Dozens of marauding youths brought Auckland trains to a halt last night as hundreds of people converged on Britomart to get home after Christmas in the Park. Police and security guards closed access to the Super City's main railway station soon after 11pm after 30 to 40 youths climbed on top of turnstiles and began pushing and shoving each other on the platforms.
A video on Facebook captured some of their behaviour, showing them taunting and making aggressive gestures to the guards.
A heavy sign was thrown across the turnstiles at the guards before police arrived to restore order.
Auckland Transport says trains began running again just after 11.30pm, but it took about 20 more minutes to get operations back to normal.
"It was not safe to run services because groups of youths were on the platforms, pushing and shoving," a spokesman said.
"There were 15 security guards on duty keeping two groups apart - the youths dispersed when police arrived."
A police spokeswoman said police were called to the scene to restore order, but no arrests were made.
"So it seems like Auckland Transport are really good at working Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, and with situations like that there are no contingency plans."
Mr Hannan said it was unfortunately not the first year trouble had overflowed to Britomart from Christmas at the Park "even though it's supposed to be an alcohol-free event."
The trouble followed disruption to about 3000 passengers during Thursday morning's commuter peak, when a new electric train was brought to a false emergency halt outside Britomart, blocking the line and forcing the termination of other services at Newmarket.
Meanwhile chaos of another kind is being predicted by Councillor Dick Quax if the City Rail Link (CRL) gets the go-ahead. This time the cost will be financial and hit all ratepayers hard if they have pay for this white elephant.
Dick Quax predicts Financial chaos from CRL
Patronage figures for the Manukau Station released by Auckland Transport to Councillor Dick Quax show that the average number of boardings per day during morning peak hours were just 109.
This is well below passenger numbers predicted to use the station in reports to the legacy Manukau City Council ten years ago when the 1700 metre rail link from the North Island Main Trunk Line to Manukau City was being hotly debated by the Council.
“The glowing and wildly optimistic reports at the time predicted that 1089 passengers would by using the train at the Manukau Station by 2011 during the morning peak”, says Cr Quax.
“Presently in an entire week there are fewer passengers than the 1089 forecast for the morning peak”.
“In addition the original mile of rail was to cost $40 million which eventually ballooned out to just under $100 million”.
“When we debate the merits of the city rail loop we should never lose sight of the fact that urban rail projects are notorious for exceeding budget and overestimating patronage”.
“The operating cost of the CRL is predicted to be about $90 million a year based around optimistic patronage assumptions. If those patronage figures are out by anything like the Manukau Rail Link the consequences for Auckland will be financial chaos.