$38.9m Rail Station Upgrade


A sped-up $38.9m upgrade of Auckland rail stations before electric trains start running in 2014 is proposed by Auckland Transport.
The plan was agreed in principle at today’s open session of the Auckland Transport board meeting, but how to fund it has yet to be worked through, especially since the previous cancellation of the once-proposed Auckland regional petrol levy, which would have helped complete such work.
A report on how to achieve funding of it will be prepared and considered at a later closed session of the board.
The new heritage Parnell station where Mainline Steam presently is at the foot of the Domain, is included in the plan. That station would be completed, including track work, by August of next year. The Parnell station costing was: Stage 1 (building relocation) $1.1m : Stage 2 (full station including track works) $14,000,000
The exciting programme which ticks off many commuter complaints about station facilities and erases some of the striking imbalances between stations facilities includes:

  • Mt Albert station gets a full upgrade by April next year
  • Onehunga gets the missing platform extensions that were dropped when the station was created along with a partial station upgrade and some necessary track work. That would be done by this August.
  • Remuera would get a full station upgrade and platform levels would be raised by October this year. (The Auckland Transport chair mentioned he had numerous calls and emails complaining about no shelter there at present for schoolchildren waiting in the rain as the heritage old station building area which would provide shelter is closed off. Officials will look into whether there could be some temporary solution before an upgrade.)
  • Greenlane, where platform extension work has started, would get a full station upgrade finished by January of next year
  • Penrose gets a full station upgrade-excluding shelters- by October of this year
  • Westfield would get a full station upgrade by May of next year but it is noted that the “future definition of the station remains unclear at this stage.”
  • The dilapidated Otahuhu station, a disgrace on the Southern Line, would get a full station upgrade, finished by May of next year. Otahuhu’s dodgy bus shelter area is already getting attention from Auckland Transport and Auckland Council.
  • Puhinui gets a partial station upgrade in the proposal and that would be done by August of this year
  • Te Mahia gets a full upgrade finished by August of next year
  • Takinini would get a full upgrade by August of next year
  • Papakura would get a station upgrade and re-configeration for the DMU-EMU terminus finished by August of next year

Other improvements proposed on the rail network as part of this package agreed in principle today:

  • Mt Eden gets CCTV and lighting by this September
  • Papatoetoe gets CCTV and lighting by this August
  • Swanson’s Park & Ride extension by December of this year
  • Orakei, Meadowbank and Glen Innes gets CCTV and lighting by August this year
  • Panmure gets station enhancements for when AMETI happens (TBC)

The full upgrade is described as comprising platform renewals and or raising and extending platforms, CCTV and PA, shelters and lighting.
It’s not all good news for commuters.
Those stations that miss out on electrification also miss out on being included in the two to three year programme.
They will have to await even new station designs. These include at Waitakere, Drury and Pukekohe.
This also affects the proposal to create a new station at Huapai which would now be put on hold.

Mt Albert got its platforms extended & new shelters but no more

A report to the meeting from Auckland Transport’s chief infrastructure officer noted that 28 stations have been upgraded to date but further modernisation of station facilities and supporting infrastructure is needed at a number of the stations. Improved facilties helped the objectives of increasing rail patronage.
The report also says that a “rationalisation review of the standardised station amenities design is underway to discover design efficiencies and a mechanism for linking investment decisions with respect to amenity levels of service to patronage.”
Former ARTA Chairman and now Auckland Transport board member Rabin Rabindran told the board that every time a station is upgraded, there have been increases in the use of that station.

The 23 station upgrade was estimated to cost $38.9m with an annual capital expenditure of $750k for the financial year 2010-11, $25.75m for the financial year 2011-12 and $12.4m for 2012-2014.
Currently the proposed continuation of the work is not funded.
The report said possible funding options were:

  • Re-apportion allocated project budgets for those financial years, inclusive of the NZTA Funding Assistance Rate component for these projects
  • Submit a programme funding application to the NZTA. This may place further pressure on programme delivery prior to 2014 as the public transport infrastructure component for the GPS Financial period 2009-2012 has been exhausted.

In order that momentum is not lost on the programme, it was proposed to continue with the key work packages and the development of the programme. This would require the allocation of an initial budget of $750k for 2010-11.
The board agreed in principle to the programme but the issue of whether and how it could be funded would be decided at a later meeting, once options has been explored.

The individual station cost breakdown is here




  1. Andy says:

    Wow! That’s a big list. Good news for most of us but I can imagine it will be very frustrating for those using the stations which are not being ‘electrified’. I wonder if it will affect patronage for these stations?

  2. Commuter says:

    Any news about real time PiDs at staions?

  3. rtc says:

    Wow really great news! To date I’ve been impressed with the impetus Auckland Transport has put on PT - something I’m guessing Hide and Key when attempting to set it up as a roads fest didn’t pland.

  4. Matt L says:

    “They will have to await even new station designs. These include at Waitakere, Drury and Papatoetoe.”
    I think you mean Pukekohe not Papatoetoe :-)

    My understanding is Puke gets decent patronage but Waitakere is pretty poor with only 100 or so people using it a day.

    It is good to see AT pushing this and hopefully it all gets done. If we can get all stations upgraded by the time the electric trains start rolling it will be a great sign that we have upgraded our network as much as possible and can put more pressure on to get further upgrades like the CBD tunnel and Airport line.

    One thing that shows is that the current plan for Parnell is extremely expensive for what it is. Putting the station further north would put it closer to where people are/want to go and would be cheaper as there wouldn’t be as much re-grading of track needed.

    This also shows that we are pretty short sighted by the government having a limit on how much can be spend on PT rather than comparing projects fairly.

  5. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by AKT, AKT. AKT said: A sped up $38.9m upgrade of 23 Auck rail stations agreed in principle by Auck Transport board http://bit.ly/fz7zEY #auckland #trains #rail [...]

  6. AKT says:

    @Matt L Thanks
    @Commuter Nothing new today

  7. KLK says:

    Yeah, the decision to site the new Parnell station at the mainline sheds, rather than closer to where the more potential commuters are, shows we are along way to really “getting” what it means to build a good commuter network.

    Mike Lee had his heritage blindfold on when he promoted the southern site over the northern one.

  8. mark says:

    KLK - maybe we could have only weekend trains stop there if the patronage turns out to be dismal…

  9. mark says:

    “Former ARTA Chairman and now Auckland Transport board member Rabin Rabindran told the board that every time a station is upgraded, there have been increases in the use of that station.”

    Would be nice to see how much, on average.

    Also, this stuff fits my feeling regarding the Mt Albert upgrades - if they want to do it in one year, it’s a do-up (though potentially a good one) rather than a clean new slate.

  10. Matt says:

    No shelter at Remuera? There’s space under the footbridge to Market Rd, and space on the platforms in the tunnels under Market Rd. It’s not especially pleasant, but there’s very definitely shelter unless something’s changed in the last eight months (I moved to Ellerslie in June).

  11. Anon says:

    Nice to see the upgrades. Little disappointing that the electric trains have been delayed by another year (Because of the road freaks known as National) & that the missing track at Newmarket is not being put in.

    But overall, good to see Auckland finally getting it’s PT Network going. Bring on CBD LOOP/AIRPORT RAIL!!!

  12. Kurt says:

    Great news excepting the stations and commuters who miss out.

    Is there room to extend the Onehunga station where it is and what is the track work required?

  13. mark says:

    Kurt, the space is available. The works basically come down to extending station and track a few meters, right where they are now. The track (unlike the platform) may actually even be long enough already, but not sure on that part.

    However, some extra consents will be needed which were not required for the shorter layout, which is why ARTA chose to go the easy short route when they did it initially.

  14. mark says:

    The extension would, I understand, simply add some space at the left and right of the platform as seen here.


  15. Anon says:

    Papakura will be an interesting setup. Expect the mainlines to fully bypass the station platforms, which will effectively be built on a turnout from the mainline. Imagine Newmarket, but with the up and down main running along the side of the station rather than through it. Platform 3 will be demolished and rebuilt and Platforms 1 and 2 as we know it will be completely different, or perhaps not even exist in the current configuration.

  16. KLK says:

    Mark - I don’t think that the result will be dismal usage. Most who would use a parnell stop still will.

    But its not a good sign when the determining factor in choosing the northern site was the want, by a local lobby group, to refurbish a historical building, even if it meant having the potential commuters (uni students and those located at in the business/industrial area at the foot of parnell rise) having to trapse 500m up-hill.

    Its an awful decision in all aspects bar the heritage front.

  17. Simon says:

    KLK - it wasn`t just for the heritage reasons as the Parnell Business Assoc also supported the proposed location. I think they have looked at it as a station for the Parnell Community rather than a uni students station.

  18. Geoff says:

    That’s it exactly Simon, it’s a Parnell station, not a uni station, and it’s Parnell that has been pushing for it, not the uni.

  19. Matt L says:

    Yes but access to Parnell would have been easier from a more northern site, it would be much nicer and safer walking up Heather St with a nice wide footpath rather than winding your way through the steep little back streets behind Parnell Rd. In fact with Heather St there is actually the option to extend the main street down it as many of those factories at the rail station end could become great mixed use developments.

  20. KLK says:

    If Location A has a greater catchment of potential users, provides better access to the suburb in which it will be located, has greater potential for intensification development as a transport node, and provides all of the benefits of the alternative Location B (bar refurbishment of a heritage building), then Location A should have been chosen.

    Welcome to the Auckland rail system.

  21. Patrick R says:

    I agree it that the more northern site is better suited for University and Strand passengers. But so long as direct walking routes down to the Strand are in place it should still attracted a huge number of new riders for these destinations.

    But what would be even better is a covered footbridge over the incredibly unpleasant, fumey, and dangerous motorway onramp that the Strand now is. Imagine a suspended perspex tube like the Grafton Bridge cover… Parnell Station does have the potential to kick off the development of its site in a really good way, both for the area and for train users. Links to the Domain must be developed and made safe to use too.

  22. Patrick R says:

    I’ve just had another look at the detailed design for Parnell and it is plain that in fact there will be almost no difference in the length of the walk from the station to the university. Check it out, there is a very direct walking route form the Domian side of the tracks to the Alten Rd intersection that is no longer than it would be from the other site. And there certainly is much more space on the chosen site for the station. It’s going to be fine. This station will certainly grow the network.

  23. Nick R says:

    Patrick if you are reffering to this plan
    (http://www.parnell.net.nz/images/Station-Stevens_Lawson_plan_LARGE.jpg) there is a fair difference from a station entrance located at the old sattelite dish, plus the route appears to skirt around the Carlaw Park development along the edge of the Domain. Obviously that going to feel much less secure than a short route that passes just along Carlaw Park Ave through the new office park.

    My apologies if there is a more recent plan than this, but I believe this was their decision no?

    That plan really sums it up for me, a windy route up to Parnell Rd or a series of long walks through the bush of the Domain.

    The station would still ‘work’ at this location and I don’t deny that it will grow the network, but it would grow it a lot better in a location close to where people actually work, live and shop rather than being close to a bush reserve.

    This is what I have in mind, the alternate station with it’s access routes in green. The key thing here is the much improved accessibility to all the workplaces and high density residential around the bottom of Parnell rise, the Strand and Beach Rd.

  24. Andy says:

    Looks like you’ve got some busy blogging ahead of you! Thanks again for the best and fastest info!


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