. I think it shows the council don’t really understand how things work. I think KR were also too gracious in answering some of the questions and should have directed council to go and ask AT or AOR as its not within their remit.

  6. That looks like the plan you’d implement if you ultimately wanted to close the Onehunga branch and run a bus shuttle instead. It’s a troubled little stub.

    I see several potential futures for the Onehunga corridor, to varying degrees of fantasy.

    Double it, extend it, replace it with something else.

    My favourite: double track it with a junction similar to the Manukau Branch and realign the Onehunga end to turn southwest from just before Galway st and fit a six or even nine car pair of platforms between Galway St and the intersection of Neilson and the Mall. Delete Penrose P3 to make room for the double tracking, junction and grade seperation of O’Rourke. Build a Mt Smart platform in conjunction with grade separation of Maurice Rd. Consider deleting or moving Te Papapa in conjunction with grade separation or closure of the other crossings. Raise frequency as appropriate and send the trains somewhere useful (viva la purple line!). Seriously consider resurrecting an extension of this branch to the airport in light of the sabotage of LRT. Or Mt Roskill and Avondale in light of possible Avondale-Southdown plans. It could potentially go under or over Neilson/Mall in a straight line towards the harbour crossing, this eliminating the highly limiting curvature of the old port alignment. Yes, that would cost a bomb, but a look at the bridging done for the NEX extensions or any of the other recent mega proposals suggests that’s not the problem it was once assumed to be.

  7. This blog suggested running pattern looks good and is pretty much the same as someone’s comment on here way back on January 20, 2017 that I recorded but they had the red line flipped so some split to Onehunga instead of Otahuhu. Think that would be more confusing, especially adding in the potential misreading of One/Ota.

    1. Our train displays are too small. How will they word these even simplier patterns. eg “Swanson via Newmarket/CRL” or “Swanson via Parnell/City”,
      Manukau via CRL/Parnell”, “Otahuhu via CRL/Panmure”, “Pukekohe via Panmure/CRL”.
      I think over time the CRL wording will be forgotten and sound dated and become “City” or “Waihorotiu” or “Waitemata”.

      1. Hw will they display these”

        “Swanson via Parnell & City”,
        “Manukau Via City”,
        “Otahuhu via Panmure”
        “Pukekohe via Panmure”

    1. Agree. we see 6tph on the two core lines as the desired base pattern

      We’re not advocating for 4, but rather bowing to KR’s insistence that that is the limit in order to maintain freight paths to/from the Port. Whether there are cost effective work-rounds like a partial 3rd, say Panmure to GI to enable freight/pax bypass to enable 6tph is certainly worth exploring.

      1. Totally, the number of tracks is the limitation. But the corridor width is there (and even unused track) along much of Panmure to GI by the former Tamaki station. Must be at least 700m.

        If Te Huia ran to Mt Eden would that be via the Southern line, in which case it would free up more slots for freight on the Eastern line?

        1. Yes exactly my thinking, another benefit of making the O-line into a shuttle; more train paths through Newmarket junction.

  8. Trains north from Otahuhu could be labelled “City – East” or City – West” for clarity. Grafton seems set for a lot of transfers and terminations. Maungawhau Upper looks like being Thomas the Tank Engine’s branch platform.

  9. It’s a minor point, not a criticism, but if you use the first person in any piece of writing, you should let readers know who “me” is.

    Otherwise keep up the good work. This site is brilliant and rarely puts a foot wrong.

  10. According to the Auckland Rail Programme Business Case “Metro Demand Analysis”:
    “All lines will run out of seating capacity by 2031, resulting in some cases in long standing times, particularly on the Southern Line, where standing on express services starts at Paerata (68min from the city centre) and Te Mahia / Takanini on all stops services (52-54 min from city centre”

    1. The model loves those new southern stations. We shall see.
      But great, more is more, the case for higher frequencies is the case for more track.

        1. Auckland’s trains are relatively low capacity (about 750 people each), and the frequency is relatively low too (16 trains each way).

          Plus they add on some extra constraints about the level of crowding, how long crowding can occur, how far is acceptable to make a standing trip. That knocks back the capacity further.

  11. I reckon we should just allocate numbers to the lines just like Sydney has done (T1, T2 etc.) Would take some time for people to put the number and the line together but once it’s well established, could be good

  12. Yet again, what will it take to get the West properly served? Westies can be forgiven for despairing for paying rates yet getting very little investment compared to the rest of the city.

    Huge disconnect between this service offering and the level of intensification occurring along the Western Line. Page 13 in the most recent monthly AC Housing report exemplifies what has been a long running trend:

  13. Greetings from Austria. I’m confident the CRL will be huge success and exceeding all expectations. Crowded from the start and limited only by a shortage of rolling stock and drivers.
    With this Kiwirail will need to adapt how it is doing business. It will be not only a bit of freight, but also services for CRL and regional trains. That will need a change of mindset, but more important some decent long term funding.

    PS: There are more than enough slots available for freight, if freight trains run at night. This would need improvements to limit noise, like electrification of the freight network and better insulation (triple glazing) of houses along the lines.

    1. Freight trains do run at night, are you suggesting only at night?
      Not only would that slash capacity, freights have schedule to keep too. They need to get to ports for ship sailings and the Interislander.

      Saying freight trains should only run at night makes about as much sense as saying passenger trains should only run at night.

    2. Not sure if your familiar with NZs rail topography but it is not even on a patch with 1850s Europe let alone the 21st Century.

      ECTS does not even exist outside of Auckland and Wellington so being able to run most freight at night as is so common in most places in the world is near impossible in NZ.

      The whole country needs a complete change of mindset which does not appear likely any time soon.

  14. Hi,
    I appreciate your energy and expertise over all of these transport issues, but am wondering how we on the North Shore can pursue some sort of equity issue. Sure, we have the wonderfully efficient express bus service which is great if you are travelling to central Ak or making 1 transfer from there to your destination. But 2 big problems for us are the airport trip (with airbus from Albany and Akoranga gone) and anything further than central Ak. As an example I recently had to take my ev car to Greenlane to the only repair place/dealer in Ak that could handle software repairs (within warranty). The return trip would have entailed 3 buses and approximately 1 and a half hours to 2 hours trip. And the same next day. Dealer refused to provide delivery of repaired car and reimbursement of fares. Luckily I had help from a family member for 2 of those trips. It just annoys me so much when there is trumpeting about the progress of public transport in Ak and the assumption that those in the Northern regions are well off enough to use ubers, taxis and shuttles and have no access to regular train services or bus services that travel directly to more than Britomart and 1 or 2 other places. E.g. how do we get to Ak Museum, Botanical gardens, Pah Homestead, music events in Otara Mangere…..basically we just dont go.

  15. While I agree with the sentiment, the proposed pattern will not work without a fourth platform at Otahuhu, unless Eastern Line services are always limited to 4tph, which cannot work with the Eastern Busway transfer at Panmure etc.

    Suggested alternative running pattern:
    – 6/8tph Swanson to Manakau via CRL and East
    – 6/8tph Puke to Newmarket via Grafton and CRL (every second extending to Otahuhu)
    – 2tph Onehunga to Mt Eden via Grafton
    – 2tph Pukekohe to Britomart bay platforms express

    Although not ideal, I don’t think the Southern doubling back like this will be too confusing. All trains from Otahuhu to Newmarket will run the same pattern, and any differences in which way they travel around the CRL will not be catastrophic for the casual user.

    – Relatively similar to the current KR proposal, so would only require tweaks but for substantial benefit.
    – Feasible and efficient use of 3rd platforms at Otahuhu and Newmarket.
    – Proper service levels for Eastern line and Parnell (including easy/frequent transfers at Newmarket).
    – Uses Mt Eden Western Line platforms.

    And most importantly, requires no additional infrastructure (which isn’t feasible at this stage). That is subject to the big elephant in the room – which in my view should be a huge focus of advocacy efforts – being KR’s view that the Western Line cannot take 16tph without further grade separation. What is the evidence base for that? See, eg, Japan, to name just one.

    1. I like your option except i would terminate all southern line services at Newmarket. Two clear simple patterns.
      Note too this removes every single conflict at the Newmarket junction! So with the Onehunga shuttle this massively improves reliability, safety and capacity.
      I do think the double back is bad and confusing and inefficient. 99% of users are not transit nerds. Simple clear and repetitive, always.
      Also in order to get 6tph on the eastern and maintain freight paths Intercity and express services probably need to stay on the southern? More than happy to be corrected on that.
      Which means Maungawahu could be used for Te Huia and or Welly trains?

      1. Thanks both.

        Yes, in principle it would be better to terminate all Southern services at Newmarket. But I am not sure that could handle 6/8tph so it would just be a practical extension (also to utilise the third Otahuhu platform) if operationally necessary.

        I would be loathe to send express or intercity trains to Mt Eden. The bay platforms at Britomart are the perfect terminus for those, also utilising the higher line speeds achievable on the Eastern Line, which should be able to handle 8tph off peak / 10 tph peak plus freight paths. Like the Western Line frequencies, KR simply need to be made to accept that, as it is a priority / pathing / congestion point rather than physical infrastructure constraint. (As an aside, in my view once the Puke expresses have been introduced, there would be a strong case for Te Huia to become a Hamilton – Puke connector service at much higher frequencies, as a precursor to bi-mode trains the whole way.)

        Pulling the threads together, I think the key message for KR and AT post-CRL is to avoid unnecessarily and inefficiently terminating some trains on the edge of the city centre. First, for the West, that means 6/8tph in both directions. (It is unclear from the current proposal, but would 4tph from the East at peak terminate empty at Newmarket after the CRL, running out of service through Grafton and Newmarket? If so, that is unfathomably inefficient use of scarce capacity.) Second, for the South, that means avoiding 4tph terminating at Quay Park after running through the CRL (as appears to be the current proposal), and instead running them in service at least to Newmarket with all the benefits that would bring (especially to Parnell).

        1. Agree southern expresses should go via eastern line into Britomart. And as they are express only there will be no conflict with freighters so should be able to find paths.
          Te Huia however can’t use Britomart until using electric rolling stock, so the Maungawhau option is an alternative to the close-but-oh-so-far problem of The Strand. A frustratingly badly sited terminus.

          Ideally the southern line would also be able to be 6tph all day. Plus 2tph express at the peaks and 2tph peak only Papakura-Grafton-CRL (out of service at Quay Park/Wiri) as required.

        2. Great!

          With the Newmarket conflict removed, I would make one last pitch for the Onehunga-Mt Eden service. Mainly because it would give Onehunga pax access to the vastly better transfer options at Newmarket, but also because it would fill some other gaps in the network nicely and would be more palatable politically, with relatively limited resilience impacts once the Newmarket conflict has been removed. Basically just a top up to Southern service between Penrose and Grafton but with added connectivity at each end. There isn’t really any scope for the infrastructure improvements that would be necessary on the Onehunga line to make a shuttle feasible/attractive.

          If Te Huia isn’t to run as a Pukekohe shuttle (!), I would still run it to the Strand, but add a stop at the spare Otahuhu platform (unused under my revised proposal) as the main network transfer point.

          As an aside, does anybody know if there is a plan to build the third main platform at Puhinui in time for the Pukekohe expresses? Seems essential for it to be able to use the third main the whole way through.

          I am not very technologically inclined but would be super grateful if anyone could mock up a diagram of my proposal!!!!

        3. (And/or have the Puke expresses stop at the third platform at Otahuhu for added connectivity.)

  16. Progress. I saw an AM electric at Pukekohe on Sunday, and a couple of days
    since. They were under their own steam, not being pushed or pulled around
    by a diesel, as I saw a couple of weeks ago, so electricity has got to
    Pukekohe now. Their destination signs were ‘Test Train’ .

  17. Just out of interest, does anyone know why the CRL would take six to nine months of testing? What is being tested exactly?
    All the various components of the system (rolling stock, track, signalling, overhead power) are already in use in the existing network and have been for some years.

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