Manukau Station First Look


Manuaku’s new train station is looking awesome.
Structural work is almost done, tracks are all laid including inside the 300m rail trench, there’s talk of a trial train being sent in this week and train drivers are scheduled to be trained during October.

The station will open in February when other improvements will come in such as a new timetable bringing 10 minute services on the Western Line and expected weekend timetable improvements.

This is the first extension of the Auckland rail network since the eastern line in 1930.
The trench gives the station a New Lynn feel about it. Part of the rail link runs inside a 300m trench beginning at Lambie Dr and finishing at Davies Ave. It is 7m deep at its deepest point and 18m wide at its widest. 47,000 m3 of silty Puketoka sands were excavated in total

There are only stairs at the moment - escalators will come later as they did at New Lynn and there’s a lift alongside.


The station stairs enable a brisk only 5 minute walk to the Manukau shopping mall which is better than earlier concerns that the station was too far from the mall.

The 2km section of new track links Davies Ave in Manukau City with the Southern railway line at Puhinui.
The track runs under Lambie Drive and Plunket Ave and across Hayman Park. The track runs alonside the motorway.

The Manukau Institute of Technology is opening a new campus adjacent to the new station and there will also be a transport hub for buses like New Lynn’s.




  1. Patrick R says:

    I find it curious that a terminating station is built with separated platforms not an island one. As every train that enters is leaving back the way it came and with an island platform anyone waiting for a train can’t be caught on the wrong platform… still, a small point and of course I believe the line should be extended at least as far as Botany as a matter of urgency….!

    Looking forward to seeing buses coordinate here and numbers grow strongly throughout next year form this new amenity for Auckland. Well done everyone..

  2. Carl says:

    Was going to say exact same thing…. Seems like a slight waste of resources to me.

    The other thing is, why are they still persisting with though stupid canopy covers?

    since its a trench why not cover the whole thing over with a glass roof or something? or better yet, put a proper roof on it an plant grass over it.

    I really wished this had gone all the way to Botany Downs also.

  3. Patrick R says:

    Carl still got a few years of noisy smelly diesel trains to put up with: ventilation is good for now… As for Botany, we’ll get there, the [political] climate is currently not yet right….

  4. James Pole says:

    Wonder how long the red lights will last for given it’s gonna be almost always red for a couple of months at least! :P

  5. joust says:

    cool photos. Patronage projections are pretty amazing, from people I’ve talked to that live in the area, it’s going to be a popular service.

    For testing and training I suppose the signal lights will have to be part of that.

  6. Feijoa says:

    @Patrick: could it be a rare case of planning ahead, with designers certain this line will soon be extended?

    @James: most LEDs are rated at 50,000 hours (almost 7 continuous years), some up to 100,000. I guess these are completely theoretical, as the tech is moving so fast nobody could have ever measured with current designs…

  7. Matt L says:

    I’m not an expert but I don’t think it has been designed with a future extension in mind at all. The reason I say this is at the eastern end of the trench there is a large concourse onto which the stairs, escalators and lifts exit out onto. those escalators are to one side meaning that if you were to carry the line straight onwards then one of the platforms would effectively be cut off.

    Also I know that they are building a campus on top of the trench but I still think it would have been built a couple of hundred metres to the east and that way a western entrance could still have easily served the campus with an eastern entrance providing better access to the mall and the other buildings in the area.

  8. Patrick R says:

    @Feijoa, haha, wow what an idea!? Imagine, planning ahead? Auckland, could be, just could be….

  9. Patrick R says:

    Way way more likely that we’ll build something in the way to make it stupidly more expensive to take the obvious next step…..

  10. KarlHansen says:

    A Howick rail line is so far in the future, more than high-level future-proofing isn’t really required anyway. :-( By all means, keep the foundations so that a trench / tunnel alignment stays clear, but that’s probably all there is to do.

  11. Jeremy says:

    The reason there are separate platforms is because there are stairs at the back.

  12. Nick says:

    So first new rail line in Auckland since 1930. I had a look on the city council website, and estimate Auckland’s population was about 100,000 back then. Moral of the story, the city has to increase its size by 1400% to get any rail expansion done. It’s laughable or just really sad.

  13. Matt L says:

    There was of course one other extension of the Auckland rail system not that long ago, a 500m double tracked line to the bottom of Queen St :-)

    (BTW: yes I realise that there used to be a rail line there before the 1930′s but it was still an extension to get it back there)

  14. joust says:

    Matt L, then the same could be said for Onehunga - Manukau is new.

  15. Matt L says:

    Joust – The difference is that with Onehunga, it still existed as a branch line, just an unused one. Britomart and the tunnel into it didn’t exist as the land corridor had been sold off/developed over etc. so building it required a new line to be built. Claiming that Manukau is the first new line in Auckland since the 30’s just marketing spin by the former Manukau City Council to try and make them sound they get things done (which can be quite usefull for things like elections)

  16. Patrick R says:

    KarlHansen I couldn’t disagree more. I grew up out there, an RTN through the South East is urgent and by far the best idea is to connect Manukau City to the eastern line at Glen Innes with rail. The first step of this would be to build the cheaper end of it by extending MC through to Botany along Te Irirangi. I agree this should follow or be parallel with the South Western or Airport line, but is urgent and will be busy. Of course bus proper priority to Panmure from Botany should occur even earlier. Rail to Howick? No, but through Pakuranga and linked to Howick with feeder buses and Park’n'rides. Here:

  17. geoff_184 says:

    The Southdown Branch opened about 1973 I think, so that would be the previous new line, if we don’t count Britomart.

  18. KarlHansen says:

    Patrick R - please read my post!

    It contains nothing about the question of the URGENCY of a Howick rail line. I am talking of the actual LIKELIHOOD of it happening in the next 20-30 years.

    Which is close to 0%, with an error margin of 1-2 election terms.

    If Auckland ever gets some money to invest into rail again, it will go into CBD rail tunnel, Airport rail line, and maybe a rail crossing across the harbour. The fact that Howick SHOULD get a rail line if the world was just has nothing to do with the fact that such a line doesn’t even feature much in any planning visions, let alone in the public mind, the political will or any actual funding forecasts.

  19. Patrick R says:

    I dunno KH< I just don't think it is useful to only discuss what may not happen, I see a lot of point in discussing what is desirable because:

    1. regardless of the current climate things can change quite quickly [elections, oil shocks]
    2. we need to plan for future work to try prevent new obstacles being built in their way and
    3. if we don't demand them we'll never get them.

    I know it is easy to get gloomy, but I reckon it's our role to advocate for the best outcomes and then work back from there. And that includes preparing for the best to help make it happen- you just never know. So should Manukau be built as if it will be extended? Yes!

  20. KarlHansen says:

    I am not gloomy. I am just saying that it’s down the priority list so much, I won’t waste my time on it, except in terms of some high-level future-proofing, which my post supported.

    If I get frustrated by every thing that goes wrong, even if it only relates to something that may or may never happen, THEN I will get gloomy. I think we need to concentrate on the next 3-5 years (not the specific 2012-2017 period, but “always the next 3-5 years”) because that is were the action will happen, or not. I have stopped even caring much about anything further out, because that is were politicians bury what they don’t want to do.

  21. Sam says:

    I fail to understand why those in power seem to think that rail to the North Shore, is a higher priority than rail to the South East. I think its a much bigger priority because:

    1) there is already a good service to the north shore along the busway, and the other bus routes aren’t that bad compared to other parts of Auckland.
    2) The harbour crossing will cost Billions. I dont think we need road nor rail for some decades.
    3) Much of AMETI will be far less critical after a rail line.
    4) The area is infamously lacking ANY transport infrastructure: no motorways, railways OR buslanes. Pretty much no way to travel quickly and no high capacity routes. On the North Shore, there is a motorway which could compete with trains time wise off peak, and which is a high capacity route. In the south east, Less than 20 minutes on a train from Highland Park to town is incomparable to anything they have now (car: 20-50 mins, ferry: 35 mins (limited service), bus: 60-80 mins)
    5)You don’t need to build new infrastructure all the way into the city- Glen Innes Station is so close to Highland park(3-4 km), but so far (20 minutes drive)
    6) A good route is mainly protected- its direct. but goes through all key centres. UNLIKE the North Shores.
    7) It Provides an Alternative route into the city in case something happens on the Southern Line,
    8 ) The South East is growing very fast. Not sure how they expect all the new residents to get anywhere with just congested local roads around them.
    9)Solid Patronage would be provided in both directions- those going to the city, and those to Manukau and beyond
    10) Maybe we need to wait on the North Shore until we can justify/afford the full $10 billion plus underground option to Albany.

    Overall, a train to Albany might be 25% quicker than the northern express. Will be quicker than driving at rush hour, just like the current service. Capacity wise something might be needed in 40 years. The motorway will probably be ok over that period too, given volumes on it are steady.

    What about the Airport Line? The Airbus currently takes 50 minutes at rush hour from Britomart to the terminal. An electric train may do it in 30-35… a 30% time saving. Again, a car will be slower at rush hour, but similar off peak.

    The south eastern line would be quicker for both car, bus and ferry users at any time. That creates a huge catchment… why is it not on the adgenda?

  22. Patrick R says:

    Sam, I largely agree, but here are some things to consider.

    Proper bus priority to Botany, as part of AMETI, may be the next PT ROW in Auckland, although Joyce is even making that hard to do, by cutting funding from NZTA. Pak. Highway also needs bus ROW to Panmure

    The Airport line should occur at pretty much the same time as the CRL. Once these are funded and being built then we start pushing for the next two; NS + SE.

    Unfortunately crossing the Tamaki is not going to be a lot cheaper than crossing the Harbour.

    Serving the NS is politically important to get those people seeing benefit from the system, but also in terms of running the system, we will have then 3 lines heading into the CBD from the south and only the Western to offer a full cross town destination. A NS line means the Southern or Eastern can run through, very cool.

    Still as I said above this doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be pushing for the Manukau to head on to Botany, once the Airport loop is in, or even as part of it. Botany could become quite the transport centre, there’s lots of poorly used land covered in car parks.
    This will go a long way to help to bridge the severance caused by SH1 in the south too; helping to link our southern communities. And of course then it is obvious that GI to Botany must follow. Complete the network!

    But you’re right; that GI to Highland Park route is sweet, such a transformational investment for Auckland, in one hit offering a new fast and direct way of switching the movement of lots of people from a clogged bottleneck sideways and onto all sorts of new connectivity.

    Also a better and way cheaper NS option is here:

    One last thing; why isn’t it on the adgenda now? Two reasons; Brown has to show he is standing for all of AK not just his old patch, and because we need to fight each step in turn to build the case, each improvement strengthens the case for the next one, and we just have to get that CRL built next, Airport can then be done relatively cheaply, and then it’s game on!

  23. Luke says:

    has anything been done yet to improve the link between the station and the mall?
    The urban environment makes a big difference for the willingness of people to walk 5 - 10mins.
    Needs to be a proper, well defined and pleasant path with good (but not overwhelming) signage. Preferably some planting is nice too so it is not too windswept.

  24. Jon C says:

    @Luke It feels a lot closer than you would think and is only a few minutes walk
    Just needs some signage

  25. KarlHansen says:

    The train station and the new university will pull the centre of the local gravity west, and both the travellers and students will (in the long run) ensure that a more urban environment* is created in the area, both in terms of streetscape and building (uses).

    *Rather than the current “windswept acres of car park” feel with the odd, weirdly oversized building.

  26. Patrick R says:

    OK a quick check and I realised I stuffed the comment above up on an important fact, and got back to it too late to use the handy edit function… So here is what I really mean to say, apologies:

    At least the route between Man City and Botany is designated an RTN. This is important as plans lead designations. Unlike the problem currently being faced by efforts to get a busway on the North Western by Labour MP Phil Tywford and others. It’s designated as a QTN so NZTA say they don’t have to even think about it.

    On population alone it is clear that the SE needs a good fast RTN to get in and out of there, especially to efficiently cross the barriers of the Tamaki River and SH1. The problem has been that the ‘planners’ of these sprawl suburbs only ever planned for ever more cars, which is not now working [predictably]…. so it is hard to retro-fit a route, and more recent planning have settled for trying to squeeze everything through to Panmure; an RTN and all those cars.

    A way better solution to this problem is the GI-Manukau rail RTN devised by Nick Reid and linked to above. Rail needs a narrower corridor and moves much faster that buses, each end of this route’s ROW is already in place and uncongested, there is a plausible and not too invasive route through the centre of the region, and co-ordinated with feeder buses and park’n'rides, it can serve the whole SE well.

    It would be good if some designation of this route could occur even just at a notional level by planners.

  27. geoff_184 says:

    There was an ADL at Manukau station yesterday - first train in there apparently.

  28. sm says:

    is the manukau rail still on track for opening in feb 2012 or is it going to be delayed again

  29. AKT says:

    @Sm Yes it is still on track. They should be training the drivers about now.

  30. sm says:

    went passed the manukau train station over the weeknd. doesnt like its going to open next month. still heaps of work left in the front of the terminal

  31. Geoff says:

    The new timetable, which includes Manukau, starts in March, so still a couple of months yet. They only need to complete the temporary entrance, which isn’t that far off being finished. It’ll be a few years before the final arrangement is completed.

  32. Roy says:

    I think the biggest problem with public transport is the lack of safe cheap car parking and thr timetables are not suited for a 24/7 city which Auckland is. Not everybody works 9 to 5 Monday to Friday!

  33. John Gilbert says:

    Please don’t refer to your stations, whether super new ones like Manakau or excellently refurbished older ones, as TRAIN stations! Please!!!!! Until about 2002 they were always referred to as railway stations, so why on earth this ghastly Americanistic change?
    Keep up the excellent reports of the new developments.

  34. Geoff says:

    Still railway stations in New Zealand John. “Train Stations” is just an Auckland thing that came about when non-railway people started running the show in the early 2000′s.


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