City Rail Link



The CRL is the largest single transport infrastructure project in New Zealand's history.

It has been a vision for Auckland since the 1920’s. You can read about the history here.

BREAKTHROUGH: In December 2018, CRL celebrated a major milestone with the breakthrough from the Albert Street tunnels to CRL tunnels across the Commercial Bay site, Downtown Auckland

IT'S ALL GO! AT Chair Lester Levy, Auckland Mayor Len Brown, Prime Minister John Key and Transport Minister Simon Bridges at the historic groundbreaking ceremony for the CRL in Downtown Auckland June 2016

Here we list the big milestones in 2019.

Follow the links at the bottom of the page for milestones in previous years of the Project.

Aotea Station work starts

09 September 2019

The first stage of City Rail Link  work for Aotea Station in Auckland’s CBD will start on Tuesday, 17 September.

The staged work, which involves locating and shifting underground utilities, is along Albert Street between the Wyndham and Wellesley Street intersections, and on some surrounding streets.

“This marks the start of the biggest phase of CRL construction to give Aucklanders the modern rail network their city needs,” says Dale Burtenshaw, Deputy Project Director for the Link Alliance. 

“Before we can construct the Aotea underground station we first need to locate and then get utilities such as power and water lines out of the way of the station’s footprint.   It will take us about six months to do that.”    

Mr Burtenshaw says there is a commitment to minimise the impact from the work.   

“Given the challenges of working in the middle of a busy city, we acknowledge the that our work will, unavoidably, disrupt life for those who work and live in the CBD for some time.  We are working to manage those impacts as effectively as we can.”

The main impact from the utilities work will be noise and vibration, changes to road layouts, changes to access for those on foot, and visual impacts.

Measures will be in place to keep safe access to property and footpaths at all times, keep buses and other traffic moving through the work zones, and to reduce noise and vibration.  

Work for the Aotea station will be delivered in three phases.  When utility works are complete, station construction starts in early 2020 and will continue until late 2023.  Streetscape improvements follow, with the CRL opening in late 2024.

Companies sign up for Auckland’s City Rail Link project

19 July 2019

City Rail Link Ltd’s commitment to transform public transport in Auckland took a huge step forward today when it signed a contract with the Link Alliance to build the main stations-and-tunnels programme of work for the City Rail Link (CRL).

Transport Minister Phil Twyford, Auckland Mayor Phil Goff, CRL Ltd, the Link Alliance and kaumatua representing Tāmaki Makaurau Iwi were present for the signing as were project partners KiwiRail and Auckland Transport.

From left to right -Auckland deputy Mayor Bill Cashmore, Transport Minister Phil Twyford, CRLL Chair Sir Brian Roche, Auckland Mayor Phil Goff

Mr Twyford says the signing is significant  for Auckland and for New Zealand.

“Given the competition world-wide to build infrastructure, the whole country can take pride in the fact that such a high calibre of international companies want to come here and help build a better future for New Zealand,” Mr Twyford says.

Mr Goff describes CRL as a gamechanger for Auckland.

“It will double the capacity of our rail network, reduce travel times into and through the central city, and help take cars off the roads, as well as driving investment in our region. The signing of this agreement will help ensure the delivery of the world-class transport system our city needs.

“With the population of Auckland growing by 40,000 a year and public transport journeys exceeding 100 million in the past year, the completion of CRL can’t come soon enough,” Mr Goff says.

Signing the Project Alliance Agreement (PAA) formally clears the way for the three construction companies and three design companies in the Link Alliance, together with CRL Ltd, to start work building two new inner-city underground stations, upgrading the existing Mt Eden station, and completing tunnel construction. It is the single biggest programme of work for CRL, known as the C3 contract.

“Our signatures drying on the PAA represent a significant milestone not only in the history of this project, but for Auckland’s future as well with the delivery of a modern rail network,” says City Rail Link Ltd’s Chief Executive, Dr Sean Sweeney, said.

The New Zealand and international companies in the Link Alliance are Vinci Construction Grands Projets S.A.S, Downer NZ Ltd, Soletanche Bachy International NZ Limited, WSP Opus (NZ) Limited, AECOM New Zealand Limited and Tonkin+Taylor Limited.

Dr Sweeney says the companies have a proven record of delivering large and complex infrastructure.

“Aucklanders can be confident that a project transforming the way they travel, live and work will be delivered to a high standard, on time in 2024, and on budget, leaving behind an outstanding legacy for the city,” he says.

The Chairman of the Project Alliance Board, Pierre Bourgeois, says the Link Alliance is proud and excited to be delivering a landmark project for Auckland.

“As a truly international team with members from more than 25 countries, we look forward to working alongside local communities to safely construct the City Rail Link over the next five years. Together with CRL Limited, we are committed to realising the outstanding legacy CRL will leave for New Zealand’s biggest city,” Mr Bourgeois says.

The PAA and other project-related documents were signed inside the Chief Post Office heritage building in central Auckland, whose 4000 tonnes of 106-year-old masonry is being suspended on temporary foundations above the construction of a section of the tunnel below it.

The signing follows CRL Ltd’s announcements last April of the Link Alliance as its preferred bidder, and details of a $1 billion increase in the project to $4.4 billion after a rigorous and comprehensive review of project costs. The project’s two sponsors – The Crown and Auckland Council – subsequently approved CRL Ltd’s request for additional funding.

To ensure project momentum was not lost, the Link Alliance began work on a $75 million Early Works Contract while commercial and legal negotiations continued to finalise the PAA.

Construction of three smaller sections of the project at lower Queen Street/Britomart and north Albert Street in the city centre and utility-based work at Mt Eden are already underway.

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C1 Concrete pour

18 July 2019

Our contractors DSBJV have poured concrete for the first of Contract 1’s tunnel roofs, meaning that the very first tunnel section beneath the Chief Post Office (CPO) building has been completed.

There are 16 tunnel sections within the Contract 1 works, ten within the CPO building and six within Lower Queen Street.

Yesterday’s pour was at the eastern end of the up-main tunnel (going to Mt Eden) which will connect to Britomart’s platform 5. 15 roof pours to go!

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Construction under Albert Street’s northern end completed

04 July 2019

Construction of the tunnel under the northern end of Albert Street has finished, marking a shift in focus towards enhancement work along the busy central Auckland thoroughfare.

A concrete pour of the final section of tunnel box roof was completed successfully today (Thursday, 4 July) below the Albert Street/Customs Street intersection.

“There is now a finish line in sight for our work at the north end of Albert Street,” says City Rail Link Ltd’s Chief Executive, Dr Sean Sweeney. “There is still work to do underground, but we can now start to turn our attention to people-friendly improvements along Albert Street itself.”

The project re-opened the Albert Street/Wyndham Street intersection last month, and work is planned to start mid-July on the first phase of enhancement work. Improvements include  wider footpaths, more open places for people to share, and tree plantings.   Work will start from Wyndham Street and head block by block north towards Customs Street.

“If work goes to plan we are hoping to return the first section of enhancements back to the community around Christmas,” Dr Sweeney says.

The northern section of Albert Street tunnel between Wyndham and Customs Streets is 348 metres long. The final concrete pour now connects it to the one under the Commercial Bay property development, linking Albert Street to the CRL lower Queen Street/Britomart station construction site.

Construction in Albert Street began in December 2015, with the diversion of a major stormwater line to create room for the tunnel. Over the past three-and-a-half years, over a million hours were worked on site, 2,500 tonnes of steel bar reinforcement tied together, and over 10,000 cubic metres of concrete poured.  In that time, many kilometres of stormwater, electrical, gas, sewerage and internet lines were relocated or strengthened. Backfilling the trench around the tunnel will be completed in late winter.

Dr Sweeney acknowledges the work of the contractors, and the support from the local community.

“Construction like this in the middle of a city is never easy for anyone - the risks for workers that come from working in confined spaces, and the disruption for people living and working nearby – but we have taken a big step towards building a project that will change the way people can travel around our city,” he says.

The next programme of tunnel construction work on Albert Street is south of the Wyndham Street intersection. Planning by CRL Ltd and companies in the Link Alliance include strategies to manage the impact of those works when they start later this year.

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Re-opening of the Wyndham Street West intersection

14 June 2019

Road users will from this Monday (17 June) have much easier journeys through a busy central city intersection where access has been restricted  for the past three years because of the City Rail Link (CRL) project.

The re-opening of the Wyndham Street West intersection with Albert Street in an east-west direction will allow people to go straight across Albert Street in either direction again – east along Wyndham Street down to Queen Street or west past St Patrick’s Cathedral towards Hobson Street.

“We’re delighted to be able to reopen the intersection for through traffic,” says City Rail Link Ltd’s Chief Executive, Dr Sean Sweeney. “I want to thank people for their support and patience during our necessary work in the area,  I acknowledge it’s been a long wait, but I hope it will now be easier for people to access this section of Albert Street.”

Some restrictions will continue for both road users and pedestrians around the intersection. Vehicles will not be able to make right turns into Albert Street from either direction on Wyndham Street, and the footpath on the north or cathedral side of Wyndham Street West remains a construction zone.  Reinstatement of the footpath will start soon.

“There’s still work to be done and we would ask everyone, whether they are walking or using the roads, to continue to take care,” Dr Sweeney says.

Improved access marks the end of an important phase of CRL work in the area.  A trench 18 metres deep that was dug across the Wyndham/Albert Street intersection for the rail  tunnels has now been backfilled, and work on renewing and shifting underground utilities is finished.

Construction of the tunnels under Albert Street is due to finish next month and backfilling the full length of the tunnel trench will be completed in October.  Reinstatement of the first section of Albert Street will start at end of this winter and will be completed in 2020.

Dr Sweeney says while the end is in sight for CRL works at the harbour end of Albert Street, construction on other sections of the CRL project is now ramping up.

“Further disruption will be unavoidable, but we are committed to minimising impacts and working with our partners to keep traffic, particularly bus services, moving through our work sites,” Dr Sweeney says.

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Third year at Britomart

04 June 2019

The Downer Soletanche Bachy Joint Venture ( DSBJV) is now only a couple of months away from celebrating its third year constructing City Rail Link’s Contract 1 at Britomart.

The JV team has recently completed the bulk excavation of two trenches under the CPO Building and Lower Queen Street (LQS), and is now working on the construction of the new train tunnels.

Lower Queen Street

Bulk excavation of the 14m deep LQS trench was completed this month, enabling DSBJV to complete breakthrough works to expose the new Fletchers tunnels underneath Precinct’s Commercial Bay site.

Two large breakers were used to cut and breakout a number of secant piles. Works are also underway on the exposed Precinct tunnels to ensure they are ready to connect to the new C1 tunnels.

Along the northern secant pile wall of the LQS trench, works are underway to construct the concrete in-fills that will eventually form part of the permanent drainage path across LQS.

Northern Tunnel

Construction of the concrete base slabs for the northern tunnel was being completed this week. Construction of the infill area between the tunnel walls and diaphragm walls is underway, and will be filled with sand/cement flow-able fill over the next few weeks.

Tunnel walls will be started in late April, ready for roof construction in mid to late May.

Southern Tunnel

The southern tunnel is approximately two weeks behind the northern. This is due to the necessary removal of the old pedestrian underpass that previously ran from the train station through to where Commercial Bay is being built. Concrete pours are underway in the southern tunnel, with three out of five base slabs now complete.

Construction of the in-fill section between the tunnel and the diaphragm walls has just commenced.

Britomart Station lower levels

In the lower levels of Britomart train station, the northern curved blockwork walls are in the process of being removed. This will enable the existing train line to connect to the tunnel portal, which is located between the station and the northern tunnel under the CPO.

In May, the stairs on the northern side of the escalators, between the station’s lower and middle levels, will be demolished. This will be followed by works to modify the existing escalators. Access and egress for station passengers will be maintained at all times.

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Latest section taking shape

08 January 2019

Construction has taken another significant step with work starting on construction of the first of the two rail tunnel boxes to be built under the heritage-listed Chief Post Office (CPO) building in lower Queen Street.

Seventy cubic metres of reinforced concrete is being poured for the first base slab, or some of the floor, of the northbound tunnel below the old building.

This pour was an important moment for City Rail Link Ltd (CRLL) and its Contract 1 (C1) contractor Downer Soletanche Bachy JV, says CRLL Chief Executive Dr Sean Sweeney.

“We’ve been working for this moment since July 2016 – for the past 30 months or so, this is what we have been gearing up for. That time has been a challenging one for our C1 contract in lower Queen Street and Britomart.”

“Our teams have been working in some pretty demanding conditions, not only immediately adjacent to a live railway station but also excavating below sea level with the Waitemata Harbour only a few metres away. On top of that, some remarkable skill and innovation has been used to protect the CPO building so that we could get underneath it.”

Dr Sweeney says there is still a lot of work to be done in this area before both the northbound and southbound tunnel boxes are completed later this year.

“Once we’ve finished, it will be possible to walk the first section of the City Rail Link from Britomart station to beneath Albert Street as far as Wyndham Street. As for the CPO building, we are on track to reinstate and return it as part of the Britomart station in late 2020.”

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