New Auckland train station set to open in 2025 will act as ‘front door’ to city, council says

By Felix Walton of RNZ.co.nz and is republished with permission

Auckland Council hopes a new train station by the Sky Tower will breathe life into the city centre.

The uncompleted Te Waihorotiu train station tunnel. Photo: RNZ / Felix Walton

Te Waihorotiu is one of the two new stations due to be completed in 2025 as part of the protracted City Rail Link project.

Auckland Council head of city centre programmes Jenny Larking described Te Waihorotiu as a “front door” to the city.

“After almost a decade of construction, we’re almost reaching the end,” Larking said.

“So now, we’re really focused on creating a wonderful experience outside the station, for people to come through it as a gateway into the city.”

Te Waihorotiu’s exit leads passengers directly onto Victoria Street West, with plans to develop the area into a bustling transport hub with connecting buses.

“The work Auckland Transport will be doing on Wellesley Street will create this wonderful transition between bus and train infrastructure,” Larking said.

Auckland Council head of city centre programmes Jenny Larking

Jenny Larking describes Te Waihorotiu as a “front door” to the city. Photo: RNZ / Felix Walton

Underground, the enormous passenger platform was prepared to serve thousands of commuters.

“[It’s] expected to be New Zealand’s busiest station catering for up to 54,000 passengers per hour as population growth continues,” said Shaun Sutton, Te Waihorotiu’s community manager.

The project was still on track, he said.

“We’re tracking really well, the project is planned to be completed in November 2025, so in just a couple of years.”

The uncompleted Te Waihorotiu train station tunnel. Photo: RNZ / Felix Walton

At the project’s peak, as many as 600 workers were building the station at any given time.

The station’s name had both cultural and historical significance, Sutton said.

“Te Waihorotiu is the river that still runs beneath Queen Street,” he said.

“It’s been buried by the roads but hundreds of years ago it was an open river which was a source of life for the people who lived here.”

The seven skylights that lined the ceiling represented Matariki, he said.

Larking said Auckland Council was prepared for a flurry of activity once the station was finished.

“We’re working with WaterCare, which is getting new infrastructure ready to allow intensification around the station,” she said. “So it’ll be a really exciting phase.”

Te Waihorotiu community manager Shaun Sutton says it is expected to be New Zealand's busiest train station catering for up to 54,000 passengers per hour.

Shaun Sutton says it is expected to be New Zealand’s busiest train station catering for up to 54,000 passengers per hour. Photo: RNZ / Felix Walton

Sutton said several projects were already under way.

“Already we’re seeing countless developments in the area,” he said. “Beginning with the development on top of the station called the Symphony Centre, but that’s just one of dozens.”

Recent events in the city centre had already put foot traffic on the mend, Larking said.

“There is a positive trend for the city centre, pedestrian counts have gone up,” she said.

“Once the station opens, it’ll be a completely different city.”

The escalators at Te Waihorotiu train station.

The escalators at Te Waihorotiu train station. Photo: RNZ / Felix Walton

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