If you count the tracks into Britomart as just reinstating a line that used to exist (which is true, although originally the tracks were at ground level), then the Manukau branch is the first piece of new track added to Auckland’s rail system since 1930 – when what we know now as the Eastern Line was constructed. This makes tomorrow’s opening of the branch (when normal timetables commence), along with the newly built Manukau Station, quite exciting.
The official opening of the station was last week, and today there is an open day for people to see through it and take short train rides. This is described further by Auckland Transport:
Auckland Transport is holding a community open day for the public to view the new Manukau Station and ride on the new rail line on Saturday 14 April from 11.30am to 2pm.
There will be station tours and information about the second stage of the station construction, short train rides, face painting, a celebrity sausage sizzle and music from DJ Sir-Vere. Parking is available in the Auckland Council staff car park.
Passenger services from the new station begin operating this Sunday 15 April.
Initially, Manukau Station will have three trains an hour in peak times and one train an hour at other times.
The 580 bus service from Botany, Flat Bush and Redoubt Rd will be extended to Manukau Station, and services increased, to provide a connection between trains and these suburbs.
A temporary entrance to the station on Davies Ave, next to Hayman Park, will be in place while construction continues above ground.
The second stage of the project is a $95 million integrated transport hub and tertiary campus at the Manukau city centre site.
Things are likely to start off fairly low-key for the new station – with the initial timetable somewhat disappointing and only one bus route integrated. However, over time this will change as the tertiary campus is constructed and as Manukau becomes the primary transport hub for all of south Auckland. The integration of this campus with the train station seems like it has been done really well – and in my opinion it’s a pretty groovy design too:
Over time I also hope that some of those hugely wide roads surrounding the station will be narrowed down and made more pedestrian friendly. In any case, tomorrow is a huge step towards making Manukau City Centre a much nicer and less car dependent place.