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Auckland Transport

City Rail Link designDesign

Image of the updated Britomart station

Design principles

Distinctly New Zealand

The urban design concept for the City Rail Link represents the very distinct way of living and constructing within the ever-changing New Zealand environment.

The key design principles are: function, performance and personality within an overarching principle of ecology.

The station designs provide safe, functional and clear transport solutions. Each station has an even balance between functional design requirements, sustainability, engineering demands, performance objectives and cost, while reflecting the local culture, context and future city aspirations. Embedded in these is a holistic approach to the ecology and wider cultural landscape to ensure long-term social, cultural, heritage and environmental sustainability.


Each station is designed with a unique ‘personality’ – an identity developed from entrances through to platforms. 


Ecology is embedded into the design process to achieve integrated, cost-effective and innovative solutions in order to create healthy, diverse and restorative environments.

Urban design

The identity and integration of the stations into their local precincts will reinforce both their existing identities and a more pedestrian-focused future in line with the City Rail Link intentions and the objectives of the Auckland Plan and Auckland City Centre Masterplan.


The principles of Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED) have been incorporated, as well as the optimisation of performance in terms of cost, maintenance and safety.

Mana whenua framework

Greenstone pendant mana whenua‘Tikanga Māori encompasses an important system of customs and values to conserve, manage and protect natural and physical resources. In the Māori worldview, all natural and physical elements of the world are related through whakapapa (genealogy) and each is controlled and safeguarded through spiritual beings. All living things have mauri (life force). The protection of mauri is essential.’ - extract from ‘City Rail Link Process for Māori engagement paper'.

A Mana whenua forum for the City Rail Link was established in 2012 and continues to flourish with their active participation in designing its infrastructure achieving a successful partnership. Relationships have been established with the eight iwi who self-identified their interest in the project: Te Ākitai, Te Kawerau a Maki, Ngāti Maru, Ngāti Paoa, Ngati Te Ata, Ngai Tai ki Tāmaki, Ngāti Tamaoho and Ngāti Whātua o Orakei.

Through an ongoing monthly forum, Mana whenua agreed on seven key principles, which have been incorporated into the urban design framework:

  1. Mana – the need for relevant mana whenua groupings to have individual and collective high quality formal relationships with key stakeholders.
  2. Whakapapa/Whakamana – names and naming as a means of reconnecting iwi narratives to place.
  3. Tohu – the acknowledgement of wider mana whenua cultural landmarks.
  4. Taiao – bring landscape elements back into urban areas (e.g. water, trees, birds, and insects).
  5. Mauri tū – maintaining and enhancing the environmental quality of water, air and soil.
  6. Mauri toi – Re – inscribing iwi narratives into architecture, landscape architecture and urban design.
  7. Ahi kā – exploring opportunities to facilitate a meaningful living presence for iwi.

Britomart Station

Outside Britomart Station Artist's Impression

Design features

  • No longer a dead-end enabling more frequent trains with many services more direct.
  • Will allow 30,000 people on the rail network in hour in peak (double the current number), with shorter travel times across the rail network.
  • Better connection between rail and bus services.
  • Creates a better connected city and city fringe: Aotea will be three minutes from Britomart, Karanghape Road six minutes away and Mt Eden nine minutes.
  • All heritage values maintained - working closely with the Heritage New Zealand.
  • Bike racks and toilets.

Redeveloped interior view

Redeveloped Britomart Station Interior

Redeveloped interior cafe area

Redeveloped Britomart Station Cafe

Section view

Axonometric views

Ticketing area concept

Retail space concepts

Lower Queen Street concept

Lower Queen Street

Bus routes

Click for a large map of the new bus routes

  • Bus stops will be removed from Lower Queen Street.
  • Lower Albert Street will become a dedicated bus interchange, and a major terminus for northern and western bus services.
  • Tyler, Galway and Commerce Streets will provide the second part of the bus interchange, catering for Mt Eden, Ellerslie and Tamaki bus services.
  • Albert Street will have dedicated bus lanes.
  • A new pedestrian lane between Lower Albert Street and Lower Queen Street, forming part of the City Centre Masterplan’s Laneway Circuit.
  • Fanshawe Street will have a dedicated bus facility.

Aotea Station

Aotea Station Entrance From Victoria St

Aotea Station could become the busiest railway station in Auckland. Image: The station's Victoria Street entrance.

Design features

  • Entrances on Victoria Steet and Wellesley Street.
  • Close to Aotea Centre in the cultural precinct with the Town Hall, Civic, Q Theatre, etc nearby.
  • Street will have wider footpaths and more priority for buses.
  • Victoria Street entrance will feed into the Victoria Street linear park, which is in the City Centre Masterplan.
  • Future-proofed for possible development above the entrance.
  • Bike racks and toilets.

Station entrance showing ticketing and gateline areas

Aotea entrance concourse showing ticketing and gateline

Platform concourse view

Aotea Station Interior View

Section view

Wellesley Street entrance

Aotea Station entrance from Wellesley Street

South entrance - axonometric view

Aotea Station South Entrance Axon 900

Albert Street concept design video

Street concept - Albert Street looking north towards Wyndham Street

Concept image Albert St looking north towards Wyndham

Street concept - Albert Street heading north through the Wyndham St intersection

Concept image Albert St heading north thru Wyndham St intersection

Street concept - Looking south from Lower Albert Street

Concept image looking south from Lower Albert St

Site concept plan - Albert Street

Albert Street Plan View

Karangahape Station

Concept image of the Karangahape Station entrance, Mercury Lane

Karangahape Station will be the deepest station at 30 metres deep. Image: The station's entrance from Mercury Lane.

Design features

  • The entrance at Mercury Lane provides an opportunity to improve the lane as part of the station development.
    • Expected to be a catalyst for urban development in the surrounding area.
    • Future-proofed for possible development above the entrance.
  • Heritage values will be maintained.
  • Bike racks and toilets.

Mercury Lane entrance

Karangahape Station Concept View From Mercury Lane

Pitt Street by K Road Station

Pitt Street by K Road Station

Platform view

Karagahape Station Tunnel And Platform

Mt Eden Station

Mt Eden Station concept drawing

Mt Eden Station entrance

Outside of Mt Eden Station

Ticketing area

Mt Eden Station ticketing


Mt Eden Station bridge

Plan view of Mt Eden Station

Mt Eden Station - plan view


Download the CRL design showcase booklet (PDF 3.71MB)

Station modelling

All of the underground stations have been modelled in 3 dimensions in REVIT software and the alignment in 3 dimensions on MX.

While the Level of Detail (LOD) is relatively low at present (LOD200) it is the intention for the BIM models to be developed to a higher level of detail through the detailed design and construction process and eventually transferred to AT's Asset Management department for future use.