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The work needed on the Rail Network

A presentation by Kiwirail (from page 41) to the Auckland Council Infrastructure Committee provides some interesting insight into the future of the Auckland Rail Network. Unfortunately the council don’t record the infrastructure committee and put it on online so we can’t see exactly what was said by the CEO of Kiwirail but the presentation which has been uploaded to the council website does give an indication.

For the most of the presentation the slides appear to be a fairly typical business presentation talking about how they’re performing and supposedly changing their business to be more customer centric. The most interesting parts are the last four slides which highlight that there’s a lot more to do to improve the rail network than just the City Rail Link. The first of these is below and gives an indication of what needs to be addressed.

Auckland strategic issues & opportunities 

  • 23% pa Metro Growth
  • Freight growth into Auckland
  • Port of Tauranga
  • Ports of Auckland
  • Network Resilience
  • Funding Shortfalls – DART perception/reality
  • Integrated land transport planning (AT/NZTA/KR)

The remaining slides show how the network needs to be operating within the next year or two, how it will need to be working in the future and finally how an indication of specific pieces of work needed to realise the vision along with some cost indications.

For the short term it appears the need is to get the Western Line up to 10 minute frequencies, improve network performance and get more freight trains through South Auckland. On the latter point it the image suggests at least two freight trains an hour in each direction at peaks south of Otahuhu.

KR - Infrastructure Committee - Immediate Goal

Moving forward to the future and by 2041 you can see a lot more trains will be on the network thanks to the City Rail Link. At peak times there would be 18 trains an hour on the Western Line in the peak direction plus 12 an hour on both the Southern and Eastern lines. There are also more trains on the Onehunga Line and more freight trains along with higher performance requirements. In a way this highlights one of the biggest benefits of the CRL, it allows us to get a lot more use out of our existing rail corridor. I personally remain disappointed they don’t plan on increasing frequencies past Henderson and I still feel like AT are trying to complicate the future train plan too much, especially with the Henderson to Otahuhu trains.

KR - Infrastructure Committee - Future State

The most interesting slide – to me at least – is the last one showing a whole range of projects needed to get the network up to spec. It suggests that prior to the CRL opening around $400 million is needed not including level crossings or the Onehunga line which will be for some of the items on the list here plus I suspect a lot of catch up maintenance that still hasn’t happened yet. As you can see some of the urgent items include:

  • More cross overs,
  • more signals
  • Infill balises (transmits the signals to the train)
  • Getting freight trains using the new signalling system
  • Level crossing closures
  • 3rd main between Westfield and Wiri

Some of the more interesting items I can see include:

  • What appears to be three different options for getting 6 car trains to Onehunga – extending the current platform, reconfiguring the station or a new platform at Neilson St.
  • Changes to the eastern end of Britomart – getting more trains through Quay Park perhaps
  • Extending the third main all the way to Pukekohe.
  • A new Mt Smart station – this seems odd giving the close proximity to Penrose.
  • Shifting the long distance services back to the Strand – surely this will not be good for the usage of them.
  • Different options for reconfiguring Henderson station.
  • A grade separated Westfield Interchange
  • An upgrade to the junction at Newmarket

KR - Infrastructure Committee - Spending Needed

To me the considerable amount of work still needed to get the rail network up to speed is reflection of the level of neglect the network suffered from for decades.

Interestingly I suspect related to all of this, a week ago Auckland Transport posted this on their tender website although it has now disappeared.

This RFI sets out to identify a company or individuals who will be able to best provide AT with rail infrastructure design and constructability knowledge, for on-going commissions on the Auckland rail network.

Auckland Transport requires a Rail / Track geometrics, signalling and overhead line design and rail constructability consultant with at least 20 years experience in the provision of design and constructability services within a live operating environment. New Zealand experience is preferred with an intimate knowledge of the Auckland network an advantage. Experience working with KiwiRail is necessary.

This capability will be drawn upon on a regular basis to provide design and constructability services for modifications to the Auckland rail network such as:

  • New stations and Park & Rides
  • Grade separations
  • Modifications to stations
  • Level crossing upgrades
  • Additional stabling facilities
  • Additional mainlines for freight
  • Extensions to electrification
  • Signalling Modifications
  • Track realignments

As you can see there’s a lot more than just the CRL to do to the Rail network.

96 comments to The work needed on the Rail Network

  • I understand that shifting the long distance services back to the Strand is set to happen in the near future (December).

    I think 6tph to Swanson is ample. It makes sense to have higher frequencies where patronage is higher.

    Something I’m not sure about is the Henderson-Britomart running pattern. How will these services change direction at Britomart without impeding the CRL flow? Will one of the existing central platforms be linked into the CRL at the city end?

    • As I understand it that Henderson to Britomart service (and the Otahuhu to Grafton one) would terminate then travel to The Stand to physically terminate there. Most won’t do a return journey

      • Nick R

        It’s basically just extra short runners for capacity in the peak direction. It’s what already happens on just about every transit line in Auckland at the moment. Efficient and effective.

        I think on the actual public timetable map, as opposed to the planning diagram above, you wouldn’t even see a separate line. It’s really just more frequency on the western for the peak.

  • TheBigWheel

    2041 and still no rail to the airport?

    • David B

      Yep and I can’t see the Shore lines there either. Maybe they don’t impact on the upgrades proposed here but I am very surprised to see them missing from the map.

    • Totally visionless if they think this is all that’s needed at 2041; looks much more like 2025/30 to me, depending on level of investment. Basically what we build for is what we’ll get, and the Mangere line at least is desirable way before 2041. It is pretty clear that KR have little interest in nor understanding of urban passenger possibility, or are so institutionally ground down by current political prejudices as to be unreliable witnesses to their own responsibilities. They seem to suffer from a kind of Stockholm Syndrome.

      Is that fair, or are boxing clever? Hard to see it here.

      • I think it’s a case of them showing what is needed to get the existing network post CRL up to spec. Projects like rail to the airport or shore are unconfirmed so aren’t relevant at this stage. Anyway ATs infatuation with light rail means KR have no clue what is really going to happen

    • Indeed, the 2040 map looks pretty bleak, should be in the mid 2020’s at the latest.

  • Sailor boy

    I still cannot believe that so many professionals in the transport industry have seen this running pattern and still no one has told the consultancy that the director’s six year old can’t design a network for 2m people

  • spartan

    Gotta get that 3rd Main in from Westfield out to Papakura at least

  • Bryce P

    I’d be interested to see this Mt Smart station location. As it stands, I think the Penrose station is too far north.

    • TheBigWheel

      Maybe move platform 3 to the top of Maurice Road to make a Mt Smart station used only when an event is on? Moving Penrose 1 and 2 south to say Church Road doesn’t seem to deliver any more than it loses?

      • xkr

        My picks: Either move Platform 3 to the straight between O’Rorke and Maurice and have it as a fully operational service platform, or leave Platform 3 where it is and build a special-event-only platform up by Maurice Rd. Double-tracking most or all of the Onehunga line looks like it might be creeping up the to-do list and these options could go hand-in-hand. A Panmure-style station just under Neilson St bridge and up to the current tight curve might be another winner if they can get back some of the surrounding land to ease and double that horrible 25km/h curve into the Onehunga station. These things all dovetail nicely with the Mangere/Airport line wishlist, which gives me hope of progress, even if it is wishful thinking.

      • Grant

        Moving platform 3 would mean loosing a nice transfer to the southern line for going south (eg Onehunga to Manurewa) but I guess can be done at Ellerslie instead. I note it was the highest across town trip from Onehunga in 2014 for some reason.

  • Neil

    Moving long distance back to the Strand is a great idea. Most passengers are tourists and Britomart is not very friendly for those with large suitcases and who are not staying in nearby hotels. Some work will however be needed to make this work for such tourists, a bit like a micro airport terminal with taxi stand, drop off parking and somewhere for those meeting incoming passengers to park.

  • John

    I don’t understand the point of moving long distance trains back to the Strand. After the CRL there will be plenty of spare platforms at Britomart. If the concern is track capacity: you’re looking at a long term peak hour peak direction max of say 2 per hour on a piece of track that should be signalled for at least 24 per hour. Is this such a big deal?
    A future regional service to Hamilton (as opposed to a once daily tourist train to Wellington) will certainly want the network connectivity of going to Britomart.

  • Bruce

    regarding the Strand… to a point it does make some sense to have long distance rail terminate there for the points mentioned above. If this were to happen however building an enclosed walkway (preferably as straight as possible and underground with access to Vector Arena) connecting with Britomart and street level access at Britomart too) would be good (most cities have connected walkways between regional and urban rail as the regional rail is usually at street level with the subway urban rail beneath or adjacent).
    Another thought… would it really impact on schedules if Eastern line trains had an additional stop at the Strand behind the KFC (or have a platform crossing both sets of lines with direct access to Vector)?

    • Nick R

      I’ve always wondered if there should be an eastern line stop at Quay Park, seems simple as there is a straight and level section of track where you mention that could easily take some platforms. Only thing is it would be lightly used except for events, at least until that area is redeveloped to something more than a strip mall facing a container port.

  • Grant

    I suspect it’s all more a new found aversion to diesel trains showing up in Britomart? Considering the branding and perhaps reliability concerns?

    • Nick R

      I think its the cost of running the very significant ventilation and fire systems. Much cheaper if it’s all electric. Shame really, I do think we’ll see demand for true regional/intercity lines out of the Waikato and BoP in the not too distant future, naturally bringing those to the Britomart terminal would be far better than stopping them at the arse end of Parnell.

  • buttwizard69420

    This is fine, but it’s the network we needed 10 years ago, not what we need 40 years in the future.

  • Peter F

    What about long distance trains leaving from Newmarket. It’s a large established station (not barren and windswept like the old Strand platforms). A long distance ticket would include a free transfer to Britomart on any local service.

    • Newmarket is pretty full, but, if we’re going to think like that then why not Papakura say, were there is additional track and platforms? With free transfers on the Metro system? Seems a shame to not take people all the way though doesn’t it?

      It would be kind of like Stratford International: Papakura Intercity!

      It’s easy to see the desire to get them out of Britomart, ventilation, scarce slots both in the terminal [until CRL] and especially at the throat [forever], but there isn’t an obvious great answer is there?

      • aucklanderinaus

        I think if were going to have a suburban terminus like that, Manukau would be far better for this than Papakura as it has a covered and much more modern station, and better PT connections.

        • But it only has two tracks and platforms, and these are used by the Metro network, and it is on a branch line. Perhaps the Metro services, being only 6tph, can work off one platform while the intercity trains are in? Still would require south facing connections, and is served by half as many Metro services as say Otahuhu….

          • Jonty

            There’s a few spare lines at Parnell – is Mainline Steam staying there or moving out once the Parnell Station is built?

          • Nick R

            Mainline steam is well gone and their building already demolished. Retirement apartments being built there as we speak.

    • Nick R

      Long distance trains need to park up for ages, The Northern Explorer is probably there for 30 or 40 minutes all up? Not something you can do at Newmarket before the CRL as the third platform is required to manage the western line turnarounds. Maybe after the CRL the third track at Newmarket gets freed up.

      But then after the CRL Britomart is freed up anyway so you can go there, and there will be a couple spare platforms in the middle not used by the CRL trains. Based on the above network plan, they are looking at a peak loading of 18 trains an hour through Britomart each way. That suggests somewhere between two and six slots an hour in and out of Britomart could be used by regional and intercity diesels.

      In my dream lala land we’d have hourly diesel trains on three intercity lines to Tauranga (via Morrinsville), Rotorua (via Matamata and Putuaruru) and Te Kuiti (via Te Awamutu and Otorohanga) respectively, timetabled to give twenty minute headways between Hamilton and Auckland (stop me if I’m starting to froth!).

      Sounds like a lot but it is still only three trains in and three trains out of Britomart an hour, and would easily be accommodated on two of the terminal platforms between the CRL platforms.

      • And Britomart would still one one of the most accessible parts of the network to get to for intercity travel either by city walk-up or by other PT services. Arriving into Auckland via the eastern line is a great experience, especially on a sunny morning…

        • Nick R

          And given the wide spacing on the eastern line plus the third main wiri to westfield (and further, eventually), it’s conceivable that an intercity train might be able to slot in with very little delay/impact on suburban trains at all. That would be a key factor, with a clear run a train could get from Papakura to Britomart in 25 minutes or so. In that scenario Hamilton to Auckland (with a few stops in between) in an hour and a half becomes feasible.

      • iiq374

        Given the proposed running patterns post-CRL; as soon as the Parnell station is in place the Western line trains should skip Newmarket entirely anyway

      • Mike

        I can’t see any reason for the Northern Explorer to occupy platform space at Britomart for longer than 10-15 minutes, just to board passengers and their baggage – all other train servicing can (should) be done at KiwiRail Scenic’s depot.

        And what is the point of moving the train away from the best-connected location in the Auckland region (if not the country) to what is a desert in comparison, when all we’re talking about is two peak and four off-peak trains a week?

  • Dave B (Wellington)

    Reasons for moving the Norhern Explorer out of Britomart are:
    – Doesn’t fit with AT’s nice new electric image.
    – Consumes prime am-peak train paths for the placing of the empties and departure of the service. Ties up a platform while it is there.
    – Means ventilation system still needs to run
    – (In my personal view) Fire risk is being used as a convenient regulatory excuse to force the issue. Diesels have run without major incident since Britomart opened (and wot-if an EMU catches fire?!)

    The idea is that passengers wishing to interchange from the Metro system to the Northern Explorer will do so at Papakura.

    Agree it is a retrograde step to quit Britomart, but in its present congested state it does make some sense.

    However post-CRL when the metro service needs only the two through-platforms at Britomart and no more criss-crossing across the throat, this should free up the remaining platforms and crossovers for the regional and long-distance services of the future – provided some visionless little offlicial doesn’t decide to block this from happening.

    The fire-safety requirements may have to be addressed with money or else over-ridden by someone with enough clout to cut through the risk-aversion which threatens to paralyse rail (while doing precious little about a far worse safety-problem that exists on the roads!).
    Perhaps one day we will see the long-distance services electrified also. Always nice to dream!

    • xkr

      I reckon the primary reason is actually that Britomart is going to be an absolute mess for the next 5-8 years and they need to remove as many complications as possible to keep it all running. As noted, the Explorer takes up prime-time platform space several mornings a week. Getting slots on the Eastern line is no big deal, even in peak, but platform space and slots through the Quay Park junction, both in lining the train up to be piloted into platform 4 and then in getting out with passengers, is a much more consuming exercise. Going to 10 minute frequencies on the Western line is going to demand even more time and space at and around Britomart, and the suburban services can’t afford to sacrifice resilience for the tourists, so out to Strand Platform 1 they go.

      Strand Platform 1 is a desolate mess, but is a protected Heritage site of some kind. It’s there as an emergency back-up if Britomart goes bad, also used for some movements in/out of the EMU depot, training/testing trains passing from NIMT to NMT and to manoeuvre the Explorer into position to back into Britomart. Currently vastly unsuitable for regular passenger operations, so there must be some kind of renovation planned if they expect the Explorer to survive more than 6 weeks there.

      I agree that Post-CRL, the Explorer or whatever it becomes will probably go back to Britomart in the two future middle/terminal platforms. The Eastern line scenery from Judges Bay to Meadowbank is probably of enough value to not be ditched for a more Southerly starting point.

  • aucklanderinaus

    I think a long distance station at the Strand could definitely work. As these are primarily tourist services, it’s not essential they’re part of the “PT Network”. I can see the reasons they want to get it out of Britomart, at least pre-CRL. To make it work though, I would propose moving the intercity bus terminal and make it the terminal for the Airporter bus also (after going past Britomart). This could be Auckland’s new Intercity/Long distance hub. Many other cities have this kind of system. In Melbourne, Southern Cross is the terminus for all long distance trains and buses even though Flinders Street station is by far the busiest suburban station. These two are further apart distance-wise than the Strand and Britomart.
    It would need a bit of an upgrade and decent sized taxi rank too. There are plenty of buses that go past there, so connections to Britomart are available and could be increased.

    • But Southern Cross does have Metro services, whereas Strand is unlikely to, though it could.

    • Nick R

      Hey aucklanderinaus, two things you might want to consider:

      1) Thirteen of Melbourne’s 15 rail lines run through Southern Cross, plus about a half dozen tram lines and all the buses that reach the CBD. There is a train every minute or two between Southern Cross and Flinders St. By comparison The Strand has nothing, zip. It doesn’t have any platforms accessible by suburban trains, it doesn’t even have a bus stop out on the street.

      2) You might not realise this but The Strand station is only accessible from the road called The Strand, the entrance is here: https://www.google.co.nz/maps/place/60+The+Strand,+Parnell,+Auckland+1010/@-36.8489641,174.7796507,19z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m2!3m1!1s0x6d0d4805c109b2cb:0xb0bdc0c097aeedbf?hl=en
      The Strand is not the same as the old Auckland Railway Station, and in fact it is physically impossible to get to The Strand from the old station builidng on Beach Rd. The old station building is private property (apartments), the new main line spilts the two sites and the old underpasses are filled in. So actually no buses at all go past, the closest bus stop is almost a kilometre away.

      I do think you are right with the tourist train comment though, all those need is a taxi drop off (Christchurch is like this). However its not so good for regional commuters or intercity trains. There is potential if you spent a lot of money though, but to be fair I’d rather see them in Britomart at the non-CRL platforms. All theoretical at this stage of course.

      • buttwizard69420

        Having said that the ground rents for the train station are savage so you could probably buy it back for a relative bargain if you did want to do something with it long-term. Seems more important we do it right than risk having half-measures again.

      • What happened to the old station is a travesty, and as it’s unit title buying the whole back is likely very difficult.

        So Nick what you’re really saying is that your region rail service idea is a post CRL one. That is probably about right; there are other fish to fry on the network first.

        • Nick R

          Old station building isn’t much use anyway, the platforms are on the other side!

          • tuktuk

            Looking in from afar, it is nice to see the discussion and level of interest on long distance rail out of Auckland.

            Britomart is actually very convenient to overseas tourists using Northern Explorer. However, tourist trains in NZ enjoy little more than a few basic “squatter rights” on Auckland’s commuter network, and on the national KiwiRail freight network. Tourist trains are not subsidised, and there has been no funding contribution from their behalf toward capital and operating costs for the rail infrastructure. So, it is in that context, that any interim solutions need to be considered.

            If it has to be The Strand, then a free shuttle from Britomart and perhaps downtown hotels and backpackers will be essential. Along with continuing efforts to integrate the train within an internationally attractive package that also includes shuttle connections to/from Waitomo, Hobbiton, Tongariro National Park and Rotorua.
            Clearly it would be best if the train could continue to operate out of Britomart…… a post peak 9.30am departure a possibility?

            Long term; for long distance true intercity rail to revive with competitive speed, it may be time to re-consider Nick R’s parallel Britomart “box” lying under Quay Street with separate double track to an Eastern Line triple tracked, and where possible quadruple tracked, all the way to Pukekohe, and ultimately beyond.

        • buttwizard69420

          Yea, I guess you’re counting on having the political will to do something with it once you’ve got it back too. It just seems like that area has a huge amount of potential and really got tossed aside when Britomart was constructed.

        • iiq374

          Have to agree with you whole heartedly here.
          I never could understand why the platforms weren’t at least kept for event based services at Vector :-/

      • Aycklanderinaus

        Ah ok I get your point. I thought the entrance was of beach road silly me, in which case it would be different. Not saying it couldn’t be made to work with duke effort however, but maybe but worth while.

  • Scott Osmond

    One of the great advantages I see for long distance rail over air transport is that the train almost always delivers you to the centre of the city. I have done this many times in the USA and Australia. It is a part of the train experience that has a huge advantage over sterile, distant airports and motorways.

    Auckland transport are just throwing their pathetic weight around in demanding Kiwirail take the Northern Explorer out of Britomart and Kiwirail and users need to stand up against them. For heavens sake the morning departure is the only one that conflicts with peak hours and that is only TWO MORNINGS A WEEK, Monday and Thursday.

    Don’t dump international tourists off and abandon them at a cold hole in the middle of nowhere.

  • Matthew W

    Good lord,the BCR of rail investments are even worse than we thought!

    • harrymc

      “Good lord,the BCR of rail investments are even worse than we thought!”
      I’ve read the article and I can’t see BCRs mentioned. Perhaps you would advise what they are please?

    • Matthew W

      Benefit Cost Ratio. Public investment is predicated on a sufficiently high benefit cost ratio. We have Significant investment in rail over the past decade and a half . The costs above are additional costs required to realise the benefits of these investments, hence they reduce the BCRs. The CRL was already very marginal, if you need to spend another $0.9b to $1.4b to realise the benefits it is going to look even sicker.

      • I’m aware some of it was originally included in project DART but the funding was pulled so didn’t go ahead. The other aspects are being assessed and some I believe have already been ruled out.

      • Nick R

        You seem to be assuming that there would be no benefits from this extra expenditure, just cost? Given they all appear to be projects to run more passenger trains and freight, they very well may improve the BCR.

        Still, I suppose if there was zero benefit and just cost the whole package might drop into the realm of the best RoNS, Lolz.

        • Matthew W

          The assumption isn’t that this expenditure has no benefit, it is that the benefits were already accounted for in the business case of other investment.. The CRL business case assumed a level of patronage in 2041 with a given level of trains running. It appears that we need some or all of this expenditure to realise that. Also there appear to be additional costs associated with grade separation? This would fall into the same category,

          • Nick R

            Previous business cases underestimated the demand and the number of trains required. So these expenditures would allow more benefits, and sooner. Grade separation will reduce delays and increase speeds. There will be a large travel time saving benefit attributable to it.

          • Matthew W

            So the slide titled “CRL Train Plan – 2041 Peak” is different from the train pattern assumed in the CRL business case?

          • Nick R

            Yes of course, the CRL business case was written six years ago.

          • Matthew W

            So what are the differences and associated benefits.

          • Nick R

            Umm I don’t know! Why don’t you go through the business case and the information above and report back for us? https://at.govt.nz/media/imported/4601/crl-business-case-report.pdf

            I would hazard a guess that a business case from years ago will have greatly underpredicted the huge patronage growth we’ve had lately. Certainly it doesn’t account for the New Network or any of the rail network plans shown above.

            You might misunderstand what a business case actually is. It is an initial investigation that checks at a high level whether it is worth continuing to investigate a project. It’s not meant to predict the future for the rest of time, nor is it meant to accurately predict costs or benefits or set up an investment or construction programme. It’s purpose is to show that the costs and benefits are broadly of the level where you would bother to keep working on it.

            Every business case becomes obsolete as they do more detailed work and planning, and as things change.

          • Matthew W

            So you dont know, just guessing? I realise a buisiness case is a prediction of the future and is uncertain. It is the basis for undertaking a project however so is fairly important. Things being about right might be fine if the project is a no brainer with a robust and high BCR but we know this isnt the case with the CRL. We only have slides but to me the obvious message is that this investment is required to meet the outcomes of the CRL – to get us to the 2041 scenario. $1.3b will have a major effect on the validity of the business case.

            Business cases become obsolete, but if the changes result in a tipping of the scales from go to no go or from one alternative to another, then it is rational to change decisions if you still have the option.

          • tuktuk

            The gist of your argument seems to be that there is a hidden expense of $0.9 to $1.9 billion that now needs to be added to the cost of the CRL. The extra work proposed is an investment shared between commuter rail and freight. You can’t just add the bill to the CRL cost.

            It is all about network economics, as is the case when RoNS are priced. The benefits for rail freight also include congestion benefits for road users. For example, the Metroport container trains to and from Tauranga are very tightly integrated with shipping schedules and there may be little flexibility on when those trains have to go. Do you really want to add a train-lot or three of container trucks to the peak hour roading congestion along the Southern Motorway? What is an export market going to think when they are told their containers never made the ship leaving Tauranga due to delays along the Southern Motorway?

            The cost for these Auckland rail infrastructure works will be amortised over about a century…….you can rest easy the money is well spent 😉

          • Nick R

            Well there are a several things that are obvious, like how the business case had 6 trains per hour on the main lines and 3 on the onehunga branch. This plan has 12 to 15 an hour on the main lines in the peak direction. So perhaps twice as much service and twice as many passengers. I take it you haven’t look at either of them?

            But no sorry, I don’t have time to sit down and audit the old business case and the current plans and prepare a report on differences and estimate the associated benefits for you!

          • Matthew W

            Actually at 2041 the business case has 8 tph from Onehunga is assumed, 8 to Manukau, 16 is assumed on the Western line, 16 on the Southern, 8 on the Eastern. So a bit different from the slide above but not really better in any aggregate sense. Actually looks to be more services than above. So what are you talking about?

          • Nick R

            I was looking at the network plan proposed in the business case, not the fairly arbitrary “all lines assumed to run at 8tphpd in the future” mentioned in one line. I had assumed that was a modelling input assumption for estimating patronage demand.

            The slide above they seem to be actually working out where and when the frequency is required. So if the business case arbitrarily makes all service patterns eight trains an hour then it would have had excessively high fleet requirements. So something like spending extra at Henderson to allow short runs no doubt saves a lot more in fleet and opex.

          • tuktuk

            One major issue that I can see driving up the cost of rail is the encroachment onto the rail corridors by roading. I was in Auckland a week or two ago and noticed how much the Southern Motorway now encroaches onto what used to be railway corridor land around Ellerslie and north. A third express track could have been really handy and relatively low cost……now not possible because the Southern Motorway has hoovered up the land.

            The whole Airport rail link saga is a litany of lost opportunities for rail and (deliberate?) sabotage by the road builders to make a rail link many times more expensive than what could have/should have/would have been built had the land been designated and set aside for rail a decade ago.

            Of the expenses above, it is possible that a significant proportion should be placed on the balance sheet of NZTA and the road builders, not KiwiRail. Level crossing closures and/or grade separation is number one item to have at least 50% of the costs shifted onto the balance sheet of roading agencies.

          • Matthew W

            Yeah,so now we have cleared that up, I see they assumed $100 m nominal dollars for network infra upgrades. Guess they underestimated that! Yes some of this cost will be attributable to freight, but how many freight trains are there compared to passenger rail. 10%?

          • tuktuk

            ‘Yes some of this cost will be attributable to freight, but how many freight trains are there compared to passenger rail. 10%?’

            You’re looking at it the wrong way……the question is: What is the economic value of each freight train on the network compared to passenger rail? Perhaps 50/50? A cruder method might be to ask what lineal metreage of the total freight trains compared to total passenger trains?

            A better method is how many truck loads off the motorway network for each freight train? Especially if those goods have to travel during peak travel periods.

          • Matthew W

            The investment is for increased capacity. This is primarily required because of increased passenger services. Even if rail freight was hugely beneficial and provided benefits that cover all these costs , it isn’t relevant. Why? The alternative is no upgrade and fewer passenger trains in which those same benefits would be realised. Yes some of this investment can be attributed to increased de and for rail freight but you are drawing a very long bow to suggest this is any more than a minor component.

          • Ted F

            Maybe the BCR is similar to the ones covering the RoNS? It certainly seemed more realistic to me at the time though.

          • Matthew W

            “Maybe the BCR is similar to the ones covering the RoNS?”

            Yes, that’s the problem!

      • TheBigWheel

        On the contrary.. the prospective BCR of the CRL goes up as the pre-CRL patronage increases above the estimates, because it is reasonable to assume the future patronage increases that the CRL will deliver will be proportional, not absolute: percentage increases of a bigger number. Costs on the other hand are unaffected, hence the BCR improves.

  • James Howitt

    A large amount of the public money into rail was in effect self financing from Kiwirail. The costs above are not essential for a tunnel, but in the face of a rising population these costs would need to be born CRL or not.

    • Matthew W

      Not sure about the inevitability of these or any costs associated with transport investment. See my comment above. It’s not that you can’t dig the CRL without this expenditure it is that it is required to realise the full benefits.

  • James Howitt

    Yeh and my observation is that AT will need these improvements irrespective.

  • SJC

    Urgent – Freight ECTS….

  • This probably seems crazy ambitious given how used we are to accepting very unambitious ideas about rail, but I think there are two possible big moves for rail freight south of Auckland that we at least consider reserving corridors for, for the future:

    1. Instead of third or forth tracks on the same alignment south; Pokeno-Papakura, surely a new direct new more direct freight [and future intercity route?] bypassing the Pukekohe dogsleg would be much better. Obviously quicker, no conflicts will Metro traffic, but also it travels through the vast new industrial area proposed south of Drury. There could be a new purpose built inland port there to replace or augment the current Onehunga or Wiri ones right on SH1, perfectly placed for interchange.

    2. Same thinking but south of the Bombays. Connect Morrinsville directly to the existing NIMT at Ohinewai, bypassing Hamilton and the SH1. This would affect the proposed Ruakura inland port and obviously be something to be coordinated with a ports strategy.

  • john.keenan

    What would be the costs of running a single track small / light tram between the Strand and Wynyard?

    The Wynyard Quarter at one end, Britomart in the centre and Vector Arena / The Strand at the other end.
    A pedestrian overbridge would need to be added to the back of Quay St for platform access and it could continue over to the back of Vector.

    It would effectively be a tourist / event shuttle running east – west across the city waterfront but with useful anchors.
    So say 2-3km of single track line, a couple of passing loops, 6-10 rolling stock – perhaps refurbished old Melbourne trams?

    Optimistic second stage extension could see the route extended to Ponsonby at one end and Parnell Rise / The Domain at the other

    Or you could just build an overbridge so that passengers can access Quay St and the bus stop / buses there.
    Also transfering at Papakura / Otahuhu seems pretty reasonable to use the metro network.
    The costs of running a shuttle bus to pick up / drop off at key CBD points must be pretty minimal too, there is such a service between Wellington station and The Interlander I believe.

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