Electric trains start rolling out on the Manukau line from tomorrow however unlike the Onehugna Line not all services will switch over at once with them only starting on off peak services before being introduced over the course of a month to peak services too.

The roll-out of electric trains in Auckland steps up next week with the introduction of the new trains on the Manukau Line.

Initially electric trains will run on some off-peak services, they will be introduced to all services over the next month.

Auckland Transport’s Chief Operations Officer Greg Edmonds says the new trains have been very popular since their introduction on the Onehunga Line in April but with any transition we should be prepared for “teething problems.”

“We want to ensure our customers who use the trains to Manukau are getting a reliable service so we will be gradually increasing the number of electric trains over the next month.”

Meanwhile, testing continues across the rail network following an intermittent power fault which saw some Onehunga services affected. Mr Edmonds stresses there are no safety issues associated with the fault.

From memory this is actually slightly ahead of schedule which is good.

Photo by Patrick Reynolds

I’m sure those on the eastern line can’t wait for them to roll out as I frequently get reports of people having to wait for 2 or 3 trains before being able to get on board at peak times. At this stage AT are just rolling out the EMUs on to the existing timetable however there is hopefully going to be a timetable improvement in the coming months that will boost the number of services from Manukau.


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  1. That is good news, only this week my wife tried to get a train into the city from Glen Innes at 7.45 and gave up and got me to come and take her in. The overcrowding is getting beyond a joke, I feel sorry for those at Meadowbank and Orakei who probably have a bigger problem.

    It is not unusual to have to stand on trains until 9am now, and coming the other way trains at 6.30pm are standing room only when they leave Britomart.

    I can only hope that the people at Auckland Transport see sense, and don’t go ahead with the service cuts they are proposing for the Eastern Line.

    1. Service cuts?

      Good to see AT being cautious in framing the roll out, this is realistic management of expectations as there are bound to issues to work through.

      1. It is noticeable that the Car Park at GI is often close to full on a Saturday now, and quite often the top park is full on a Sunday.

  2. Hopefully it all runs smoothly, and this is the start of the long-awaited rollout on every line.

    I read above they’re proposing service cuts. What?

    1. The last pronouncement from AT is that the only trains on the Eastern Line will be from Manukau, no more trains further South. A very bad move IMHO. Will only put people into cars who want to travel south as the margin benefit of using the train is minimal. As for the Britomart Bound trains I suspect this will mean less capacity. I accept the new trains are bigger, but certainly smaller than the larger ones that come from Papakura and Pukekohoe.

      1. I don’t see how gong to twelve trains an hour across the south and east counters as service cuts, especially when they are all larger trains and some of which will be double units with far more capacity than anything we run today.

        1. It’s going to be a shambles though. As KiwiRail have repeatedly warned AT, the plan will not work in reality as it appears on paper. There is conflict at Wiri right now, with Manukau’s low frequency. Get it up to 6tph on each line, throw in the freights, and it just won’t work smoothly at all. On the bright side, there’s a long paper trail over several years clearly showing the predictability of the gridlock that will ensue if AT implement their proposed full timetable prior to triple tracking. Unlike the RWC debacle, there won’t be any wiggle room on accountability for the result.

          1. I agree, but like everything in Auckland you have to go in with what you want then clean up the mess afterwards. If we were to wait for Kiwirail and AT to sort out who pays for what and where first it will never happen. If they create the shambles first they’ll be forced to rapidly fix it. It’s briefly painful but unfortunately seems to be the only way to get things done. However no big deal, the planning and preparation is done so it won’t actually take too long once it’s really needed.

            It’s the same with the northern busway on Fanshawe St, it was the same with the central connector. Create ‘problems’ through high usage and congestion, then sort it out afterwards.

          2. I agree. I can see the same thing happening on the Eastern Line in short term no matter how much POA don’t think there is an issue.

      2. That’s not a service cut, that’s a service boost, increased manakau and eastern line frequencies, and the odd person going further south than puhinui transfers there, and even they benefit from a quicker trip. People need to drop the illogical negativity associated with transfers if they want a frequent PT system.

      3. Don’t think you know what you are talking about. There will be 6tph ex Manukau via the Eastern line, which will mean more capacity as you won’t have people from Papakura, Manurewa etc on those services. Also to your argument that the EMUs wont be as big, a 6 car EMU is bigger than anything else on the Auckland network. Maybe you’re thinking of a 3 car EMU?

        1. From what I have read they will only be using 3 car trains from Manukau, hence why I said there is a capacity cut. I will be amazed if they run 10 minutes frequencies as well, as I suspect as Geoff has stated above the ability to get 6 trains an hour out from Manukau will prove too hard. As for not having to change, we have direct trains now, we won’t in the future, that in my mind is definitely a service cut. The thought of standing around in the rain and wind waiting for a connection does not appeal. I also suspect people coming from the South to places like Sylvia Park will feel the same. Time will tell

          In peak hour we already have 10 minute frequencies so I am not sure how that qualifies as an increase in frequency as some on here say, I think it is the same.

      4. So ejtma the eastern line will be getting a considerable upgrade in both capacity and frequency. For destinations south of Puhinui, and of course north of Britomart, or east of Panmure, will require a change. This is considerably better than the current system of infrequent over full trains that may offer a non-change service for some people heading further south, don’t you think.

  3. A quick look at the current timetable tells me that hourly at peak there are:

    3x trains ex Papakura via GI
    3x Trains ex Manukau via GI
    3x trains ex Papakura via Newmarket.

    I believe this is eventually changing to:

    6x trains ex Manukau via GI
    6x trains ex Papakura via Newmarket

    and while the Eastern line doesn’t get an increase in the number of trains they instead benefit from having all passengers south of Puhinui sent via Newmarket, meaning trains will be less full when they get to Panmure, GI etc.

    so in effect a capacity increase (particularly after taking into account the double units Nick mentions).

      1. Pukekohe trains will no longer be running anywhere north of papakura after full emu coverage. At least not until pukekohe is electrified. But yeah your point is clear and due to lower running costs there’s no reason we can’t see 4-6tph off-peak as well and hopefully improved night services.

  4. It would be great if they use the surplus diesel units from the manukau and later southern lines to boost western frequencies prior to introducing the EMUs out west. 4TPH at peak and 2TPH at off peak not so great.

  5. Took my Dad into Britomart at about 1 this afternoon while an O-line train was sat at the platform. He was very impressed by the station and especially the sleek, modern look of the new trains.

    His first comment was on how the station was a juxtaposition of overland and underground stations (can’t take the Britain out of the boy), to which I replied that it was intended to operate exactly as an underground after the CRL with through routing and 48tph, he was pretty stoked.

    I realised that he hadn’t actually been in the city in the daytime since we moved to Auckland in 2005, and he couldn’t believe the change. He asked if there was an event on because there were so many people on the streets, the event was a Sunday. He loved the shared spaces and said that they were such an improvement. He bemoaned the death of High Street and asked why it wasn’t a shared space as well, actually commented about all the vehicles being trades vehicles. He wondered at the number of children along Queen Street and said that now he would consider coming in for the day and having some food, some beers, and a wander around. This is my Dad, the construction industry employed baby boomer who lives on the street that used to be the North Shore’s RUB. If even he loves what is going on in the CBD we must be doing something right.

    1. Ha ha, I have a construction industry baby boomer dad who lives his life on the North Shore too! I took him into town about a year ago and he said exactly th same “is there some event on?”. Loved Wynyard, goes there all the time now.

  6. On EMU at Manukau, rode it from Britomart. Much smoother and faster than on Onehunga line. Top speed was 95km/hr. time from stopped to 80 kph out of each station is 35-40 seconds. Still goes too slow too soon on station arrival compared to station departure.
    But at last we can assess the true capabilities of the EMUs.

  7. I decided to travel from Britomart to Sylvia Park return yesterday – I did not see an EMU anywhere the whole time. I thought that Sundays were “off-peak”!! How thick of me 🙁

  8. AT seem very scared to go too fast. Ridiculous how they open up the EMUs but they aren’t allowed to go fast just in case they go faster than the timetable. Only in Auckland.

  9. Just playing round with timetables, it is possible to do a lot better. With 36 units, AT could run 5 minute frequencies on all main lines north of Otahuhu, and 10 minute frequencies on Onehunga, Manukau, and Papakura-Otahuhu. People would have to accept changing trains, but with 5 minute frequencies, this is less of a hassle. Reducing the Henderson/Britomart time to 30 minutes should attract a load more patronage from the Western line, and upping the frequencies everywhere would reduce the stress of missed connections.
    Two or three caveats. Unless freight can be kept right out of the picture, grade separation is required at the Southern/Eastern line junction and at the Manuaku/Southern junction. It would be nice to rethink the latter, to allow southbound trains out of Manukau instead of the whole system being Britomart-centric. Some tweaking in the operation of Britomart would also be needed.
    Matt’s post on his complex multi-mode commuting raises the question of how many changes you can get the average commuter to accept without driving them back to their cars. You don’t want to burden the PT user with 40 minutes/day hanging round at stations/bus stops.

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