Auckland Transport has identified a route through the city centre for the City Rail Link (CRL), the next step in passenger rail development for Auckland, and is now making contact with directly affected landowners prior to seeking planning protection for the route.
The CRL will extend the existing rail line underground through Britomart, under Albert, Vincent and Pitt Streets, then beneath Karangahape Road and the Central Motorway Junction to Symonds Street before rising to join the western line near Eden Terrace.
Mayor Len Brown says the route identification is the next big step towards the completion of one of the most important public transport projects in the recent history of Auckland.
“The CRL won’t just provide a convenient train line below the city centre. It will unleash the potential of the entire suburban rail network, increasing frequency, reliability, and speed of trains across all of Auckland,” says Mayor Len Brown.
Auckland Transport’s chief executive David Warburton said the CRL will provide for three additional city centre stations in the vicinity of the Aotea Centre, Karangahape Road and Newton and an interchange adjacent to New North Road.
“Our priority is to let property owners directly affected by the City Rail Link know about the route first and then we’ll engage with wider interests.”
The CRL will require the future purchase of surface property from 210 owners.
Underground portions of land from 70 interests, including 12 unit title developments with multiple owners, will also need to be purchased for the tunnels and stations.
“Our focus is on protecting a route for the CRL. We first want to work with landowners to help ensure they are well informed and to help us understand their issues. Property purchase is a second step.”
“We are aware that property owners adjacent to the CRL will want to know more about future construction impacts such as noise, vibration and access. We will explain these over the next few months and address them at a greater level of detail in future design and resource consent processes.” he said.
Britomart will become a through station as was originally envisaged when it was built, allowing faster, more frequent and more reliable services across the whole Auckland passenger rail network.
“Improved accessibility is a key to Auckland’s economic growth and that of New Zealand. The CRL will future-proof transport demands for an Auckland that will be home to two thirds of New Zealand’s growth over the next three decades.”
The CRL builds on previous public transport investment including Britomart, double tracking and electric trains. It will provide more trains more often, with faster more reliable and direct services, to more destinations.
He says both Auckland Council and central government agree it makes strategic sense to protect the route now.
The CRL will be built in two 3.5km long, twin tunnels up to 45 metres below the city. As much as possible, the project will be built below city streets to reduce the effects on property owners and city heritage buildings.