How many All Blacks does it take to open a railway station?
If it is Kingsland station, the answer is 10, and they'll need help from one Cabinet minister, a mayor and an assortment of regional leaders.
Kingsland, the closest station to Eden Park, has just completed a $6 million do-up ready for the tens of thousands of fans expected to use it during next year's Rugby World Cup.
That's on top of the $4 million it cost to build the station in 2005.
The station's two platforms have been lengthened to 155m, each to take 1000 passengers at a time for rapid loading into six-car trains scheduled to leave for Britomart every five minutes after Cup matches.
Their access will be assisted by several new sets of stairs and a 3.5m-wide underpass running beneath the rail tracks, between Sandringham Rd and the station's northern platform.
It won't happen on match day, but the All Blacks arrived at the station by train from Britomart festooned with pennants for yesterday's opening, accompanied by a swag of under-9 players from Manukau Rovers.
Captain Richie McCaw gave the upgrade a thumbs-up, adding that a lot was riding on the reliability of rail services at the height of the Cup.
"As long as it works every time it will be great," he told the Herald.
Auckland Regional Transport Authority chairman Rabin Rabindran said Saturday's Tri-Nations match and other big events - including double-header rugby league fixtures at Eden Park in November - would give practice runs before the World Cup.
"We have got to get it right in 2011 not only for Auckland, but for New Zealand."