Growing Auckland seeks consultants for new light rail system

An electric train at Puhinui station on Auckland’s rail network (Pcuser42/CC BY-SA 3.0)
As Auckland’s population heads toward 2 million, the New Zealand Transport Agency is looking for consultants to plan a light rail service for the city, and a rail link across Waitemata Harbour.

The agency wants professional services companies to make a business case for the $100m harbour connection, and to carry out pre-construction planning for the light rail project. This is part of a 30-year plan to create a rapid transport network across the city, which may have a total cost of US$18.4bn.

Different companies will carry out the two projects.

The light rail scheme will have 24km of lines and 18 stations, and will be partially tunnelled, Ground Engineering reports. It will connect Auckland airport in the south of the city with the northern suburb of Mangere. With departures every five minutes, the service will be able to carry 15,000 passengers an hour.

Deputy prime minister Grant Robertson said: “Auckland’s population is projected to rise to 2 million by early next decade. In order to move 2 million people around our largest city safely and efficiently, we need well-planned and connected infrastructure.

“We have deliberately chosen this option for Auckland Light Rail that will integrate with other major infrastructure projects across Auckland, like the additional Waitemata Harbour crossing, the Auckland Rapid Transit Plan and Kainga Ora Large Scale Projects.”

Michael Wood, New Zealand’s transport minister, added that the rail link would form the spine of “a fully integrated rapid transport network that will lead us into the future”.

Planning work on the Waitemata project will begin later this year, and the light rail scheme is expected to be completed in the early 2030s.

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