This morning my wife and I needed to drive to work so I thought I would do a little experiment and time the trip. Those who regularly read the blog will probably know that I catch the train from the Sturges Rd station our west.
7:14 – We cross the Sturges Road bridge and we were actually driving across the over bridge at the same time as the train we catch passes under it so it turned out to be a pretty fair comparison. If we are driving to the motorway, even off peak, we will avoid Lincoln Rd for as long as possible due to the amount of traffic and lights along there, going via Rathgar Rd it usually takes about 5 minutes to get to the intersection of Universal Dr and Lincoln Rd and this is where the problem starts.
7:42 – Green Marker- After sitting in bumper to bumper traffic we finally get to the intersection of Triangle Rd, Central Park Dr and Lincoln Rd. Moving on to the interchange it self, as we had two people in the car we are allowed to use the T2 lane which saves us a few minutes waiting at the onramp lights.
One extra thing I will point out is I noticed a cyclist who stood out from some others due to what he was wearing, his bike and they type of helmet he was wearing, he crossed the intersection and was heading down Central Park Dr towards the city just before we crossed the intersection but more on this later.
7:42 – If we had of been catching the train and it was on time then it would have been at about Kingsland so would have travelled much more in the same time frame.
Back on the motorway we had just travelled past the Te Atatu interchange when I noticed the rider mentioned earlier about to cross the bridge over the Whau River however he disappeared again as we had to slow down in traffic. This was pretty good considering he had to negotiate a few back roads and get across Te Atatu Rd.
7:55 – Light Blue Marker – We were travelling along the causeway just past the works going on, traffic is still heavy but is moving.
7:55 – If the train is still running on time it would probably be somewhere between Newmarket and Parnell, this is after already completely passing the CBD and allowing for a 3 minute stop at Newmarket for the driver to change ends.
8:00 – Yellow Marker – After the Waterview interchange the motorway started to speed up quite a bit and we were making up for lost time, we were just passing Western Springs. At the Waterview interchange was where we finally passed the cyclist mentioned earlier, quite some distance from when we first saw him.
8:00 – By now the train is due to be arriving at Britomart with a probably about 300 hundred people on board having already dropped of a similar number of people at Grafton and Newmarket (the train is usually 5 or 6 carriages long and gets often gets completely jam packed).
8:07 – Red Marker – We finally arrive in the city and park the car, my work is abut the same distance walk from either the train station or the car park so it didn’t even have that benefit.
All up the trip via the road trip comes in at 18.3km while the train is 23.2km. The other thing is that things are much more stressful when driving, you constantly have to be on alert to what vehicles around you are doing and there is nothing more frustrating that sitting in traffic not going anywhere. On the train use my phone to surf the web, play games or listen to music or podcasts, much more relaxing.
Of course the trains that we use today are pulled by 40 year old freight locomotives that were never designed for the type of use they currently have, once we get brand new purpose build EMUs we can expect the rail trip to be at least 5-10 minutes faster than it is today. A little bit further in the future the CRL would drop this time by a similar margin meaning a trip to the middle of the CBD from Sturges Rd would be only 30-35 minutes, just imagine how popular that would be.