Queens Wharf has a new arrival, the latest mock up of our new electric trains (EMUs). My understanding is that this is one of the last stages before the real ones starts getting built although the first EMU will be built slowly to ensure everything goes together as planned. After the project team and engineers have finished going over it then it is meant to go on display to the public to get feedback, I’m not sure when that will happen but I will definitely let you know and hopefully I will be able to get some photos of the interior soon.

There are a few aspects I’m not overly keen on, like the corrugated roof, but overall I like the look of these and can’t wait for the day to be waiting on the platform and see one coming down the tracks.

There are a few other shots from different angles here. Thanks to Aaron Fox for these images.

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51 comments

  1. If I had to make a criticism, I would say that they’re a bit too similar to our current trains. I was hoping for something particularly swish which reflected the giant leap forward these trains are from the diesel dungers we have now.

    Still they’re a million times nicer than Wellington’s ugly Matangis!

    1. I agree, I can see traces of the existing trains in them with things like the roof and a clean start would be nice

  2. If I was to quibble, I consider the trapezoid shape of the headlights gives the front a rather angry look. Also, the proportions of the pie-shaped side windows don’t sit that well. I feel the train needs a bit of softening, and much preferred the look of the earlier concept.

  3. One colour would be good, then we go hard with super graphics, forms too chopped up by that strange blue yellow combo. What’s with the yellow anyway, isn’t blue the AK colour?…. In general looking a little more plodding than I had hoped, agree about the ‘angry’ lights…. but still looking forward to checking it out tomorrow.

    1. It is so that AT and its engineers can see how things look and work in the flesh to avoid the issue of something looking good on paper but not working in real life. They might find for instance that what they thought would be good for disabled passengers doesn’t work so this allows them to fix that before spending millions on the real thing where it would be much harder and more costly to change later.

        1. Opps the trains are made in Spain by CAF but going by Matt L’s post these probaly won’t be sent back to finish.

      1. Surely every train operator needs to deal with that sort of issue, and the train manufacturer addresses it with their basic design. And Luke comments (below) that drivers need to test the train for RSI avoidance… I would have thought that driver cabins would follow a pretty standard layout also.

        I can’t imagine Air NZ needing a mockup of a Boeing so that they could check if people could board the aircraft and the pilots were comfortable. They might mock up a bit of cabin when they’re designing a refurbishment, but that doesn’t require an accurate copy of half the aircraft.

        1. Yes there is a basic design but there are many aspects of our trains that will be unique or at least unique in the way they are implemented. I know that a few changes were already made to the drivers cab as a result of the previous mockup (which was focused solely on the cab). Also this isn’t an exact copy but a mash up of the key elements so that they can be tested together. The contract with CAF is likely to be very specific and I would much rather do it this way than find we end up having to pay millions and millions more after we realise something wasn’t right.

          A full EMU with all the running gear and systems is about $7m, this thing is made out of materials like wood and fibreglass and doesn’t have any of the systems to actually run the train so the cost would probably be much less than $1m, that isn’t much in the grand scheme of things of a $500m+ project to ensure we get the best possible outcome.

          I think that Boeing would very likely build mockup of key areas in a new plane design to ensure things work properly and that data would be provided to companies when they were looking at buying a plane.

        2. Actually Air NZ has a warehouse in Fanshawe Street where they develop and test many different cabin configurations etc. In fact they probably spend a considerable amount on mockups. They may not need mockup a full Boeing Dreamliner but they would mock up a small section of it (as AT have done in this case). It’s also considerably easier to move an aircraft down here to test things like boarding, evacuation, cargo loading, refueling etc. than an entire train set.

        3. My parents are frequent international travellers and live in Seattle USA for 3-4 months every year. In the past they have been called up by Boeing and paid to test out full size mock ups of aircraft to see how they work, everything from legroom to lighting is tested in the full scale mock ups. They even spen a couple of hours boarding and disembarking with dummy carry on luggge.
          The last one they tested out was a seating reconfiguration for the B777.

          So Obi a full size mock up is standard practice.

        4. I noted the cabin mockup situation when I said “They might mock up a bit of cabin when they’re designing a refurbishment”, since I’ve read about that. It’s to check the look and feel and interior design. But they wouldn’t have a mock up cockpit delivered because they should be using the manufacturer standard cockpit rather than designing something customised for Air NZ. Air NZ got in to trouble back in the 1970s (?) when they decided to redesign their DC10 cockpits, and I hope they’ve learned their lesson.

          PBY… Of course that is a necessary part of the manufacturer design process. I just don’t think it should be part of customer delivery for the reasons stated above. If Air NZ were redesigning the cockpit, or the undercarriage, or the way the doors operate then there would be something significantly wrong with the way they’re running their airline.

  4. I think it is important for drivers too. Need to ensure cab is comfortable and easy to use for them. Needs to be designed to avoid RSI.

    1. I agree. Please, please, please…no yellow on tne doors! This makes the EMU look like yet another half baked, shoddy cheap piece of NZ engineering. The EMUs should look nothing like the gosh awful trains AKL has now – tacky, cheap and embarrasingly 19th century. A simple dark blue strip down the sides or a simple orange strip down the sides is what is needed. Not the yellow doors and light blue. Whoever thought up that colour scheme should be burnt at the stake or undergo ritual disembowelment.

      1. I would tend to think there are Safety reasons for having the doors Yellow and the front of the train Yellow. They would need to be Hi Vis area’s I would imagine.

      2. I’ve always been impressed by the white and blue stripped rendering. Trains such as those would be a source of pride for Aucklanders. The mock-up looks a long way from this. I know it’s an engineering project but couldn’t we have a design consultant involved to give a bit of flair. We don’t seem to do things with a great deal of style in NZ. If it’s yellow needed for safety, why have all the buses moved away from yellow paint jobs? Educating people that trains go on tracks, not people, might help the safety issues

    2. Would have to agree with you there. I’m not liking the very ‘angular’ shapes all over, especially at the front!

    3. Agreed the white is much nicer than the cold stainless-steel look.
      What should have happened is a public competition for the paint job. Release a 3d model file of the train and let people go mad. Would have been good publicity for the trains too.

      Does anyone have examples of overseas EMUs that look good?

  5. I think the yellow must be some kind of OSH requirement, all the trains here in Sydney have yellow painted doors too. I wonder whoever thinks of these requirements, like painting a door yellow is going to help a blind person see it?

    1. There are degrees of blindness. Some people who are legally blind can still see a little bit. High contrast colours would be of help to them.

      1. Indeed, my mother would have trouble discerning a stainless steel rectangle in the side of a larger stainless steel rectangle, particularly if it’s moving.

        It also helps fully sighted but half asleep commuters get their a into g quicker and subconsciously orient themselves toward the door location. If that saves two seconds o every dwell then it’s worthwhile.

    2. If it were an absolute OSH requirement, the DMU doors would be yellow already, as would all bus doors. Moteover, how can having yellow doors on a train help anybody safety-wise? Anyone visually impaired, looks for the door markings on the platform – standard kit for all commuter rail systems I use in North Asia every other month…and where the numbers of visually impaired people exceed the entire population of NZ!

      1. Although there don’t seem to be door markers on the platforms here. I’ve sometimes lent a hand to people with impaired vision who can’t find doors or even entire platforms in Auckland.

  6. In regard to the headlight configuration, they should be horizontal rather than vertical with the white lights to the outside. That would lessen the ‘angry look’.

  7. I think the mockup looks good! It looks like a transformer, and that’s a good thing. The image of the train in white, looks reserved and dull to me and looks as if it was built in the 90s. Don’t you want people to be excited about using the train? Not that I can see the future, but if that mockup is running in 2030 I don’t think it will look too out of place.

  8. Went past there this morning – its at the far end of the wharf?? – why way out – few will even discover its there behind shed 10. Why on earth is this not set up close to Quay street end where it will actually be noticed and therefore hopefully commented on.

      1. Went for a walk down there today and unfortunately it’s looking that way – they’ve put up a bit of a shed to shelter it (you can see the beginnings of the frame in those pics) – and no public access – can only see the front end well. A bit disappointing all things considered, was looking forward to a closer look.

  9. I don’t have a problem with the yellow – safety first. There’s been a few train vs people encounters in Auckland over the past months so anything that can help alleviate that is a positive. Also, it might highlight to people to be more careful. Anyway, it doesn’t much matter what it looks from the outside, it’s the interior that most people will spend most of their time looking at. Priorities (IMO) are comfy seats, ease of movement to exits, lighting that you can read by but isn’t too glarey, easy to open windows, signs to notify next stops etc. Also, perhaps the corrugations on the roof are also for safety, e.g. in the picture there’s a dude on top of the train – when doing maintenance, i’m guessing they want a good foothold so they don’t fall off…..

  10. I would imagine that if a train were stuck in a tunnel, with no lights potentially, it would be easier for would be rescuers to find the doors if they are a different, bright colour compared to the rest of the train. I may be completely wrong though :-).

  11. I liked the artists impressions rather than the real thing, but thats probably to be expected.

    They look too similar to the existing trains for my liking. They should look completely different in my opinion to attract new people to ride the flash new trains. If they look too similar to the old ones they may not appeal so much.

      1. To be honest, public consulation is what will lead to a shonky compromised design. We need a bold design, not literal representations of tired motifs and ferns.

  12. Yes, for my basic eyes the mock-up does not look nearly as swish as the image that was submitted in the proposal! But never mind, it’s the interior that will more than anything make or break these trains – not the appearance from the outside. So if AT allows CAF to compromise on the external appearance in return for better internal atmosphere then I’m happy.

    P.s. I’m surprised people are bothered by the corrugated roof; I don’t think many passengers will care. The corrugated roof probably has more structural strength than a flat roof, which is not a bad reason in my mind.

  13. Light blue, light yellow and grey are an awful combination of colours. Dark blue and silver (or grey, or white), with yellow where required, please.

  14. That earlier render shows the middle set of doors marked yellow to signify that it’s the only genuinely accessible carriage of the set. I doubt that colour would make any difference to the front.

    Why are we not seeing a more distinctively NZ and Auckland look? How hard would it be to have a fantastic graphic overlaid along the side rather than solid colour? Other recent transport projects show examples of honouring this place and people: http://www.nzta.govt.nz/projects/victoria-park-tunnel/docs/jacobs-ladder-footbridge.pdf

    1. Oh Sacha- Jacobs Ladder- bridge is a particularly bad example to use.

      The original design was a large intestine draped over the motorway.

      Then the “fishing basket” panels turned up and cracked and peeled immediately.

      Made in China strikes again.

      The bridge was supposed to open months ago. Still rooted..

      1. I meant the design, not the execution. Also like the Telstra Events Centre in Manukau, stuff like that. Can picture powerful black graphics sweeping along the side of those trains.

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