Prime Minister John Key, Transport Minister Simon Bridges and Auckland Mayor Len Brown joined Auckland Transport chairman Dr Lester Levy at Britomart Station today (2 June) for a special ground-breaking ceremony to officially mark the start Auckland’s City Rail Link (CRL) construction.
The ground-breaking $2.5 billion project will mean more frequent trains across the network and more direct services to the city centre. Auckland Transport will be able to grow Auckland’s passenger rail network to reach an average of better than one train every 10 minutes at peak for most stations.
Auckland will grow by more than 700,000 people in the next 30 years. The CRL will almost double the number of people on Auckland’s trains to 30,000 an hour at peak times to accommodate the city’s booming growth.
Dr Levy called the CRL “the bold game-changer Auckland has been waiting for,” while Mayor Len Brown said good things come to those who wait: “Auckland, we sure have waited, this project has been debated and tossed around for more than 90 years. It was first flagged in 1923 by the then Minister of Railways. Now we are finally pushing the “Go” button.”
Dr Levy says the CRL isn’t just about freeing-up central Auckland; it has transport benefits for large parts of Auckland, including road users. “Making public transport a better travel choice will ease pressure on roads for those who need to use them.”
During the past decade, rail patronage has increased from three million trips a year to 16 million but further growth of the rail system, including increases to train frequency, is constrained by its dead end at Britomart, which limits the entire network’s capacity. The CRL will join up the rail network, allowing trains to run both ways through Britomart doubling the number of trains.