Grafton Opening: Mike Lee Calls For CBD Rail Loop


ARC Chair, Mike Lee, used this afternoon’s Grafton train station opening to call for the CBD rail loop as the next big project.

“I urge the government not to delay too long the CBD loop tunnel,” he told the dignatories present, which included transport minister Steven Joyce and Auckland Mayor, John Banks along with key representatives of ARTA and KiwiRail.
He said such a scheme had been talked about since 1924 in Auckland and was peridically promised but rejected by various governments.

Mike Lee welcomed the Minister’s decision on electrifying the Auckland rail network and to purchase new electric rolling stock, adding: ” It’s a decision I am sure he will never regret.”

ARC Chair Mike Lee: Urges Government to do CBD rail loop

He also told the gathering that while this new Grafton station was handy to places like Auckland Hospital and Parnell, he still believed the museum was “better served by the proposed Parnell station.”

Mike Lee said it was not the occasion to talk about the Auckland local government governance changes but “clearly Auckland rail and Auckland public transport will continue to go through major organisational changes.”

“Interestingly enough, the first section of the double tracking between Boston Road and Kingsland was undertaken believe it or not by the Auckland Regional Council.   8 months later the ARC’s role was taken over by a new organisation ARTA. The next year – ARTA’s role in this project was replaced by Ontrack with the so-called ‘above track/below track division of responsibility. Two or three years after that Ontrack merged with Toll NZ to become KiwiRail.

“I don’t know whether the chopping and changing of organisations and policy has anything to do with the snail’s pace speed we do things in Auckland rail but I guess it doesn’t help.  And this constant making and remaking of organisations will continue with the Super City reforms.

“I would much prefer that the energy and costs associated with the constant setting up and abolition of rail administration organisations went into a serious refocusing upon what the whole purpose or rail public transport is meant to be about - and that is service to the people of Auckland.

“From my experience – which extends over a few years now – the whole idea of service to the public tends to get lost in the constant changes of policies and structures.

“A return to fundamental principles is needed. Such fundamental principles would put:

  • the aspirations and convenience of the travelling public at the very top of the list
  • Lets ensure we examine our operations to ensure it they are as cost efficient as possible.  If “hard nosed decisions” need to be taken – well lets take them
  • Lets get back to basics and sort out the constant technical problems – over 400 signal and points failures in Auckland last year is not good enough for our travelling public and neither is 67.9% total network punctuality
  • And when we upgrade and expand our rail network lets ensure we get the job done as expeditiously as possible – as they do in other countries – like our main trading partners Australia and China. “

Transport Minister, Steven Joyce, acknowledged Mike Lee’s call for a CBD loop, when he gave his speech.

He listed some of the projects currently underway and said  there were more that needed consideration” such as the one Mike Lee mentioned” and another Auckland harbour crossing.

He was confident that the projects currently underway would make it “easy to deliver step change to transport in this city” in four years time, when many of them such as the Victortia Park tunnel and electrification were completed.

Transport Minister Steven Joyce arrives at new Grafton train station

On the issue of the change to Auckland’s local body structure, Mr Joyce said it was a big job delivering integrated transport solutions and he was confident the new Auckland Transport body would deliver.

Auckland’s big rail day in photos

Steven Joyce unveils plaque

Station looks stunning

Goodbye Boston Rd train station , Hello World class Newmarket -are railway stations

Videos- Steven Joyce opening Grafton says  good transport boosts Auckland’s economy
Various speeches
Videos and photos: First commuter train arrives at Grafton train station




  1. Ian says:

    “Step change”. Shudder.

  2. Jeremy Harris says:

    Mike Lee is a legend… My vote for him as Auckland Emperor…

  3. max says:

    He have come a respectable third as Auckland mayoral candidate. He’s just not ruthless enough to make Mayor, I think.

    He’d make a good Auckland councillor though.

  4. Jeremy Harris says:

    He’s standing for Auckland Central councillor I believe he’s announced… Deputy to Len Brown and a board seat on AT would be fantastic…

  5. Cam says:

    Really hope Mike Lee is involved in the new council. He’s the best advocate PT in Auckland has had for many years.


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