Emphasis on the Link linking all of Auckland
When I was writing my commentary on PwC stipulating the need for the City Rail Link to unlock South Auckland (Budget 2015: Even PwC Stipulates Need For City Rail Link to Unlock South Auckland) the thought of the name – the City Rail Link struck me as not being all there.
I say “City Rail Link” and people wrongly associate it in benefiting the City Centre only. While the CRL does benefit the City Centre it also benefits wider Auckland in unlocking the capacity of the rail network as well. This is done by flipping Britomart from a dead-end station to a through station connecting up to the Western Line resulting in more efficient operations than what we have now in trains back tracking from a dead-end station. Simply put we move from 20 trains per hour in Britomart to 48 trains per hour in the City Rail Link under the City Centre. How does that benefit the rest of the rail network and even east and North Auckland? Well using the Manukau Line it means we can go sustain without congestion six trains an hour all day through that line and even move 10 trains an hour in the peaks meaning no one should be left behind at Orakei Station as they do now. It also means the same for the Southern Line servicing south of Manukau – the fastest growing area in Auckland.
Thus the higher the capacity given on the network the more people who can be moved per hour across the network and fewer people on the roads.
The City Rail Link also allows the expansion of the network from that increased capacity. So the Airport Line, North Shore Line and even Botany Line (replacing the South Eastern Busway) can all work efficiently as there is the capacity in the main spines (Southern, Manukau, Onehunga (Airport). The bus network also becomes more efficient under the City Rail Link as it allows the removal of duplicate bus lines (that follow the rail line) freeing up bus capacity for areas that do not have the rail system (mainly the Isthmus and North Shore (pre North Shore Line)).
So you see why the name City Rail Link is a misnomer in my opinion as it is not entirely for the City Centre. The Auckland Transit Link might be a more suitable name as it links up and completes the base puzzle for all our transit right across Auckland. Just like the Western Ring Route is the final motorway puzzle piece to our roading system.