Waterfront Trams May Roll


The quaint plan for tourist trams to travel down Auckland city streets again is still alive.

The idea was for electric trams to be used along the Auckland waterfront, as the new Wynyard Quarter development takes shape.

It’s hoped this would be a tourist attraction as well as add colour to the new development.

The ARC expects a report from officers on progress next month but today ARC Chair Mike Lee reminded the ARC transport and urban development committee not to forget the idea and make sure it was part of the discussion taking place concerning public transport for Wynyard Quarter.

No funding options have yet been found and one estimate given for the cost is $30m, which includes six old Melbourne trams and housing for the trams, but some suggest it could be done way cheaper.

Trams used to roll through Auckland's CBD | Photo on display at MOTAT

Critical to Wynyard Quarter’s success will be the development of the Jellicoe Precinct (defined by North wharf in north, Madden St in south, Westhaven in the west and Viaduct Harbour in the east.)

Jellicoe is considered an extension of the existing CBD waterfront and Viaduct Harbour acticity, functioning as the quarter’s “social and cultural heart and its main pedestrian link to the esiting waterfront.” It would be supported by complimentary retail and entertainment activities on Jellicoe St and the Fish market.

Planning had begun on how best to serve the area by bus.

Some councillors expressed the hope that while the amount of business activity planned in the revitalised area, including a new ASB HQ there, necessitated car parking facilities, it was hoped much of this could be done underground.




  1. Carl says:

    Trams need to loop around britomart, and then keep going all the way to mission bay, make it interesting and worth while, then people who live in those areas wouldn’t need to drive into the city for work.

    and they need to run 7 days a week, till a decent hour at night to.

    Trams are awesome, my favourite system of all time is the Budapest one, the worlds first full electric system!

  2. rtc says:

    The whole plan for this development was that 70% of people getting there would be by PT, if they’re already talking about needing to building car parking buildings then one of Auckland’s only chances for a change in thinking appears to have gone down the drain.

  3. Jon C says:

    @rtc There isnt a lot of enthusiasm for car parking buildings but the reality is that if ASB is going to move their HQ there and other businesses follow, the reality is some people do need to drive there.
    The good thing is they are planning for good bus and hopefully tram services and any carparking needs to be out of view and underground.

  4. jarbury says:

    If you don’t provide the parking then people will find other ways. There is no ABSOLUTE NEED to provide parking there.

  5. Steve W says:

    If the trams could be obtained on the same gauge as the railways system, then it’s possible that old track could be used on Quay Street; which I think has possibly been largely tarred over.
    A tram service could add colour to Auckland.

  6. ingolfson says:

    Steve, I think there would be little to nothing financially gained from uncovering some old tracks.

    And why suddenly talk about getting “new” trams for a heritage service? MOTAT has enough of them.

  7. Carl says:

    ^ way to true, trams to me are old rattly things, put it this way, why on earth would they need to be brand new? if they are only going to do short trips, get the old ones up and running, if they still work, again there is no need to buy brand new ones….. as long as all the gauges are the same, have a mix, old / new vintage… this is something that could actually be built right here in nz.

  8. DanC says:

    Yes, trams downtown would be awesome! I would really like to see this system… For tourists and PT… A tram joining to the existing Motat tram going across Gt Nth Rd, Tuarangi, Williamson, Hepburn, Napier ln, under the Victoria Park Viaduct, Beaumont Street, Jellicoe over the future bridge Te Wero to Britomart around the Bays to St Heliers, or even to Glen Innes Train Station via St Heliers Bay road (maybe a bit to much of an incline) Ashby, Line & Taniwha. I think that would be a great investment for a tourism PT mix.

  9. rtc says:

    Most cities are limiting and banning further carparking developments in the CBD and instead people walk to their final destination after catching a bus or train. There is no need for carparking in the Wynward quarter and if ASB choses to move their HQ there despite the district plan limiting car parking then it is their problem to deal with. There should be no changes to suit ASB. The can hire space in buildings e.g. by the Tepps and if their staff are too lazy to walk the 300m to their office then ASB can have a mini bus driving back and forth.

  10. Joshua says:

    I tend to disagree, there will always be a need for some carparking in certain areas of the city, we do need a balance, some of the buisnesses will need to use vehicle transportation for operational reasons throughout the day, where PT does not cater to the buisness use.

    It is however a balance that needs to be met, providing a limited amount of parking for the use of the buisness, a good measure would be a extra charge to the buisness for each car park created within the building. In ASB’s Case it would be providing a certain amount of company car parking, for company vehicles only, and a limited amount of customer car parking for trades people or the like. People whom work there however should be required to either park in an existing parking building in the city or take PT. Obviously the later would be the best option.

    In terms of getting a Tram, I would be happy if we started with a tourist line from the new development along the waterfront to britomart, once it become popular we can then extend it down to mission bay and even further a feild. We need to get a starting point so then we can expand. Let get our foot in the door then work on progressing into a fully fledged tram system, even if it means baby steps at the start.

  11. ingolfson says:

    “way to true, trams to me are old rattly things”

    Well, you obviously haven’t used modern trams yet:


    As for ASB - if we start giving them exemptions, then we can kiss the 70% PT and active modes target goodbye right now. Of course they will have car parking. But in line with the rules set out, not bending them right at the start.

  12. Carl says:

    I actually meant to say rattley old things.. and my point was, there is no need for brand new trams, and yes i have traveled on new ones, every city or country that I go to I make it a habit of trying out there PT net work…so your point of noting having used them goes out the window.. The ones in Amsterdam and Helsinki to me are the best by far, quite, warm and cosy, but there is nothing wrong with a old either, adds to the idea of going for a ‘ride’ on one, which is what maybe most of the trips it will be doing… unless of course they extend it and make it a decent service.

    My idea was, if there are old ones floating around, fix um up, and get them back in service, Melbourne uses old trams, Budapest’s trams are still the original ones it started with in 1896….. it proves they can be looked after and still work…

  13. Jeremy Harris says:

    MOTAT doesn’t have excess trams, the had to get some from the Melbourne storage warehouse to ensure they could run daily service on their very small system…

    We could get some more from there, but why not provide new rolling stock, rather than outdated equipment with high maintanance costs..?

  14. KLK says:

    Put the $30m towards a light rail system and move into the 21st century.

  15. ingolfson says:

    Jeremey, I would much prefer a real Light Rail system, but I assume that would cost more than they have right now…

  16. rtc says:

    The district plan allows for some parking allowances in Wynward quarter - but quite rightly very mininal. However, if a business that relies on cars relocates there, then it is their own problem and their staff will just have to walk downtown to a parking building. It’s a bit like moving to Waiheke and then demanding a road be built because you need to be able to drive to the city.

    Most of ASB’s staff are office workers, everywhere else in the world office workers in the CBD quite happily sit on a train and then walk to their office. If I was to work for ASB I’d be quite happy with the Wynward location as it results in a pretty pleasent waterfront stroll each morning. Furthermore, I can count 3 extremely large parking buildings which are 600m, 700m and 1km from ASB’s new office building. Britomart and the ferry terminal are a mere 800m. If there’s seriously a debate about how an office with these options so close needs more parking because, when it boils down to it, the staff are too lazy to have to walk a few hundred metres then it’s really pretty sad.

    However, a tram would allow said staff to avoid walking altogether and sit their entire journey.

  17. ingolfson says:

    “However, if a business that relies on cars relocates there, then it is their own problem”

    Exactly. The problem is whether as an “early adopter”, they can make some noises about getting dispensations, because, you know, there’s no PT there right now, and so much empty space and… bla bla bla, bad precedent. I just hope Council sticks to their guns.

  18. damian says:

    There will be a tram going in early in the new year, it will be a one way tram looping around from jellicoe, halsey, gaunt and dalby streets. The trams will be from Melbourne.
    There are plans in place to extend this down to the viaduct.

  19. karl says:

    Damian - yes, one of Mike Lee’s hobby horses. I am afraid it will be a total failure, and set the idea of light rail in Auckland back several years.

    Unless of course, it will be such a failure that the politicians are spurred to extend it somewhere useful before it embarasses them too much. But that’s wishful thinking.

  20. strings says:


    FYI tenders are in with the AWDA as I type.
    Notice of award to the contractor will be late next week.

    Dont plan on driving down that way next year, total chaos springs to mind with multiple road closures planned


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