Lee: Airport Rail ‘Sooner Than Later”


ARC Chair Mike Lee in a report to the full ARC council says we must start thinking now about airport rail.
Discussing the success of the Onehunga line opening, he writes:

“One of my original motivations in 2002 for starting the campaign to have the branch line reopened was the possibility of extending rail services to Auckland International Airport.

“The reopening of the Onehunga branch line now raises the question of extending rail services to the Auckland International Airport.

The new Manukau Harbour crossing has been built at ARC members’ insistence) to allow for rail in the future.

I would like to see this happen sooner, rather than later.”

“Auckland International Airport is 23km from the CBD.  The rail line now extends 14km to Onehunga.  The airport is only 9km from Onehunga.”




  1. Patrick R says:

    Yee-Ha! And I for one really like Nick’s idea of the Perth style down-the-middle-of-the-motorway plan for this route. With bus stops on the overbridges feeding directly down to stations. It’ll be tight, skinny platforms, but it means major cost savings on clearances around off ramps and bridges, and be so good to see trains racing by the traffic…. Also it’s a good way of accessing communities on both sides of the route equally, no need for big ped. bridges like on the Busway.

    Come on Steven, will be a nice juicy election issue with you on the unpopular side if you don’t get behind this by the new year….

    PS I’m sure he’s buried that CBD report because it no doubt comes to the ‘wrong’ conclusion- unless he is busy having its numbers swapped with those for his Holiday Highway….

  2. Nick R says:

    Patrick, one very fortunate thing is that there aren’t actually any full diamond interchanges at any of the proposed station locations. Rimu Rd has only north facing ramps, Walmsley only has them to the east, and Bader Dr only has them to the west.
    This means that widening the motorway considerably at these points should be possible without any major changes to the overbridge structure, you simply widen in the direction there are no ramps. Therefore I’m not sure if skinny platforms would be needed after all.

  3. Joshua says:

    Having the rail run in the centre of the motorway would be nice, but expensive in this circumstance. The proposed rail corridor has been left clear so using this would be more economical.

  4. Patrick R says:

    ‘The proposed rail corridor has been left clear so using this would be more economical.’

    Maybe for some of the length, I can’t see it after Walmsley rd, and which side?

  5. Nick R says:

    Joshua, I think it would be much more expensive to run the line up one side.
    All that has happened is they have allowed some width in the corridor for potential rail. This doesn’t mean any of the ramps, overbridges or other structures have been designed for a railway however.
    So to put in a 12m wide railway line to one side means rebuilding every bridge along the way with an additional 12m span and rebuilding every ramp as a bridge to pass over it.

    Putting the line in the centre and moving the lanes outwards 5-6m may mean the existing spans do not need to be modified, as most motorway overbridges have a large shoulder area under them also. Plus this way the on and off ramps need only a small amount of realignment at grade, rather than being rebuilt as bridges over the line.

    In this case it will really come down how much provision has already been made for a line to the side. If they designed the new ramps and structures that way then obviously that would be easiest.

  6. Patrick R says:

    But there’s still a width problem for your two at-the-overbridge stations? No?

  7. Nick R says:

    I’m not sure, but maybe not. Basically we need to widen the road by the equivalent of one lane each way for the tracks, plus a extra third lanes worth of width where the stations are located.
    For example if you look here:
    and here:

    There seems to be room to do that within the existing footprint of the interchange. For example the span of the Walmsley overbridge looks to be about 70m.


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