Today Auckland Transport celebrated the arrival of the last electric train – of this first batch. The celebration also included a visit by Prime Minister John Key
Auckland Transport has officially marked the arrival of the last of the city’s 57 electric trains with a function at the Wiri Train Depot attended by the Prime Minister.
The last three trains from Spanish manufacturer CAF landed on the wharf last week and are now going through final checks at the depot prior to certification.
Auckland Transport chairman Dr Lester Levy says it’s been a swift journey since the contract for the trains was signed in October 2011. “In less than four years we have seen 57 three-car trains roll-off the production line in Spain, they’re all here now and they’ve been delivered on time and on budget.”
Dr Levy says more than 14 million trips are now being made on the Auckland rail network each year. “That’s fantastic considering that in 2003 when Britomart opened less than three million trips were being taken each year.”
He says this project has had excellent support from the Government including a $500 million loan to fund the electric trains and the Wiri depot. “There has also been a government grant of $90 million and one of $40 million from Auckland Council, we would like to thank them for their support.”
Transport Minister Simon Bridges says the Government is committed to working with Auckland Council to see Auckland succeed. “The arrival of these trains marks the culmination of the Government’s $1.6 billion, decade-long investment in three Auckland metro rail projects.
“Over the next three years, $4.2 billion will be invested to build a robust, future-proofed transport system for Auckland.”
Dr Levy says Auckland now has trains that are of international standard. “The quality trains, along with a boost in the number of services means more people are seeing rail as an option.”
The first electric trains began operating on the Onehunga line in April 2014 and the network from Papakura in the south to Swanson in the west went all-electric just a few weeks ago on 20 July.
“We know many of the trains are already full at peak time but now that all 57 trains are here we will get more double trains operating to help ease the situation.”
Mayor Len Brown says “We’ve busted the myth that you can’t get Aucklanders out of their cars and the electric trains are fuelling the success. But their popularity means we’re becoming the victims of our own success. At the existing rate of growth, we will reach train service capacity by 2016. This emphasises the urgent need to get cracking on building the CRL.”
Each train has seating for 232 passengers and standing room for more. The trains have wider doors making it easier for passengers.
The central carriage is at platform level for wheelchairs, prams or bikes and automatic ramps mean a seamless transition between the platform and the train.
Open gangways between cars mean passengers can move from one end of the train to the other.
Some facts and figures:
- The supplier, CAF used equipment from Japan, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Spain – taking the best from the world to create trains specifically for Auckland.
- It takes more than 15,000 hours to fabricate and assemble one electric train unit, there is 110km of wiring in each unit.
- Each train is tested for 1000 hours on the tracks.
- The maximum operating speed is 110km/hr, however, the average operating speed will be less than this.
- To provide improvements to efficiency each train has regenerative braking, allowing braking energy to be fed back into the 25kv supply – a recovery of up to 20% of the energy used.
- Noise reduction: the 25kV power supply means that the trains are very quiet both externally and internally – a very important consideration for people living and working near the rail network.
- There’s no air pollution from the trains because they are electric and there are no exhaust fumes.
- Rail patronage in Auckland grew 21.7% in the year to the end of June, that’s two and a half million more passengers than in June last year.
- The number using all public transport in Auckland reached 79 million in the year to June, an increase of 9.5% or on average 19,000 extra boardings per day.
I was secretly hoping that John Key might announce the government were bringing forward the City Rail Link, electrification to Pukekohe or even just the ordering of more trains but sadly that didn’t happen. Below are the speeches from Lester Levy, John Key and Len Brown (sorry audio quality isn’t the best)
John Key – I particularly liked his comments that he doesn’t think Aucklanders are any different to people in the rest of the world and will use PT if good quality options are provided. Now if only the government will follow up that with appropriate funding to enable that to happen.
It is fantastic that all trains are now here – although it will be a few months before all are on the tracks. One thing mentioned in Lester’s speech was that the EMUs were seeing much improved reliability and punctuality. To highlight that yesterday saw 99% reliability i.e. only three services from over 500 failed to run and 95% punctuality meaning that only 5% of services were later than 5 minutes to their destination. That’s a dramatic improvement on what we’ve had in the past.
Of course the next thing we will need is more trains. As mentioned sadly there was no announcement of that because as I understand it, it will take about 2 years to get new units built and delivered. Given the rapid growth in patronage that means we will probably need to be ordering those very soon. On patronage I don’t have July figures yet but I’ve been told they are very good and in addition August is looking good so far too.