How It’s Looking: Waterfront Trams


The trams are back in Auckland - well, at least, the first section of tram track has been laid on the corner of Halsey and Gaunt in the Wynyard Quarter waterfront area.

The amusing part this afternoon was watching some motorists freak out when they found what look like train tracks suddenly appearing in the middle of the road -and they braked and didn’t quite know what to expect when they went over them.

It does look a bit odd at the moment - a sole section of track on the curve of the road.

The heritage trams marks the return of trams in Auckland for more than 50 years.

When completed, the 1.5km loop will run clockwise along Jellicoe Street, down Halsey Street, along Gaunt Street and up Daldy Street in time for the RWC.

Two Melbourne SW6 Class Trams are to be gifted to MOTAT. These will then be leased for the purposes of this tramway.

This is the tram we're getting from Melbourne

Construction involves, besides the laying of tracks and road renewal, the installing of over-head wires at approximately 6m in height.

Full details of the construction & route are here

These are train tracks!

These are tram tracks!

The problem with the plan, wonderful as it is to see trams back, is that it is so typical Auckland - i.e. half-hearted. We will do a little something but not really complete the job and hope one day we will find the funding and the motivation to make it really worthwhile and meaningful.

What we really need is for 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 zoo.

<Summer Rail Programme series: How It’s Looking At…


The new DL locos

Glen Eden

Baldwin update with 10 days to go

St George update

Baldwin update

Rossgrove Tce and Baldwin update

Homai Browns Rd, Manurewa

Church St East, Penrose

Waterfront trams

Bridge St, Papatoetoe

St George St, Papatoetoe rail bridge replacement



Baldwin Ave

Quay Park

Purewa Eastern Line track work

Manukau’s new station

CBD Shared Spaces




  1. George D says:

    Mixed feelings. Still an improvement is an improvement.

  2. Cam says:

    Agree the anti PT brigade could use a lack of patronage on this as evidence that trams/light rail just wont work in Auckland.

    Hopefully they can move on the connection to Western Springs soon. That just seems like such a no brainer.

    That said it will be nice to see a tram running in central Auckland.

  3. Cam says:

    This is interesting, I’ve just read the following on Mike Lee’s blog:

    “A final postscript – in August Peter Winder and I called on John Duthie at Auckland City to make a pitch that the ‘temporary walking and cycling’ bridge be made strong enough to carry trams. John was rather taken aback but helpful. A few days later he reported back that while the bridge deck would remain ‘temporary’ the piles and essential structure would be built strong enough to carry a tram track linking the Wynyard Quarter to Britomart – in the not too distant future”

    Full post here:

  4. Kurt says:

    When the council did up Queen St the last time why did this budget not go into laying tracks up there to K Road - loop, pretty much like the old Trolley Bus route use to take?

    Gaunt St is a start but its none to scenic and there is nothing over there tourists would want to see, not in the near or middle future anyway.

  5. DanC says:

    I hope this is a catalyst for further development. A heritage tram running from St Heliers over the proposed Te Wero Bridge to the Motat line… dream!

    And a modern tram running from Wynyard Quarter over the proposed bridge up Queen Street and Dominion road to Richardson road that would be very impressive. (again dream!)

  6. damian says:

    I do sense as well that this is a complete waste of money, at a construction cost of over $5million I really hope this proves its worth.

    Interestingly there are plans to extend this further down towards the viaduct village, but when that will be who knows. What is also strange and disappointing is that they are useing near redundant traction power systems so it is likely that an upgrade in the future will be required,

    The work has stopped at the moment due to not enough Thermit weld kits being available to weld the tracks. Hopefully they’ll have this sorted soon.

  7. John Mitchell says:

    What a complete and utter waste of taxpayers money and complete waste of time.
    A bus can do exactlty what is proposed and is available NOW. Trams are old technology, still use the road, interfear with traffic and have to have overhead lines installed ( dont tell John Banks, it will “freek him out” )
    If a new system had to be put in a Monorail is a much better solotion, traffic can pass unterneith as normal, operate faster and have more carrages going at one time, also gives you a better view of the city.

  8. rtc says:

    @John Mitchel - perhaps you should tell Switzerland and Germany the undoubted leaders in PT systems that their new and constandly expanding tram systems are outdated technologies.

  9. [...] plan already has its critics. The AKT website writes: “The problem with the plan, wonderful as it is to see trams back, is that it is so [...]

  10. Matt says:

    Oh, that’s priceless. Wellington talking about how Auckland’s beating it on public transport. Awesome. Shame it’s not their regular lament.

    I agree that this is a half-arse project. It could be great, but this loop is definitely only aimed at the RWC market. It is, however, in a good spot to be expanded into a proper transport circuit encompassing Ponsonby, Three Lamps, K’Rd, Queen St.

  11. James B says:

    So the piers of the temporary Te Wero Bridge will be capable of supporting a tram. Hey here’s an idea why don’t we just make the road deck strong enough to support a tram and run them straight down to Britomart. For maybe $20 million we could do this right.

  12. Anthony says:

    however if wellington does get a light rail system, they wouldn’t be half-hearted about.

    it not “we will see what happens”

    it is ethier simply YES or NO

  13. Andrew says:

    @John Mitchell: What RTC said, plus France, and even the UK and … wait for it … Australia.

  14. BrisUrbane says:

    It’s a one way loop- this might affect patronage. You have an ex-melbourne W-class tram by the looks of it!

  15. rtc says:

    It is a one way loop with 2 W class trams from Melbourne - it’s a start and will add a lot of character to the area.

  16. Jarrod Gill says:

    @John Mitchell. Are you serious??? Yeah, that would be really cool, big smelly buses. No character at all. I hope they do the right thing and extend this to Western Springs and thru to Britomart. I know this is only a start but at least something is happening. I love it. More Trams and Tram lines please.

  17. JC says:

    About time Auckland City did some thing like this.
    Trams work well in San Franciso, Melbourne, Europe and it will work well in Auckland. A city loop will help bring people into the city and help bring money into the city based business’s. Hopely it will extend along the Tamaki water front and one day go from top to bottom of Queen street, right up the middle.
    As a person who works in international business throughout the world, I see this as a positive step to creating interest for the city and a chance to use the trams as a tool to highlight the beauty of Auckland city to the many visitors.

    I just hope do gooders and tree huggers who do nothing but talk crap, pull their heads in and look at the bigger picture for those in business in the city. This is a positive thing for our City.

  18. Cam says:

    “I just hope do gooders and tree huggers” - Pretty sure they would be the most in favour of this. It’s been those in business in the city that you mention that have traditionally been obstructive to improvents in PT>

  19. Matt says:

    I just hope do gooders and tree huggers who do nothing but talk crap, pull their heads in and look at the bigger picture for those in business in the city.

    You mean those “do gooders and tree huggers” who’re pushing the CBD rail loop, in the face of double-standards and bullshit from our “business”-friendly Minister of Trucks, err, Road Transport Forum, err, I mean, Minister of Transport? Those ones?

    Pull your head out. The only people objecting to public transport projects in Auckland are “business in the city”, and precious few of them if they have two neurons to rub together.

  20. JC says:

    Are these the same tree huggers and do gooders who said no to the eden park up grade, who said no to the V8′s been held in Auckland , who said no to another harbour bridge or harbour tunnel and complained about race cars at western springs.

    But they support the trams………
    No sure if my head is lost some where.

  21. James B says:

    They’re not all the same people.Eden Park residents association actually supported the upgrade, the V8s were scuttled because of bugetery concerns (possibly quite rightly as it looks like the economic affects in Hamilton are not as much as predicted) and also by Transit objecting to having a major on/off ramp closed, the third harbour crossing issue has not even moved beyond initial route planning (so no one has yet had a chance to say no yet), Western Springs were a group of neighbouring residents (they worked the issue out). So none of them were the same people and in a number of instances people didn’t “say no” they just raised concerns. You make it sound like there is a huge conspiracy to stop development in Auckland, they reality is that people with concerns about a development are, quite rightly, allowed to express concerns about developments that may impact on them financially or otherwise.

  22. Doloras says:

    “As a person who works in international business throughout the world…”

    In my experience, all the most pig-headed, backwards, mean, egotistical comments on Internet forums come from people who boast (truthfully or not) about being “business men” or “employers” or otherwise the moral superiors of mere wage slaves. Remember that this is the social base of the National Party.

  23. ingolfson says:

    Lol at the temporary buffer stop! Hope that is enough to hold up the runaway tram which probably isn’t even in NZ yet ;-)

    This thing is going to be mighty useless for transport unless it’s going to be extended at least to Britomart. But good that Mike Lee and folks at least managed to make sure we don’t have to redo the foundations of the Wynyard Crossing.

  24. JC says:

    Doloras - you can take that back….

    I was merely expressing an opinion, and it was a personal opinion. That is what this site is about. - personal opinions.

    For the record I am a member of no party nor do I support any of them.

    As for us pigheaded , backwards , mean, egotistical business people, - Yep you have hit the nail on the head. If that what it takes to do business, represent, sell and market NZ designed and manufactured products to the world markets, then thats what we are.

    Just remember we dont fly business class to the nice areas of the world and sit under palm trees drinking coconut juice, in our 7 star resort.- Thats the Government. Don’t confuse or kidd yourself that private sector is anything like that.

    There is no university course we can do to make us international business people, we have to put ourselves out there on the front line in front of people and cultures we know very little about and market and sell NZ made products to them.

    It is no walk in the park, but every little bit we can do internationally helps this country.
    Yes it is by choice that we miss out on family socials, friends birthday parties and our kids growing up and the long lonely weeks away from our partners.

    But because of what i do, I help keep employed 120 people in our little NZ based factory.

    Anytime you feel like tagging along on a trip, you are very welcome.

    I can tell you, there was no sliver spoon handed to me, I have work bloody hard to get ahead, and I am still not winning.

  25. ingolfson says:

    JC, in capitalism, of course, the businessman is seen as the ultimate, rational, realistic arbiter. He who makes money, works hards - wins. Or at least has righteousness on his side. The old capitalist mythology, whether it’s true in any particular individual case or not.

    It’s a cheap, easy comment online, with no way of checking it, and it detracts from whether the argument actually has merit or not.

    And I also believe that the “It’s just cold hard reality!” argument IS often used by the masters of this world to keep the small people down, so I guess I am tending towards Doloras side somewhat. For all that I understand your frustration with government.

  26. ingolfson says:

    In fact, I would even argue that if all what you say is 100% true (have no reason to disbelieve), you are as much struggling under capitalism as anyone else. Have 120 employees? Make real, actual goods? Yet still struggle to make ends meet and have any time for life?

    Why didn’t you become someone trading virtual things, like loans, or currencies, or real estate speculation? That’s where the easy, the real money is these days.

    You obviously think that a more take-charge, and less restrictive government would benefit you, and your company, and by extension your workers? Well, NZ has had that kind of government for decades, are we better off? Did all the free trade agreements help? Did all the deregulation help? It all made the rat race faster, because now instead of racing a couple other companies, you are racing hundreds and thousands the world over. That’s why you are struggling, in my view.

    Okay, this is turning into a very philsophical rant. Sorry.

  27. KLK says:

    “Okay, this is turning into a very philsophical rant. Sorry.”

    Not a rant. More a left-wing delusional bore.

  28. JC says:

    Ingolfson, sorry but there is no such thing as easy money….the late 70′s and 80′s have well gone.
    God dam it !!!

    Keeping in line with Doloras comments, most private sector business people are not mean and we battle hard to compete on the world stage and to be fair we hold our own and punch well above our weight.

    In the end we never wait on the government to hold our hands and help in the world of business. Many of them don’t know life out side of their office or university classroom. These skills are good in some respect but the lack of hands on skills can be a telling factor.

    My example of this would be someone like Mike Lee. Who voted for him?, everyone I talk to can’t believe he is still in the council. In my opinion he has done nothing for Auckland and doesnt re-invent himself to move with change, but yet the old school boy network keeps him in power.

    Why can’t we actract someone fresh, new and edgey to take up his role.

    But back to my oringal comment about the Trams, it is a great thing to have but it has to be of benefit to greater Auckland, so why not have the Trams travel from St Heliers through the middle of Queen street, and along K Road and down to Western Springs.

    Surly us Aucklanders and visitors alike would love this, not to mension the abunance of cafe owners along the water front who would welcome the tram to stop outside or near their cafe.

    I still have the fear that the do gooders will still have too much to say on it and will continue to restrick the greater growth of Auckland……It is just an opinion.

  29. Matt L says:

    JC - I agree with those extensions as the only real benefit of the current waterfront tram plan is if it is used to help show and justify future extensions however I can already see the howls of protest if someone suggests removing the car parking from Tamaki Dr so that trams can be put in along there. It would be one hell of a battle to get it done unfortunately.

  30. Cam says:

    JC (or should that be JG for John Galt? lol)

    “I still have the fear that the do gooders will still have too much to say on it and will continue to restrick the greater growth of Auckland” -

    Auckland has traditionally been run by it’s business people, not the do gooders that you mention. This has not been great for it’sdevelopment as a city because the sole focus has been keeping rates low and making sure council spending rather than making our city more liveable. That’s a generalistion for sure I know but in all has been true. Do you remember successful businessman John Banks trying to stop Britomart from being built? How about sucessful bussinesman Steven Joyce’s recent stifling of the CBD loop plan, or maybe all the business people on Queen st who opposed pedestrianisation and then bus lanes.

    “My example of this would be someone like Mike Lee. Who voted for him?, everyone I talk to can’t believe he is still in the council. In my opinion he has done nothing for Auckland and doesnt re-invent himself to move with change, but yet the old school boy network keeps him in power” A lot of people voted for Mike Lee, primarily because of what he’s done for public transport in this city, much of the work done on upgrading our rail system is due to him and the ARC including the reopening of the Onehunga branch line, station upgrades and the push for electrification. (BTW this tram project you are lauding was his and the ARC’s doing, have a look at the link I’ve posted above). Sure he’s not perefect and has stuffed up (Waterfront stadium could be an example) but all in all he’s done a lot of positive things for the city.

    Nothing’s black and white and there are many people in business and politics who want what’s best for Auckland regardless of political ourlook. I just think you are titling at the wrong windmill.

  31. Matt says:

    JC, unless you’re alleging massive voter fraud, more people voted for Mike Lee (me included) than voted for any other candidate standing in the ward. Or was that just “the boys club” voting in their own?
    Last time I checked, “the boys club” traditionally vote National or Act. They don’t vote Labour, and Mike Lee makes no secret of his political affiliations.

    We had light-handed regulation for the worst part of 20 years, and look where it got us: falling wages relative to Australia and the OECD, increasing levels of crime, decreasing levels of educational achievement (but still thrashing the pants off the US, UK and Australia), a rail network that was so thoroughly pillaged by those good and wonderful private business operators that much of it is now fit only to be closed down, some of the highest telecommunications costs in the OECD, and a big increase in income disparity - this being the leading indicator of crime and health issues in a society.
    You may think those are all wonderful, but many of us disagree.

  32. JC says:

    Sorry I don’t know who John Galt is ???? sorry

    Guys, I have to say your speak of a good arguement.
    Maybe I am still a bit bitter that we don’t have a waterfront stadium, of which in my mind was a major trip up. - having strong sporting ties.

    But I am sorry I just don’t trust people who have polical goals, this country and this city has suffered through people with polical agenders
    They tell us a good story, but deliever nothing.

    I get the feeling that you guys are strong Labour supporters of which is interesting,
    Having been a labour supporter in the pass, I find it hard to believe they can offer us anything in the near future, all they do is bitch and moan about John Key and Co, but forget to tell us how they are going to do any better….??

    New Zealand will never be on par as far as salaries go with Australia. We should not get hung up on this, we have 4 Million people they have 20 Million
    people and a land mass 20 times bigger.

    They also dig holes in the ground and pull out gems that offeres a huge return to the country, the same as Chile, and unless you are in favour of growing weath in NZ by digging holes, then salary balance will never be on par.
    There is a price to live in a peaceful country such as NZ, and if the average salary for a professional is around $60K , then so be it

    Just before you take another bite at me and while we are on the centr left and right argument, I would love to dig holes in New Zealand and mine our resources, we are silly not to.
    Mining today is so different than what it was 40 years ago. Today mining companies care about the feeling of snails and the enviroment and look after the surroundings

    I think I can almost hear you screaming from where I am in South Auckland.

  33. Cam says:

    Wow this is getting really off topic. We should probably leave this there as we are going off onto tangents about mining and average salaries, how the hell did Chile get into this conversation?

    With regards to John Galt my apologies, that was a weak joke this link will explain:

  34. Doloras says:

    “Keeping in line with Doloras comments, most private sector business people are not mean and we battle hard to compete on the world stage and to be fair we hold our own and punch well above our weight.”

    And in addition to all these fine qualities, they’re modest and self-effacing!

  35. Joshua says:

    That was a big tangent from trams - btw JC, we are not all labour supporters on this blog, but most are PT supporters or users.

    I’m still scared that this will turn into an example of why we shouldn’t have trams, this route offers nothing really, until it is linked to britomart that is.

    It would attract lots of users if it went along to Mission Bay as well.

  36. Antz says:

    i agree with Joshua, I dislike the route the trams are in. why not around the cbd like chch?

    they go past the Museum, Catheral, Avon and Central City, and they are extending it due to its popularity.

    also, though im going to be able to vote next year after May. I woildn’t be, the government here are just moving this country at snails pace. Labour hasn’t done anything much to improve this country, and National are usually only thinking of the most ridiclous ideas.

    I just wish for a netural party that has interests in making this country more livable including.

    -less crime
    -more jobs
    -better education
    -better justice system
    -higher environmental awareness
    and most definitely
    -world-class PT systems

    if we are able to achieve all of these goals then new zealand would no longer be a random substandard country in the middle of the
    South Pacific. It would take time and money, but it would be worth becoming like a rich european country wouldn’t it?

  37. Nick R says:

    Antz, the route was supposed to go to Britomart as the first stage, with subsequent extensions. You can blame the people who voted for John Banks for that one, he was the guy that pulled the plug on the bridge that was going to carry the trams across to Quay St.


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