Cabinet has endorsed tunnelled light rail for the City Centre to Māngere corridor. Considering the various options and trade-offs, tunnelled light rail holds:

  • the optimal opportunity for high-capacity future-proofed transport that improves travel time and reliability;
  • enables a more flexible alignment and unlocks significant urban benefit within the corridor;
  • sets the stage for future network integration – including a new harbour crossing;
  • and avoids overwhelming Queen Street and minimizes the extent of construction disruption.

The tunnelled light rail:

  • is a 24 kilometre route with up to 18 stations.
  • has the capacity to move 15,000 people an hour.
  • features a 32-minute reliable travel time from Māngere to the City Centre.
  • will run every five minutes, so you can turn up and go.

From the north, light rail will start at Wynyard Quarter traveling underground to Mt Roskill. Passengers will board the train at underground stations, with provision for people with different mobility needs - including the elderly, people with prams or people with disabilities.

In the City Centre, the line will travel via the University precinct connecting with the CRL at Aotea.

In Eden Valley, light rail will likely intersect with the Western Line at Kingsland. In the Central Isthmus, the underground route is flexible and doesn’t have to follow roads.

From Mt Roskill, light rail will travel overland along SH20 to Onehunga, across the Manukau Harbour, into Māngere Town Centre and onto the airport. People will be able to board at surface level stops along the way.  The introduction of light rail is particularly significant in the south, as it will unlock better access and reduce travel times for communities with limited public transport options.

Click here to see the light rail map and fact sheet.


The decision to move forward with tunnelled light rail takes future aspirations into account and addresses the real need for expansion of joined up rapid transit in the future. A tunnel through the city centre means light rail can be extended to the North Shore/North-West without having to transfer from one line to the other.

City Centre to Māngere passenger demand is expected to increase by 20-30% when North Shore and North-West are light rail lines are eventually connected.  A city centre tunnel will be required when the successful North Shore busway runs out of capacity – which forecast in the early 2030s to early 2040s.

The light rail team will work closely with the Additional Waitemata Harbour Connections and Auckland Rapid Transit Plan projects to further develop integration.

Artist's impression showing tunnelled light rail.

Several modes of light rail were considered by the project team - including modern trams and light metro. More details on the modes assessment, including our assessment of heavy rail, bus rapid transit and trackless trams options can be found in the technical assessment and Indicative Business Case here. If you have a question about modes we considered you might find the answer in our FAQs section too.