While we will have to wait until the end of September to find out which company has won the tender to build Auckland’s electric trains, it is my understanding that an announcement will be made at Auckland Transport later today on a few of the details about those trains. AKT has a bit more detail. Today’s announcement may shed some light on a couple of key matters:

  1. Who will end up owning the EMUs – KiwiRail or Auckland Council (through Auckland Transport)?
  2. How many EMUs will be ordered – the previously announced total of 35-38 three car trains, or a larger number?

Discussion over the past few months has indicated positive movements on both these two issues. Wellington’s rail rolling stock is to be owned by the regional council, rather than by central government – so it would be surprising to see anything but the same arrangement in Auckland. This makes some sense, as Auckland ratepayers (with a contribution from NZTA) will be the ones paying for the electric trains – as the government’s contribution is just a “loan” to KiwiRail, rather than an actual grant of the $500 million (remember that when the “we’re spending $1.6 billion on rail” line gets trotted out for the 1000th time).

On the second issue, the number of EMUs that get ordered, the original idea was to have a mix of EMUs operating on the western and eastern lines, with electric locomotives hauling our current SA Train carriages on the southern line. But that idea was before the City Rail Link came along as such a high priority project, and it’s my understanding that the SA Train Carriages have compatibility issues with the rail link’s tunnel: both in terms of their fire rating and also in terms of its steepness being too great for any train that is locomotive hauled. That issue is likely to have incentivised plans for a greater number of EMUs, while the high exchange rate may also have freed up a bit of money to purchase a greater number of trains than had previously been considered.

It will be interesting to find out what the details are.

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      1. That was always the plan, just like Wellingtons new trains they can’t all be delivered at the same time so the delivery will be spread out over the year. The question though is how long it will take to get them commisioned and into service, if Wellington is anything to go by then it could be 6 months before they start getting used for passengers.

        1. Just read the article again and the key phrase is “the other 56 trains are to be supplied BY the end of 2014.” That’s not too bad as I presume there will be a constant flow of trains over that period. I was worried we would get one in September 2013 then none till late 2014.

        2. In Wellington it’s now a year since the first new train ran for testing. Up until two weeks ago only 5 x 2-car sets were in service at any time. So you may be looking at a year before more than a handful are in service.

  1. The latest number being thrown around (and as picked up in the Herald) is something like 57 sets of 3-car EMU’s that if required can double up and form 6-car sets on heavier services (e.g ANY Pukekohe peak service – including a change over to or from an ADL DMU at Papakura, or the 7:32 Swanson to Britomart service).

    But then again, we will have to wait for the Minister of Transport’s (sorry was tempted to put Trucks) announcement later on this afternoon.

    Someone mentioned something about electric loco hauled SD/SA carriages, still a possibility even with the Inner City Rail Link, just need a modification at Westfield Junction and some creative timetabling and bob’s your uncle, we have SA cars running round for another 10 years.

  2. http://www.3news.co.nz/Auckland-rails-electric-future-confirmed/tabid/423/articleID/224282/Default.aspx

    Comment of the day goes to Wolfman.
    “Are they going to build a Power Station in Jafaland to power these damn things, or will they suck the power from the National Grid and cause Power Bills throughout the country to increase to keep them running.”
    Combining ignorance, racism (against Aucklanders) and small town perocialism in one rather poorly constructed sentence.

  3. This is another badly informed comment:
    “To think National had to buy back the rail Labour had sold to even start this process. And before you go on about how National wants to sell assets, they privatize structured, not guess like Labour did. Thank you National for investing in our future. Viva National”
    I put them right!

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