Auckland rail link plans revealed

Auckland's rail link will add several new stations across the central city.
Auckland's rail link will add several new stations across the central city.

Auckland Transport plans to buy 210 properties to build the proposed $2.86 billion inner-city rail link.  

Plans released today show two 3.5km long, twin tunnels will be built up to 45 metres below the city centre.

It will extend the existing rail line underground through Britomart, under Albert, Vincent and Pitt streets, then beneath Karangahape Rd and the central motorway junction to Symonds St before rising to join the western line near Eden Terrace.

Auckland Transport chief executive David Warburton said the organisation was speaking with property owners and hoped to secure surface property from 210 owners.

The biggest property affected is the Westfield Downtown shopping centre which will be demolished.

Underground portions of land from 70 interest groups, including 12 unit title developments with multiple owners, will also need to be bought.

"Our focus is on protecting a route for the CRL (city rail link),'' Warburton said.

"We first want to work with landowners to help ensure they are well informed and to help us understand their issues. Property purchase is a second step.

"We are aware that property owners adjacent to the CRL will want to know more about future construction impacts such as noise, vibration and access. We will explain these over the next few months and address them at a greater level of detail in future design and resource consent processes.''

More city centre stations will be added at Aotea Centre, Karangahape Rd and Newton and an interchange will be built adjacent to New North Rd.  

Britomart will become a through station as originally envisaged when it was built, allowing faster, more frequent and more reliable services across the whole Auckland passenger rail network, Auckland Transport said.

Mayor Len Brown said announcing the route was the next ''big step towards the completion of one of the most important public transport projects in the recent history of Auckland''.

The rail link was signed off by the council in May but the Government has remained luke warm about the project. Earlier this year it asked for a revised business case to be put forward at a cost of $1.7m.

Brown said the rail link would "unleash the potential'' of the entire suburban rail network and will boost use, reliability and reduce commuter times.

The rail link is hoped to future-proof transport demands for Auckland which is expected to be home to two thirds of New Zealand's growth over the next three decades.

Warburton said he hoped Auckland Council and central government agreed that it made strategic sense to protect the route now.

See an enlarged image of the proposed route here.

Auckland Now