Could We See Rail on The North Shore?
In May 2012 the Auckland Council Transport Committee resolved to undertake various studies and steps to “investigate” (and if necessary route protect) mass transit (public transport) options through to 2041 (I will be 56 by then) and beyond.
Tonight the Devonport-Takapuna Local Board at its monthly meeting will receive the 58-odd page report from the Transport Committee and most likely be discussing the long array of options (for a while to come). Thanks to Member Jan O’Conner for passing on the attachment, very much appreciated (and also the fact it jogged my memory as well).
Below is the embedded report that was sent (in this case) to the Devonport-Takapuna Local Board (which is also inside the Ward that Councillor George Wood represents).
Of all the options that were available, the one that caught my attention the most due to cost effectiveness while delivering the highest benefit was:
Meaning the Bus-way is extended, upgraded and fully optimised (so at maximum efficiency and/or capacity) before the Albany to CBD section of the Bus-way is flipped (converted) over to Heavy Rail which would connect to the Aotea Station of the City Rail Link. A reminder that the bus-way as it currently stands was designed to be flipped to rail in due time – so it should be that difficult.
The conversion of the bus-way to heavy rail in Auckland Council’s and Auckland Transport‘s opinion would be around 2041. In my submission to the Auckland Plan, that conversion would be completed by 2040 (so third and final period of the current Auckland Plan):
The Priority System
As resources and capital is scarce, a priority system is needed best allocate those scarce resources and capital to extend Auckland’s Transport System. This priority system in this submission will be brief with extended details provided in a separate submission to the Auckland Long Term Draft Plan.
Priority One (To be completed by 2018)
- Building of the Eastern Highway (to the Sub-Regional Standard Option as mentioned in Section 3.5 of the EASTDOR Final Report
- Realigning the Westfield Diamond
- Relocating or adding rail stations
- Re allocating bus routes, improving bus feeder systems to rail stations or bus RTN systems
- Feasibility Study of the Airport Rail Line including freight option
- Starting the bus RTN roll out especially along State Highway 20, 20A and 20B
- South-to-Manukau Rail Link Completion
Priority Two (To be completed by 2025)
- Completion of Inner City Rail Link
- Third Rail Line from Port to Papakura
- Airport Rail Line (if deemed feasible)
- Second Harbour Crossing
- South West Rail Line (if freight is still moving to Northland)
- Rail Electrification to Hamilton (not mentioned or included in this submission)
Priority Three (To be completed by 2040 or optional)
- Botany Rail Line
- North Shore Rail Line
- Upgrade Eastern Highway from Sub Regional Function option to full Regional Function option
This priority system was created in attempt to create an idea on how transportation projects should be rationalised and built over the next thirty years with scarce resources and capital. Priorities can change as the transportation needs change for Auckland. Through creating the basic outline of the Auckland Transportation Network over the next 30 years, and through more technical analysis in the Long Term Plan Submission, it is hoped that Auckland’s transport needs will not virtually bankrupt the city and allow the city to be known again for its affordability and economic progress. Also the Auckland Transport Network ideas outline is designed to complement the LADU system also mentioned in this submission. The LADU system proposed in this submission is to allow the submission’s goal to be realised and affordability plus economic progress not be strangled by DURT!
$2.5 billion for the conversion – not bad when I worked out that using the incoming EMU’s in 6-car configuration could move around 9,000 people every hour (750 x 12 (12 trains an hour or every five minutes)) compared to 1,728 on a 144 capacity double-decker bus going down the bus-way every five minutes. Note I am using 5 minute frequencies as an example, the number can be increased or decreased as required. So heavy rail doing the heavy moving again as the most efficient form of passenger movement in a given time and space? Seem’s so – especially when heavy rail on The North Shore could mean catching a train from Albany and with possibly one transfer a train trip all the way to the airport via the City Rail Link. Impressive!
But I digress. Tonight the Devonport-Takapuna Local Board will receive the report and most likely debate it (if they get through their 300+ page agenda ) and the options available to them.
Needless to say this debate on Rail on the North Shore will be a debate that will continue for a long time to come – that I am certain about.