It’s become clear to me from comments and posts both on here and elsewhere that a lot of people really don’t understand just how difference our new electric trains will have on the capacity of the system. It seems that many think that the trains will be just new versions of what we have now, or perhaps just a small bump in capacity and that we won’t be able to get substantially more people onto them, limiting the capacity of the entire system. But nothing could be further from the truth. With this post I hope to show just how much of a difference these new trains will make.

To start with it is worth explaining what we have now. At the moment we have an eclectic mix of trains each with different characteristics. Our current types of train are:

ADL – Two carriages – 136 seats with space for another 54 people standing. Sometimes two are joined together doubling the capacity.

ADK – Four carriages – 270 seats with space for 108 people standing.

SX Set – Five carriages – 282 seats with space for 114 people standing. We only have one of these sets.

SA Set – Four carriages – 250 seats with space for 100 people standing.

SA Set – Five carriages – 320 seats with space for 128 people standing.

SA Set – Six carriages – 384 seats with space for 154 people standing.

Note: these figures are based on what I could find online so they may be out by a little bit. Standing capacity is based on Auckland Transports current capacity ratio of four people standing for every 10 sitting.

But how does that compare to electric trains? The new trains are three carriages long however each carriage is a bit longer than the ones on the trains we have now). They will have 230 seats with space for 145 people standing. They will operate a either as a single three car set or combined with another EMU to form a 6 carriage long train. Because of the length of each carriage, a six car EMU will be considerably longer than a six car SA set. The six car EMU will be 144m in length compared to the six car SA set at approx. 120m long + the locomotive.

EMU Interior June
Interior of one of our new electric trains

But I don’t think that just saying that trains will be longer and have more capacity really helps people to truly understand the impacts that the EMUs will have so I have put together this little image to try and illustrate it.

Train Capacity 2

As you can see from both the figures and the chart above a single EMU has equivalent capacity to a four car train on the network today. By comparison the capacity of a six car EMU absolutely dwarfs anything we have today with it being able to move approximately 40% more people than our longest trains today (of which we only have a few).

But this isn’t the end of the story. Our current rolling stock is stretched thin which is preventing us from running longer and more frequent trains which is one of the reasons most of the trains around the network only have four carriages. The number of EMUs we are getting will allow us to run more longer trains than we do now meaning the capacity increase is actually even greater than I previously mentioned. It is expected that during the height of the peak period, all trains arriving at Britomart – with the exception of those from Onehunga – will be 6 cars in length and the difference that this will make will be astounding.

As an example the western line currently has four trains an hour during the peak period. Based on the current rolling stock used, trains arriving between 7:30am and 8:30am are currently a mix of four, five and six cars in length. This gives a total capacity in the peak hour of just under 1900 passengers. With electrification it will be possible for the western line to have six trains an hour with each being six cars long. That will boost the total capacity of the line during the peak hour to 4500 passengers, a 140% increase.

Even Papakura which already has 6 trains departing in the peak period sees a substantial increase in capacity as a result of these new trains. The impacts of this are shown below.

Network Capacity 1

As you can see the impacts of our new trains won’t just be that they are faster, quieter, cheaper to run and more reliable but they will add substantial capacity to the overall network. That capacity will be put to good use by the new bus network as well as the rail system in general being more attractive. By my calculations overall seat capacity on the network during the height of the peak should increase by about 150%. It is also this extra capacity that means we should easily be able to reach 20 million trips a year with our new fleet.

EMU Interior June 2
Low floor section of our new electric trains
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  1. Great post, maybe Auckland Transport need to get with the plan and pushing something similar. Your graphic is an excellent and simple sales pitch. Must even be able to get the Herald to print that without too many loops mentioned?

    1. Amen Pete. I just dont understand why AT are not able to put this kind of information out themselves.

      It so easily and simply outlines the benefits to Aucklanders of all the money that is being spent on rail.

      Quite seriously Matt, AT should be knocking down your door to employ you as an information officer for AT. Whoever is doing the job now must either not understand the changes or has no enthusiasm to promote them.

      Why is this stuff not being banged out regularly on AT’s website and Facebook page. Or hand out flyers at Britomart and Newmarket if that is too high tech.

      Such a shame when the changes will potentially benefit so many Aucklanders. NO wonder so many people are sceptical that anything will ever change for the better in Auckland PT.

        1. They do send out tweets to alert when new info is on their website – sometimes. I’m led to understand that it is company policy that AT employees are not allowed to engage on FB.

        2. It probably isn’t crazy to have company policy about not engaging on FB – one wrong move and it will be there forever

        3. I like that they don’t use a branch of the NSA to disseminate information about trains in Auckland…

  2. Don’t think we will have enough trans to run all peak services at 6 car sets. I think Manukau will be 3 car and a few shoulder peak services on western & southern too.

    Your point is still valid though.

    1. Probably not all peak services but I am talking about the peak hour, i.e. the busiest hour of the peak. We will need roughly 11 trains to run services out west, 11 for Papakura, 8 for Manukau and 2 for Onehunga so 32 all up. We are getting 57 trains, take a few out for cycling through maintenance and a few out for spares and we are left with about 20 to use to double up trains.

      1. Which suggests Noodle is right; we’re about 10 trains short of being able to run double sets all peak on all three main lines with every train. But there is plenty of time to build the case for more, and plenty of capacity for the near term.

        1. Have you noticed that CAF are tendering for London’s new Crossrail trains and I understand tenders are being called shortly. If successful that will be a massive contract for them. I am not sure what manufacturing capacity they are capable of but if we need more EMU’s we don’t want to be last in the line.
          On another matter, Maggie Barry’s obsequious letter in today’s Herald seems to at least a partial change of viewpoint but there is now no way she is going to support a rail extension to the airport ahead of a further harbour crossing. I wonder if she is aware of the static number of car
          journeys over the harbour bridge on a daily basis

        2. Well we’re both right as I only suggested that the sets in the height of the peak would be doubled, not all sets at the peak.

  3. Good analysis Matt. Would it be fair to say that the 140% increase in capacity on the Western could lead to more than that in actual numbers travelling? For instance the extra capacity of the train could be utilised by someone travelling Henderson – Mt Eden, then again by someone travelling Newmarket to Britomart?

    1. Yes that’s possible Cam, but of course much much more likely post-CRL when we have true through-routing. This is the core of the conceptual difference between a ‘Commuter Network’, where all the focus is on moving people from dormitory suburbs on the fringes to employment in the centre, to a ‘Metro style’ pattern which enables many more different trips between points on the lines by passing through the big central destination.

      The Metro system still gets people from Swanson or Puke into town but it doesn’t assume that’s the only desired destination.

      We may even end up with routes that look plainly mad in an end-to-end sense: Say like Onehunga to Mt Roskill via Parnell and the CRL. A rather long way to get from either end point to other, but that of course isn’t why it’s structured like that, rather to enable people move to across any of those points [and others by frequent connection] in every and any way.

      And great work Matt.

  4. Would be interesting to assess seated, standing and total loading if longitudinal seating was incorporated into all three carriages on the EMUs. Obviously this isn’t being considered now, but the configuration is changeable and increasing passenger numbers is part of the CRL funding deal which we all want to see accelerated. The old trains have roughly a 70/30 seated/standing ratio, whereas the EMU’s will better this to 60/40 and with 10 more seats per car. Longitudinal seating would result in the loss of maybe 10-15 seats across the train but easily increase the ratio to 50/50, lifting capacity to +400 passengers(+800 on 6 car)and still allow free flowing movement of passengers. Let’s hope the new trains are as full as possible as soon as possible.

  5. Matt, that is a great infographic you have there.

    But it shows, even with 4500 an hour “peak” possible on 3 lines (into Britomart) and assuming this “hour” peak is maintained for 2 hours each AM and PM (that is 2, 2 hour peaks a day), that more or less accounts for 12.5 million of the 20m rail trips a year needed to trigger the CRL being brought forward ((4500 * 3 + 750) * 2 * 2 * 220 ) = 12.54m

    This is about the level of usage on rail what we have had up til now (recent dip notwithstanding).
    But assumes no spare seats on any of those peak trips, which is not ideal as that implies that the trains are “chock full”.

    So, where will the other at least 8m trips going to come from? Off Peak and Weekends is all thats left. But that represents a lot of time (14 hours or so a day * 7 days a week) to make use of the trains.
    – so the question is how do we maximise the usage Off Peak and Weekends to be able to exceed the Peak – as thats the sustainable part of the system.
    Crushing everyone in for the 2 hour each a AM/PM isn’t really a recipe for long term success is it?
    (mind you – this works well for the motorways, so maybe all thats missing is the right marketing strategy for the trains to make being crushed in like sardines seem attractive?)

    I like the idea suggested recently of a single zone off peak fare (for the train fare only?) to drive people to use them.
    And there is also the idea above of reusing the train seat on a journey to get multiple passengers per “seat” over the journey length which will let you get over the 4500 seats per hour limit (Patricks Metro style running).

    A maximum length 6 car EMU will cost way less to run (Electrical power and driver/TM wages) – even if mostly empty of paying passengers, than the current Diesel powered clunkers we run now – so doing this to gets bums on seats should help improve numbers even if the $s earned stay the same.

    But it does reinforce that pre-CRL with 20 TPH limitation at Britomart we have to grow the passengers differently from just “MOAR TRAINS”.
    Or to rephrase and old saying

    “Its not how many trains you have, its how you use the ones you’ve got that counts”

    1. Our current commuter-centric service patterns achieve 10-ish-million journeys per year. There’s massive low-hanging fruit to be had by slashing off-peak prices and increasing service frequency. When it’s $13+ for my partner and I to do a return trip from Ellerslie to Britomart, why would we take the train instead of driving and paying $8 for parking? Even the current gouging and crap frequencies still attract dozens of passengers onto weekend services from the likes of Onehunga. So, so much low-hanging fruit, and thankfully Lester Levy sees it and sees how it can be picked.

      1. Yes, need to bring the off-peak up instead of concentrating solely on the peaks. Off peak is very price sensitive (families) and frequency sensitive. Easy fixes.

      2. People have readily taken to the train from Onehunga because it is much faster and more comfortable than the bus to town. Is Onehunga going to get more frequent train services sometime in the coming century?

        1. First we need to fix Britomart, then we need to double track the line, which is part of the CRL

        2. I lay out here why the best Onehunga can hope for is a service every 20 minutes without being double-tracked, and without the CRL there simply aren’t slots at Britomart to lay on any more peak services on any line than are already planned so there’s no point spending the money on double-tracking.

    2. Greg I think there is a lot of room for growth in the off peak and that we could easily see that growth occur. Even now with crap off peak frequencies I often see a over one hundred people on trains out west in the middle of the day. We also know that higher frequencies will drive more patronage and with the bus network feeding in I think it is likely to happen.

        1. We already have those, tertiary is about 30% off, primary/secondary is about 50% off.

  6. Why join two three car sets together to form a six car set, when you could just run three car sets and double the frequency?

    Is this to reduce the number of drivers, or is this because of the dead end at Britomart?

    1. Yes Britomart can only handle movements of 20-odd trains of any length per hour. So the only work round to this at the peaks is to get more people on the trains, ie making them longer.

        1. Platforms aren’t that long, but, yes. Plus there’s only so much patronage growth that can be achieved when there’s a time penalty of between 11 and 25 minutes on the Western Line courtesy of having to go around via Newmarket.

        2. Brendan – the whole network (apart from the Onehunga line) is (or will be soon) built around 6-car train operation – particularly Britomart. It would be a massive cost to move to 9-car operation. It would not just be the physical platform lengths at every station on the network, but most likely moving level crossings, moving signals, moving points and crossings. At Britomart, there is a risk that it would be a massibe undertaking to extend the three centre platforms. I don’t think there is 60+m of clear space behind them in the concourse, so you’d be into new structure, new lifts etc. Then the almost finished yard may need to be redesigned if the layout doesn’t cope with 9 car sets being stabled without splitting them

        3. Maybe we should have raised all those bridges to take double-deck trains? Anyone know if that was ever considered? Or could still be.. before the CRL tunnel is built.

    2. Can’t run that many more services into Britomart. And even with the CRL we’re not at the point of having a train every five minutes in each direction. Plus it’s a whole hell of a lot more drivers (more than double).

  7. Using the NZ Railfan book – ISBN 978-0-9582072-2-5

    There are 23 driver carriages – so the sum of SA4, SA5, SA6 sets = 23
    There are 81 carriages – perm them however you like, but you have 12 carriages over and above 23 x SA4.
    There’s an SX set.
    2 car DMU ADK sets = 9 – but usually run in multiple
    2 car DMU ADL sets = 10

  8. And why the Britomart constraint is so, well, constraining:

    Information on how important Britomart is in our current system here:

    Yes Newmarket is clearly the second most important station but second by a long way. These numbers do not support large scale transfers at Newmarket over direct trains to Britomart.

    2012 boardings
    Britomart 12,000
    Newmarket 3,100

    Direct trains to Britomart still need to be by far the main focus of the network

    Interesting to compare to 2003

    Britomart 1,765
    Newmarket 1,088

    So build it and they will come. Post CRL Aotea will grow fast, and take users from Britomart, but Britomart will probably dip at first then quickly recover as the whole network grows each time we substantially invest in it.

    1. So amazing when you remember how many people said that Britomart was a waste of time and money. Can’t believe we had that + Grand Central on the strand for so long.

        1. Is the two hour morning peak boardings right? It is the only one lower.

          So does that mean less people than expected are boarding at Britomart to head out of the city?

          Not surprising and another figure I would expect to grow significantly once people realise they can get to some of the large employment areas like Mt Wellington, Greenlane etc by train faster and by a more reliable service.

        2. Key point is the alightings in 2011 had already rendered the projections laughable.

          No doubt the same consultants are still earning a fortune predicting no one will use trains in Wellington nor other new routes here as well.

  9. I’m afraid I still don’t get it. Sure, the new cars have more capacity (and accelerate and decelarate slighly faster), but is this currently the main reason why rail patronage has plateaued? Lots of commuters still don’t take the train because it’s too crowded? If so, then obviously yes, the new cars will be a boon to patronage. Is the forecast patronage increase noted in this post due to the 1-2 additional trips per hour per line the slightly faster journey times will provide? If so, that would make sense. But I am otherwise unaware of any studies showing demand for rail trips in Auckland so far in excess of supply – assuming relatively little change in train frequency and speed.

    1. There is a lot of anecdotal evidence that trains are at capacity at peak and that it is putting people off using them. I know out west often people from New Lynn or Avondale often struggle to get on (not so bad after Mt Albert as school kids get off). The other big issue putting people off at the moment is punctuality and reliability, trains at peak are frequently late due to crowding or other factors and far to often there are delays or cancellations due to technical issues. The EMUs will solve much of this so will make the service much more attractive, hopefully bringing back people who have previously been put off using the trains.

      Remember there will also be increased demand for them from the new bus network which will much more often feed into the rail network rather than compete with it. The extra capacity out west is a function of longer trains and more frequent trains but from Papakura it is purely from them being longer. Also worth noting that while patronage overall has hit a bit of a plateau, average weekday patronage has continued to rise and so the primary cause seems to be from less events and other activities. Also HOP data has shown that some of the the assumptions used to estimate what patronage was in the past has been wrong e.g. on monthly passes they were estimating that pass holders used about 40 trips a month whereas HOP data shows they only use 30 on average. That means previous patronage numbers were overestimated.

      1. Thanks Matt re the “school kids at Mt Abert” comment – I was wondering why people were complaining about crowding, I have recently started taking the train from Baldwin Ave in the morning peak, and have never experienced overcrowding. Standing room only, sure. But not to the degree that anyone was ever turned away.

  10. what’s the lead time on acquiring new trains ? I have been told its about 2 years to actually acquire them from a successful business case ……….that means capacity estimates versus the predictions of usage on the train need to be fairly accurate in the short term (pre CRL of course which is years away yet)……….
    Would love to see ATs numbers on expected increase in usage – esp in areas where bus services will be removed and trains used as the alternative
    so you have a combination of modal transfer bus to train for which they should have firm numbers based on peak patronage for each service to be switched as well as the anticipated modal transfer from cars for which the numbers will be a little less firm…………

    Also in the publicly available AT information – which of course does not include new timetables yet – I could not find any definite answers
    on how many trains will run out of Papakura at peak from 2015 when changes in bus services end and those bus service changes take effect……your site has suggested 6 ……….but AT did not have the same info available – nor did they want to say how many carriages would be on each of the new trains
    during peak time …..
    do you have the link for your numbers above – would be good to see that – perhaps then I can ask them to post it up on their
    website too with the other consultation info for people – I think that would be superuseful.

    1. First train arrives next month I think, but it will take time to get more and to replace current trains on each line. Papakura is timed to co-ordinate with the bus changes.

      I doubt anyone at AT yet has firm dates for numbers of carriages. Probably they will first meet the new frequencies then services will be changed to double sets as the demand grows and the rest of the fleet arrives.

      Yes they need to make projections and plans but far if they have some flexibility to react to new demand don’t you think?

      1. If the numbers above are correct ……..and match the reality and if you assume say a move of 300 people/hr over the two peak hours 7 – 9 am
        from the bus services with a even distribution of moving over those 2 hours (and no idea at all from cars ?)…..then my hopes would be that the South trains should have the ability to facilitate
        passengers like myself with prams/strollers etc travelling at those times without putting too many others out. And other passengers with differing requirements
        and potentially bikes as well should also be able to be accommodated in peak times better if that is the case – which might allow those who wish to bike to the train and then from train to work to do so as well. I would imagine at the moment that would be difficult given how crowded those peak hours trains are.
        I guess it all depends on how the trains are allocated etc when they arrive to each area taking into account of course how many they can have from all areas arriving per hour at britomart etc etc
        as it will have to be a fair allocation to all zones to work ……..
        Of course I have no ideas what the expected increase in passengers will be either so my 300/hr is a guess…….
        And that won’t take into account those that current use the Eastern line trains who might choose to drive to Manukau rather than catch a train etc from Papakura and transfer in the future- which would change the capacity needed too Papakura to Puhinui anyway ….so that might reduce the number ………I guess they will publish the actual projections when they do the calculations so we can get that info from them somehow ??

        Anyway as I said before – would love for the source for the numbers above that Matt has used in the calculations he has given be put up on the AT website for people to look at as that would be very useful ……

        Also maybe I missed it somewhere in the blog but by peak hour Matt are you talking about 7.30- 8.30 or the peak hours 7 till 9 ???? I might have missed it in the text somewhere I did not see it on the graph

  11. Hi Patrick..

    Long term reader here…can we get a detailed analysis as to why there is a stupid s bend around vector and how to solve this , thus cutting out the bend..there’s a natural slight curvee following beach rd that would save time.

    sorry for derailing the discussion btw.

    by cutting out the vector s..we make the system beta

      1. Patrick, just read the 300 Queen Street story from your link. I used to work for ASB, and although I never worked at 300 Queen Street, I have been into the basement. It is/was configured as the staff cafeteria (remembering that all of ASB head office used to reside there). It is many years since I was there, but from memory it is built to a high standard and faced with marble. The story about the building foundations being built to contain a rail station were known within ASB. I always thought it was extremely posh for a staff “caff”, and it looked like a ready made station concourse. As I say, it is a long time since I was there, but I think you can access the basement without going through the banking chamber.

        I still have some connections at ASB, so I might be able to organise you a visit if you are interested.

    1. It’s a matter of cost, cutting out that S bend and running things along a new alingment along Beach Rd has actually been allowed for. Pop down there sometime and you will see a massive wide reserve on the north side of the road. That is for rail… however, the cost of getting trains from the vicinity of parnell, down to that alignment and into a tunnel would be several hundred million dollars, just to save a few minutes.

      Anyway, the CRL can fix that to a large extent by rerouting more trains away from that section. Some will probably still have to use it, but not almost-all like it is today.

      1. Yes the CRL will help, as will the fact that the relative importance of Grafton over Parnell is growing rapidly, especially with the news of the University’s purchase of the former Lion Breweries site that actually includes one end Grafton Station.

        I expect more trains ex Newmarket to head left into the city than go straight ahead post CRL, and especially as this site develops. Aotea, which will become the most important destination over Britomart [I reckon] is the same distance from Newmarket either way so I suspect there will be fewer trains using the Vector excursion than not ultimately.

        In fact the whole of the scrappy light commercial area up Khyber Pass is due a massive intensification and re-purpossing that both Grafton and Newton Stations will help produce and benefit from.

        1. Having ridden the bus through Newton for the first time ever the other day, it needs some serious renewal.

        2. Absolutely, the UP rules looked promising as well Trying to move in away from the current autocentric model of development and into a denser urban form.

        3. Although a huge part of this area is still zoned industrial in the draft UP. Let’s hope that changes.

        1. Hi Mike – but it is in the road reserve, public land, not zoned as parks or residential or whatever, so really, it would be available.

        2. Starnius – the earlier comment was that the strip was intended for rail. If that were the case, I suggest that it would be classified as rail reserve rather than road reserve (assuming that that’s what it is). As it is, my limited knowledge of the RMA says that a District Plan change would be required to use it for other than its intended (road) use (but I stand to be corrected!), and that’s an expensive and time-consuming process.

        3. It is not a rail designation, it is an allowance in the road corridor, like on Te Iririrangi Dr. So yes, it could be used for anything.

          The original intention was for it to carry light rail to Britomart (hence the road status), and subsequent studies looked at it for heavy rail also. There is also part of a subsurface bridge structure at Tangihua St as future proofing to allow the tracks to pass under the road.

  12. The issues and displeasure of crowding on some sections at peak times has been raised again today and will worsen when buses feed hundreds of passengers onto the system in the not too distant future. Increasing frequencies or train length works, but costs money. The seating/standing ratio of 60/40 and total loading of 125 per car on the EMUs are quite poor really and there is an opportunity to better utlise the capacity we’re buying. Perth, looking to their third generation of EMU’s are aware of this problem and are studying configuration while Sydney realised even double deckers don’t offer all the answers.

    I’m not advocating something like the Singapore MRT with 300 people per car (45 seated) but even half that could easily be realised, lifting capacity from 375 to 450 per set. I’d like to see some science applied to this sooner rather than later; Perhaps AT could take just one existing SA carriage, remove the transverse seats and install full back to wall bench seats and trial how it functioned; capacity, speed of loading and unloading and of course passenger acceptance or otherwise. Standing passengers are paying their fare and deserve to be comfortably catered for.

    1. Jeff, all these crappy old trains are going, so I don’t understand your suggestion. Furthermore if you read the post above you will see that there will considerably more capacity on the network as the bus integration occurs, and more seats.

      Furthermore as the need for sitting increases with length of journey it is very useful that the trains start empty at the furtherest point on the network, in fact you could say that every seat on a train is really a little special gift from AT to its longest travellers, and fair enough too, you could also say.

      Like JJ above who seems most concerned about room from Papakura. Given that she’ll be getting more, bigger, completely empty trains, designed to accommodate prams starting from this very station I think her concerns will prove to be unfounded.

      1. not particularly concerned about getting a seat Patrick – just fitting in somewhere safely and not getting in peoples way would be nice ….
        after all I am not setting out to either insult or upset others or make their commute less comfortable….. just trying to have as much info as possible
        to decide that – so capacity to me is a bit of a deal breaker ………and I have found the info direct from AT is not as comprehensive as I want as of yet …….

      2. Peter- yes that was one of my big questions ………Southern wise – it seems from info here the trains will have more capacity so if that matches what AT does when those are implemented there will be more capacity -then the other question on that is the prediction of how many more people from the new Southern Bus routes will be fed into the train network …………I’ve not seen data on that – if you have then would love if you could share – keen to see 🙂
        Could be AT will release more train info later on too ? But I had expected it to come out with the info for consultation on the Southern changes …….and it was quite light on specific train details ……..

        1. If, once the CRL is built, there is a need for higher frequency, Kiwirail will be able to upgrade to a more sophisticated version of ETCS in order to reduce headways. With the new trains come new solutions.

      3. Anyway although the features of the new trains should by all accounts here be great and that includes for people like me the capacity
        at peak hour is a huge thing as a train with lots of lovely features is not much use jam packed full of commuters who would
        just like to get their day started and their morning coffee thank-you. I will give you an example regarding this to illustrate what I mean – its meant to illustrate my point and I would rather appreciate it was not used to further insult since the example in question was upsetting enough anyway.
        This was a non-peak hour train – I caught with my Mum and her guide dog with my bub and stroller. It looked full in the first carriage coming in so I guided Mum
        to the second one. The lady conductor however intercepted us and told us that the front carriage was for “people like you”
        and she was NOT being nice about it at ALL.
        ok – fine the front carriage is the one set up of course those who need a bit more room – except of course the front carriage was jam packed full of school kids…
        it was an utter mission to get on and find a safe space – luckily in the end someone gave up their seat for my Mum and we managed to squeeze the 34kg of dog in
        under her. I stood and tried to hold bubba and fold down the stroller simultaneously – in the end Mum was able to take bub off my hands for a bit and I got the stroller compacted – and managed to squeeze in next to the door. All in all despite that carriage being set up for “people like us”.
        To be honest in that situation despite those features on the front carriage we would have been better in the later carriage that was slightly
        less full.
        And I like to think that had the train not been bursting with an unexpected supply of school kids that day the lady conductor may have been stressed
        and might have been a little nicer to us over that and at other times over that trip…….

        So anyway that experience and others like it are a reason that I from a personal perspective would much rather have a good idea of
        what capacity v expected usage the trains I may need to use will have.
        There is nothing in there against these new trains ………..

    2. Increasing frequencies or train length works, but costs money.

      Good thing we are spending that money then. By the way, have you been on the SAs? Each car at the end farthest from the locomotive has seats along the wall like you describe.

  13. Will there really be enough capacity at peak hour? The new Southern bus routes will almost all feed into the railway stations instead of coming into the city.

  14. Steve D – have ridden SA’s (usually ADLs on weekends) but never cab car so didn’t realise, but the one for me next time. Would be interested to compare load and popularity, especially at peak.

    Patrick – trial idea was to get AT thinking about the future. No RWC type overloading failures and negative press when the new trains are in service, please.

    Having ridden metro systems around the world; sitting, standing and crushed like sardines I’m convinced back to wall seating is the way to go. Easy movement,less interaction needed between passengers, clear floors, maximum load when needed. I’d wonder what a kitchen designed by At might look like?

    1. Personally I agree with you Jeff, the inclusion of front facing seating was, I believe, made by people who still see the set-up as a Commuter model, specifically for the longer distance riders. But then Auckland isn’t that big and even from Papakura or Swanson people aren’t on the trains that long by world standards.

      We will I guess get a chance to see how they work. And perhaps the next order can be all side facing seating with the first trains all being used on the Pukekohe run when that starts and if they are preferred.

    2. All-longitudinal seating is a feature of high-capacity metros where journeys are short, because they provide less seating (typically 25% or so fewer seats), requiring more people to stand. I may well be wrong, but I can’t see Auckland suburban system (it’s not a metro) needing those sort of crush loadings.

      As a comparison, all British suburban trains, suffering from substantial overcrowding, have generally transverse seats, with the sole exception of stock for the new London Overground (which verges on being a metro).

  15. The data is inaccurate on the SA/SD carriages. Those are the old SA/SD restrictions and were modified in 2009. The old seating restrictions are correct, but standing is incorrect. It used to be 1 x SA car allowed 67 seated. 1 x SD car allowed for 49 seated. For a 4 car SA/SD set that was as you say, 250 seated. But standing restrictions varied, and after a certain amount(where they got the 100 figure from well?)of persons standing the vehicles were restricted to a maximum reduced speed of 70kmph. The carriages used to have a maximum speed of 100kmph.

    To allow the new restrictions that came into effect during 2009, load sensors were fitted to the earlier carriages to increase braking effect of heavier loadings. The new restrictions eliminated the reduced running speed of 70kmph, but dropped the maximum speed from 100kmph to 90kmph. This meant, once maximum loading was reached no more passengers were permitted on board. But my point is, the maximum amount of persons permitted to stand in SA trains increased substantially. I believe that was to allow for increased patronage during the RWC 2011.

    The SA passenger car restrictions currently are – 1 x SA seated = 67, and 122 standing. 1 x SD seated is 49, and 69 standing. So for example, a six car SA/SD train is permitted to carry a total of 1063 persons on board. I can vouch I have driven an SA/SD train legally with that many persons on board, which is unfortunately quite substantially more than the new six car EMU’s are currently going to be allowed to carry.

    But to me, that shouldn’t matter as much, because reliability should increase dramatically with the new EMU’s. This means service failures resulting in passengers having to transfer to maxed out SA sets etc won’t happen near as often, and we all know frequency is to increase on the network as well.

    1. Sure the crush load would be a lot higher on all trains but we are referring to the comfortable capacity. AT consider this to be 4 people standing to every 10 sitting on the current sets.

    2. Interesting! I wonder why the standing capacity of the EMUs appears to be so much lower than the SA/SDs? A three-car SD/SA/SD set (it it existed) would have a standing capacity of 264 – but the figures above show a similar-configuration (but longer) 3-car EMU is set to carry not much more than half that figure standing (145). That looks a bit strange!

      1. No based on the figures a three car SA set in the configuration you suggest would have a total seated and standing capacity of 231. With it set as SD/SA/SA it would have capacity of 256. As mentioned in response the capacity that SJC is referring to is the absolute maximum crush load, not what would normally be considered a comfortable standing capacity.

        1. Sorry, Matt L, but your figures don’t tally with SJC’s. Using those figures (and correcting my previous addition!), the configuration I suggest would have standing capacity of 260 (122 + 2×69), plus 165 seated (67 + 2×49), giving a total capacity of 425 (about right if a six-car set SA/SD has a capacity of 1063). By contrast, a longer EMU has more seated (230), but many fewer standing (145). Why?

        2. You are continuing to mix total capacity (i.e. the absolute maximum) vs what is is considered a comfortable capacity. AT have previously said that they consider trains to be over capacity when on average a service has more than 4 people standing to 10 sitting to be over capacity and the numbers above are based on this. That doesn’t mean that you can’t squeeze more people in. Similarly the EMUs will have a maximum capacity stated based on a similar formula or amount of floor space i.e. one person per Xm2 but that doesn’t mean that they won’t be able to fit a huge amount more in. The crush load capacity of a single EMU will be much higher than the stated capacity.

      2. Like Matt pointed out, those current SA regulations would lead to crush loading. I don’t think those EMU stats would be for crush loadings. So he has a good comparison, even if the persons standing data isn’t accurate. I suppose it is difficult to assume such numbers anyhow, because adults do vary in size dramatically in some cases.

        The view inside the new EMU carriages show just how much more room there really is.

        I think Aucklander’s will take to the EMU’s in a big way, and we may find in some cases our platforms at some locations simply won’t be big enough in a few years time. Travelling by train has always been cool. But the advent of the motor vehicle had become big because of the variation and reliability etc. Now cars during peak travel times slow right down while trains fly past them when all is going well. That speaks volumes to a lot…

  16. I’ve not read every comment here but it seems that these trains have been designed for a very high crush load, well outside of the AT’s standard capacity. Are you aware at all Matt L whether AT etc plan to revise their crush loads more in line with those you find here in the UK and Europe?

  17. Matt, I would suggest your figures will not be as high as you say they will be with EMU’s.

    We currently have 23 SA’s of various lengths, 4.5 ADK’s 10 ADL’s and the SX. 57 EMU’s divided by two gives 23.5 6 car sets. Just to run the existing timetable, quite a fair whack of the services will still have to be operated by a single EMU!!!

    1. Remember that the EMUs will be about 10 minutes faster per run out to Swanson and Papakura so fewer are needed to maintain the same frequency. By my calculations we need approx 11 sets each for services to Swanson and Papakura, 2 for Onehunga and about 8 for services to Manukau. That is 32 all up, that seems about right when you consider that the current numbers include sets sets that might be out of service, kept as a spare or in the case of the ADLs, might be doubled up already.

  18. Best way to bring forward the CRL start date is to get rid of this government in 2014. If they get another term then the die is cast for massive road spending to be prioritised not just ahead of rail but ahead of pretty much all other spending. The future of this country will be determined for a long time to come (adversely by all realistic analysis), if the Govt’s plans are not stopped. 2014 is our last chance.

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