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Rail's First Step To Inner City

Auckland City Council - City Scene

Rail's first step to inner city

Auckland City has signed a contract with Walter Concrete Constructions (Britomart) Limited to build a tunnel which will allow rail to service any new transport terminal built on the Britomart site. Present plans are for rail to be brought to an underground point near the former Chief Post Office on Queen Elizabeth Square.

The 506 metre-long tunnel is the first step in the project to bring rail into the inner city. It will be built beneath Quay Park, (the former railway yards) which has been leased by Ngati Whatua to Magellan Orakei Limited. The tunnel will permit direct underground rail access to the Britomart site, and allow the above ground development of Quay Park without surface rail obstructing development opportunities.

Council allocated $15 million for the construction of the tunnel in its 1999/2000 budget, and the expected construction cost is $14.6 million. As the tunnel is now being built as a "stand alone" project which is separately funded, $9 million will be deducted from the 2002/2003 Britomart budget.

The price difference has occurred because the David Jones shopping mall proposal which would have been built on land above the tunnel alignment did not proceed.

As a result, there had to be changes to the original design, and new access arrangements negotiated.

The tunnel is being built now so that Magellan Orakei Limited can proceed with the office precinct development on their land, and the early start will also avoid the possibility of more expensive underground construction at a later date, which could double the cost.

Work on the tunnel is expected to start almost immediately, and construction should be finished by the end of March next year.

When the track is laid following the completion of the tunnel, rail will come back almost to its original site in the early 1900s. This picture shows the Rotorua express about to depart from the Queen Street railway station in 1905. The station was located near the
junction of Queen and Custom Streets.

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