Len’s loopy train set delayed for two years


The councillors at Auckland Council have decided they would rather be re-elected than vote to ratchet rates up even further in order to pay for Len Brown’s loopy train set.

The Auckland Council has voted to put back a start on the City Rail Link by two years.

Mayor Len Brown told a governing body meeting today that a 2015 start was considered too much of a stretch by the Auditor-General.   

The council had assumed the Government would begin funding the main works for the project in 2015, when it is committed to a 2020 start date.

“The Auditor-General is looking for greater clarity and more reasonableness around the timing in bringing the Government to the table and getting their assurance around their commitment to funding,” Mr Brown said.

The council will still proceed and fully fund “enablement works” late next year or in 2016 costing about $280 million.

In other words Len Brown got very, very close tot he Auditor-General recommending far sterner measures against his wasteful council.

the councillors ahve seen the writing on the wall and the rising anger of the citizens of this city.

They know that Len Brown and his spendthrift ways are done. This is a vote for their political survival.


Bernard Orsman, NZ Herald



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  • Not Clinically Insane

    And so the Gweens Julie-Anne Genter has decided that its all John Keys’ fault


    • JAFA Gazza

      Oh Julie Julie Julie……..just explain to me how the traffic flow from Botany to Auckland that Iface everyday is going to be alleviated by a white elephant train set between Mt Eden and Britomart?

      • Raibert

        I asked this question of the local MP, JL Ross and the Chief Exec of Auckland Transport months ago. Tried to get them to define measure of success for planned transport solutions – best reply given grudgingly was ” we have lots of measures”. As a trade person forced to drive from job to job I see only more problems with the AT solutions promoted by Len and his supporters.

    • Pete

      Hey JAG, how will the train set help on the run from Whangaparaoa to Penrose???

    • cows4me

      What’s a melon doing in traffic, surely not in one of those fossil fuel burning cars?
      Love the video cam, is that the SS Lenny coming into Auckland central ?

    • Sally

      The train is not going to help us get between the City and the North Shore or travel around the Shore. So thanks John Key but mostly thanks to the Auditor-general

      • Raibert

        Won’t help anyone out East either.

    • Alright

      This woman does my head in.

    • JAFA Gazza

      Bet she cries rivers of tears being stuck in traffic on her way to the Coromandel ( or wherever) for her summer hildays while she is stuck in traffic ….blaming JKfor a crap rail service…or maybe she just gets on a carbon footprint planting airplane that burns all that evil oil so she can sit on a beach in Fiji (or wherever) all the while blaming JKfor not letting Lenny have his train set….because she would so rather spend her Christmas break commuting between Mt Eden and Britomart.

    • murrayirwin

      No of course it’s not Council fault. Nor is it Lens fault. Absolutely not. It is the responsibility of the voter. Those idiots who saw through Dirty Politics. Those idiots who dare to have an independent thought. They are responsible…. b’jesus, I be getting a crick in me stinking neck watching these idiots wriggle. God give me strength….

    • LesleyNZ

      How stupid it is for Julie Anne Genter to say this. The CRL was never going to stop the traffic jams. The majority by-pass AKLD City Centre for work.

    • Honcho

      She might not realise this, having only come to NZ in 2006, but Auckland traffic was no less terrible under Clarks reign of terror, anyone with a longer memory than mine can probably confirm it goes back further than Bolger/Shipley, wouldn’t be surprised if it wasn’t all that flash under David Lange ….

      Seriously where do the greens find these people? can we not find morons in our own country so we have to import them?

      • rantykiwi

        I’ve done the commute over the bridge on and off for much of my life and for the last 20 years it’s been tedious at the best of times and a complete abomination any time there’s an accident on or around the bridge.

    • Tom

      Maybe Julie Anne Genter should return to the country she came from (USA) and realise people aren’t interested in her stupid comments,
      GO HOME YANK !

      • FORIDIAN

        Slight issue there: She’s a New Zealand citizen. I feel, however, I have to correct a major misconception in regards to the loop. The loop is **not** just for Mt Eden, Britomart and the CBD, it is for all of Auckland.

        Here is what we have currently: When trains come into Britomart, they come in, and sit at the platform, during which time, they wait to go to another service (might be from Britomart-Waitakere, having just come the opposite way, for example). The driver must also change ends (called “running around”, in railway parlance). This means that any delays at Britomart affect the ENTIRE rail network. (as Britomart is a terminus, with a bottleneck, thanks to no loop).

        What will the loop do? It implements a principle known as “Roll in, roll out”, or “Ro-Ro” for short. This means if you come in forwards, you drive out forwards, no “running around needed”. This means you offload your passengers and *go*, no messing around.

        Because of this, it means you can run more trains through Britomart, and at greater frequencies. It also means that should a delay happen at Britomart, while it will still have an impact, it’ll be lessened.

        OK, so, even with the loop implemented we have the issue of preventing a bottleneck. (Otherwise if we don’t, the loop may as well not exist). This is done by having a signal at: the entrance to the loop, a signal at the platform, and one just before the exit of the loop. Why one at the exit? In case an incident occurs, we won’t make it worse. It is also linked to the one at the platform, so the train at the platform is kept apart from the one leaving the tunnel (called “block signalling”, this is nothing new, the entire NZR network has it).

        So, overall, what’s the effect? Less travelling time. (See the diagram below, taken from transportblog.co.nz).

        See, we can’t just keep adding cars to an already congested network, and I love driving as much as the next guy, but there is only so far we can go before building more roads to fit more cars is impracticable. Spread the burden. Also, Auckland is forecast to keep growing too. If we don’t do it now, we’ll regret it later. (And it will cost much, much more later, too, if it is not started, kind of like coming off smoking. If I came off smoking (am non-smoker), tonight, and not 5 days from now, then it’ll be easier, as the worst will almost be over.

        One thing I *will* say is *why the hell should Aucklanders bear the brunt?* We pay barrels of cash to the Govt, but get back less than we’re entitled to. If it is a road, the Govt has no problem paying for it in full.

        I’d make it 80-20 (Govt 80%, us, 20%).

        How do I know all this when it comes to the CRL? I utilise public transport simulation games that, after a while, require you to do things like this, as you’re carrying so many people, and have so many vehicles, that the place becomes hopelessly gridlocked. These games make you build a PT network for a city from scratch. Yes, buses are included.

        I am also a frequent user of PT.

  • JAFA Gazza

    This is (somewhat) superb news. I think the people of Auckland WILL get out and vote this muppet out in 2016 just to stop this literal train wreck of an idea. I also think that PDB will see that his big shiny and costly monument will die a death…and he will slide out of office and slink back under the rock he came from. Hopefully this is the tipping point – he is not going to get it – he knows we dont want it – and rather than face electoral disgrace, he will stand down “for personal reasons” sometime in the New Year.

    In other words..he just got his ass handed to him on a plate. And ALLthe country knows this.

    • Raibert

      I don’t think he will slink away. However I also don’t think he will quietly go somewhere in NZ. Maybe the Gold Coast or better still Hong Kong! He can then begin to call in favours earned.

  • mommadog

    What is the enablement works that will still proceed?

    • James M

      That is the 280 million dollar question.

      To me it translates to putting down the deposit.

      • sheppy

        To me it translates into repayment to vested interests who may have something to do with his top secret election trust!

    • Alright

      Don’t worry. Its “only” $250 million(ish).

      Prior commitments, you know.

      …..and they managed to get Nixon out ….

    • Wallace Westland

      They’ll carry on with the work downtown around Britomart which the council (Auckland Transport) is current throwing millions of dollars at. While they are tearing up the streets that were laid just over 10 years ago they will expand Britomart and do the cut and cover work needed to get trains into there and turn them around.
      They have recently announced that possibly closing Quay St to vehicles between (I think) Hobson St through to about The Strand might be an option to increase pedestrian and cycle usage of the Downtown area. That of course will not create any traffic issues…errr…unless you live in Tamaki/Mission Bay etc..

      They have no end and no scruples. NONE!

    • Platinum Fox

      My recollection is that the $280m is to construct the section of tunnel underneath the Downtown shopping centre site to coincide with the redevelopment planned by Precinct Properties replacing the existing building with a new shopping centre and an office tower (slated to start in 2016). A quick search online didn’t find the recent news article I was looking for but I’m pretty sure it talked of cut and cover into Albert Street (so passing through the Albert/Customs Streets intersection) being included.
      Even the loons in AT and AC aren’t fool enough to think that they can close Quay Street to through traffic and then disrupt the availability of Customs Street to crosstown traffic. Their approval of last weekend’s drifting event on Quay Street smacks of being a trial run to see what happened if a major crosstown route was closed for a relatively short period.

  • Wallace Westland

    The council or actually the lil Brown Rat himself had always assumed the government would back down. What he didn’t take into account is Brownlee was never going to be dictated to by him.
    He smacked Parker around the earhole in CHCH to put an end to his dysfunctional ways and he is doing the same here.

    Big Gerry can see which way the wind blows and the reality is most of us JAFAS don’t see how a train set for an elite few helps the rest of us.
    Brownlee and the Nat’s are not going to continue aggravating their largest voter base to fulfil the gimpy sleaze balls dream of a monument to his own greatness.

    • Kevin

      You’re right – Len’s little train set is not going to benefit the majority of Auckland’s. Brown is pushing his hardest to get it through because he’s desperate to have a monument to himself.

      • Premo

        Building more motorways will only move the problem it will not reduce congestion..

        • Kevin

          Depends. If the motorways are constructed such that they eliminate bottlenecks then they will definitely reduce congestion.

          • Premo

            Can you tell me one motorway that will reduce Auckland congestion?
            Lets take the politics out
            You do need good roadways but good public transport option reduces traffic

          • Kevin

            I’m not an expert on motorway systems. I’m talking from commonsense – eliminate the bottlenecks, eliminate the congestion.

            As for public transport the keyword here is *good* public transport option. To get from Birkenhead to Albany by car takes around 20mins give or take. By bus it’s 45mins and thats not including waiting for the stupid thing (add on at least an hour more). Plus surly bus drivers, obnoxious passengers with B.O especially in the summer, being squashed in your seat by some territorial lardass, etc etc etc.

            And that’s why people aren’t going to leave their cars.

  • Kevin

    Somewhat related – I was just reading about Detroit’s monorail project that was pushed through despite a report saying it had only a 10% chance of success.

    Anyway a poem for Len and his trainset.

    I met a traveller from an antique land
    Who said: “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
    Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
    Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
    And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
    Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
    Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
    The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed:
    And on the pedestal these words appear:
    ‘My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
    Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!’
    Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
    Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
    The lone and level sands stretch far away.”

    • conwaycaptain

      Percy Byshe Shelley

      • Kevin

        And a very famous one. Learnt it back in the third form. When I think of Mayors and such and their monuments to themselves I always think of it.

    • Wendy

      Ozymandias Brown.
      I like.

  • Bluemanning

    So the Council is proceeding with $280 million worth of “enablement” works before the next local body election? This to me means the Council are starting the train set regardless without a voter referendum.
    In my opinion Brown will try and claim that he started the rail, the MSM will assist Brown with this propaganda to facilitate and hope that the government will go ahead with the full rail project; just picture the Mayor and PM of the day “Auckland is committed with $280 million worth of works all ready done, we can not pull out now”.
    The $280 million could be paid off the ACC principal loan, the SAP computer and merger money making machine should be stopped and a government commissioner should be appointed to negate this socialist gravy train. (pardon the pun ;-)

    • andrew carrot

      He’s buying land and access rights. If the project doesn’t go ahead, Auckland owns a lot of land for underground car parks.

  • Greg M

    To dig up Quay St and Albert St as far as Wyndham St will require a whole lot of consents. This is a good opportunity to make a NO submission. Access to my building will be seriously affected by the construction of this tunnel to nowhere, and I will be doing my bit to put the kyebosh on it.

  • DangerMice

    Would the AG prefer whiskey or cigars for this sterling decision?

  • KiaOra

    The CRL makes sense logistically but the expense seems way out of proportion. I still cannot work out how Vector could tunnel from Penrose to CBD for $110 million but this little tunnel costs so much? Disclaimer: we are renting an office from the AK council that is to be demolished for the CRL. As such, the longer the delay the better!

  • Kiwibabe

    Second harbour bridge needed rather than partial and costly rail proposal.