31 October 2010

Avondale to Onehunga Tramlink

In June I wrote a brief post setting out a hypothetical Auckland waterfront tram route and halts for a service from the Tank Farm to Mission Bay.  Another potential Auckland tram service jogged my memory this afternoon as I was riding on the Wimbledon Tramlink out to Morden Hall Park.  Growing up in Onehunga and attending Onehunga High School I was mildly interested to note the reserve land just north of the school grounds on Pleasant St.  When I later saw a detailed map of the area for some geography project I observed the long Avondale to Southdown rail corridor that crossed the map, setting aside a potential rail route for future generations.  It’s been there for decades, but has never been used.

Joshua Arbury has proposed that it be used to connect two branches of Auckland’s existing rail network by linking Avondale with Onehunga, and suggested that the route could be served by three new stations at Stoddard Rd, Mt Roskill and Hillsborough.  This would be great, particularly as part of a broader isthmus rail loop.  But in the shorter term, perhaps a tram service could be a cheaper way to boost cross-town public transit in Auckland, while retaining the potential for expansion into a heavier rail service later if required.

With that in mind I’ve mapped out a potential route for a tram service using at least some of the rail corridor but also travelling along streets where convenient.  This would enable the tram to service major intersections and link up with city bus routes. 

View Avondale to Onehunga Tramlink in a larger map


Avondale-OnehungaHere’s a schematic of the route from west to east, with the anti-clockwise turning loop in Onehunga so the service can take in the Onehunga train station and DressSmart.  When the Britomart to Onehunga line is eventually extended to the Airport and Manukau City the tramlink will allow residents of the central west easy access to both destinations. 

Journey time for the line over the end to end distance of 10.2km, if it matches the speed of the Wimbledon Tramlink, should be around 25 minutes.  This the time the London tram takes to travel the equivalent distance, which is from Wimbledon to Wellesley Rd in Croydon.

The service would improve public transport options for a range of locations along the route: 


  • Avondale town centre and the racecourse
  • Pak ‘n Save on New North Rd
  • Light industrial firms on Stoddard Rd
  • Mt Roskill Grammar, Intermediate and Primary schools
  • Bunnings Warehouse near Hillsborough Rd
  • Selwyn Heights Retirement Village
  • Onehunga High School and Royal Oak Intermediate (400m)
  • Onehunga Primary
  • Onehunga Mall
  • DressSmart

Now all we have to do is find huge sums of money to pay for it, and hope that the Waterview bypass doesn’t overrun the route!

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