Debunking the Same #CityRailLink Myth. CRL Benefits all of Auckland not just the City Centre

Paradox alert


New mayoral candidate Victoria Crone who was Managing Director of Xero has not had the best of starts today if this piece was anything to go by: No Victoria, the machines aren’t taking our jobs. And apparently it didn’t go any better over at the NBR either with Crone not giving support to the City Rail Link even though Central Government backs it (just matter of 2018 or 2020): Mayoralty contender Crone talks commitment and competency.


But it was the accompanying comment in the NBR piece that caught my attention:

Fantastic news for Auckland. A excellent candidate to contest the mayoralty.

Main competitor is Goff, who has publicly stated he supports:

Supports City Rail Link – $3b+(after all the real costs are added) to move a small amount of Auckland around the CBD. We should be growing the regions for that amou nt of money, creating Albany and Manukau as Metropolitan centers to move jobs, housing and people around the region.

Supports Intensification – Constrained to the metropolitan urban limits, thefore pushing up the price of land everywhere therfore pushing up the price of housing everywhere. Smaller housing also means smaller families, Germany has an average family size of 1.1 children and dropping, one of the most highly intensified countries in Europe. Our cities will intensified to the point they impact the next generations growth. Let the city grow, let developers provide infrastructure as we move out. Immigrants come to Auckland because it is Auckland and not London, Tokyo or New York.

Advocates to minimize Waste at Auckland Council – Why only minimize, should we not eliminate it.

If you can look to add policies which counter Phil Goffs points above and you can categorically say that rates increase will be no more than the rate inflation, heck even say you might reduce rates by taking out the tranport levy and giving back some of the heinous rates rises that have been forced on ratepayers since 2010 you will win.




The part in bold presents the paradox in that you want to have the Metropolitan Centres take the load (and I do) but you deny the very method of moving the largest amount of people over medium to long distances in the most efficient manner – heavy rail.

You see the City Rail Link is not about moving people around the City Centre itself. That is what the City and Inner Link buses and walking does. The City Rail Link removes a dead-end at Britomart and opens it up to a thorough station in the middle of the rail network which allows more trains per hour to move back across the entire network in itself. Currently we can get 6 trains per hour on the Southern, Eastern and Western Lines and around three trains per hour on the Onehunga line meaning 21 trains per hour at Britomart – its capacity which doesn’t even factor in the conflicting movements of all the lines at Britomart. Given the continued increase in rail patronage (Your Train Timetable for Christmas Day, Boxing Day, and the Summer Holiday Period) next year is when we are meant to hit capacity in Britomart patronage wise.

The City Rail Link therefore opens up the rail network and eliminates most of the conflicting movements between Newmarket and Britomart. This means we can go from six to twelve trains per hour on the Southern, Western and Eastern Lines with the Onehunga Line able to hit four trains an hour thus increasing capacity on the network. That means around 40 trains an hour through the rail system compared to the earlier 21. The CRL also allows the construction of the Airport Line and the North Shore Line as well as the eventual Botany Line.


Also at present the rail network pre and post CRL (but minus Airport and other proposed lines) connects to six of the ten Metropolitan Centres and the City Centre itself. Those six being:

  • Newmarket
  • Henderson
  • New Lynn
  • Sylvia Park
  • Manukau
  • Papakura


So you see our heavy rail system connects up six of those ten Metropolitan Centres with the Northern Busway (which is replaced as the North Shore Line post CRL) connecting two more: Albany and Takapuna (after a short detour). With the North Western Busway and Botany Line on the cards the last two Metropolitan Centres of Westgate and Botany are also connected to the Rapid Transit Network. But for those other four Metropolitan Centres to be connected to the RTN (made up primarily of the rail network and Northern Busway at the moment) we do not get the other four Metropolitan Centres linked up.


In the end sure the Metropolitan Centres can take more of the load but when six of them are connected to the heavy rail system and we need to lift the capacity of that system this is where the City Rail Link comes in.



  • 3 trains per hour = a train every 20 minutes
  • 4 trains per hour = a train every 15 minutes
  • 6 trains per hour = a train every 10 minutes
  • 12 trains per hour = a train every 5 minutes. You don’t need a timetable when trains run that frequent on a line.

Theoretical Capacity

  • 18 six car sets an hour + 3 x 3 car sets per hour (so the 21) = 14,625 passengers per hour
  • 36 six car sets per hour + 4 x 3 car sets per hour (so 40 (yes it means more EMUs)) = 28,500 passengers per hour



EMU savings


4 thoughts on “Debunking the Same #CityRailLink Myth. CRL Benefits all of Auckland not just the City Centre

  1. Lets be straight about things Ben. I thought Central Govt supported a rail system based on two major criteria being met by certain dates, not a blanket support as you suggest in the first paragraph.

    I have not met Victoria, but having seen the work she has done bringing people together towards a focussed goal at Xero, I suspect she will present (with time) the sort of candidate that more than a few people can associate with and feel they are represented by.

    Lets see how the next year goes.

    1. The 2020 start date is the blanket support date from the Central Government’s current stand.

      The two targets you mention determine whether the Government brings the main tunnelling forward to 2018 (the earliest possible start date).

      We have already met the first target the patronage target on current tracking. The second target the employment target was pushing it but new development in the CBD will see it through over the next 7 years at current rate.

      As for Crone, her start was less than desirable with commentators on both sides of the coin not very warm to how she has presented herself thus far. Then again I am not particularly warm towards Goff either.

      It was raised that neither Goff nor Crone have attended a Governing Body or Committee of the Whole meeting of the main Council nor most likely the Local Boards unlike Mark Thomas.

      I have a dim view of candidates who dont do their homework on the mechanics of Council prior.

      1. Thanks for the clarification Ben on the start date. As for the employment numbers its difficult from what I understand to see them being met…but I don’t have a problem with a candidate expressing an opinion, its a lot better than the advisor managed approach so many in local and central government currently employ. Will be interesting to see who is first to realise the facts require a change of opinion, after all the ability to change direction is what is required rather than dogma.

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