Auckland Transport says the rail corridor at Kingsland Station is not wide enough to bring passengers from western locations all the way to Rugby World Cup matches at Eden Park.
Some western passengers have bitterly criticised transport arrangements, tested for the first time on Saturday night, in which they were dropped off at Morningside Station and told to walk the rest of the way to the Super 15 match between the Blues and Crusaders.
The distance, as measured out by the Herald yesterday, is 583m to Eden Park's outer oval entrance on Sandringham Rd, 738m to the South Stand and 918m to Gate A at the edge of the ASB Stand on the northern perimeter.
Compared with access from Kingsland Station, that represents an extra distance of 263m from the South Stand and 803m from Gate A, which is just 115m from the larger station.
"I was disgusted to find out at New Lynn Station that the train wouldn't be going all the way to Kingsland," Eden Park season-ticket holder Gavin Bruce said yesterday, joining criticism raised earlier by other passengers.
Mr Bruce, who walks with the aid of a crutch, said he would not have been able to reach Eden Park by himself from Morningside and had to phone his son for a lift.
He said he had tickets to World Cup pool matches, but would not travel to them by train unless arrangements were altered to take him and others all the way to Eden Park, a convenience he had always enjoyed until now.
Other passengers have complained of an inadequate provision of buses to replace rail services east of Morningside on Saturday night.
Morningside Station has had a modest $1.3 million infrastructure upgrade, compared with $10 million spent on building a new station at Kingsland and then enlarging it last year to cope with up to 15,000 passengers expected for finals matches.
That station is being reserved for passengers arriving from Britomart and then leaving on trains which will use both platforms and sets of tracks to head in the same direction back to central Auckland after the referee's final whistle.
But an estimate by Auckland Transport that only about 1500 spectators would use Morningside Station may have to be revised, as that number was reached on Saturday night, when Eden Park was just over half-full with a crowd of 32,500.
The council-controlled organisation acknowledges it may have to do more to help elderly or disabled passengers reach the ground from Morningside, such as introducing some form of shuttle service.
But it says it cannot let trains from western suburbs travel all the way to Kingsland without compromising plans for a mass exodus back to Britomart after world cup matches.
Spokeswoman Sharon Hunter said last night that significant extra infrastructure would be needed, not just at Kingsland Station but along the rail corridor as well.
Because the World Cup transport plan involves parking trains between Kingsland and Morningside during the matches, for rapid departures back to Britomart every five minutes afterwards, Ms Hunter said a third set of tracks would be needed to bring western services all the way to Eden Park.
Sandringham Rd has already been moved 3m towards Eden Park to make room for wider station platforms, and she said there was no more room to squeeze in more tracks.
Ms Hunter said walking a few hundred metres from stations to sports stadiums was common overseas.
The nearest station to Sydney Football Stadium was more than 1km away, and crowds had to walk at least 10 minutes to London's Wembley Station.
"The walk from Morningside, a 10-minute casual walk, is standard for international events."
Ms Hunter said a need for extra lighting on the route would be investigated.By Mathew Dearnaley Email Mathew