$80m For Marsden Point Line


KiwiRail estimates it would cost $80 million to build a Marsden Point train line.
The cost of upgrading the North Auckland line would be $200 million.
These official estimates emerged during hearings in connection with Northland Regional Council’s 30 year transport plan.
KiwiRail told the council it would be better to build the Marsden Point line first and get a significant volume of Northland freight back onto rail.
KiwiRail indicated to the council that if this occurred, it would be economically viable to operate and maintain the rail line within Northland- “Then as soon as possible upgrade the Northland line.”
The hearings report concludes that discussions should begin immediately on potential funding because of the substantial cost but agreed with KiwiRail that Marsden should have first priority.
But the hearings committee did not think passenger rail would happen in the next 30 years so should not be part of its 30 year plan.
ARC’s regional transport committee had submitted that it supports initiatives to maintain an operational rail link between Whangarei and Auckland and supported any feasibility study for the upgrading of the North Auckland line.




  1. Matt L says:

    So for $280 million we can have a line to Marsden point and an upgraded NAL that would be viable. That sure seems like a much better option than spending $1.6 billion on a motorway to Wellsford

    Add that to the CBT’s upper estimate of upgrading the existing road and for about $600 million we have an upgraded rail network to handle most of the freight and an improved road that is safer for people to drive on. Seems like a win win situation to me but we can be almost certain the government will ignore it.

  2. rtc says:

    It really just makes my mind boggle when instead the government is planning on blowing 1.6 billion (and don’t forget they’ve already budgeted 100 million to investigate the road i.e. enough for the Marsden Pt line) on a motorway and proposing to close the NAL all together. Seems a bit like a fait acompli in regards to the NAL, how does Kiwirail think they’re going to convinvce Joyce not to shut it down?

  3. Steve W says:

    Um - not sure what KiwiRail are driving at here Jon. I can’t see that this branch would carry much traffic except timber. Unless things have changed, I don’t think that there are container cranes at this port.

  4. Matt L says:

    Steve W - Northland is developing its regional transport plan for the next 30 years. I think this is just Kiwirail saying how much it would cost to upgrade/build what is on that plan.

  5. Richard says:

    Marsden Point is the best port I understand for the super container ships coming in to service. It was because of the deep water that the oil refinery was built there. Therefore it might be the shipping companies that determine our port priorities with container cranes quickly added to the port facilities. Marsden Point will then become as important as Mt. Maunganui and to ignore this would be stupid. Coastal shipping and rail would be essential for the ongoing distribution round the country.

    To use road for this function would be ridiculous even with the upgraded “Holiday Highway”

    Funding should be allocated now to construct the branch line to the port and upgrade the north line. Why not be ahead of the need for a change? Marsden Point is such a good natural port its use will only increase……..it’s closer to overseas markets as well.

    With a major increase in goods traffic the Avondale Southdown link would be essential as well so the traffic does not get too tangled wit h the suburban electrics

  6. Steve W says:

    Thanks Matt - I think that we’ve seen that really the 30 year plans are no more than a wish list. Having said that we know that KiwiRail has invested already in the line by it’s contribution to the designation process.

    If there were container cranes and full port facilities at Marsden Point I believe that the branch would be under construction if not in use by now.

    The shipping Lines have been pushing successive governments to invest. The only way that I believe that the incumbent administration would support the investment, is if the Port was developed under a Pp type scheme. The cynic in me suggests that this would represent a philosophical win for the right wingers and far right(Your think tanks etc).

    I have been a keen follower of this story for years however I really don’t know the full ins and outs of what’s required and how much $$$s, but at the moment I can’t see that it stacks up.

    The great factor in favour of course of Marsden Point is it’s deepwater access we’re told. I believe that the Port of Tauranga is about to start dredging so that the bigger ships can visit it’s port, so perhaps this factor will be negated.

  7. LucyJH says:

    I think that the growth of the population in both Auckland and Whangarei is another reason why they think that Marsden might get more container traffic - and therefore be worth building the Marsden spur.


Leave a Comment


XHTML: You can use these tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>