The City Rail Link is a huge project with an equally huge impact on Auckland’s growth and prosperity. CRL’s world-class rail system will better connect the city’s entire rail network. There will be more trains and journeys will be easier and quicker.
Lots of Aucklanders will find their journey time into the city centre will be halved when City Rail Link starts moving people around – it’s really going to change the transport game.
The $5.493 billion project is ambitious. It’s the largest transport infrastructure project New Zealand has ever built. Twin 3.45-kilometre-long tunnels connect downtown at Britomart with a re-developed Maungawhau Station on the Western Line. Two new underground stations will open up central city access; Karanga-a-Hape with entrances at Mercury Lane and Beresford Square and Te Waihorotiu at Victoria and Wellesley Streets, midtown.
When fully operational, 54,000 passengers an hour will use CRL stations at peak times. This is the rail equivalent of an additional 16 lanes of road or three Auckland Harbour Bridges.
Fly through the CRL tunnel
City Rail Link sent a drone through the tunnel so you can get the feel of your future train journey underground from the redeveloped Maungawhau Stations to the familiar downtown Waitematā (Britomart).
It's a 3.4km journey. The first of those two 3.45-kilometre-long tracks for Auckland’s newest railway line – the City Rail Link – has now been laid connecting, underground, Waitematā (Britomart) and Maungawhau Stations.
That newly laid track will carry trains south from Waitematā Station (Britomart). Installation of the first track began in August 2022. Work started just as CRL’s tunnel boring machine, Dame Whina Cooper, was nearing the end of its tunnel excavating drive.
CRL Ltd’s main contractor, Link Alliance, and railway infrastructure company, Martinus New Zealand, installed the track on what is one of the steepest sections of railway in New Zealand. From Waitematā, which sits below sea level, the track climbs around 70 metres to Maungawhau. At its deepest point, the track runs 42 metres underneath Auckland’s busy Karanga-a-Hape.
Benefits for rail users:
Presently, trains arrive at Waitematā Station and can’t go any further. These “dead-end” tunnels are being turned into through tunnels making it just another stop, not the end of the run. This means trains can run in both directions through Waitematā Station (Britomart).
To come into the city centre, you presently have only one stop at the bottom of Queen St. With CRL, there will be stops midtown Te Waihorotiu Station and Karanga-a-Hape Station at Mercury Lane and Beresford Square.
You’ll benefit from travel times. From Maungawhau Station, it will take only three minutes to get to Karanga-a-Hape Station; it will take six minutes to Te Waihorotiu Station and nine minutes to Waitematā Station (Britomart). More travel time examples are here.
CRL will revolutionise the way you get to your destination. Think of the CRL like the Waterview tunnel which joined up motorways. The underground rail link joins with other lines on the rail network. For example, a Western Line train entering Waitematā Station will leave as an Onehunga Line service and vice versa.
The CRL means the rail network to at least double its capacity.
What will CRL do for Auckland and for me?
Find out more about City Rail Link, including changes to getting into and around the city while work is happening.