Nearly $500 million has been cut from the upfront cost of Auckland's downtown rail project following a rethink.
Auckland Transport has dropped one of three new underground stops, Newton Station, which had been planned for uptown Symonds Street at a saving of $150 million.
Another $330 million has been pushed further into the future with the decision to defer the purchase of 24 additional electric trains.
The council-owned agency says the changes haven't been driven by a desire simply to cut costs of the now $2.4 billion project.
Newton Station was to have been the deepest at 42 metres below street level and would have been the most challenging to build.
Its design also required the twin rail tracks to cross each other at an intersection south of the station. Auckland Transport says that intersection was undesirable and, by dropping the station, the tracks can cross above and below each other.
Eighteen fewer properties will need to be bought, and 12-18 months of construction upheaval on Symonds Street will be avoided.
Instead, a new Mt Eden station will be built at ground level, where the twin tunnels emerge and connect with the existing western rail line.
The agency says new local roads will be built around the station, and with 2ha of adjacent bare land once the station is completed, there is greater potential for early property development.
Businesses along the rather down-at-heel stretch of Symonds Street, near where Newton Station would have been built, are disappointed they may miss out on the hoped-for revival of their area.
"I already lost two-thirds of my business several years ago, when Auckland Transport changed a lot of bus routes away from Symonds Street," said second-hand bookseller Ron Harcus. "Then Auckland Transport said, well at least you'll get the benefit from the new station."
Gary Holmes who heads the Uptown Business Association which covers both Symonds Street and Eden Terrace, said there would be some benefit to the wider area from the revamp at nearby Mt Eden.
"We will be looking for some support from the council," said Mr Holmes. He and Mr Harcus believe new local bus services would help connect a revitalised Mt Eden Station area with Symonds Street.
Patrick Reynolds, an editor with website transportblog.co.nz, said Newton Station would have transformed Symonds Street and he did not see the same potential around Mt Eden Station.
The bigger cost deferral comes from delaying 24 electric trains, which were to be added to the 57 electric trains currently entering service.
Closer study of the 57-strong fleet's capacity has found the additional trains won't be needed for some years further into the future.
Auckland Transport says they will still be needed at some point, but the timing moves the purchase outside the 10-year budget being put together by Auckland Council.
- Watch Auckland Transport's explanation of the City Rail Link project