Case for the City Rail Link weakens
Auckland Transport blinks as the case for the City Rail Link weakens
Auckland Transport’s acknowledgment that Auckland does not need a new train station at Newton or additional electric trains significantly weakens Mayor Len Brown’s case for beginning construction of the City Rail Link in 2016, according to Auckland councillor Dick Quax.
Speaking in response to Auckland Transport’s concession, Councillor Quax said the reality of the move would not be lost on the government, and the revised plan, if implemented, would likely diminish the travel experience of the region’s train commuters.
“By removing new trains from the project, Auckland Transport was removing the key argument in favour of an early construction based so-called limited capacity across the existing network. Now the transport planners are saying there is plenty of capacity.
“The government will see this for what it is, a concession driven by desperation on the part of Auckland’s transport planners in the face of evidence that the City Rail Link construction does not need to begin in 2016,” Cr Quax said.
However, Cr Quax warned that public transport users were being set up to pay for an unnecessary fast-track via a reduction in the capacity of the 57 recently purchased electric trains.
“The 57 electric trains will be split so there are three-car sets rather than six-car sets operating across the rail network the majority of the time. This means no new capacity to accommodate any increase in rail patronage that may be achieved. It also means potential overcrowding on some commuter services, particularly during peak periods.
“Aucklanders are being singled out to pay more when the capacity of existing services will be reduced in order to try and fund the Mayor’s beloved rail tunnel.
“It’s shocking that so much money is being poured into a project that the Council’s own transport subsidiary has acknowledged was over-egged in the first place,” Cr Quax said.