Trams To Western Springs Plan


Auckland City Council’s transport committee was today presented with a proposal for the planned Waterfront heritage tram service to be extended to Three Lamps, Ponsonby Rd, Grey Lynn shops and down to link up with Motat’s Western Springs and zoo service.
Geoff Houtman who is standing as an independent for the Waitemata Local Board and represents group Our Hood says this line extension would run 6.2ks and cost roughly $26m.

He said that Motat’s tram experts had told him they see no technical problems.

“It’s the one chance for non-polluting rail in this central part of Auckland and the best thing is  that if we start now, it’ll be ready for the RWC,” he told the committee, seeking its support.

He said that while the ARC had decided to run heritage waterfront trams around a small rectangle on Wynyard Wharf,  the service needed to go where people sought tourist attractions.

“Luckily we have a string of such destinations close to Wynyard, some of them already connected by tram: Victoria Park, Vic Park market, Three Lamps, Ponsonby Rd, Western Park, Grey Lynn Park, Grey Lynn shops, Western Springs stadium and Motat where the existing tram link whisks us to Western Springs Park, the zoo and Motat 2.

Motat's tram is popular

“180,000 people a year use the Motat trams already so how many more would use the expanded version?,” Mr Houtman asked.
At the meeting, council chair Ken Baguley asked Mr Houtman if he wanted only heritage trams or would support a modern light electrified rail type solution. Mr Houtman said he felt that heritage trams kept the costs down and would itself be a tourist attraction.
To a suggestion that the council investigate it further, a council officer told the meeting with that only 40 days left before the council went out of operation, there wasn’t time and resource to start researching the idea.
The committee passed a resolution that it at least supported the proposal for an electric tram service along these lines in principle and recommended the incoming Auckland Transport body gave it consideration.




  1. Paul says:

    Make sense to me!

  2. Bryan says:

    If San Francisco can do it with Trams ( Trolley’s to the Locals) then little olde Auckland can do it.Bring it on….

  3. Andu says:

    This would be so great. C’mon Auckland Transport……..

  4. DanC says:

    Great idea.

  5. Ian M says:

    What great news to wake up to

  6. Neil says:

    Excellent idea! Where are the downsides?

  7. Andrew Miller says:

    This idea dates back to the early 80s…still a great idea.

  8. San Luca says:

    i actully prepared a “wish list” map today which was virtually identical to this. pretty spooky. might buy a lotto ticket now.

    i think there could be a lot more commuter potential if it was extended to either Pt Chev or Unitec/Mt Albert. Also as far as what sort of trams to run Light rail in peak periods (before 10am and after 3pm) Historic trams off-peak tourist hours (10-3 pm)

  9. Jon C says:

    @San Luca Make sure you buy that Lotto ticket. Ohh, & I will half your first prize please!!!

  10. karl says:

    I’d be keen to see that, it could even have a great transport function during peak hours - though I’d be sceptical of the cost. The much, much simpler extension to Motat II (less than 1 km) cost almost 2 mil. On the other hand, compared to whoppers like the New Lynn trench, 20-30 mil is pretty cheap.

  11. Anthony M says:

    it may be quite costly at first but it’ll be worth it, investment into long-term planning and building of PT is always worth it.

  12. Matt L says:

    We should just build it, it would be great to see and is a good way to link up some tourist attractions. I also agree with San Luca, large, modern, quick trams during the peaks with heritage trams off peak would be a good idea.

  13. Nick R says:

    This is a great idea, and a good alignment. However I think they are miles off having the right price. It looks like they might have costed the project based on what it cost MOTAT to do thier short single track tram extension off-street.
    However, the cost of building tramway on road is a hell of a lot more. The average cost for recent extensions to Melbourne’s tramway is around AUD$10 million per kilometre, or about three times what they have proposed.

  14. Doloras says:

    I live in Grey Lynn and have business regularly in Western Springs and Ponsonby - I would use this service SO MUCH. What kind of service frequency are they talking about?

  15. Nick R says:

    And hey look where the route ends, right on the NW motorway corridor. They could eventually extend it right out to Westgate via a bunch of busway style stations with bus interchanges and park and ride… ah dreams are free.

  16. anthony says:

    Doloras is right! has anyone released more info yet? at least 4 per hour sevices would be good!!

  17. Jon C says:

    No timetable. It’s at a proposal stage needing someone at officialdom level to pick it up and run with it -and put money into it.
    The Auckland council transport committee yesterday liked it in principle but because the council is about to expire, threw it into the in-tray of Auckland Transport.

  18. Matt says:

    Nick, extending it to Westgate would be a loser, because it’d take forever to do the trip. Light rail is not rapid, unless you’re comparing it to walking or bicycling.
    Better to build a North-Western Busway, which is an idea whose time has come but which is unsupported by the boffins because, no doubt, we have purse string-holders who’re so utterly hostile to anything that’s not a truck or a private car.

  19. Nick R says:

    What makes you say light rail is not rapid?! Light rail and busways generally have exactly the same design speed, 80km/h. That means the extension would take about 20 minutes to cover (assuming stops at four stations on the way). Sounds pretty rapid to me, in fact the only thing faster would be a electric heavy rail line.

    I’m all in favour of a NW Busway by the way. Just musing if there is to be tram track at the end of it then why not extend that and enjoy the possibility of using articulated trams up to 30m in length?

  20. Richard says:

    I have travelled on light rail in Germany and they went fairly quickly on dedicated track. Much quicker than driving on a crowded road! I remember when the trams of the type shown in the photo at motat were in service and they used to belt along Dominion Road at night, faster than the speed limit and heaps faster than travel by any mode today but then that’s progress!

    From my experience Matt I suggest a light rail train or tram would get along the NW motorway corridor much quicker than a car would at busy times.

  21. Kegan says:

    What particular flavour of Light Rail is this?

    Particularly, degree of mixed traffic running vs exclusive lanes, signal priority, stop spacing, quality of rolling stock and stops, accessibility, etc. If this is just an old fashioned street tramway with extensive running in mixed traffic, I don’t really see the point.

    Also, how much planning has been done? Is doing it in time for the RWC realistic?

  22. Steve W says:

    Nice idea - but to suggest it could be completed by the RWC - which one?

  23. Jeremy Harris says:

    I reckon the alignment should go up Queen St, K Rd, Ponsonby Rd, then Williamson along this alignment…

    The square around the Tank Farm will be a stub till Te Wero is built, then to Britomart then Tamaki Dr methinks…

  24. Wow, I just found this. Thanks for all the support! If you’d like to be part of the continuing push check

    -San Luca- yes, can easily be extended along to Coyle park or Pt Chev/GNR. Like the heritage/ new split too..

    -Nick R- That’s the price the Motat boys said was realistic. Accessories will be extra…

    -Doloras- Every 15 min would be nice.

    -John C- So far we have support from; Pons Business Assoc, Western Bays Community Board, Hobson Board, Auck City Transport Committee, ARTA and will be pitching the new Waitemata Local Board at their first meeting as well as the new Transport CCO, HotCity and a few others.

    -Richard, Nick R- In car lanes from Queens Wharf to Motat 1 (Melbourne styles), dedicated lanes thereafter. yes much faster along GNR/ SH16

    -Jeremy- Q st, k rd Pons rd route duplicates 02x and 03x buses, they get crabby about that. also, part of the point is to give an Inner west to CBD route that accesses the “new” developments- Vic Park market, Wynyard, Viaduct etc..

    What the article DOESN’T mention is that the Power Of Celebrity was unsheathed for this. To get a yes from a tram-averse Committee I had to persuade Rhys Darby and Antony Starr to come along and represent. They are more than happy to do that some more.

    Anyone else want to join the taskforce?

    Thanks again for the comments, thoughts and tricky questions.- Geoff

  25. Tramman says:

    This is an excellent proposal and the new Auckland Transport and Auckland Council should fully support and investigate this proposal.

  26. [...] the tram line to go somewhere -and be a real tourist attraction and for Auckland Transport to adopt this excellent plan to take it as far as Western Springs and the [...]


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