We get flashy trains - but welcome to Gangsta’s Paradise


Now the dust has settled on the Government’s decision to buy Auckland’s much-needed electric trains, comes the scary realisation it’s a half-deal.

PUTRID: Urine soaked seats in the morning

Along with new trains was to come new platforms and stations  -  also very overdue and needed.  Many stations have

* no protection from the rain and wind

* barely any seating

* seats often clearly occupied by homeless overnight as they drip with urine

* hardly any lighting

* no display of information such as is present at Stagecoach bus stops indicating the next arrival

We were supposed to get new stations - including the flash hub being built at Newmarket.

But money for projects other than the actual trains was coming out of the now scrapped regional petrol levy.

So for the ARC it poses new questions on how to fund the stations (that come under the ARC hat) and the integrated transport ticketing system - without which Auckland looks third-world in the eyes of many tourists. (I heard some loud moaning Pommie folk going on about it on the train when they went to Eden Park the other night. They were so Coronation Street, I almost felt like defending the situation!).

And there’s the question of more diesel trains we need to tie us over before the electric ones turn up.

Here’s the reality check.

The dilapidated stations are a muggers paradise (or worse) and serious steps need to be taken immediately before the dark days of winter arrive.

Two examples: Mt Albert is cocooned in between the back of the New North Rd shopping centre and well-sheltered houses. It’s so dark at night you can’t even read the timetable on the station. Last time I got off there on a late Friday train, there was a homeless man shuffling around between the seating in a dark corner.

As they say in horror movies, no one would ever hear your screams.

Then take Morningside. It’s also well away from the street and between the carpark of an apartment block and a panelbeaters garage.

DANGER: A dark tunnel leads to New North Rd

DANGER: A dark tunnel leads to New North Rd

To get to New North Rd you have to take this tunnel (left)  which has NO LIGHTING (unless its a full moon and then why would you go in it!)

INSIDE; The entrance has two obscured exit parts so you can't see who is aorund the corner

INSIDE; The entrance has two obscured exit parts so you can't see who is around the corner

Inside the dark tunnel you have to turn to the right but it’s so obscured you have no idea who is around the corner. (right)

So on March 3 I sent this email to Maxx:

What is being done to increase safety at the Mt Albert and Morningside railway stations please? The Morningside station has a tunnel which leads to new North Rd and has no light and on a recent  wet night was incredibly scary as you have no view of the road when you enter it form the station and no idea if there’s a mugger waiting for you as you turn the corner of the tunnel. Lighting at Mt  Albert is so bad you can’t see the timetable in the dark. Please note I’m writing about my experiences on my blog at aktnz.co.nz so will quote any reply. Here’s hoping for some good news as  this has been like this for years… Cheers Jon

On March 4 I got this reply:

Hello Jon

Thank you for your email regarding increasing safety at the Mt Albert and Morningside train stations.  I have processed your email as formal feedback to the Auckland Regional Transport Authority (ARTA), as they are responsible for the train stations on the Auckland rail network and will also be liaising with the Auckland City Council in regards to the access ways to the stations. ARTA will contact you directly regarding the issues you have raised. Their email address is [email protected] The reference number for your feedback is 2009/02848. If you have any feedback or enquiries in the future, please do not hesitate to contact us again.
You can also speak to a Maxx Customer Service Representative, 6am-9pm Monday to Friday, 7am-8pm Saturday and 8am-6:30pm on Sundays and Public Holidays., phone (09) 366 6400 or call free on 0800 10 30 80 from Franklin and Rodney District. Alternatively, you can email us at [email protected].
Anthony Nicholson
Communications Representative
Maxx Contact Centre
(09) 366 6400

Thanks Anthony or I can I call you Tony?  Hey, I’m still waiting for a real answer but am not holding my breath as there probably isn’t any money now the Government decision has been made.

Maybe I’ll just buy a few lights in the 70% off lighting shop sale up the road and donate them to the stations in the meantime so we can at least discourage the muggers.

Meanwhile Granny Herald editorialises that progress on this railway could hardly be slower while economics guru Bernard Hickey says he is yet to see a proper economic justification for the electrification of rail.




  1. [...] Auckland Regional Transport Authority has now commented on this earlier post about how potentially dangerous some train stations are at night with poor lighting and limited [...]

  2. AR says:

    This sums up my thoughts really well. How can you expect people to start using trains when MOST of the train stations are in such a dire state? Even the new ones that are being developed (apart from the likes of Britomart, Newmarket and New Lynn of course), are built to such a standard that they look aesthetically unpleasing. The pedestrian overbriges connecting the road with the stations are so visually obstructive that they remind you of an industrial factory. The train stations are just concrete platforms and I wish that they were enclosed to prevent people from the wind and rain that Auckland receives. Why cant we get inspiration from train stations overseas such as Europe? Obviously the designers have never been overseas!!

  3. Jimmy says:

    Do you think CPTED will solve the issue in this place? I really doubt that.


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