How the City Rail Link (CRL) will be a gamechanger for Auckland
CRL benefits for rail users
At the moment trains arrive at Britomart and can’t go any further. These “dead-end” tunnels are being turned into through tunnels making Britomart just another stop, not the end of the run. This means trains can run in both directions through Britomart.
To come into the city centre, you presently have only one stop at the bottom of Queen St. With CRL, there will be stops mid-town (Aotea at Wellesley and Victoria Streets) and uptown (off Karangahape Road at Mercury Lane and Beresford Square).
You’ll benefit from travel times. From Mount Eden station it will take only three minutes to get to Karangahape Station; it will take six minutes to Aotea Station and nine minutes to Britomart. More travel time examples are here.
CRL will revolutionise the way you get to your destination. Think of the CRL like the Waterview tunnel which joined up motorways. The underground rail link joins with other lines on the rail network. For example, a Western Line train entering Britomart will leave as an Onehunga Line service and vice versa.
The entire Auckland rail network will operate more efficiently, allowing more trains to run more often.
There will be a new service to run between west and south Auckland that avoids the city centre altogether.
The CRL means the rail network to at least double its capacity. Train services totalled 21.0 million passenger boardings for the 12-months to March 2019, an increase of +3.2% on the previous year. Between 2003 and 2017, Auckland’s population grew 28 per cent, yet public transport patronage increased by 63 per cent - more than double the population growth. Further growth is constrained by the present dead end at Britomart. For the 12 months to March 2019 Auckland public transport patronage totalled 98.2 million passenger boardings, an increase of +6.9% on the previous year.
Timetables will be not needed at peak time as trains will arrive at least every 10 minutes and probably less.
The new stations and re-developed Mount Eden station will be world-class. You can see the designs here. Thanks to a joint Auckland Council/Government agreement in July 2018, the tendering process could consider work such as widening tunnel sizes, lengthening platforms at the new stations to cater for nine carriage trains rather than six, the second entrance for the Karangahape station and other associated station work.
This is Auckland's present rail network - and then with CRL
CRL benefits for bus users
Bus capacity is starting to be a concern to the extent that light rail is also planned by NZTA for Auckland's future transport needs.
Without the CRL, major bus routes will be at or over capacity in 2021.
The CRL provides more public transport options enabling more people to consider train travel and so helping enable a much more efficient and effective bus network.
It will lead to reduced bus congestion in the city centre.
CRL benefits for motorists
The CRL has transport benefits for large parts of Auckland, including road users, as making public transport a better travel choice will ease pressure on roads for those who need to use them.
So it eases congestion on our roads by providing commuters with a viable transport alternative to the car.
A six-carriage electric train takes about 625 cars off the road. Nine train carriage capacity is now planned for CRL.
The CRL will move the equivalent capacity of three Auckland Harbour Bridges or 16 extra traffic lanes into the city at peak times.
CRL benefits for Auckland's economy
During the next 30 years, about 60% of New Zealand’s population growth is expected to occur in Auckland.
Keeping Auckland moving in the face of this growth is a major challenge.
By increasing rail capacity into the city centre and providing two new stations in the heart of Auckland's commercial hub, the CRL will also expand the economic potential of the city and the drive needed to increase productivity by enhancing access to businesses and jobs.
A successful Auckland is pivotal to New Zealand's future economic development with GDP per capita 30 to 50 per cent higher than other parts of the country.
Auckland provides one-third of the country's GDP and is home to more than 60 per cent of the top 200 companies. The city accounts for over 34 per cent of New Zealand jobs.
The city centre is the hub of Auckland's economy with one in six employees working there and up to 16,000 employees per square km. City centre workers earn 27 per cent more than the average for Auckland. There are now more than 110,000 jobs in the city centre,meaning workers from across Auckland need access to transport that brings them into the city.
Improved accessibility, particularly to the city centre, is key to Auckland's economic growth. By 2041, the city centre will account for 30 per cent of the Auckland region's GDP.
The city centre is rapidly becoming a residential location, with more than 40,000 people calling it home. An additional 7000 housing units are in the development pipeline.
By 2041, city centre and city fringe resident numbers will double to 140,000. City centre and city fringe employee number will double to more than 200,000. City centre tertiary student numbers will grow by 30% to 72,000.
Transport is critical to shape urban form and lead economic development. Cities with efficient transport systems are more productive than dispersed places. Significant economic gains can be made from transport investment that improves access to central city businesses by skilled workers throughout the region.
As a major construction project, the CRL will increase economic benefits through employment and spending.
The CRL will also help government and council objectives for the economy by making affordable housing in outer areas more viable through effective transport access.
There are 165,000 square metres of commercial real estate planned for delivery over the next five years.
CRL benefits for urban renewal
The CRL project will catalyse economic development at sites adjacent to the stations in the same way that the Britomart Transport Centre has already transformed its neighbouring areas.
This is a concept design for what high density residential and commercial development may look like around the Mt Eden station.
The mid-town station near Aotea will generate increased activity in that area, much as Britomart Transport Centre has closer to the waterfront.
Britomart as a transport hub led development in what had been an unattractive and under-utilised part of the city centre.
The new uptown Karangahape station and Mount Eden station redevelopment will unlock additional high-density residential capacity and generate urban renewal within the inner-city fringe catchment. This will provide housing stock to help reduce Auckland's housing shortage over time.
Significant development is expected in all the station precincts in addition to the enhanced transport provision. Investment in well-designed quality rail infrastructure has been shown to accelerate private investment and broader regeneration projects.
There are more than 70 commercial and residential building projects underway or proposed within a short distance of the CRL route.