Sky Blue, Not Muddy Brown


New timetables are out & Onehunga’s new train service  - whose colour code has mysteriously gone from muddy brown to blue- will get half hour trains at peak times. And it promises a 25 minute trip from Onehunga to Britomart.

Off peak and weekends are hourly.

At least it’s a start. I was in Dress Smart today and it was very popular - even more so at weekends so more regular train services would be welcome then.

As posted earlier, the sight of a train finally at Onehunga does the heart good.

And today’s release of timetables make the thing seem even more real!

Here is the fare info (stages):

At the start of the year, maps inside carriages were altered to show Onehunga coming mid- year as the brown line.

The debate on this site wasn’t overly impressed with the idea of a muddy brown.

It now appears to have oddly changed to a sky blue, which is welcomed. Maybe they ran a focus group!

New train timetables available here applying from when Onehunga starts on September 19, boast

  • longer trains on the Western Line (more seats)
  • significant increase in peak services between Penrose and Britomart
  • more trains during the day across the network

Overall, things are improving. But it’s not all good news: some will be upset at Express services being dropped.

ARTA and Veolia comment on the new timetables here




  1. Andrew says:

    More services between Britomart & Penrose and Southern Express services dropped, typical, South Auckland gets ditched again. I can’t believe they’ve axed the evening express services on the Southern line, currently 5:25pm & 6:06pm. The difference in travel time is about 20 minutes. Before, catching the 6:06pm service meant you’d be in Manurewa by 6:40pm which is a very reasonable time. Not sure I’m going to be the only one not so happy about this seemingly backwards change.

  2. James Pole says:

    I for one is happy with the dropping of the express. At one point a few years back I sat down at my computer with an excel spreadsheet trying to develop a better timetable for the Southern/Eastern line.

    I quickly came to the conclusion that given the current double track layout, it wasn’t very easy to increase service frequency while keeping the expresses running. An express train causes issues with keeping a consistent service frequency at some point down the line. Seems that ARTA has come to the same conclusion as myself!

    At the end of the day, all-stop trains still provide timing superior to either bus or private cars during the morning/afternoon peak so I don’t expect to see many people switching to other forms of transport.

  3. James Pole says:

    Me again! :)

    Just had a look at the Southern Line timetable — it’s a horrible mess which basically includes all services that goes via Remuera or Orakei.

    I think a new Central Train Timetable should be introduced to include only trains on the Southern and Onehunga lines that travel via Newmarket.

    The Central timetable would be more useful to pax that only travel to/from stations on the Onehunga branch and/or stations on the section of the Southern Line between Penrose-Britomart.

    This would allow the Onehunga branch services to be removed from the Southern Line but still allowing pax for/from between Onehuunga/Penrose and Britomart to refer to a single timetable for all services to Britomart from stations north of the Westfield junction.

  4. Sam says:

    I agree James… The southern line timetable worked ok with just the southern and Eastern lines- but now we have lots of trains terminating at Otahuhu, Onehunga line trains and a massively bloated and messy timetable that’s 9 pages long on the PDF, the one size fits all approach doesn’t really work any more.

  5. DanC says:

    If it coul dbe managed how about an express between Waitakere and Pukekohe? I would use that and then get into upper CBD using the link bus from Grafton Station.

  6. rtc says:

    It’s not so much the Britomart capacity constraints that prevent expresses but more that with frequencies getting closer to 10 minutes it’s not possible anymore without passing loops - or triple tracking which Auckland doesn’t have. Hell we only just got double tracking.

  7. Matt L says:

    Personally I think ARTA have stuffed up this timetable, the southern line is a mess and hard to read. On the western line, we have lost the express service but we haven’t gained frequency to the timetable, I could understand removing it if we were moving to 10 min frequencies but we haven’t. In fact we have gone from having a 15 min peak frequency to having it vary with each service anywhere from 12 to 20 minutes. Even more concerning is that a trip from Britomart to Swanson is now scheduled to take 2 minutes longer than it currently is. We now have the line double tracked so there is nothing to hold trains up yet time is added.

    There are also lots of little things e.g. the stations with park and rides are listed however they have forgotten probably the biggest one on the western line at Sturges rd.

  8. Matt L says:

    I should also add, I am happy to see the Onehunga line finally appearing and the change from Brown to Blue is welcome.

  9. Nick R says:

    Good news!

    In the longer term they should consider running all southern line trains express Newmarket to Penrose, and boost the Onehunga Branch to the same frequency to cater for the skipped section.

  10. Ian M says:

    I guess to do this may require a third track? I am all for a third track from Penrose to Newmarket. I had always thought that Onehunga could be non-stop to Newmarket from Penrose, as most of those in Onehunga would be going to Newmarket or town I had imagined.

  11. Nick R says:

    It would make more sense to save time on the longer southern line, it’s only going to take 25 minutes from Onehunga to Britomart as it is.

    At current levels (where you have ten or fifteen minutes between trains) extra track wouldn’t quite be necessary, as you can schedule an express to run just ahead of an all-stops and still save plenty of time… but it would require very good timekeeping and reliability.

  12. Rikki says:

    I’m sorry to say this but i think the decision to change the colour was racist.
    A lot of Pacific island bros will be getting the train from Onehunga and the train ppl thought it would give the impression the Onehunga trains were for poor Pacific island ppl.
    So they changed it to a very palangi bright blue.
    That sux.

  13. Ian M says:

    It’s going to be interesting to see how quickly the lower area of onehunga mall gets revitalised with the new station. There are quite a few empty shops, but I doubt they will be empty for very long-golden opportunity!

  14. May says:

    After reading this I went all the way into britomart tonight to pick up new timetables.
    They didnt have any new printed timetables.
    massive FAIL

  15. Matt says:

    May, the timetables don’t come into effect for several more weeks. Until they’re effective, the printed versions won’t be in stock. It avoids confusion.

  16. karl says:

    “I’m sorry to say this but i think the decision to change the colour was racist.”

    I too, think it is horrible how the blue-skinned among us get preference all the time!

    RELAX. It is not racist to change a colour. Am I racist because I drive a white car rather than a brown one? Don’t put so much importance on a simple colour. It doesn’t help anyone.

    “There are quite a few empty shops, but I doubt they will be empty for very long-golden opportunity!”

    Depends on what you consider quickly. Retail is DEEP in the doldrums right now. I don’t expect much for the next 1-2 years.

  17. Andrew says:

    Rikki: If you look at the timetables, you’ll see most timetables for bus services that operate east of Great South Rd (that don’t go to Mangere) are sky blue. It’s a colour code that’s been in use for a number of years now: Western isthmus sky blue, eastern isthmus and East Auckland yellow, South Auckland red, North Shore dark blue, West Auckland services green, crosstown services orange.

    I’d also like to point out that no ethnic group has a skin colour of blue, so I fail to understand how it is racist? Wouldn’t deliberately colouring a railway line the same colour as an ethnic group be even more racist?

    Andrew (not the same Andrew as the first post)

  18. Nick R says:

    Since when was light blue palangi? The only ‘light blue’ people I know come from hindu mythology….

    They obviously changed it from reddy-brown to avoid confusion with the red colour of the Southern Line!

  19. Joshua says:

    Oh no, It’s racist as, I mean thats where all the Avatar reside!!!

  20. Doloras says:

    Rikki is obviously trolling. Onehunga is a Central Auckland destination; so it was given the same colour code as the Central bus services, like Dom Rd or Mt Eden. For consistency.

    (Onehunga’s increasingly a white middle-class suburb, anyway, and will increasingly be so with the new trains.)


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