Auckland Council this week will consider plans to future proof the City Rail Link and expand station sizes to cater for rocketing growth in rail patronage across Auckland.
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff said, “The growth in rail travel is a success story for Auckland. Every passenger commuting to work by train is one less car on the road during peak hour travel.
“The growth in popularity of rail travel in Auckland means decisions should be taken now on expanding new rail stations to cater for new estimates on the huge number of people who will be commuting by rail in the next ten years.
“The time to make the decision on expanding station size is now, not trying to retrofit stations in a decade which will be disruptive and much more costly.
“Within 10 years of opening the Auckland Harbour Bridge it had to be expanded from four lanes to eight. We need to learn from the lessons of the past and do it right from the beginning.
“New estimates predict that CRL stations need to cope with the capacity of 54,000 passengers an hour at peak rather than the original estimates of 36,000.
“On this basis, City Rail Link Ltd. believes that stations should be built to cater for nine carriage trains rather than six, with longer platforms and in the case of the Karangahape Road Station it will require a second entrance on Beresford Square.
“Widening the tunnel to cater for larger stations at the time of construction is common sense. Otherwise the CRL would have to be closed for a prolonged period of time potentially as early as 10 years after original construction for the station tunnels to be widened.
“When costs are clearer after the tender process, a decision can be made about fully fitting out the longer stations at the beginning or at a later date. Preliminary costings suggest doing it at the start may be roughly half the cost of doing it later.
“With tendering processes for construction about to get underway, I’m not about to put a price on what the cost might be. That is commercially sensitive at this point in the project,” said Phil Goff.
City Rail Link costs are estimated at $3.4 billion and shared equally between Government and Auckland Council.