On Sunday Auckland Transport released the full 30 second version of their TV ad. I must say I think they’ve done a great job with these. In particular I love that they have highlighted the speed aspect by showing the train flying pass the slow moving motorway traffic.

If there is one problem with these ads though, is that I fear they’ll be too effective and people will in places like Papakura and West Auckland will expect the trains rolled out soon whereas that won’t happen until next year.

Over the last few years we’ve been hard on AT and their comms so with this combined with some of the video’s they have put together recently for the new network and the CRL it’s really pleasing to see AT starting to get their advertising right.ย 

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      1. I read some discussion on the Better Transport forum that “Autumn 2015” was the word, but there was some discussion as to whether the “Autumn” was a Southern or Northern Hemisphere Autumn, on the basis that many of people at AT working on the planning area who make such announcements are all Poms and for some reason can’t imagine that Autumn ever falls other than towards the end of calendar year, no matter how long they’ve lived south of the equator where it always happens 6 months earlier.

        Love to be proved wrong as it really is in March 2015, but I don’t think AT will have enough EMU’s around given they’ll have enough by September to start Manukau (along with existing Onehunga) services, and they’ll need quite a few more EMUs on the ground to start the southern services so March doesn’t sound like they’ll have enough EMUs available for that (NZ) “Autumn 2015” start, so expecting more like a September/October timeframe.

        I also heard a comment that September for EMUs on Manukau seems 1 month too early too. Presumably for the same reason – not enough EMUs available.

        1. I hear there is a drive to get all weekend services on to EMUs as quick as possible… could only speculate why that is; might be staffing, or numbers of available machines, or to learn about running the network with only the new trains…?

          Need to see some more wires on the Western Line soon then.

          1. I live in Kingsland and just got a letter saying that they will be putting up the lines in the next two-three weeks.

          2. Patrick, probably all of the above.

            I imagine that the need to train more staff on them means that using weekend services makes a lot of sense as its a not so busy time where newly certified drivers can come up to speed on them without the pressure of the full on AM or PM peak services ahead and behind you.

            Also, the new trains will be much cheaper to run (people and fuel wise) so makes sense to run as many as you can now you have them.

            And mixing electric and diesels on the track won’t allow the testing of the new European train control systems in the EMUs (to allow close spaced running).
            I imagine thats also the thinking as well to test how well a full electric fleet will run in practice and also to see if the schedules can be made to work better under all electric

  1. “…people … in places like Papakura and West Auckland will expect the trains rolled out soon whereas that wonโ€™t happen until next year.”

    And for us in Pukekohe presumably only after we have been punished enough for submitting to being forced into the super-city ๐Ÿ™

    My understanding is that there is still no official plan for electrifying to Pukekohe. Does anyone know whether that is correct?


    1. There are official plans for sure, but there are plans for many things that do and don’t get done.

      From what I hear about the place everyone in AT and council is 100% behind Pukekohe electrification, I think it must just be a budget issue. Remember that, by law, NZTA cannot fund rail projects, Kiwirail is an operations company with no interest in network development, and the Ministry isn’t particularly forthcoming with handouts for rail (despite the bluster).

      That leaves AT/Council to fund the entire thing alone. A hundred million bucks is a big chunk of change for local government. Regardless of whether it is a good idea, they’d need to pull that money out of the budget somewhere. That can’t be easy.

      If you hadn’t been part of the supercity I’d doubt we’d even be talking about it.

    1. Ooohhh! Cool. Wonder if I can find a fly to sit on the wall, eavesdrop, and give me the dope.

      Not, I fear, that we can expect it soon. If they had the money now and started immediately, I think it would still be years of work, would it not?


      1. Pukekohe will get frequency increases and weekend trains to go with electrification, so will certainly be some benefits.

      2. I thought you were driving your car all the time now, in protest at your bus with 10 people on it being cancelled.

        1. I am not into protests – and by the way, that was nothing to do with the Pukekohe buses; it was the motorway buses they wanted to cancel, from Papakura to Auckland. They didn’t. Our bus normally has people standing, so a little more than ten people.


        2. Be kind Doloras, no need for neener-neener-told-you-so just because John was highly skeptical before…. (although we did tell him so ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

          1. Worth pointing out here was that the problem was going to be that they proposed to get rid of the Papakura-Auckland express buses. They did not do so (though I understand the continuance is temporary), so the people who ride those buses – as I said, with standees on our morning buses, most seats filled on the evening (the ones I ride – 6:30AM from Papakura; 4:30PM from town), it appears that the idea that these buses are not popular appears mistaken.

            Anyway, for now we have continued to keep our express buses – which is nice for us ๐Ÿ™‚


          2. I don’t think the issue was whether they were popular, but whether they were the best use of those resources. A two hour round trip to deliver one bus load of people to town effectively means one run per peak is all that bus and driver can do. You’re basically owning a bus and employing a driver to make one return trip a day.

            Put that bus and driver on a feeder route to the train station and it could make six or eight return trips per peak, leading to trains that can easily carry the same people to the same destinations.

          3. Whatever the reason was, the “we told him so” seems to imply that I claimed something that I have now found out isn’t true. To the best of my knowledge, I haven’t learned any such thing.


  2. Nice ad!

    ‘Smarter, Better, and Quieter than ever before’.

    Shame AT seem to be unable to bring themselves to say the thing potential users really want to hear: Faster.

    Even if trip length is largely governed by factors external to the trains themselves, the fact remains that they are faster than the old ones, the acceleration is fantastic, yet also very smooth. And ‘smarter’ and ‘better’, aren’t really adding much to each other, and quieter is a bit of down note to end great trinity on… Come on AT you gotta go for a bit of sexy in advertising of these things, cos, you know, they are!

    So why not: ‘Quieter, Smarter, and Faster than ever before’

    1. Well, they won’t actually be faster on the 28th, since they’ll still be running on the old timetable. Can’t promise it and not deliver.

      1. Yes I’m sure that’s the internal argument…. there are people in there that will stop saying anything’s happening for fear of being criticised on some detail…. But look I don’t buy this, they are faster, and saying so is part of the argument for getting improvements to timetables, to infrastructure. And getting people to bloody well try them. This is a one time deal getting new trains; AT have to be flogging them like mad, frankly. Until the CRL is open they aren’t going to have a better story.

        Funny/sexy way more powerful than worthy. Here’s the model:


        Note the point about bus lanes still there; yet this went viral whereas AT’s won’t.

        1. I like the above, but the EMU slogan sounds better than the NZTA’s advertising for the norwestern widening across the causeway:
          “More lanes
          by 2015”.

          I guess it’s being honest at least not claiming faster journeys, less congestion or a better commute. Every time I see the signs I think that it sounds bad – more lanes, chaos and traffic – but then perhaps my outlook has changed reading this blog.

        2. I think you need to look at the advert as an exercise in brand building, with nice graphics and telling a good story. Taking the trains to TV land is in itself an act of transformation in the history of the Auckland network.

          However, it just the beginning with further chapters in the story to unfold. So – when things are bedded in (equipment and infrastructure fully operational and over teething problems, staffed well trained, good operational systems implemented, and with possibly include some further targeted investment), that’s the time to really tighten frequency, and see just what speed improvements may also be achieved.

          Then sing about it across the land ๐Ÿ˜‰

    2. But yes, having both “smarter” and “better” as generic comparatives is bizarre… why not “greener” or “bigger” or any of the other positive things that will be different from day one?

    3. “Shame AT seem to be unable to bring themselves to say the thing potential users really want to hear: Faster.”

      Quite. I was expecting to hear….. “and faster”. But they never said it. Huh?! AT going all defensive and risk-averse again. Someone put a rocket up ’em.

      With or without the use of the word “faster” in the TV ad, there is a massive expectation that the new trains will actually be faster, and that journey times will be shorter. Anyone know if the timetables will allow that? There would seem to be plenty of scope for the Onehunga services to zip along in between the S L O W trains.. unless the plan is to permit any service to be run using any vehicles.

      1. And everyone who watches Freeview Satellite rather than Freeview Terrestrial.
        Also, it’s more specific than just “upper North Island”. They won’t be shown south of about Meremere if it’s being done right. Hamilton is its own TV market, with the local TV advertising to match.

  3. Faster faster faster zip boom speed bang! Futurism is finally in Nz 100 years late! The futurism manifest, Milan 1914. Auckland 2014.

      1. They keep the airconditioned air in and the rain out by not opening if nobody presses the button.

        Back in the 1990s when the DMUs had “Push to open” buttons, you could push the button before the train stopped, it would light up, and the door would then open immediately after the driver (back then it was the driver) released them. You didn’t have to wait for the driver to release them before you could push the button.

        No idea if these ones will be like that or if you have to push the button after the train stops. Anyone?

  4. They need a publicity shot of an EMU at every platform in Britomart (maybe with some 2-train coupled sets). Potentially misleading about service levels, but it would be a great look at the future of the rail network.

  5. These comments are depressing. Half the people here are whining that the ads don’t promise enough (“faster”), while others are complaining that they promise too much.

  6. I can’t wait to ride these Electric trains. And the fact that AT has even got itself “up to speed” (excuse the pun!) in promoting the trains on TV is a big step forward for them. One thing outside the trains themselves though relating to the future excellence, or not, of the Auckland rail network is the signalling. The whole network has been resignalled yet trains are still waiting at Sarawia Street or Quay Park. I’ve used trains in many different cities worldwide and Auckland is the only place (apart from the Delhi Metro) I’ve experienced this waiting. I fear despite the new trains, passengers are still going to spend five minutes plus at times while trains wait outside the entrance to Britomart and that to me is not good enough.

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