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Old December 21st, 2005, 05:48 AM   #1
hkskyline
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AUCKLAND | Public Transport

Govt tags $450m for Auckland rail
By Bernard Orsman
21 December 2005
New Zealand Herald

The Government has firmed up plans to spend between $450 million and $600 million on Auckland's railway network but sees no need for electrification and a central-city tunnel in the short term.

A package to double-track the congested western railway line, reconfigure the Newmarket junction and build a new railway link to Manukau City was announced yesterday by Finance Minister Michael Cullen and Transport Minister David Parker.

This followed an announcement by former Transport Minister Pete Hodgson on the election hustings in August that the Government would build all new rail tracks and signal controls in Auckland, leaving the region to pay for trains and station upgrades.

Regional funding would come from rates and income from locally owned assets such as Ports of Auckland.

The Crown's funding package was greeted enthusiastically by Auckland Regional Council chairman Mike Lee on the proviso that state-owned Ontrack, which owns the rail network, gets on with the job of double-tracking without delay.

There are high hopes the western line will be double-tracked from Newmarket to Swanson, about 26km, before the end of 2008 and certainly before the Rugby World Cup in 2011.

There are also high hopes the Government will sort out the clumsy manoeuvre at Newmarket that sees western trains arrive in one direction and having to back out in the opposite direction.

The Government will also build a new 2km branch railway from central Manukau to the main southern line at Wiri.

Dr Cullen and Mr Parker said the package did not cover electrification of the Auckland rail network or a 3.5km rail tunnel from Britomart under the central business district to Mt Eden.

Alan Thompson, chief executive of the ARC's transport subsidiary, the Auckland Regional Transport Authority, said the region was working up a case for electrification to take to the Government in about April next year.

He said a programme of refurbishing old diesel trains would only cope with the 30 per cent annual increase in rail patronage for another year when the region would need to start buying new trains.

Green Party Auckland transport spokesman Keith Locke said electrification needed the green light urgently so the region could plan for the purchase of electric rather than diesel trains.

In order for the ``below track'' and ``above track'' division of labour to go smoothly, an Auckland passenger rail reference group has been set up to include the chairs of Ontrack and the regional transport authority.

Authority chairman Brian Roche said his organisation would continue to focus on improving passenger train services, including an expanded fleet of refurbished trains, station upgrades and passenger information.
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Old March 4th, 2006, 02:01 PM   #2
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Auckland Buses and Train



















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Old March 4th, 2006, 05:49 PM   #3
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^ That train is so short!
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Old March 4th, 2006, 05:52 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hkskyline
^ That train is so short!
They are two coaches trains which used to be the commuter trains for Perth. Until recently, not many ppl used to take the trains to commute around akl and only recently they started the Sundays service which wasnt there before
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Old March 5th, 2006, 01:22 AM   #5
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nice photo's
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Old July 21st, 2009, 03:46 AM   #6
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AUCKLAND | BRT

AUCKLAND [NORTHERN BUSWAY]

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AKORANGA BUS STATION







































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Old July 21st, 2009, 08:41 AM   #7
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Old July 21st, 2009, 09:25 AM   #8
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Looks like quite decent stations - would be good to see some of Auckland's (& Wellington's) rail stations done to this standard.

Great photography (as always). Thanks for posting.
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Old July 21st, 2009, 09:26 AM   #9
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When was this built?
How far does it extend?

Any proposals to convert to light or heavy rail in the future?
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Old July 21st, 2009, 09:53 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MelbourneCity View Post
When was this built?
How far does it extend?

Any proposals to convert to light or heavy rail in the future?





Major construction began in 2005. Albany and Constellation stations opened in November 2005. The busway and three remaining stations opened in February 2008.

Currently the new 8.7 km road on the eastern side of the Northern Motorway runs from Constellation Drive to the Auckland Harbour Bridge. It consists of:

A 6.24 km two-way road for buses running between Constellation Drive and Esmonde Road with bus stations at Constellation, Sunnynook, Smales Farm and Akoranga. A fifth station with Park and Ride facilities has been established north of the busway at Albany. (Constellation drive - Albany is on the highway and is not included in the distance.)

A single 2.5 km bus lane will run southbound from Akoranga Station to the Auckland Harbour Bridge, with the capacity to extend to a two-way system in the future.

The busway has been designed so that it can be converted to light rail if this proves viable in the future, and Transit New Zealand and the other busway partners are investigating the possibility of extending the busway further north. It has also been designed to accommodate car pools (vehicles with three or more people) in the future.

The Northern Buswayproject partners will look at this once the capacity at Victoria Park Viaduct has been improved.
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Old July 21st, 2009, 09:58 AM   #11
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I have to say we were very impressed with the Northern Bus way. Having used it a few times to get around the North Shore it is amazing how convenient and fast it is with the dedicated bus lane.

image hosted on flickr


The stations are all very clean and have CCTV surveillance with a loudspeaker. One occasion a traveler happened to walk across the bus lane and he was warned over the loudspeaker system to please get off. There are plenty of simple conveniences at each station.

Bike parks and bike lockers for those wishing to cycle to the stations

image hosted on flickr


$2 deposit allows you to lock up your bike for the day which you get back when you return the key!

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Safety points

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Elevators to upper levels

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Clean public toilets (including piped elevator music which stops when you unlock the door)

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Vending machines including ones selling the NZ Herald newspaper

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A great feature is the automatic ticketing booth

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In addition to the normal GPS information boards outside next to the actual stop, the waiting area has live LCD timetable information

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For the early risers both Constellation Drive and Albany Stations have a coffee bar and coffee is allowed on the bus

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Next Smales Farm station.........
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Old July 21st, 2009, 10:00 AM   #12
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The Northern Busway will also form part of the [CENTRAL CONNECTOR] project which is currently under construction and will link downtown Auckland with Newmarket. Also under investigation is the 2nd [HARBOUR CROSSING] which is more than likely going to be a tunnel under the harbour from the new waterfront [SEA+CITY] to North Shore and this will entail light rail. Lots happening but not soon enough
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Old July 21st, 2009, 10:04 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kegan View Post
Looks like quite decent stations - would be good to see some of Auckland's (& Wellington's) rail stations done to this standard.

Great photography (as always). Thanks for posting.
They are fab and what a pleasure ! Many of Auckland's new train stations will make these look like crap ... Newmarket, New Lynn, Henderson (completed and is apparently lovely), Manukau, Park, Panmure (completed and looks good) ... lots to look forward to

Thanks for the compliments.
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Old July 22nd, 2009, 03:19 AM   #14
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SUNNYNOOK BUS STATION













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Old July 24th, 2009, 04:58 AM   #15
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Old July 24th, 2009, 09:33 PM   #16
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Thanks SYDNEY for posting. I always enjoy your photos and narratives. And you probably know already I'm rather fond of Auckland.

However, I simply can't understand the point of these stations. This is normal bus line right? Ok, maybe an express on it, but we are not talking an O-bahn system here, just run of the mill buses?

What I can't understand is that buses, in an urban environment are really the poor man's tram or metro. The only saving grace of a bus is that it can pass through many urban streets, dropping or picking up it's passengers very close to their destination.

These stations defeat that very, and only advantage. Considering this part of Auckland is ultra low density, each station seems to be too far from any concentration of people to warrent such large stops. In effect, they look like white elephants built to appease a populace who really wanted a rail network, but couldn't justify it because there is not the density in that part of town.

I used to work on the North Shore and travelled every day over the Harbour Bridge by bus. This was the only public transport option I had. Sure, the bus would have more stops, windy roads and traffic than this service would, but it dropped me off 2 and a half minutes from where I worked. With this system it would take me much longer. I would just use the normal buses.

This does seem to be the problem other people face as in nearly every photo these stops are deserted. There are no people!

We have similar stops here and in many other cities and countries I have been to, but usually they are built in suburban town centers or around suburban shopping malls, not over a motorway.

Anyway, just my two cents.
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Old July 25th, 2009, 03:05 AM   #17
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Thanks SYDNEY for posting. I always enjoy your photos and narratives. And you probably know already I'm rather fond of Auckland.
Thank you very much, I know that you are fond of Auckland but that doesn't mean that you can't criticise. I am one of Auckland's biggest critics, that is how things improve - right ?

Quote:
However, I simply can't understand the point of these stations. This is normal bus line right? Ok, maybe an express on it, but we are not talking an O-bahn system here, just run of the mill buses?
It is a busway that is a very expensive busway and much needed to help traffic crossing over the harbour - a two lane road has been built soley for the use of buses along the SH1 motorway. It is very fast and very efficient. The idea is to future proof it for light rail which can only be introduced once there is a new harbour crossing. Currently plans are being drawn up to squeeze in another bus stop and to extend the busway from Albany via Silverdale to Orewa. Once that is complete then the busway will be even more worth the while. Orewa is miles away and travelling to Auckland takes travellers ages during peak times.

Quote:
What I can't understand is that buses, in an urban environment are really the poor man's tram or metro. The only saving grace of a bus is that it can pass through many urban streets, dropping or picking up it's passengers very close to their destination.
Like I said before, light rail can't be introduced until there is a new harbour crossing (plans are being finalised as I type this) and something had to be done to help the traffic congestion. The bus connections from each of these stations is brilliant. We watched as a Northern Express loaded people off and a few minutes later (sometimes instantly) there was another bus linking the suburbs. You can see that it is well planned from the map that I posted in post #1. There is at the moment no other alternative for the North Shore but buses and the buses are luxurious indeed - I won't have it any other way .

Quote:
These stations defeat that very, and only advantage. Considering this part of Auckland is ultra low density, each station seems to be too far from any concentration of people to warrent such large stops. In effect, they look like white elephants built to appease a populace who really wanted a rail network, but couldn't justify it because there is not the density in that part of town.
Not at all, Auckland is changing faster than we can keep track of - you can't go anywhere without encountering some sort of construction site. Areas around these bus stations are developing rapidly and I think that they had a look at future plans and built these bus stations where they are just for those reasons, also, making room for a future light rail system. For example:

Akoranga:
Takapuna is growing in the direction of this bus station with quite a few new apartments very close by. There is also a tertiary institution across the motorway (hence the pedestrian bridge crossing over the motorway) ... plans are afoot to expand this institution.

Smales Farm:
A massive new office park (and growing), a big school right there and many new apartments close by with a huge retirement complex. Smales Farm is still growing and attracts quite a few people to the area.

Sunnynook:
Major suburb with a huge light industrial area there - Wairau Park, we always use this bus station once we drop our car off to get back to the city. This is the smallest bus station along the line.

Constellation:
A huge growth node as well, many new offices have popped up there and residential areas are very close by. Many use this station to get to the new Albany town centre which has grown to within a few hundred metres of this bus station. Across the motorway is another massive light industrial area.

Albany:
This will definitely be the busiest bus station of them all. Albany is planned to be larger and denser than Takapuna town centre. Westfield Albany is one of Auckland's largest shopping centres and it will also be expanding, this is just a few hundred metres from the bus station. Eventually apartments and offices will envelope this bus station.

Quote:
I used to work on the North Shore and travelled every day over the Harbour Bridge by bus. This was the only public transport option I had. Sure, the bus would have more stops, windy roads and traffic than this service would, but it dropped me off 2 and a half minutes from where I worked. With this system it would take me much longer. I would just use the normal buses.
It all depends where you want to go. Some people that I have spoken to say that it is way quicker for them. Other say that it takes them longer and therefore they don't use it but stick to their original routine. You don't have to use the Northern busway. There are alternative bus routes that you can use.

Quote:
This does seem to be the problem other people face as in nearly every photo these stops are deserted. There are no people! We have similar stops here and in many other cities and countries I have been to, but usually they are built in suburban town centers or around suburban shopping malls, not over a motorway. Anyway, just my two cents.
These photos were taken on a Saturday and in most cases I tried to not get people in the pics so that I can showcase the bus stations only. In some of the pics you will see reflections of people in the glass ... I had to be inventive with the angles or wait for the right moment (Albany was a little more difficult). Photographs are a second or two in time By the time that we got to Constellation station tens upon tens of people were arriving to take the bus to Eden Park Stadium for the All Blacks vs Wallabies game. That is when we left. The stations are busy during the week and Albany station has just had a rather large expansion of the parking area because people were parking down the side streets (I wish that they will build an underground parking area there - it is too big now).

I don't know when last you were in Auckland but it doesn't stop growing. In the 4 years that I have been here it has changed hugely. I received a message on my photo gallery page from a woman who lived here 7 years ago and she said that she is totally amazed at the changes and can't recognise much but she enjoyed the pics I think that they have planned this very well and taken into account future growth plans. The only bus stop that isn't close to a town centre/commercial area is Sunnynook but it is within walking distance to a hub of activity. It is a job well done and I take my hat off to them

Last edited by SYDNEY; July 25th, 2009 at 03:38 AM.
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Old July 25th, 2009, 03:37 AM   #18
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Old July 25th, 2009, 03:51 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Justme View Post
What I can't understand is that buses, in an urban environment are really the poor man's tram or metro. The only saving grace of a bus is that it can pass through many urban streets, dropping or picking up it's passengers very close to their destination.

These stations defeat that very, and only advantage. Considering this part of Auckland is ultra low density, each station seems to be too far from any concentration of people to warrent such large stops.
My experience is the busway itself is a very fast way into or out of the CBD due to the dedicated lane, but that is just the cherry on top. The busway forms the backbone for all the other buses that feed into each station from the surrounding areas. Granted taking a bus that uses the busway may not be the quickest route in all cases, but it does allow one to literally get to any destination.

In terms of "busy-ness", we have been planning to photographically document the Northern Busway for ages, and every time we went mid-week it was just way way to busy to get images that could show the infrastructure without getting too many people in the pics. Hence the choice of a Saturday afternoon when it is much quieter.


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Old July 25th, 2009, 04:29 AM   #20
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Does this mean they cancelled the light rail project?
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