Wynyard Quarter Tram

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Back in 2009 the CBT lobbied for a light rail connection to the new Wynyard Quarter. A planning objective for the precinct was, and still is, that 70% of all trips in and out of the area should be via modes other than the private car.

WAMap

Due to the politics of getting the former Auckland City Council on-side, we had to settle for the current heritage tram circuit. This was largely driven through the efforts of ARC Chair Mike Lee.

The intention was, and has always been, that the current circuit should be extended to Britomart, and that modern light rail vehicles be used on the track. However the Waterfront Plan is vague on this –

“Expansion of the bridge to accommodate more people and some form of low-impact, frequent, high-volume transit service is being explored. In the short term, business suppliers, customers and visitors will need to access the waterfront using private vehicles, and parking will therefore have to be addressed.”

So while it is still possible, efforts to extend the track towards Britomart (via a new bridge parallel to the existing pedestrian-only bridge, or a replacement bridge) appear to have stalled.

Even worse, the existing heritage circuit is under threat from Waterfront Auckland. Despite hundreds of people about to take up jobs at the new ASB centre on Jellicoe Street, and tram operator Dockline Trams offering $1 fares to workers to capitalise on this, Waterfront Auckland is not willing to underwrite tram operations for another year, “especially in light of the imminent disruption to services while the upgrades of Daldy and Halsey Streets are undertaken.”

Even so, a light rail connection will be an important piece of infrastructure for the Wynyard Quarter, in the same way the footpaths, pavements, sewerage, electricity and roads are. If the tracks are ripped up, even “temporarily”, there is the strong possibility that they will never return, and the Wynyard Quarter will be the poorer for it.

The CBT has already asked Bob Harvey, Chairman of Waterfront Auckland, not to throw the baby out with the bathwater and to follow through with the original vision of a light rail connection to Britomart. Over time this will be even more important as the land north of Jellicoe Street is developed, which is some distance away from downtown Auckland.

The current situation is confusing.  Waterfront Auckland told us the heritage tram will pause from Easter, and for health and safety reasons it will not be possible for it to operate during the reconstruction of Daldy and Halsey Streets.  In the meantime the operators of the Dockline tram tell us they are still taking group bookings right through to mid-May.

You can help send a message about the importance of  a light rail connection for the Wynyard Quarter.

  • Check out “Save the Auckland Dockline Tram” on Facebook.
  • Write to the Board of Waterfront Auckland and ask them to follow through on what was promised. Send an email to the Chairman of the Board Bob Harvey – – and let him know what you think.
  • Ride the tram to demonstrate to Waterfront  Auckland your support for the concept.

Waterfront Auckland Trams Roll Off The Ship

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Waterfront Auckland have done a media release on the arrival of the two trams that will utilise the new Viaduct circuit.  It is great to see this is actually happening, all from presentation that the CBT did in conjunction with Motat back in 2008.

Auckland's "new" waterfront tram

 

The return of trams to Auckland streets came a step closer today when two historic tramcars rolled off a ship from Melbourne at Jellicoe Wharf early this morning.

 Trams last graced the streets of Auckland in 1956. Waterfront Auckland has leased two 1920’s trams – a W2 Class Tram and X-1 Class Tram – to run on the tracks now being installed in a 1.5km loop within the Wynyard Quarter.

Waterfront Auckland Chief Executive John Dalzell says both trams have been restored at the Bendigo Tramway Museum in Victoria, Australia.

“The trams look great,” he said. “They have both been painted in the original 1950′s ‘carnation red’, and will soon be emblazoned with “Waterfront Auckland Trams” livery.”

 The 17 tonne, 48 feet long W2 tram has a seating capacity of 52 and a 2-person tram (driver and conductor). The 9 tonne, 31 feet long X-1 tram has a seating capacity of 32 and requires one person – the driver.

 The trams will remain securely within the Ports of Auckland custom controlled area until their purpose built home – tramcar housing currently under construction within Wynyard Quarter – is completed. From early August, following an operational testing period, the trams will run in a 15-minute clockwise circuit along Jellicoe, Halsey, Gaunt and Daldy Streets.

Trams Make Waterfront Comeback

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Incredibly, our campaign for a waterfront tram has been adopted by the ARC and the Sea+City development team.  The Campaign for Better Transport and MOTAT pitched the idea to the ARC in 2008, and Mike Lee and Sea+City have well and truly picked up the ball and run with it.

 The Herald reports:

Trams are being prepared for a comeback on Auckland’s waterfront, in time for next year’s Rugby World Cup.

More than 50 years since trams disappeared from city streets, the Auckland Regional Council has approved the first stage of a proposal which could ultimately be part of the region’s wider public transport network.

The initial stage will focus on the Tank Farm redevelopment by ARC group subsidiary Sea+City, which will receive $6.3 million to $7.4 million from Auckland Regional Holdings to develop a 1.5km tram circuit by July next year.

Future developments, such as an extension to Britomart across a future Viaduct Harbour bridge, will be left to the new Super City council.

Sea+City expects to initially use two heritage trams from the Museum of Transport and Technology (Motat), although the regional council is also discussing with Victorian state government officials a possible long-term loan of some Melbourne trams as the service grows.

Trams Touted as Tourist Drawcard

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tram-routes

NZ Herald reports:

Waterfront trams are being tipped as key Auckland tourist attractions, with a possible later benefit for public transport.

Although the Auckland Regional Council has no plans for a modern light rail network to serve commuters, its transport committee voted yesterday to press on with an investigation of potential tram routes through the Tank Farm to Britomart.

A staff feasibility report prepared after an approach by the Campaign for Better Transport and the Museum of Transport and Technology (Motat) said Auckland’s waterfront was a major destination and attraction for residents and visitors alike, and should be enjoyed by as many people as possible.

Bring Back Trams for Waterfront

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The NZ Herald reports on our presentation to Auckland City:

Auckland City officials will consider a push by transport campaigners trams to be included in the proposed $2 billion-plus Tank Farm waterfront development.

The Museum of Transport and Technology (Motat) says 4km of high-quality tracks and low-profile powerlines could be laid between Britomart and the Wynyard Quarter for about $16 million.

Campaign for Better Transport spokesman Cameron Pitches told the city’s transport committee yesterday that electric “street cars” could be obtained for between about $500,000 and $2 million each, depending on whether they were heritage trams supplied by Motat or sleeker and more modern conveyances.

He said the tracks would be capable of carrying a mix of heritage and modern trams, which would be quieter than buses, emissions-free and “pedestrian friendly”.


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