Tag: Auckland Transport

Pukekohe Electrification Ctd

Pukekohe Electrification Case Took Some Legs and Ran

 

After the news of Auckland Transport releasing the business case for extending the electrification all the way to Pukekohe, so that ALL Auckland Metro Rail services will be covered by the new EMU’s (replacing the existing diesel fleet), the entire concept has seem to grown legs and gone for a run on its own steam (excuse the pun).

From Auckland Now:

Electric trains could reach Pukekohe

SARAH HARVEY

Electric trains could run to Pukekohe if Auckland Council approves a $102 million upgrade to electrify the line past Papakura.

The electrification of Auckland’s train system is already well underway and an Auckland Transport spokesman said today they were “looking at options” to extend the project to Pukekohe.

“This would see trains running from Pukekohe to Britomart every 20 minutes at peak times and every 30 minutes at other times.”

The extra stretch is expected to cost $102.3m including buying two trains, creating park and ride facilities, new stations at Paerata and Drury and a major station upgrade at Pukekohe. Three bridges would be raised and the lowered.

Almost $19m has already been set aside in Auckland Transport’s long term plan for the project, which is expected to save $2m a year by having electric rather than diesel engines.

Mayor Len Brown welcomed an investigation, saying it would mean people in Franklin would be able to make full use of the rail network along with the rest of Auckland.

“This would mean quieter, faster and more efficient trains all the way to Pukekohe.”

Brown said Pukekohe was a key centre for residential and business growth, and there would be a rapidly growing need to move people to and from homes and jobs.

The area’s population is predicted to more than treble in the next 30 years to close to 80,000.

Franklin Local Board chairman Andy Baker said electrification was something the board and community had advocated for for a long time.

“We are extremely pleased that the investigation is happening now as it makes sense to do the work while we have contractors and systems in place to build Auckland’s electric rail network. ”

The first electric train is due to arrive in Auckland from Spain in the third quarter of 2013 and will undergo significant testing before going into public service in 2014.

 

 

And so it seems Auckland, especially South and Counties Auckland are all abuzz with the real possibility that by 2016, electric trains could be running from Pukekohe all the way to Britomart and Swanson (out west).

In saying that we in South and Counties Auckland must also not lose sight in all this excitement on the Manukau South Rail Link which would allow EMU’s to run Pukekohe to Manukau direct services, giving easy and fast access for South and Counties Auckland to their major service and employment hub – Manukau City Centre.

 

Exciting times ahead for this part of Auckland in regards to rail and efficient, accessible public transport.

 

You can see the Auckland Transport Business Case for Electrification to Pukekohe at my PUKEKOHE ELECTRIFICATION CASE post.

 

Papakura Station – Refurbished

Opening of Papakura Station Platform Three

 

Over the weekend rail Block of Lines, the rail engineers had “commissioned” platform three at Papakura Station after an extensive revamp. This revamp included moving the old heritage Papakura Station Building and Signal Panel to the Platform Three location and sprucing the building up for a new lease of life. Platform Four at Papakura Station should have also been commissioned but will not be in use until the Electric’s start running from late next year.

 

I have some photos of Papakura Station taken from the over-bridge this afternoon. It is of note I was one of the first passengers out of platform three this  morning on the 5:05am service from Papakura to Britomart via The Eastern Line. I must say on first looks the new platform and refurbished building were looking very good. But I shall let you judge:

 

I will try endeavour to get close-ups and some shots inside the refurbished station building later on this week when I have time off.

For those looking for the station building moving shots from earlier this year, refer to my PAPAKURA STATION BUILDING ON THE MOVE post.

Minutes from Meeting

Manukau South Link – Moving Ahead – Slowly

 

November 7, I had posted in my “WHEELS OF PROGRESS CONTINUE TO TURN” post how the Auckland Council Transport Committee resolved to pass a motion on moving along with the Manukau South Rail Link:

 

Today I took a quick look over and found the UNCONFIRMED Minutes (they will not be confirmed until the next Transport Committee meeting next month) of November’s meeting and found the resolutions in regards to the Manukau South Link:

 

For those who hate scrolling here is the motion and resolution here:

 

Transport Committee – 07 November 2012
Minutes – Page 5

8 Notices of Motion

  • 8.1 Notice of Motion

Cr GS Wood to move:

  • That the Transport Committee: Requests Auckland Transport to give a high priority to the installation of a south facing rail link between the Manukau Spur Line and the North Island Main Trunk Line at Wiri so that this connection can be in place by the time that electrification of the Auckland Metro rail system occurs.

Resolution number TRAN/2012/93

MOVED by Cr GS Wood, seconded Cr M Lee:

That the Transport Committee:

  • a) Receives the Notice of Motion by Cr George Wood: “Requests Auckland Transport to give a high priority to the installation of a south facing rail link between the Manukau Spur Line and the North Island Main Trunk Line at Wiri so that this connection can be in place by the time that electrification of the Auckland Metro rail system occurs.”
  • b) Notes that rail construction is the responsibility of KiwiRail.
  • c) Requests that Council officers consult with Auckland Transport (and the relevant Local Boards) and report back on the cost and benefits and strategic priority of a Manukau Branch line south facing connector in relation to other outstanding rail projects.

 

CARRIED

 

And so we wait as the wheels of the bureaucracy turn as the Benefit Cost Ration, as well as the strategic priority finding of the Manukau South Link get drawn up. It is a start as the Committee could have rejected the motion outright thus effectively burying the link for a very long time. I will keep the correspondence to the Transport Committee going seeking regular updates on how the planning is going for this crucial line.

I will also keep readers here at BR:AKL updated on any progress as well.

 

But so far; a small victory, and a heading in the right direction. Fingers crossed folks 🙂

 

Pukekohe Electrification Case

Pukekohe to be Electrified by 2016?

 

Last week I had posted on the progress of the Manukau South Link and Electrification to Pukekohe (WHEELS OF PROGRESS TURNING CTD). Yesterday I had gotten wind and later a hold of a the business case study for extending the Auckland Electrification Project all the way to Pukekohe – the southern most station on the Auckland Metro Rail Network. This business case will be presented to the Auckland Transport Board meeting on the 20th of November in the open session of the meeting. Just out of curiosity I do not see the Manukau South Link sitting in that agenda – time for an email?

 

Anyhow, below is the business case with workings and drawings for the options available when extending the electrification to Pukekohe:

 

I have not gone through the full document on the electrification to Pukekohe as of yet, but will endeavour to do so over the weekend and write-up commentary next week!

 

However now we at least have something to see and work on in regards of the potential $102m electrification extension project, which can include two brand new rail stations complete with Park and Ride facilities.

 

Exciting times ahead in this department – that is for sure! 

LGOIMA Request Time Again

Time for a Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act Request

 

It is time to file another Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act request to the Auckland Council. This time the LGOIMA request will be on the recently opened Auckland Transport public car park building in Manukau which I reported on this morning. The request I will be filing will be for the original business case presented to the former Manukau City Council (under Mayor Len Brown) on this $14m building before it was carried over as a legacy project by today’s Auckland Council.

 

I am curious to what the business case was for this parking building in trying to understand why the former Manukau City Council went ahead with this project and possibly why Auckland Council did not stop it.

 

I’ll be keeping the readers up to date on the request – whether it is accepted or rejected by Council officials.

 

But in any case it is time to take a peek and what was the methodology behind the construction of this parking building in Manukau City Centre! 

(South) Auckland Gets Shafted – Again (Ctd)

Someone Flushed Good Money Down the Loo – on a Possible White Elephant

 

I got wind of this particular story last night on $14 million of our ratepayers cash being spent on a possible (heck it is actually) White Elephant called a car parking building.

From Bernard Orsman of The NZ Herald:

$14m empty carpark – that you paid for

By Bernard Orsman BernardOrsman

Rates slashed but Manukau’s $14m parking building remains almost empty daily.

A carparking building in Manukau that cost ratepayers $14 million to build is sitting virtually empty and slashing prices to attract vehicles.

The building has been called a “dog” by councillor Dick Quax and lauded by Mayor Len Brown as a transformational project for the Manukau community – few of whom are using it.

When the Herald visited yesterday, the top two levels of the seven-storey Ronwood Ave carpark were empty and there were just 10 vehicles on the top five levels, including five Auckland Council cars.

The first and second floors had 62 and 18 vehicles respectively, but overall the 680-space carpark hadan occupancy rate of just 13 per cent.

It is understood the occupancy rate has improved since Auckland Transport cut the hourly rate from $3 to $1 and the all-day casual rate from $19 to $6 and $4 for an early bird special.

The transport body is matching and, in some instances, undercutting its own on-street rates to lure vehicles to the carpark. The on-street charges are $1 an hour and up to a maximum of $5 for all-day parking.

The $14.05 million carpark opened on June 18 as a revenue-gathering, commercial operation by Auckland Transport.

An Auckland Transport spokeswoman yesterday said it was performing below budget while the new Manukau Institute of Technology campus – which is leasing 240 carparks – was still under construction.

It was also built to free up valuable land in the city centre for future development to provide another 354 leases and act as a park-and-ride facility for the new Manukau branch line railway station with 86 public spaces.

The pro-public transport Auckland Transport Blog has called the carpark a disaster and an appalling waste of money, and published aerial photographs showing it set in a “sea of … car parking” at Manukau central.

Mr Quax said the carpark was a dog and he did not believe it would reach capacity for a long time, and councillor George Wood described it as a strange project with few vehicles using it.

But Mr Brown, who encountered strong resistance to the carpark when he was Mayor of Manukau City, remains bullish.

“This project is an investment in the future of Manukau City along with the neighbouring train station and MIT campus currently being built,” he said. “It is an example of our commitment to our growing metropolitan centres across Auckland.”

A planned $6 million expansion of the carpark has been cancelled.
Carparking woes

$14m cost to build

680 parking spaces

90 spaces in use yesterday

$19 original all-day casual rate

$4 new all-day early bird rate

 

Oh dear, oh dear what has the Mayor and Auckland Transport done with this folly.

 

My reaction of Facebook reaction was rather swift as well as Twitter comments on what $14m could of been better spent on:

Meh – the Mayor is full of crap (even more so than the Mangere Sewage Plant) with his comments on the AT public parking building in Manukau City Centre. If AT are having to slash prices to even undercut its own street parking that is already existing then we have a problem.

Note to AT Planners, Manukau is a destination station – not an origin station so a Park and Ride is next to useless here regardless of the Manukau Tertiary Campus

 

As I have said before; people COME TO Manukau as it is a major service hub, not start their journeys from the station (well there are a few but more of a rarity there) so a public car parking building acting as a Park and Ride is nothing short of a daft idea. In a conversation I had with a Councillor last night; I said that even with the Tertiary Campus being built, the parking building is in the wrong place let alone the fact no student is going to pay $19/day (although that has been slashed now) when they can park on the street for $5/day. Also the fact that most students are most likely to catch a bus or a train (Manukau South Link anyone?) to the campus might be an indicator that this new parking building is going to remain under utilised.

 

Now as for this AT parking building in the wrong spot, let me show some pictures for you to illustrate my point (click for full resolution):

The annotated pictures show what is currently happening and what SHOULD of happened to get better bang for our buck in ratepayer investment!

 

So what could of $14 million could of got the ratepayer instead of this parking building? It could have got the following (the newer Avondale Train Station cost $2 million as a base price comparison for a new station)

  • Close to a 1% reduction in our rates bill
  • The Walters Road Rail Station behind the Mitre 10 MEGA at Takanini, complete with Park and Ride, Kiss and Ride and even a shuttle bus facility
  • Upgrades to Papakura Station Interchange including again Park and Ride, Kiss and Ride and Bus Interchange
  • The Manukau South Link (4 times over)
  • Upgrade to the tired Otahuhu Town Centre Bus Station
  • New Bus Stops at Addison and East Takanini (which has no bus routes currently)
  • Deposit on the Selwyn Station complete again with Park and Ride, Kiss and Ride, and Shuttle Bus Facility (Selwyn Station is the relocated Meadowbank Station)
  • Decent lawn mowing and garden services for Papakura and Manurewa Local Boards

 

But no, we won’t be seeing any of those investments (apart from Selwyn Station and the Manukau South Link) any time soon!

 

Come on Your Worship and Auckland Transport, get it together with better investment and planning of our scarce ratepayer dollars on WORTHWHILE projects – for which that new Manukau Parking Building is NOT!

Wheels of Progress Turning Ctd

NZ Herald on “Boost for Trains In (the) South”

 

Wednesday I had posted on The Wheels of Progress Turning and how we are a step closer to Electrification all the way to Pukekohe and getting the Manukau South Link built and operating. Today Mathew Dearnaley from the NZ Herald posted his article on these two developments.

From the NZH:

Boost for trains in south

By Mathew Dearnaley

Auckland Transport will be asked by its council parent to give high priority to a south-facing rail link from Manukau while also considering the cost of electrifying trains to Pukekohe.

The council’s transport committee this week heard the organisation’s board is to consider electrification costs to Pukekohe at its next meeting in a fortnight.

But after the Franklin and Papakura local boards urged a more direct rail link with Manukau, the committee also decided to ask Auckland Transport to give that high priority before electric trains start running in 2014.

Although the Government’s existing $500 million electrification project is to stop at Papakura, committee member Christine Fletcher said an extension to Pukekohe was “the next logical step”.

Mrs Fletcher, who is also a council appointee to the transport board, believed an existing order of 57 electric trains being built-in Spain should be extended.

Although the cost of electrifying rail to Papakura was estimated at $115 million in 2008, and would normally be seen as the Government’s responsibility, committee chairman Mike Lee noted that he and Mrs Fletcher had persuaded the transport board last month to save $50 million by scaling down the upgrade of Dominion Rd.

“So it’s a matter of priority,” he said.

The committee also decided council staff should do their own study, although in consultation with Auckland Transport and the local boards, on the costs and benefits of a south-facing link from Manukau in relation to other rail projects.

Councillor George Wood said an $81 million north-facing line to Manukau, built to feed into a new Manukau Institute of Technology campus, was not “giving anywhere near the level of service it could do to people living to the south”.

 

Hmm Mathew, you might want to do some research (or get your junior to do so) on how the Manukau South Link came about. To give you hand go click THIS LINK and THIS LINK and THIS LINK on how the entire Manukau South Link matter arose and got to where it was.

As I have emailed Councillors Wood, Fletcher and Lee; a massive thanks to all three of them was sent for facilitating the discussion on the Manukau South Link which then got put alongside the Pukekohe electrification proposal. A special thanks to Councillor George Wood was also mentioned for bringing to the Transport Committee the Notice of Motion after I had raised concern about the South Link with him directly.

Now I will work on operation proposals on services running from Pukekohe and Papakura to Manukau using the South Link using both the existing DMU (Diesel) rolling stock and the new upcoming EMU (Electric) rolling stock and forward them to the Transport Committee for consideration.

But as I have said before:

I will continue to advocate and lobby hard for that South Link to be built – FOR YOU, the residents of South (and Counties) Auckland! As you deserve better!

 

Why?

 

Well I get nothing out of this directly nor personally per se. What I do get once the South Link is built and operating is the quiet satisfaction that access for South and Counties Auckland to Manukau via the South Link (Manukau being the major Southern Hub of Auckland) has been greatly improved for residents and communities south of Manukau. Quiet satisfaction that as a citizen and ratepayer of Auckland, I have done my part in advocating and lobbying our civic institutions in wanting to make my community that I live in a better place. And that is regardless if I am elected to Papakura Local Board next year or not!

 

I’ll draw up another post this weekend on my campaign for Papakura Local Board, but as Councillor Wood noted and thanked in the Transport Committee on Wednesday: I do have a real passion and drive on transport and planning issues here in Auckland as I just simply want Auckland my home to be a better place to live, work and play in. Thus why I lobby, advocate and draw up proposals for Council on all things Transport and Planning – it is not for me – it is for you!

 

BEN ROSS : AUCKLAND

Shining The Light – To a Better Papakura (OUR home)
AND
To a Better Auckland – (OUR City)

Auckland 2013: YOUR CITY – YOUR CALL

 

Wheels of Motion are Turning

Fighting for the South Manukau Link

 

Continuing to advocate and lobby hard for that South Link to be built – FOR YOU, the residents of South (and Counties) Auckland! As you deserve better!

 

Last month I had posted on someone deciding to place a nice big concrete pad in the middle of the path for the Manukau Rail Southern Link. You can see the post (SOUTH AUCKLAND GETS SHAFTED – YET AGAIN) by clicking on the link.

Well after some advocating and lobbying, Councillor George Wood who is a member of the Council Transport Committee got a Notice of Motion placed into November’s agenda about the South Link. The Notice of Motion is:

Requests Auckland Transport to give a high priority to the installation of a south facing rail link between the Manukau Spur Line and the North Island Main Trunk Line at Wiri so that this connection can be in place by the time
that electrification of the Auckland Metro rail systems occurs. 

You can see the Notice of Motion in the November Transport Committee Agenda at the bottom of this post.

 

Naturally I am supporting this motion after kicking up the initial fuss in the first place when I first spotted the concrete pad in the middle of the South Link’s path.

I had this to say in my material forwarded to Councillor Wood as well as my submission to the Regional Public Transport Plan:

The link to the original New Zealand Herald article: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10799107

 

As I said above, the Herald and I had commented on the missing link in April. Now some seven months later it seems apparent the link is a no-go or basically dead. Without the link; Manurewa, Papakura and Pukekohe are virtually isolated in easy access to Manukau by rail. This flies directly in the face of the idea around a Rapid Service that should allow very easy access with minimum fuss or transfers to a primary service centre for South Auckland.

The current proposal using trains which incur a transfer penalty at Puhinui or the bus trundling along the Great South Road (which takes more than double the time a train does) from Papakura to Manukau (and skipping Homai on the way) to me in my opinion is substandard for the people in these locales, and basically reinforces the isolation factor/feeling these residents have from a major service, employment and leisure centre!

Operational Proposal for Manukau to Papakura Link

With the Manukau to Papakura Link (The South Link) built for around $3.8m, the next question is what kind of services do you run. The answer is both straight forward for both the existing diesel passenger train fleet and the upcoming new electric passenger train fleet. The estimate length of journey from Papakura to Manukau Station via The South link is around 19 minutes (plus a seven minute walk from the Manukau Station to the Westfield Manukau Mall), compared to 30 mins using the Waka Pacific 471 and 472 bus according to the www.at.co.nz Journey Planner.

Thus allowing for turnaround at Manukau and Papakura Stations and knowing what rolling stock availability there is available pre-EMU’s; I recommend using one ADL-2 class DMU to run a single service backwards and forwards between Manukau and Papakura every one hour  in a single direction from 6:00am until around 10:19pm – seven days a week. That means for example your Papakura to Manukau via The South Link would start at Papakura at 6:30am and arrives in Manukau at 6:49am; then leave Manukau at 7:00am to make its return run to Papakura via the South Link.

An example of how a proposed Papakura-Manukau via The South Link Timetable would work (for brevity I have not included the afternoon services)

From Papakura Arrive at Manukau From Manukau Arrive at Papakura
    6:00am (first service) 6:19am
6:30am (first service) 6:49am 7:00am 7:19am
7:30am 7:49am 8:00am 8:19am
8:30am 8:49am 9:00am 9:19am
9:30am 09:49am 10:00am 10:19am
10:30am 10:49am 11:00am 11:19am
11:30am 11:49am 12:00pm 12:19pm
9:30pm (last service) 9:49pm 10:00pm (last service) 10:19pm

 

When the new electric trains are fully on-stream replacing the diesel fleet between Papakura and Swanson, the frequencies can be increased to every 30 minutes at the minimum, or 20 minutes for optimum service delivery until either the Botany or Airport Line (via Puhinui Station) is open and a new operating model would be in place (subject to EMU fleet availability).

In concluding this section of my RPTP; I highly recommend Auckland Transport remedy the situation and get that link for $3.8m built by 2016 at the absolute latest. Once the link is built, operating services would begin on an hourly timetable, stepping up to 20 minute frequencies once the new EMU fleet is fully online. To do otherwise is not an option unless you endorse isolating a major part of the community from its main service centre!

 

Now what I did not mention is the fact that we will have 10 ADL-class DMU’s available when all the EMU’s are online 2016. With ADL DMU’s already by then doing the Papakura – Pukekohe shuttle runs until the main line is electrified from Papakura to Pukekohe, those DMU’s can be extended to do a full Pukekohe – Papakura – Manukau via the Southern Link shuttle service until such a time Pukekohe is electrified and the EMU’s fully take over. So with upwards of 10 DMU’s, you can pretty much obtain 15-20 minute frequencies on Pukekohe – Manukau shuttles until those EMU’s can do the runs in place of the DMU’s (most likely 2020).

 

 

So here I am pitching for the residents and communities of: Homai, Manurewa, Takanini, Mahia, Papakura, Drury and (in-part) Pukekohe to get the missing link built for a frequent and rapid service to Manukau – the primary service and employment hub of South and Counties (former Franklin District) Auckland. Manukau has more connections to South Auckland residents than the CBD ever will, and as a result South Auckland should be able to access Manukau easily and efficiently which building The South Link will provide. To not provide the link and roll out the services utilising the link in my opinion as a Papakura resident and ratepayer, an insult to my fellow South Auckland neighbours and communities.

 

Thus I will continue to advocate and lobby hard for that South Link to be built – FOR YOU, the residents of South (and Counties) Auckland! As you deserve better!

 

BEN ROSS : AUCKLAND

Shining The Light – To a Better Papakura (OUR home)
AND
To a Better Auckland – (OUR City)

Auckland 2013: YOUR CITY – YOUR CALL

 

 

The Agenda

 

 

 

3, 2, 1 AT-HOP IS GO!

And We are Away with AT-HOP

 

Monday has been and gone and all was relatively well for the first day of AT-HOP (for commuters that is).

No major problems at Britomart or Newmarket were heard of via the feedback back to BR:AKL. Any problems that might have occurred seemed to be more passenger orientated as everyone gets use to AT-HOP 🙂

 

Auckland Transport has released a new brochure on AT-HOP showing the traditional cash fares, AT-HOP fares, and the expanded Monthly Pass system. You can see the brochure in the embed below:

 

And for a close up of the AT-HOP Stored Value Fares vs Standard Cash Fares

 

Hmm I remember a smallish episode with AT over those AT-HOP Stored Value fares not too long ago 😉

 

Any case; AT-HOP IS GO and away 😀

Oh and I noticed all the big wigs from AT were at Britomart last night too… hehe