Trams Up Queen St Plan


Mayor Brown says a tram loop up Queen St, along K Rd and then back to Quay St is being looked at as part of extending trams from Wynyard Quarter to Britomart.

This would bring back trams to the city’s main street for the first time since they were discontinued in the mid 1950s.

In an interview on TVOne’s Q&A, he said there are two options with Q St under consideration - either entirely pedestrian only or partly.

“Over the next five or 10 years, we will look at the possibility of either fully pedestrianising or partially, depending on the feedback we get from our community.

“We could look at tram up Queen Street. I mean, one of the most successful things has been to bring back the tram out at Wynyard Quarter, and we’re looking at the possibility of a tram loop up Queen Street, K Road and then back down into Quay St.”

Despite the fares, Wynyard trams are crowded at the weekends

Earlier Auckland Council Transport Committee Chair Mike Lee initiated a plan for the trams to go to Britomart as soon as possible. He wrote to to Mayor Len Brown and Auckland Transport for the waterfront tramway to be extended to Britomart “as soon as possible.”
A motion was passed at the Council’s transport committee meeting for Auckland Council officers to work with Auckland Transport and the Waterfront Agency for this to happen and this has now been followed up with talk of it being done next year and eventually being replaced with a modern light rail system.

Presently, the heritage tram travels clockwise on a 1.5km circuit of Wynyard Quarter between Jellicoe, Halsey, Gaunt and Daldy Sts.

An online petition seeks for them to go up College Hill and through Ponsonby. National Auckland Central MP Nikki Kaye has been pushing for this.

Theere also a suggestion of it going as far as Western Springs to meet up with the MOTAT tramway and tourist attractions of MOTAT, Western Springs and the Auckland Zoo.

Trams as they used to travel up Queen St and the CBD

Also in the TV interview, the Mayor denied to Paul Holmes that Transport Minister Steven Joyce has said he can not have the proposed City Rail Loop.

“We have not been told that at all. In fact, the government said, ‘We will support you designating the route and going into a resource-consenting process. We see it strategically as being a part of Auckland’s future. It’s about timing.

“In terms of the money, our council will certainly will have skin in the game, the ratepayers will have skin in the game.

“I am convinced and I have no doubts that the government will have skin in the game. It’s about how much.”

In terms of the possibilities for funding help such as a congestion charge, the Mayor said:
“Do not underestimate how determined the Auckland people are to see this transformation in place, and so the very least that I’m putting up to them - I’ve been saying this for the last 18 months - I’m prepared to have the debate, and it’s just not congestion charges; it’s also a possibility of network charges.

“So congestion charges - what London did around the inner CBD area. We will put up options for network charge for our entire transport system. And,  we want to see whether the community’s up for this. I believe they are, and time will tell. We’ll go through this discussion over the next two or three months. ”



Brisbane's Queen St

Pointing to the success of Brisbane’s pedestrian-only main thoroughfarte, also called Queen St, the Mayor said he wanted Quay St as a boulevard and Victoria St with reduced lanes.





  1. James says:

    I say do it as soon as possible. linking the trams with motat would be a great way to see the city as well.
    As for inner-city road charges, yes why not? Auckland can be really congested during the day. The less cars in Auckland CBD the more place for public transport and the more time everybody has to do something instead of sit in a car or bus waiting in a row of cars.

  2. Jarrod says:

    They should do 2 loops. Up Queen St, K Road, Ponsonby Rd back down to Quay St. The other would turn left at the top of Queen, across Grafton Birdge, thru Newmarket and Parnell back to Britomart. That would allow people to get all over the CBD by tram.

  3. Andu says:

    Yes Please

  4. Matt L says:

    Paul Holmes really is an idiot in that interview, on a more positive side, the panel discussion on Auckland after the interview was refreshing as all panellists including Michael Barnett from the chamber of commerce were supportive of the CRL, of improving the CBD and thought that the government was being deliberately obstructive with things like funding.

  5. Nick says:

    I would tend to look at a partial pedestrianisation much like Brisbane. Here you could pedstrianise from Mayoral Drive down. Going up from Mayoral Drive you have a couple of things working against peds, one being the steeper gradient and not as much retail on the western side of the street.

  6. DanC says:

    Trams looping the cbd. Yes please!

  7. Sam says:

    As long as the trams don’t have to share a lane with cars, it will be great. The city link (which runs the same route) takes about 15 minutes to get from k road to britomart…. Same as walking. Thismorning I caught it at 6:30, when there was no traffic, and despite all the traffic lights it still managed that trip in about 7 minutes.

    Pedestrianizing part of queen street will transform the city and give Auckland a lot of much needed character.

  8. Doloras says:

    As long as they’re bad-ass 21st century “light rail”, not clanky heritage numbers, this is the best thing I’ve ever heard. Wellington will be GREEN with jealousy, with their permanent bus congestion on Lambton Quay.

  9. John Dalley says:

    Wynyard to the town hall would be a great next stagealong with the removal of cars on Queen St.

  10. Gary says:

    Why would we have both the central rail link and this light rail up to k’rd? Surely a bus does just as good a job?

  11. Kegan says:

    Trams to MOTAT - is there anything more to this idea than “trams on the waterfront, trams at MOTAT, lets join them up !!!”?

    Significant expansion (say beyond Britomart) should use modern low floor trams, platform stops to allow level boarding, lightweight overhead & pantographs, signal priority, separate lanes, etc etc.

    Regular PT users should not be expected to use museum pieces on a daily basis.

  12. Matt says:

    Matt L, the Chamber of Commerce have been quite vocally supportive of the CRL, and improved public transport in general. Don’t mistake Joyce and the RCF’s opposition to spending on anything other than more roads for broad-based business opposition. Most of the business community just want customers to get into their premises to spend money.

  13. Pim says:

    This isn’t just about having light rail itself, it’s also about the noise, pollution, and cost difference between busses and trams. Obviously the trams win.

  14. Mark says:

    this needs a bit more thought - and I’m sure there looking at options.

    In the past the best option has been a double “d” ie up and down queen st. People won’t do a whole long loop around to get back downtown.

    Also need to decide where it fits into general train/bus system. It’s a very good option to extend reach of britomart pre CRL - but how does it realte to bus services? Do you want a tram and bus both operating in Queen St? oe does the tram move people from a couple bus hubs eg Britomart/Customs and Aotea?

  15. Matt L says:

    Mark - My thought is a tram up Queen St to K Rd would replace the city link bus service that has just been started.

    Also my thought on any tram extensions after getting the line to Britomart should two fold, one for it to carry on up Queen St then along Dominion Rd to replace that busy bus route and the to head along the waterfront to Mission Bay or St Heliers in one direction and up through Ponsonby, Grey Lynn to link up with MOTAT, this would provide a connection for locals but also connect many of Auckland’s main tourist attractions so could be quite popular

  16. Chris says:

    Light rail instead of trams please

  17. Roger says:


    Melbourne has a rail loop under the CBD that is duplicated by the trams above. I see no conflict, it all depends on whether a tram can take you to your destination or rail. Whichever suits you best.

  18. Nick R says:

    I agree with Keegan, rather then just linking up to the old heritage tramway at Motat because it’s there they need a proper look at what is needed, where and why.
    My guess is Queen St to Mt Roskill via Dominion Rd is the most needy, but perhaps a downtown waterfront line would be worthwile, latter extended to Mission Bay and Ponsonby and eventually Western Springs to St Heliers.

    Let’s skip the loop buisiness and build lines for the network that are going to be most useful. And of course it needs to be proper street ‘light rail’ with 100%,dedicated full time lanes and signal priority, preferably with a kerb or raised median to physically prevent car access. Anything less you might as well stick with a bus.

  19. damian says:

    Go for the light rail option and use the money more effectively. Trams are not the future this city needs.

  20. Pickle says:

    I think there is some mixing up of terms going on here. ‘Light rail’ is really just another word for trams. However they are generally known as modern vehicles that run on a separate, preferably kerb separated corridor to the road. The City Rail Link would be an underground heavy rail tunnel.

  21. William Stewart says:

    Brisbane is for the most part fully pedestrianized. It’s such a wonderful testament to putting pedestrians and public transport first. The bus exchange underneath is absolutely amazing.

  22. Mark says:

    @Nick R - not sure about Dom Rd - people do jump on it as an obvious one. but there is no growth area at the end of it ie Mt Roskill (due to soils/drainage/stormwater issues), and linited growth along it,as commercial has trumped residential at Balmoral.

    Also, just because it’s the best bus route, doesn’t mean it’s agood tram route. One of it’s needs currently is to feed more buses on it part way eg Valley Rd which works well. If you still wanted capacity at the end of such a long route you need much greater (and expensive) capacity from the beginning. Also on an arterial safety and network blockages become a major, and you have to start looking at raised platforms and stop cars etc crossing.

    Also I think AT probably see express buses using SH20/waterview in the medium term.

  23. Nick R says:

    I think it would make an ideal tram route, straight, linear, direct route with a major anchor at the end (the CBD) fed by a fine grained grid like street pattern that places a huge corridor of housing and other trip generators within walking distance of the line, not to mention the need to expand the street based public transport even further within a restrained carriageway width. Trams are basically the only way they could get a step change in PT capacity without either seriously compromising the arterial road function or an expensive widening project. You’d have a very hard time feeding many more buses onto Dom Rd, it’s almost at capacity already and the limited width prevents proper standard bus lanes.
    Yes, I would certainly expect that trams on Dom Rd would feature raised platform style stops, signal priority and median lanes that cannot be used by general traffic.
    As for development and intesification, there are a host of opportunities for new medium density housing and retail/commercial, particularly at Valley Rd, Balmoral and Mt Roskill town centres.

  24. Geoff Houtman says:

    I gotta say this is awesome news!
    Although Quay, Queen, K Rd is not a loop. I just checked on a map.
    If you added Pons Rd for example it would be a loop…

  25. Mark says:

    @NickR - the heritage protection prevents intensification at Valley Rd - and has been backed by 4-5 Councils. And again - you’d have to do the numbers on how you can run a tram 8-10km and have capacity still available at Valley Rd. Runs at that length are more heavy rail based, with fewer stops etc. Also only 10% of people on that corridor work in the CBD. There are students to add to taht though.

    the new outer link routes are finally ackowledging that the vaste majority of people don’t work in the CBD. Given limited funding - I’d suggest light rail on SH20 - Mt albert / onehunga/penrose and beyond, is the big step change. build between core core rail corridors, not competing with them.

  26. Nick R says:

    Not so Mark, the Hubbard council had a plan for busway diversions that included redevelopment an intensification at Valley Rd, Balmoral and Mt Roskill. What we are talking about here is a strip mall, supermarket carparking and big box retailing so heritage issues are irellevant.

    Light rail on Dom Rd is as much about serving the employment and destinations on the road as shuttling people into town. I agree with what you say about connecting not competing, that is why Dom Rd is ideal as a linear radial link equidistant between the western and southern lines (and competes with neither) that would connect the inner rapid transit system to the Avondale-Onehung corridor.
    I think you are completely wrong saying the distance is suited to heavy rail, to the contrary such a heavy rail route would have only three or at a pinch four stations. Mt Roskill shops to Valley Rd is only 3.8km distance. A rail line four stations long isn’t going to work very well. Much better to have a light rail link with seven or eight stops over the same distance.

    Not really concerned about the proportion of people working in the CBD, there is a lot more than just peak work trips causing journeys. The proof of the pudding in this case are the existing bus services, they very popular at all times of the day and days of the week, including peak hours.

    As for the numbers it is pretty simple, each lane on Dominion Rd has the same PT vehicle throughput capacity, and a LRV can carry four times as many people per vehicle as a bus (with the same staffing cost I might add). Not sure what your issue is with a tram running from Mt Roskill and still having capacity left at Valley Rd, why would this be a problem? Again it is under 4km distance and has a bus running every few minutes at busy times. Replacing this with an LRV capable of holding 200 people every few minutes would quadruple capacity. Some tram routes in Melbourne are almost 30km long and don’t have any of the issues you seem to be worried about.

  27. Mark says:

    @Nick R - re diversions - sorry you’re incorrect - they were Fletcher Council, and neither then or Hubbard term had any intensification at Valley Rd. Res one was protected from all intensification, and is next house to “diversions”.

    Res 1 protection runs a long way down towards Balmoral - and will mean only minor on road mixed use. In fact it will be a foolish person who tries to destroy the next level of heritage to res 1 in Mt Eden…
    On capacity - not sure where your 200 comes from. My point is that you have to have a lot of spare capacity coming down the whole length, where as now a bus just does a valley road/cbd/valley road circut and adds extra capacity where needed - it’s not travelling empty all the way back down Dom rd…staffing costs are pretty irrelevant real cost is in capex and maintence

  28. Des says:

    All i can say as get two tram lines up queen st.Get rid of cars and buses. I bet every major city now regrets getting rid of there tram system.


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