The Odd Case Of Newmarket & The RWC


Sandringham Rd houses presently being shifted

If you mention Rugby World Cup 2012, chances are good for getting something happen, reasonably quickly in a city that is not known for fast action on projects.

Like shifting houses on Sandringham Rd to so that footpaths can be widened and a lane put in for people to use to get more easily to the games.

And of course the lovely new Kingsland train station is being dug up so soon  after its makeover just so that platforms can be widened and an underpass put in to make it easier for the hordes to get to Sandringham Rd from the train station when they arrive on trains for the games . Millions spent just for one event. Fair enough.

But one could conclude then that it’s  wonderful yesterday’s new Newmarket train station is ready years ahead of the RWC deadline.

So why has a crazy decision already been made – or at least the idea seriously mooted by organisers -  for trains to bypass the Newmarket station during the semis, bronze final and grand final games at Eden Park?

Newmarket’s “mayor”, business association CEO Cameron Brewer is quite right to be miffed, given that in total over $100m has been spent by the taxpayer on the projects around the station.

As he puts it: “ I appreciate the need for fast and frequent services from Britomort to Eden Park, but Newmarket is the second biggest station in the region and should definitely be a stop.

“Strategically its perfectly located between the CBD and Kingsland, and of course is where the Southern Line meets the Western. It would save a lot of Aucklanders from going into Britomart or worse getting in their cars and trying to get near Eden Park.”

Mr Brewer predicts the if trains bypass Newmarket, it will kill the business association’s plan to promote Newmarket as a place to park, dine then ride to the 9pm games.  ”It would be very convenient for many fans, and would work perfectly for our bars and restaurants given the late night games.”

There are some other factors Cameron hasn’t mentioned. There are lots of motels around the train station, including a row just around the corner in Great South Rd.. Won’t they be packed with people  here for the RWC?  So do they have to catch a train to Britomart and then find an express train to Eden Park?

Newmarket is a terrible place to find a park during the crazy times - and you shouldn’t be drinking and driving anyway.  Yet. whatever the government does about the crazy obsession for a booze barn party central on Queens Wharf, Newmarket is a fantastic premium place for drinking and eating with lots of variety and unlike the Viaduct, it feels very safe.

It would be absolutely ideal for people to head to Newmarket  as neighbouring Kingsland will be quickly packed out. Dummy runs there during some of the big games last year showed that the couple of pubs situated in New North Rd are quickly literally overflowing with people while the overflow wanders around looking for somewhere to go.

Mr Brewer is trying to convince  the organisers to ensure Newmarket is on the train schedule for the Rugby World Cup, even if it’s only for every second or third train. Every third train would be a generous compromise and the minimum I would hope.

“Not only would it be great for Newmarket and the Eastern suburbs, but it would help get more people out of their cars, and take a lot of people pressure off Britomart and of course, Kingsland.”

Quite right, Cameron. Good luck with showing people such common sense and logic.

Thankfully it’s a couple of years away but let’s stop the debate now before the mad idea gets set in concrete.




  1. James says:

    motels on Alpers ave too. What about stopping at Mt Eden? Lots of parking around there. I’ve caught Rugby trains there before but it was a bit of a squeeze!

    An issue is over-capacity trains though they’re full at Britomart then nobody can get on at the in-between stops.

    Would be nice if we had new trains with more standing room for these kinds of things.

  2. Matt L says:

    Why not just have some trains go directly from Newmarket, most trains from Britomart will be to full anyway.

  3. James Pole says:

    Some excellent points, however I’m still in the camp supporting non-stop service between Britomart and Eden Park. Perhaps the Newmarket Business Assoc should take a different approach to lobbying.

    For instance, they note that Southern Line passengers would have to change at Britomart in order to take an Eden Park train — which would certainty throw a spanner into the works. How about they lobby to have selected Southern Line trains terminate at Eden Park — and have trains start at Eden Park for the Southern Line.

    This would:-
    (a) solve the issue of Southern Line passengers unnecessary changing at Britomart
    (b) provide a service Newmarket Britomart
    (c) and thus provide opportunities for their park/dine/ride/game idea

    Problem solved, while still running the non-stop service between Britomart and Eden Park. Could even have the Southern Line services make stops at Grafton & Mt Eden to replace the loss of service to these stations too.

    Or is this too much common sense?! ;-)

    - James

  4. Jon C says:

    Good thinking James.

  5. Joshua says:

    Newmarket like it happens on most rugby matches is the trasfer stop for people wanting to go south, why are we forcing them into britomart to clog it up even more? we should have trains waiting at Newmarket to take passangers south, that can be the 3rd line - then we can have the 1st and 2nd line for all edenpark-britomart trains. Anything else would just be nonsense. Let also not confuse the drunk rugby fans by having every 2nd or 3rd, every train should stop at Newmarket.

  6. James says:

    Sounds good

    Kingsland’s platform 2 = express from Britomart.

    platform 1 = trains from Papakura stopping at all/some stations including newmarket

  7. Andrew says:

    Morningside was upgraded to handle all trains to/from the West for matches, so yes having one Kingsland platform for Britomart and the other for Newmarket and south could work.

  8. LX... says:

    Oh where to even start on this…

    I had the luck to see a report by Plateway prepared for ARTA on rail options for serving Rugby World Cup.

    The crux is they found that to move the crowd numbers required much of the regular rail network has to be suspended at game times. Trains would be stacked Between Morningside and Kingsland.

    Trains to Britomart will depart from both platforms at Kingsland and operate on both tracks to Britomart in parallel.

    Trains apparently can’t stop between Kingsland and Britomart due to the long dwell time required to offload passengers from crush loaded trains. Long dwell time reduces throughput.

    Some trains couldn’t go to an alternative destination as this would cause severe platform congestion as passengers for one train block access to the train on the platform. Basically passengers are loaded onto the platform, train is loaded, then train departs and process repeats for next train etc. No opportunity to handle other destinations as there is nowhere for passengers to wait clear of the main passenger flows.

    Don’t ask me to justify their findings as I didn’t write the report. But the word that trains won’t stop at Newmarket is consistent with the report I saw, based on the volume to be moved and capacity limitations of the network.

    There was a lot of math around crush capacity of a train, time required to load each train at Kingsland and resulting estimates of how many pax can be moved within an hour of game end.

    I guess you have to compare Eden Park and with Wellington’s stadium. Wellington Station with 9 platforms supports a stadium with a capacity of 40,000. Kingsland has just two platforms to serve a stadium of 60,000 for the big games.

  9. Jon C says:

    @LK That’s very valuable insight. Thanks for sharing it. I assume they factored in Morningside. Even that station is limited.

  10. jarbury says:

    I would say 90% of people would be coming from the east, rather than the west. I think that some trains (one in four?) could stop at Newmarket (perhaps they come directly from the south?), but the majority of trains will have to simply be a shuttle service between Kingsland and Britomart for it to be possible to shift such huge numbers of people.

  11. Luke says:

    I have never seen what Morningside station has to do with the RWC. The only use I can see is that trains coming from the West would drop fans of here to avoid Kingsland station.
    I think Newmarket is probably better served with buses, the discussion about the operational constraints has helped to firm up my view in that respect.

  12. curtissd says:

    Buses from Newmarket dropping off on the Dominion Road side of the Stadium.

  13. Joshua says:

    That’s what morning side is being used for, for all trains going west of Kingsland.

  14. Jon C says:

    Morningside station was busy when tested last year with a couple of the big Eden park games (AB v Oz etc)
    People getting off there have only a 10 minute stroll through backstreets to get to the park and it’s also popular for motorists who find free parking around the industrial and suburban streets in the small neighbourhood.
    It was popular with people coming from the west. They got off there instead of Kingsland and walked the rest.


Leave a Comment


XHTML: You can use these tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>