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Not a loop.

It’s great to hear that the government has now agreed to support the City Rail Link, after a couple of years of dragging its feet. We’ll have more to say on the detail of their plans over the next few days – in fact, we may have to wait till Friday to hear the full announcement – but after watching TV3 news last night, I’m thoroughly sick of hearing the word “loop”. This is familiar ground for our regular readers, so this post is more for the people who may have just stumbled across the website.

The City Rail Link is not a “loop”. Trains are not going to go around in circles in the CBD. There are still plenty of people who think that’s what’s going to happen – and we can’t blame them given that the media keeps calling it a loop, and when TV3 runs graphics like the one it had last night – but it’s not. For more info, see Matt’s post here:

What the link does is turn Britomart from a “dead end” to a “through station”. This lets the train network run at much better frequencies, everywhere it runs around Auckland. It makes it easier to get from Pukekohe to Henderson, or Mt Eden to Manukau, or make a wide variety of other trips. Again, it’s worth digging around on this blog to find out more – check out the “City Rail Link” tab at the top of each page for starters.

In the image below, from Auckland Transport’s CRL page, you can see what the running patterns may look like post-CRL, and how the lines will probably work. New stations are created at Aotea, K Road and Newton – which, incidentally, will greatly increase the CBD’s growth potential – but also, it becomes possible to combine some of the existing lines, and make it much easier to travel around Auckland by train.

This project does several things:

1) It removes a major bottleneck in the train network – like if we had the rest of our motorways but no Harbour Bridge.

2)  It lets trains run faster and more frequently throughout the city.

3) It frees up capacity for more routes to be added later (e.g. rail to the North Shore or airport).

4) It helps with congestion on the roads, and gives more people a way to avoid this congestion.

5) It improves access to the CBD.

6) It reduces CO2 emissions.

It’s a great project. And it’s not a loop.

114 comments to Not a loop.

  • Sacha

    Thank you John. Perhaps someone from Council or Auckland Transport can have a word with TV3′s head of news about their continued use of misleading graphics? If TVNZ News can get it right..

  • It could be looped though? The tracks are there in Newmarkets to send trains between Parnell and Grafton, so they could run looping trains for extra frequency short trips in the CBD. I believe there are technical timetabling problems with this though, and the London Circle line stopped continuous circular running to improve timekeeping?

    • But why would you want to? Through routing from outer burbs more powerful; movement around the inner track will be very easy mostly with one connection or a little wait for another train… Frequency through these stations will be a train every 2.5 to 5 mins… Abundance through radical frequency… All possible movements catered for.

    • The quick answer is no Rich. It is technically possible but the way that would require the various sections of tracks and junctions to be operated would massively constrain capacity and make it very susceptible to delays.

      Plus on the service side of things no one ever wants to travel round in a circle to where they just came from, so it’s usually better to link lines across town than loop them back onto themselves.

    • Pete

      As I understand it, when the CRL is complete, they will run it at max capacity from day one. So no room for “looping” trains. or anything else. That’s one of the issues, surely we can come up with a plan that is not “full” at day one!

      • I think you are confusing this with a road which is then full on day one and congested, as most new roads in NZ are very quickly.

        Rail is great in that it is a binary system – it is either going or not, and if its is going you may as well run it at capacity – at least in peak times. The only question is how full the trains are. Obviously that will increase over time.

        If the trains are too full (which I expect wont happen except at peak times and even then not for a while) then you need to get bigger trains or find a way to run it more often.

        If the trains are full when running at 2.5-5 min intervals then it means the system is a roaring success and congestion on the roads will be substantially relieved. Lets just hope and pray that is the case!

      • No it won’t be full from day one, it will allow for about three times what the current network can operate. So unless they triple service and patronage overnight there will be plenty of room for growth over time.

      • “Max capacity” is far in excess of what our current signally tech can sustain. The maximum throughput is about a train every 90 seconds in each direction, allowing 30 seconds for passenger movement at each station and a minute of headway between trains. The current signalling system can handle about four minutes each way, or less than half the theoretical maximum. From day one the CRL will be running at about five minute frequencies, or one train every 10 minutes in each direction. Not even vaguely close to the maximum capacity of the CRL.

  • @richdrich, why would you bother with a loop train? A passenger wants to go to another station on the loop, they take one in the shortest direction. They don’t care if it then continues on for 20 kilometers out into the sticks. But a loop train is wasting time for all the people who do want to go into the sticks, because it’s no use to them, even though it’s initially going in the same direction. The people who want to get off at another station in the link can catch *any* train going in that direction, so they’re spoiled for choice.

  • Pete and tracy

    No-one said “a closed loop”.
    It’s a loop, look it up in the damn dictionary.

    • Well the trackwork would technically form a loop, but the critical difference is that the trains on it wouldn’t.

      It would be like calling the Western Ring Road the Western Ring Loop. Technically you could drive your car around on a big loop, but nobody will.

    • Stu Donovan

      by your “definition” whenever we built a new road we are actually building a large number of road loops.

      The routing of rail services is what defines the “transport” impacts of the CRL from the passengers’ (and drivers’) perspective. More specifically, the CRL does not result in rail services running in a “loop”. You also might be interested to know that the Oxford dictionary defines a “link” as “a means of contact, travel, or transport between two places”. (Source: http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/link).

      • Woodville does not have rail services running in a loop either, but it still has a rail loop. How it is used is irrelevant. When the CRL is built, Auckland will have a physical rail loop, so referring to it as such is perfectly legitimate. I think we all have the right to call it what we want. Ultimately, it will be named by the New Zealand Geographic Board, as as “link” is outside the current naming convention, it will probably be something nobody is currently referring to it as.

  • Shaky

    Just looked at the Wikipedia page for this project – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/City_Rail_Link. It could do with some cleaning up and more info if anyone can add it.

  • SF Lauren

    Not wanting to start a big debate, but the tunnel itself will form a loop in the rail network. In terms of how the trains run I doubt a single person who is not on this blog gives two hoots as to how the trains run. What people care about are your 6 points as the bottom, they don’t care if it’s a loop, link, triangle, straight line or a rhombus.

    • Except there are some people that think it is just a ring shaped tunnel under the CBD with only a couple of stations on it that just loops round and round. That’s the problem with calling it a loop. While the trackage will form a loop, the services will be through lines across the region.

    • Sailor Boy

      I would suggest that someone living in Henderson would care a lot about how the trains would run. Whether they get half hour frequencies going to a 5 min frequency loop, or a 5 minute frequency all the way to town will matter greatly to them.

  • SF Lauren

    One thing I did find out the other week however, even with the CRL we won’t be able to run the trains any more frequently than currently planned post electrification.

    The reason for this is that there about 40 level crossings that need to be sorted out first, be they get closed or grade separated for $50 million a pop.

    • Your ‘finding out’ is flat wrong and as usual comes with no source, so is just your opinion. And on the face of it a daft one at that, let’s think about it; what gets held up at level crossings? Not trains, but road traffic, trains automatically have the right of way; they aren’t like road intersections. But you knew that, surely.

      The limits to frequency are not the level crossings but the junctions like Newmarket and the deadend at Britomart. The CRL greatly relieves both of these. Nick has calculated on previous posts that train frequency on the network can run at 2.5 times the post electrification limit. So instead of 20 odd trains per hour in and out of Britomart as it is now, we get 60+ through the CRL, 30 each way, if the signalling can handle 2 minute headways.

      10 trains per hour on each suburban line; West, South, East, each through routed to opposite destinations like Onehunga and beyond etc… Leads to 30 tph each waythrough CRL. That’s a lot more capacity.

      • SF Lauren

        Patrick, as I have turned over a new leaf I will not respond to abusive and trolling comments, even if half of it is factual.

        Please revise you tone if you want a more detailed response on the subject.

        • So you have no answer then?, thank-you.

        • Sailor Boy

          Far out that is childish.

          “Your answer is too thorough, its clearly trolling”

          HA, why could you not have 5 minute headways on level crossings then? do enlighten us.

          • Furthermore, the CRL will actually take pressure off one particularly poor level crossing: The one at Sarawia St [Sp?] in Parnell. Although the CRL will enable a great many more services throughout the network it will in fact enable a reduction of train traffic between Newmarket and Britomart because Western Line trains will go direct down the CRL.

            Pre CRL will see up to 14/15 trains per hour each way through Parnell. And in a mature post CRL system there will likely be no more than 10 each there. More than enough, but much less stress on the network, and of course that regrettable level crossing- if it isn’t fixed by then.

            It is also worth mentioning that we only have so many level crossings in the city because of multiple decades of under investment in everything to do with the rail network.

            Also of course these fixes are to the road network so that’s the right budget fro them to come from.

    • Some of the most important level crossings would be removed as part of the project and I doubt your $50m a pop estimate for closing the rest. From memory the proposed crossing at Walters Rd was costed at about $30m while other might be easier or harder depending on their location. Also the areas with higher frequencies would likely be prioritised first i.e. you can see in the map above two lines extending west. Both are not likely to extend to Swanson so where they double up can be focused on first.

    • The eastern line and southern line as far as Manukau are basically crossing free. The western line needs some attention.

      • Onehunga has some issues with crossings too, particularly the double at Church St/Captain Springs Rd. By my count there are eight crossings along the Onehunga Line, which makes it roughly 20% the network level crossing total in considerably less than 20% the total length of track.

        • Peter

          Perhaps they should close the Church St crossing. Most traffic is not travelling to that part of Church St itself but travelling through. Better to upgrade Neilson St and make that part of Church St a quieter residential area.

          • It’s an enormous detour (over a kilometre going north via Grotto St, massively more going south via Neilson St) to get around that crossing, though, especially if the Captain Springs Rd crossing was also closed. The two are so close together that separating one would not cost significantly less than separating both.

            That intersection is nothing like Kingdon St, where closing the street in the middle added only a few hundred directly-adjacent metres to going between Khyber Pass and Carlton Gore Rd, with only a couple of dozen metres of street on either side of the closure. The stretch of Church St west of that closure is about a kilometre long, with dozens of houses and an industrial cul de sac coming off.

      • Make It Go

        The need for grade separation in Auckland (Western Line in particular) I have difficulty understanding, given the very few level crossings there are, compared to for example Japan. With the most advanced and most comprehensive rail network on earth, a very large number of urban lines in Japan have level crossings almost every 50 metres in a lot of places. What Japan does that Auckland really should be doing soonest, is have auto gates at pedestrian rail crossing points. A set of auto gates for ped crossings in Auckland where those crossings directly touch the station platforms would go a long way to cost effectively increase safety and elminate the need for grade separation. Install those gates (NZ$100k for a set of two gates from memory) at Baldwin Ave (Rossgrove Tce end of the platform) Morningside, Avondale, Fruitvale Rd, Glen Eden, Glen Innes, Papatoetoe and Takanini and this would be not only operationally effective but would in these instances, produce better a far better ROI than grade separation.

  • You can’t really give the media too much of a hard time, given that the labour party’s posters for the “Auckland rail link” at the last election looked like this :)

    http://blog.labour.org.nz/2011/11/01/auckland-rail-link-poster/

  • Maybe it’s technically a loop according to some definitions.

    Howver, the first time I heard it referred to as a loop I thought the trains would be doing something like what the city link, inner link and outer link buses do. People will interpret it that way, so people who support the project should avoid the word loop.

    • SF Lauren

      I thought the link buses drive in a loop?

      • I think that is his point – people shouldnt think the CRL will create a running pattern that is a loop – which it doesnt.

      • John Polkinghorne

        They do, which confuses the issue a bit, doesn’t it? Better to call them Orbiters like they do in other cities, although that Link brand is well established now.

        But people get the impression of a bunch of trains just going round and round in circles in the CBD, and think it’s a dumb idea as a result. Just trying to correct that impression :-)

        • SF Lauren

          Do we know if there had been a survey to establish people think the trains will be running around in circles. Most people I know who know nothing about it think the project is a big subway system and are uncertain as to how it connects with the rest of the network. I think they are under the impression it’s an entire new system.

          • Two people interviewed last night by TVNZ said that they didnt see the point as it just went round and round in circles. One girl said it would be much better if it increased services to the suburbs.

            That is a major concern. More concerning is that TVNZ chose to put those two interviews on air out of the, I am sure, dozens they did. Either the presenter doesnt understand it any better or it is a deliberate policy to denigrate the project.

            I agree though that most people dont even know it exists as a proposal.

          • John Polkinghorne

            I’m not aware of any survey, but I’ve read a fair few comments online on Herald articles, Kiwiblog etc. It’s probably reasonable to assume that most people only know about the CRL from the media – news, newspapers etc – and given that practically all the coverage has called it a “loop”, I’m sure there are plenty of people who think that’s what it is.

          • Come on, it’s what the Minister of Transport said when he ‘was’ [last week] trying to dismiss the project as of little value.

          • Joshua

            Good place to look would be the Whaleoil blog, this is great evidence that people think the rail link is trains going round and round in a loop. Albeit it is the Whaleoil blog…

          • Stu Donovan

            they do tend to go around in death circles of hate over at WhaleOil.

  • NCD

    2 billion to close/grade separate 50 level crossings. Really?

    • SF Lauren

      I suspect closing could be done for about $20k.

      $5 million if you want a ped bridge and $50 million for road grade separation, give or take $30 million.

      • Sailor Boy

        I would have thought that laying a kerb on each side of the tracks and erecting a fence to be a lot cheaper.

      • You cannot just close a road in the middle in order to shut a level crossing, so your $20k estimate is effectively utterly useless.

        • Well George St in Mt Eden should just be closed. There’s probably a few others.

        • SF Lauren

          Some roads you can, such as kingdom st in Newmarket. Some of the other crossings are ped only so they would be even cheaper, unless you need to make a bridge or an underpass.

          • Not many roads have convenient detours as existed for Kingdon.
            If we’re talking about 12-20tph on a section of track, an un-separated pedestrian crossing is simply unacceptable. The “do it cheap and dirty and unsafe” course of action is what’s given us 40-50 level crossings on 280-ish kilometres of track, and no plan for doing away with all of them in any reasonable period of time.

        • Sailor Boy

          Why not Matt?

          Sure you can’t do it for all of them, but not all of them need for grade separated bridges either.

          • For one thing, th number of fatal and near-fatal incidents involving pedestrians and trains clashing at level crossings in this country is shameful. For as long as there are level crossings those incidents will continue; they’ll continue without, too, but fewer in number because it will take a deliberate effort to cross the tracks directly.

            Are there actually very many level crossings that are and have always been pedestrian-only? I’m struggling to think of any other than Kingdon St, and that one’s only there because it was associated with the now-closed road crossing.

          • Steve D

            Are you counting the pedestrian crossings at stations? There’s ped-only crossings at Mt Eden and Avondale, for example.

          • Steve, even those aren’t ideal, but getting rid of them would be difficult and I don’t think they constitute level crossings since they are to get people to the station rather than getting them across the tracks.

    • Doesn’t sound too unreasonable, actually. Trains have gradient limitations which means if they’re the ones having their path changed it has to take place over hundreds of metres. Even road vehicles have some limits on performance, and if they’re being tunnelled under the tracks there are height and angle limitations that have to be obeyed so that, at a minimum, fire appliances and ambulances can fit through. The longer the distance over which a change must take place, the more it costs.

      Some crossings, like the one I linked above on the Onehunga Line, will be horrendously complicated to separate, particularly when they’re in areas that are used by lots of line-haul trucks and must be designed accordingly.

      A road tunnel beneath tracks must be strong enough to support the weight of two laden trains. If rail runs beneath the road the tunnel will have to be that much higher in order to handle the electrification, and the tunnel must be strong enough to support at least 80 tonnes (two laden trucks). That degree of engineering is expensive.

  • It’s a lowercase “r” with serifs on the bottom

  • Yipee! AT have finally got the CRL on the front page of their site: http://www.aucklandtransport.govt.nz/Pages/default.aspx

  • KLK

    “I suspect closing could be done for about $20k.

    $5 million if you want a ped bridge and $50 million for road grade separation, give or take $30 million.”

    I’m happy for NZTA to pay for it. Afterall, its a roading project.

    • SF Lauren

      From memory most of the level crossings are local roads and therefore don’t get state highway funding, so it would be the normal 50/50 split.

  • Last night on 3 News John Key called it the Central Business Loop. Freudian slip?

    • pete g

      John key can call it anything he likes as far as I’m concerned. He’s coming to the CRL table and that suits me just fine

    • The council calls it the City Rail Link (CRL) and the government calls it the Central Business District Loop (CBD Loop). I think the PM was just abbreviating that.

      I don’t think it’s an issue to worry about, as link or loop are both correct. It’s a link from the perspective of proposed operating patterns, but it’s a loop in terms of physical infrastructure.

      In fact I quite like the idea of officially regarding Grafton, Newmarket and Parnell as CBD stations, and calling the whole circle the CBD Loop, as it will more strongly promote how widespread your station options are around the CBD to potential and existing users. Seven station options in the CBD area gives us a real network with lots of travel options that will appeal to potential new users.

      • Sailor Boy

        It isn’t a loop.

        Since when is a 3.5km almost straight piece of track with the ends over 3km apart a loop?

        It finishes the loop, but it is not a loop.

        By the same logic Waterview is a loop, 2 loops infact.

        • Semantics – it’s essentially a loop. A train travelling in the same direction could get back to where it began. Next you’ll be telling me Woodville doesn’t have a balloon loop railway.

          • Sailor Boy

            You act as though calling it semantics diminishes it,s importance.

            When you say train loop people think of the wynyard tram, when you say link they think of an extension of the existing network.
            It would be like calling Waterview a motorway loop, it is nothing of the kind,m it is a motorway link from SH16 to SH20.

          • The western ring road isn’t a ring either. Fact is, a loop is created by the CRL and existing lines. Call it what you want, but a loop is indeed formed.

          • counterpoint

            It isn’t really semantics though. The Link itself is basically straight, and it’s endpoints don’t connect on themselves, except via the remainder of the rail network. Sure, the effect is to form what one could term a loop in the system, but then the discussion has to move from the link itself to the network as a whole, which will now contain a loop.

            I think that the importance of this superficially trivial change of terminology is more about perception management than adherence to some dictionary definition of a loop. The problem is that using the word loop can be seen to give the false impression that the CRL itself is the loop, rather than what it really is – a straight tunnel that links the rail network into a fashion which we may elect to call a loop. The idea of building a loop, rather than building a connecting link that can form a loop is in my view an important distinction principally because the merit of the project can be misinterpreted, and secondly because they are in fact completely different things.

            So if we’re talking about the Auckland rail network, then yeah, we might well decide to talk about a loop. But the piece of infrastructure that is being debated at the moment is in the literal sense, a straight tunnel.

          • Sailor Boy

            Thank you counterpoint.

            By the way Geoff, ring route is a term given to any road that bypasses the city centre using part or all of an elliptical route, ring route is different to road that forms a ring.

        • SF Lauren

          To be more correct it complete the loop, currently you have a sort of C shape and once you draw that almost straight line you have a loop.

          For the western ring route to be accurate it should be a perfect circle, which it clearly isn’t but nobody really cares that I know of, I certainly don’t get upset that it’s not called the western meandering route.

  • James B

    The problem with closing George Street is that it is an essential link between Dominion Road and New North Road without it traffic going East along New North wanting to go South on Dominion and vice versa have to cross the tracks at Sandringham Road. A good solution would be to fix up the intersection of Dominion and New North to enable all movements. I’d propose getting rid of the flyover and making it a diamond intersection whilst preserving the underpass. This would reduce the overall size of the intersection and enable George to be closed.

    • Sailor Boy

      Why not just remove all of the flyovers? Make it a level intersection?

    • That intersection is probably the best in Auckland. It is free-flowing. Make it a level intersection and all you do is give Auckland yet another big bubble of car fumes killing nearby residents, with traffic lined up for miles waiting for the lights to change. If anything, Auckland needs more of these intersections. Keep the cars moving = save fuel, save time, and reduce air pollution.

      • haha, it’s easily the worst Geoff, a land gobbling nightmare that allows drivers to speed up dangerously in the middle of the city causing countless accidents on its hateful little extension Ian Mackinon Drive. And it comes complete with piss soaked rapists’ delight underworldian pedestrian tunnels… is scary to cycle through, and a huge barrier to walkers. I can’t think of a worse amenity for a road of its scale anywhere in Auckland.

        Needs demolishing. Stat.

        Wow we have different values don’t we?, but then perhaps you’ve only examined it through the windscreen of your car.

        • I guess we do have different values. I dislike big traffic carparks where all the cars have their engines running, and nearby residents slowly die from air pollution (700 Aucklanders a year die from it). You don’t appear to mind such a scene?

          There are other ways to improve pedestrian access, such as wider well lit walkways, without creating a bigger problem as you suggest.

          • Sailor Boy

            Geoff, all this intersection does is more the carpark 200m further down the road.

            It is an absolute waste of space as nothing can be built within 50m of the intersection, there are obvious safety issues.

            Ignoring those arguments, since when is encouraging driving a good thin anyway.

          • The only things that would be built beside what would be one of Auckland’s largest and most polluting intersections, would be something like a car yard. I would rather have the grass open spaces that are currently there.

          • Sailor Boy

            Air New Zealand would beg to differ about building productive buildings near major intersections.

          • Geoff your logic is poor, this is driving amenity that encourages more vehicle use not less; there is nothing about this intersection that reduces air pollution; that really is clutching at straws. An intersection that didn’t intimidate walkers and cyclists and that prioritised Transit use would do infinitely more for that cause.

          • Patrick, cars emit less pollution in one spot if they don’t stop. Replacing a free-flowing, grade-separated junction, with an intersection, increases concentrated pollution significantly. It’s no coincidence that Auckland’s worst air pollution locations are at intersections.

            It’s not my logic that is poor. It is yours.

            Turning it into a standard large-scale intersection won’t make it attractive to pedestrians. You’ve been looking at too many NZTA renders showing people sunbathing and playing beside busy roads.

          • Sailor Boy

            Alright, you would much rather walk on a motorway interchange than a busy intesection. The 1000s of people on the intersection of Queen and Wellesley Streets prove you wrong there.

          • What motorway intersection Sailor Boy? I’ve walked through the interchange we are talking about, and found it very easy, as the pedestrian links are largely separated from traffic. As both a motorist and a pedestrian I see it as an example of what works well.

          • counterpoint

            One really obvious way to reduce pollution in the area (or any area) would be to do away with the cars in question entirely. Now, a wholesale removal of cars is probably not desirable on balance, nor practical. But the idea that a free-flowing intersection is less polluting than a congested one is true as long as we accept the premise that vehicle movements must be catered to with priority, and pretty weak otherwise. After all, an empty intersection is surely less polluting than a free flowing one.

            Put another way, its a bit like saying finger cancer is better than lung cancer. Probably true, but the argument only holds weight if the premise is that you must accept some kind of cancer. Otherwise why would you not simply opt not to have cancer of any kind?

          • Very true counterpoint, what I am saying is indeed only valid in a world with cars. Ahem, that’s the world we live in. Now if the world does away with cars, by all means, remove the intersection.

          • counterpoint

            You’ve sort of missed the wider point though – that justifying this (or any) intersection on based on its emission reduction seems at best weak, and at worst fundamentally misunderstanding the causes of air pollution. The world has cars – there’s no question about that. But if we want to reduce emissions, as was the thrust of the original claim, then surely we would remove cars altogether well ahead of proposing a sort of po-faced reduction in the margins via free-er flowing traffic that is being suggested.

            Furthermore, one could extend this line of thinking to suggest that providing the amenity to allow cars to move unhindered in the fashion stated in the original claim would run counter to other urban design goals, including but not limited to sense of place, pedestrian amenity, reduction in overall vehicle traffic, and whatever else you care to name that fits under this banner. Many of these things, and in particular more walking and cycling, would seem to be at least as effective at reducing emissions, if not more so.

            In other words, its only a consistent claim to make in a world where there simply must be cars, and that constraint is never violated.

          • The wider point you make is far removed from the real world situation though. We have cars, and that isn’t going to change anytime soon. Replacing the free-flow interchange with a congested and unhealthy intersection is not going to create some wonderful spot where people want to be. It would be worse for everyone, especially pedestrians and cyclists, as they suffer the most from air pollution.

          • counterpoint

            Worse than what? There’s something terribly odd to me about the suggestion that bigger intersections are desirable because they reduce emissions.

            “We have cars, and that isn’t going to change anytime soon.”

            Maybe I’m not being direct enough about this, but the idea that we somehow won’t have cars isn’t actually the focus here. The point is that if we wanted to reduce vehicle emissions, the most direct route would be just to remove cars. As I said before, this is clearly not a realistic option, in the same way that advocating larger intersections on the basis of emission reduction. But the point you raised was (edited for brevity)

            “Make it a level intersection and [you get] another big bubble of car fumes killing nearby residents …if anything, Auckland needs more of these intersections .. [to] reduce air pollution.”

            or in summary – by catering for more vehicles, we reduce emissions. I, for one, have some trouble seeing the logic here…

            In the same vein, the idea that this particular intersection will become a desirable pedestrian spot is not the focus. The road system is necessarily a network, and in order to gain this kind of free-flowing system we would presumably need to ensure there are no capacity bottlenecks elsewhere that could cause a build up of emissions. This in turn requires that other areas are given over to vehicles, which in turn reduces the desirability of all connected areas, and so on. If we are to follow this idea to its conclusion, we would give exclusive access to cars at all points in the city, since any bottleneck would potentially cause an increase in emissions. This is not factoring the idea that driving to such an extend may in fact be the cause of increased emissions, and perhaps encouraging alternative transport (walking a cycling, for example) might have a bigger impact on air quality than a wide intersection ever could.

            It might just be that I’m a bit to subtle, but I thought the implication was all there in the original reply.

          • “by catering for more vehicles…”

            The interchange has been there since the 1960′s, and is more or less the same today. I don’t think anyone is saying upgrade it to promote greater use. In fact it goes to show how well it has worked. Traffic has always been free-flowing there, so without congestion, there’s been no need for a big upgrade, and none is on the agenda even today. By contrast, most major intersections around Auckland have had to have lanes added to try and decongest them. Several have required the removal of nearby houses to do so.

            The traffic flows well, pedestrians don’t have to wait as they are separated from cars, it’s not one of the identified intersections where air pollution exceeds WHO standards, we don’t face any demand to add lanes, and we get some green space. It also provides a ready-made grade separated entry/exit point for future PT upgrades.

            Let’s not stuff up something that clearly works on so many levels (pardon the pun).

      • counterpoint

        I guess this seems like a good idea as long as you are enforcing the constraint that there ought to be a large number of cars. After all, once we cement that value, anything that reduces its negative externalities (fuel use, air pollution, etc) must be a good thing right? I’m probably not alone on this blog in thinking that other alternatives to providing this level of vehicle amenity are at least worth investigating, if not outright preferable. Still, as far as points go, it does have a kind of consistency to it, for what its worth.

  • KLK

    “Call it what you want, but a loop is indeed formed.”

    A single line from Swanson to Manukau is also formed. So shall we call it the cross-city line instead?

    • Sailor Boy

      Hehe, the Onehunga line is extended by this so I guess it must be Onehunga extension part 2.

    • I’m not saying let’s call it a loop, just pointing out that most people who call it that are taking into account the existing infrastructure. A loop is indeed formed. But I do think there’s merit in bringing Grafton, Newmarket and Parnell into the CBD group of stations, and therefore, applying a name for the overall loop is worth looking at, to create a single “7 station product” that can be marketed.

      • Sailor Boy

        So you want to make it the best product possible now?

        Then lets call it the most important link in Auckland’s rail system. It is so much more important than a loop of stations in the CBD.\

        • When promoting CBD growth, seven stations is better than four. Make the most of the assets available. The network map should show a spoke shape, with each through route touching the central circle, with the seven circle stations highlighted. Really emphasise that the Auckland rail network has seven CBD destinations, not just those on the new section.

          • Sailor Boy

            The problem with the CRL at the moment is that people see it as being only about the CBD, the last thing we should be doing is reinforcing that.

      • counterpoint

        “…just pointing out that most people who call it that are taking into account the existing infrastructure.”

        YMMV, but another component of the discussion here is the idea that perhaps most people aren’t doing this. A brief canvass of some mainstream media coverage, various online discussion (someone mentioned whaleoil, for example) does give me the impression that the level of information floating around in the public consciousness is at best, mixed, and seems to demonstrate that even the basic fundamentals of the project (ie, that it itself it not a loop, the basic purpose and build motivation, etc) are widely misunderstood. Given that AT themselves have something of a reputation for being terrible communicators it seems not at all unlikely that the fundamental notion of what this project physically is and what it does hasn’t really been explained in an appropriate public forum in a cohesive and compelling manner.

        I suspect that if I weren’t a reader of this blog, I would have only the vaguest idea of how the CRL was supposed to function, what form it takes, and so on, and it is in this context that I think not calling it a loop is a fairly simple matter that has the dual function of accurately describing the project itself, and removing some avenues of attack from political opponents (although this is probably less important now in light of newfound government support).

        The merit of your loop proposal is basically moot in my opinion. Sure we can do this, and it’s not like its a bad idea or anything. But its outside the scope of a discussion about the actual link itself (not that this is meant to imply it shouldn’t be discussed, just that its a separate, but linked topic)

  • Peter

    This thread is just going around in circles about whether the link is a loop or not it’s making me loopy. Len has gone through hoops for loops (I mean links). Can’t we just link hands and move forward?

  • Sacha

    Picture, 1000 words, etc. Look at the graphic above.
    Seem like a f&#king loop?

  • DaveB

    Hey – whoever said it was a straight tunnel is plain wrong. It has a 90 degree bend in it, between Britomart and Aotea. It needs this so that it can form a LOOP :-)
    Why be ashamed of the fact? It will take more than a name-change to educate the masses on what it is designed to achieve.

    • Sailor Boy

      I said relatively straight, though I guess that the 100m section of tunnel under the downtown mall is clearly the most important part of the whole thing right????

      It will take more than a name change to achieve that, but it will take more than the CRL to solve Auckland’s transport issues, yet the CRL is still the first obvious step.

  • Sacha

    We have discussed this before, but the more misleading part of the name is ‘city’.

  • Roycienator

    I think AT need to be more aggressive in the marketing of the benefits of the CRL to all Aucklander’s. If they did, everyone would know it is a link which creates a physical rail loop under the CBD and unlocks the potential of Auckland’s rail network.

    Easy!

  • [...] outcome for Auckland. It’s also a rather hefty bill, for what Gerry Brownlee still calls a short little loop of rail, but it really is a vital one. The rail loop Link will do several things – connect to [...]

  • Tamaki

    I understand that the way the trains will run will be cross town and not in a loop.
    But I also don’t think link is completely accurate, as it will not just be the connection between two points, but many points.
    And when you look on a map, it will create a circle. This is one of the big conceptual selling points. That aucklanders can travel by train around the various towns of the city e.g. Newmarket, k rd, Parnell.

    I like circle line, especially if you really have an aversion to the word loop, which seems to have been captured by name callers who like to say loopy Len etc.

    But I think if the Nats can do a u turn on the project then maybe you can lighten up on what people call it. If people are approving of it, but call it a loop, then I don’t care. And it comes across as a bit anti to jump down their throats all the time.

  • [...] After several years of pooh-poohing the idea, the Government reverses its stance on funding (or at least partially funding) the Auckland central city rail loop. (Update: We have been told quite firmly by Auckland transport friends that it is not a loop!) [...]

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