Canterbury Passenger Rail Workshop

On Monday night the CHAT club held a workshop to discuss passenger rail in Canterbury. Thanks to everyone who came – there was a good turnout with representation from general public, city and regional councils, university, various government agencies, consultants and community groups.

We started off with 3 short presentations:

  1. Brief history of passenger rail in Canterbury (Axel Wilke)
  2. Light rail options for the city (Glen Koorey)
  3. Relationship between rail and housing (Brendon Harre)

The slides for these presentations are available here for anyone interested.

We’ve gone through all the maps and notes that were scribbled down, and have posted a summary of the key themes.

We’ve also planned a second workshop for 25 March and a public invitation has now been published.

9 thoughts on “Canterbury Passenger Rail Workshop

  1. Cost

    Trackless trams would be cheaper than rail
    US$6-8m per km
    “According to CRRC, the cost of deployment is between US$7 million and US$15 million per kilometre. That’s much less than the US$20 million to US$30 million for light rail, and US$70 million to US$150 million for metro. Each vehicle has a capital cost of about US$2.2 million.”

    so, US$6 to US$15m per km

    Assuming an initial 10km route US$60m to US$150m or NZ$88m to NZ220m for the route.
    Say 10 units (12min headway as below x two directions = 5 units per direction) = 10*US$2.2m= US$22m = NZ$32m
    Total capex = NZ$120m to NZ$252m
    Presume opex would be about 10% of this = NZ$12m to NZ$25m per year
    At least 1 spare unit would probably be needed to cover maintenance periods/breakdowns
    May be start with a 20m then 15min headway before 12.5m headway (6+1spare units then 8+1spare units) to stagger the capex (will depend on what the max existing peak direction patronage is)


    Light rail – “Sydney is costing over $120 million per kilometre. The Gold Coast was similar. Canberra and Newcastle are over $80 million per kilometre, as was the cancelled light rail in Perth.” Presume these are AUD.


    The standard ART system is three carriages that can carry 300 people, but it can take five carriages and 500 people if needed.
    Anywhere in Christchurch with peak PT demand of around (at say 12min headway=5 trains) = 5*300 = 1500 passengers per hour in peak direction on a bus route(s) (Riccarton Rd to CBD?, Papanui Rd to CBD?)

    Fare Revenue
    1,500 peak hour passengers am & pm peak hour in peak direction
    50% patronage in off peak direction peak hours
    50% patronage for every off peak hour for 8 hours between peaks in both directions
    Fare of NZ$4 recovered per passenger (current zone 1 fare) & no discounts
    Annual revenue is about NZ$15m so lower end opex estimate would just be covered if those patronage levels could be achieved (capex would be a sunk cost), & renewals probably not covered.


    Add in future costs of carbon (up to NZ$250 per ton ex productivity commission), higher parking charges or congestion tolls & trackless tracks might just fly on some select routes.


      1. The high road camber in NZ & thin pavement design are probably issues for trackless trams, the turning radii possibly also.


    1. The key issue for me is the term “cost of deployment”. That’s very different from the cost of “like for like”. I mean, is it a fair comparison? What do you get for $US7m-15m? It could be like BRT and “bus creep”, where BRT is “cheaper” because you aren’t even really talking about BRT anymore. Just a thought.


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