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Auckland Transport

Background to the City Rail LinkBackground

In the last century, various proposals have been made for a central city rail link joining the Western Line to the Downtown Line.

CRL Route PlanIn 2009, an investigation was undertaken to determine a route for a city rail link for its inclusion in Auckland’s District Plan.

Consultants were appointed in 2010 to identify the preferred route, prepare a concept design and a case to confirm an alignment for the study. The findings of that work were released in November 2010 and forwarded to the Government for consideration.

At the request of the Minister of Transport, the Ministry of Transport and Treasury reviewed the study.

Their review, completed in May 2011, concluded that while more work needed to be done before proceeding with the project, it made strategic sense for Auckland Council to protect the route.

In July 2011, the Government asked for a study to develop a robust and achievable programme for multi-modal transport into Auckland’s city centre. To achieve this, Auckland Council commissioned the City Centre Future Access Study. The study considered 46 transport options before creating a short-list of three:

  1. Underground rail infrastructure.
  2. Surface bus infrastructure.
  3. Underground bus infrastructure.

The study, released in December 2012, found that by 2021, vehicle speeds in the city centre would drop to just over 7km/h and to 5km/h by 2041. The study concluded that the City Rail Link, combined with surface bus improvements, was the only option that would meet the total demand for public transport travel into the city centre.

In response, Prime Minister John Key announced broad support for the project and agreed to a joint business case with Auckland Council. However, the Council and the Government disagree on the timing of the project, with the Council preferring a 2015/16 start while the Government prefers starting in 2020 (following the completion of a business case in 2017).

Auckland Transport is seeking a designation over both surface and underground property for the City Rail Link. It served Notices of Requirement on Auckland Council to have the land required to build and operate the CRL identified in the District Plan.

The council notified the requirement in January and called for submissions, which closed on 19 March 2013. A hearing was held between August and November 2013 and at the beginning of March 2014, the independent commissioners who heard submissions recommended that the designation be confirmed subject to a range of conditions.

In December 2015, works began to relocate a large stormwater pipe under Albert Street and build cut-and-cover tunnels to the edge fo the future Aotea Station structure. In mid-2016, additional works began to build replacement station facilities at Britomart prior to the tunnels being extended under Lower Queen Street.

Private development company Precinct Properties Ltd also started work to demolish the former Downtown Shopping Centre, under which the CRL tunnels will be built. 

Background documents

Auckland Council District Plan modification 68-71
Operative Auckland City - Central Area Section 2005

Type: Notices of requirement 1, 2, 3 and 4.

Note: plan modifications 346, 347, 348 and 349 to the Isthmus District Plan are included on this page.

Description: City Rail Link

Affected map: Map 6 (PDF 852KB)

Appendices: Appendix 11. Note: Appendix 11 has not been updated to reflect the decision version now under appeal. Refer to Conditions (PDF 5MB).

Current status: Confirmed designation

  • Decision released 28 April 2014.
  • Recommendation released 5 March 2014.
  • Notified: Submissions closed 19 March 2013.


Submitter evidence
July 2013 Auckland Transport evidence
June 2013 hearing report
Additional information provided
Volume 1
Volume 2: Assessment of Environmental Effects (all notices of requirement)
Volume 3: Technical reports

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