Thursday, 27 September 2012

Major Christchurch bus service changes for hub-spoke model

This email was sent to me in response to my submission on public consultation of Ecan's proposed bus service changes.
In June 2012 Environment Canterbury proposed changes to a number of bus routes in Christchurch and the Waimakariri District. We received over 700 submissions about these proposals. We’ve read through and considered all of these submissions, and some changes have been made to the initial proposal to reflect what we’ve heard.
The Environment Canterbury Commissioners approved the following new bus routes at their meeting on 27 September 2012:
  • 1 Rangiora and Belfast – Princess Margaret Hospital
  • 1X Rangiora – City Express (weekday peak only)
  • 17 Bryndwr – Huntsbury
  • 28 Lyttelton and Rapaki – Papanui
  • 44 North Shore
  • 60 Hillmorton – Parklands
  • 95 Waikuku Beach/Pegasus – City (weekday peak only)
  • 107 Styx Mill – Northlands
  • 108 Casebrook – Northlands
  • 111 Westmorland – Sydenham
  • 114 Cashmere – Barrington
  • 115 Murray Aynsley – Sydenham
  • 118 St Albans – Northlands
  • 119 Bishopdale – Northlands
  • 120 Burnside – Spreydon
  • 146 Marshland – The Palms
  • 951 Pegasus – Kaiapoi
  • 952 Waikuku Beach – Kaiapoi
  • Extension of The Comet service to Redwood
These services will begin operating in December 2012.
Changes to the routes proposed in the consultation have been made in the following areas:
Sheffield Crescent/Wairakei Rd
The service from the central city to Sheffield Crescent via Wairakei Rd, Strowan Rd and Rossall St will be retained following feedback about the importance of this link. The route will now travel along Roydvale Ave and Sir William Pickering Dr itself to provide better access to the businesses in this area, and will be called 17 Bryndwr – Huntsbury.
The 119 Bishopdale service will travel from Sheffield Crescent to Northlands Mall via Bishopdale Mall. Passengers wishing to continue to Merivale and the central city will connect with route 1 here.
Casebrook and Styx Mill
The routes in these areas have been reworked following feedback about directness and coverage. Route 107 Styx Mill – Northlands will travel to and from Northlands Mall via Main North Rd, Northcote Rd, Veitches Rd, Sawyers Arms Rd and Gardiners Rd (and then continue on to the Northwood Supa Centa as detailed below). Route 108 Casebrook – Northlands will travel to and from Northlands Mall via Sawyers Arms Rd, Highsted Rd, Claridges Rd, Grampian St, Cavendish Rd, Regents Park Drive and Styx Mill Rd (and will then continue on to Northwood as detailed below).
There will now be two services that travel into Northwood following concerns about the proposed coverage in this area. Route 107 Styx Mill – Northlands will begin and end at the Northwood Supa Centa, and will travel through Northwood via O’Neill Ave, Saracen Ave, Beechwood Ave and Hussey Rd (same as the current route 11 service). Route 108 Casebrook – Northlands will begin and end at Northwood Park, and travel via Northwood Boulevard (same as the current route 12 service).
Both routes 107 and 108 will travel to and from Northlands Mall, and passengers wishing to continue to Merivale and the central city will connect with route 1 here.
The bus service to Redwood will become part of The Comet route, which travels to Northlands Mall, and then on to the Sheffield Crescent area, the Airport, Avonhead and Hornby. Passengers wishing to travel to Merivale and the central city will connect with route 1 at Northlands Mall.
St Albans
The 118 St Albans service will travel between Edgeware Village and Northlands Mall. Following feedback about the difficulty in travelling from this area to the central city, the route will now have a good connection with route 28 at Edgeware Village.
The 44 North Shore service will travel via Flockton St, Westminster St, Kensington Ave, Innes Rd, Briggs Rd and Emmett St in both directions, as concern was raised about the difficulty in travelling from these streets to the central city. This service will replace the current route 45 service, and will have the same route between The Palms and North Shore.
The 146 Marshland service will travel from Alpine View Lane to The Palms via Prestons Rd, Burwood Rd, Lake Terrace Rd and Marshland Rd. Passengers wishing to travel to the central city will connect with route 60 at The Palms. No bus services will travel on Joy St.
Provision has also been made to extend this service on to Dallington in the future. This extension may or may not begin at the same time as the changes take effect, depending on the progress of road works.
Moorhouse Ave/CPIT
Following feedback about the importance of the link between the St Martins area and CPIT, route 17 Bryndwr – Huntsbury will now travel along Moorhouse Ave past CPIT.
There was significant public feedback about the removal of the direct Metro service between Woodend and Rangiora. However retention of the current service is not possible given existing patronage levels. We are working closely with the North Canterbury Minibus Trust to set up a new service between the two towns.
The new services completely replace the following Metro routes:
  • 8 Casebrook - Hoon Hay
  • 9 Wairakei
  • 11 Styx Mill - Westmorland
  • 12 Northwood - Cashmere
  • 14 Harewood -Dyers Pass
  • 15 Bishopdale - Beckenham
  • 18 St Albans - Huntsbury
  • 20 Burnside - Barrington
  • 22 Redwood - Spreydon
  • 28 Lyttelton and Rapaki
  • 45 North Shore
  • 46 Marshland
  • 60 Parklands
  • All Northern star routes (90, 92, 912 and 913)
All other existing Metro services (including The Orbiter and Metrostar) are unaffected by these changes.
Timetables for the new routes will be available from mid November 2012.
To read the media release about these network changes and see a map of full bus network that will be operating from December 2012 please click here.
If you have any questions about these changes please email, or call Metroinfo on 366 8855.
Kind regards,
The Metro team

CCC made its own submission to the Ecan plan as it turns out - disagreeing with the changes.

The route 18 to Huntsbury which I personally use to get to or from town was changed into Route 17 Bryndwr-Huntsbury with a reduction in service frequency to daytime offpeak hourly (previously half-hourly). This timetable frequency was subsequently restored to the half-hourly frequency, and illustrates that the key intention of the plan was to slash bus services, in spite of all the hype about improving services.

The cut to services is a throwback to the early 1990s when Ecan first took the services over under National's reforms to public transport provision. That was when services were required to be tendered for competition, The services we got at the time were actually very poor with a lot of very cheap tenders being awarded to operators using old and run down buses. From what I can recall Blue Star Taxis actually operated the airport service for a time using a Jap import school bus type of vehicle. I am guessing the same issue - lack of subsidised funding for the services. We have got so much better services until this recent change because big improvements in funding and consequently the standard of services were made by subsequent administrations over about a 15 year period and that includes the low floor accessible buses that run most of the routes now.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Christchurch Railway Station Diary - 2012-09-22

This series of shots lets us recall when this used to be a full size railway yard and trains used to pull up at this platform. That last happened around 20 years ago.
As you can see the demolition is taking shape along the back of the building – the side that faced the railway tracks. This leaves the street frontage to be removed at a later time when possibly the road may have to be partially closed. The work is proceeding in fits and starts, with the big long reach excavator hired in to demolish the clock tower being virtually idle this week. Of interest here is the exposure of the floor directly above the old men’s toilets in the left of the picture. I’m unsure what happens when they break through the floor and have to remove the toilets, do they have to plug the sewer pipes? Interesting also to see the windows facing rearward on the top floor at the front. The more central parts had skylights and light wells in them as referred to in an earlier post.
Looking through those street-facing windows from behind.
Looking inside one of the foyers through to the old booking hall area.
A slightly older view from trackside- in the left the painted surfaces (looking like they were just done yesterday) are on the inside of the light well, hence how tidy it all looks.

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Addington Workshops Plan

This plan is traced from an old hand drawn diagram of the Addington Workshops site. Click on this picture to see a larger one. I am still working on this one and it will be made a bit better as time goes on.
This one shows just the tracks.
In the maps I have split Addington into 1982 and 2009 views. Therefore instead of combining elements of both into one plan, the distinct eras will be shown in the separate plans. Therefore the two sets of main lines going north will be in the two separate plans. The above is a combined plan, but since then the details have been split out.
I was surprised when I mapped in the old MNL curve that it went under the current Blenheim Road bridge. I had always assumed it went through the area where the Way and Works depot sidings are to the right. But this area – still unbuilt on today – was actually used for carparking at the workshops.
This plan is similar to the above one except it shows the buildings and land use around the workshops. It also shows some of the roads which have changed. Whiteleigh Ave was not built through then, even although it existed on the south side. Clarence Street went across the railway tracks just outside the entrance of the current station and then traffic had to make two sharp 90 degree turns to get onto Whiteleigh Ave which went through to Barrington Ave. Putting Whiteleigh Ave through was a necessary roading improvement and it was done around 1989 from memory. It went either along one side of , or possibly through, the Plant Zone site which I have not shown on this plan, that is still to be added. Going off Clarence Street on the left, Margaret Street, Bell Street and Levin Street were where railway houses were built for the workers at the workshops. These streets are all gone now. At the top right, changes were made in Lowe Street and Tyne Street. The level crossing across Lowe Street to Lester Lane was closed and the end of Lowe Street and Tyne Street was cut off when the new curve tracks were built from the new railway station in the 1990s. The most recent change, about ten years ago, was the closing of the Blenheim Road bridge at the top of the picture. The new bridge went through what used to be the railcar shops and the site of a few other buildings as well. So there is a lot of history now gone in that area.

Christchurch Station Yard plan

In the current progress at the NZ Rail Maps project I am drawing yard plans for all the yards around Christchurch. This one is Christchurch itself and is based on an old plan that you can see here, along with old photos and aerials of the station. This is still being worked on and is not complete but most of the major details are visible. (Click on the picture to see it in a larger size)
The green blocks are the major buildings that were around the site. It is timely to be putting this together with the main station building coming down. On the south side the substation next to the Colombo Street bridge remains in place, along with the amenity block and social hall. On the left of the amenity block is A Shed. This was still in place when the station opened, but was demolished at some later time, certainly it was gone by the 1980s when I first became acquainted with the station precint.
The plan at this stage is not going to be 100% accurate, because the only way of assuring this is to be tracing directly over an aerial photo. That was the way I was able to do thing with Middleton and Waltham yards.

Christchurch Station Demolition proceeding

My last post on this subject wondered why this was going so slowly and theorised that maybe the contractors were having mechanical problems with their equipment. However it has become clear there was a cunning plan all thought out when work started on the clock tower a week ago.
The plan being, that in order to limit encroachment onto Moorhouse Ave (which already is significant), machinery would demolish the clock tower from the side. In order to be able to get a long reach excavator in close enough, the wing on that side was demolished. The delay was the time it took to dig out the basement, which was then filled in to make a base for the excavator to work from. In order to guard against debris falling onto Moorhouse Ave some shipping containers have been stacked up along the frontage.
Evidently this particular machine has been hired in to perform the clock tower demolition, due to its height. I don’t how much this particular machine weighs, the biggest such machine in Christchurch which has been used to demolish some of the highrise buildings weighs over 200 tonnes. You can see this boom is pretty long, and the base unit would have to be heavily counterweighted in order to balance the weight and length of that boom when operating at full reach. In other words there are some big heavy weights attached to the rear of the base unit of the excavator, and the hydraulic rams in the front would be pretty powerful because they have to lift the whole boom.
This is what the west end of the station looks like right now. The brickwork has been ripped off the front or maybe it fell off with the vibration from the machinery at work. So while the machinery works away on the clock tower, the work has started on the main part of the building at the opposite end.