As a train user, the last three days have certainly been challenging following the derailment of a train in the Britomart Tunnel. The Transport Accident Investigation Commission (TAIC) have opened an investigation into the incident, but based on other cases, it is likely to take more than a year to find out the cause.

The incident is obviously one of those that no one would have expected to happen, and especially not the length and scale of disruption that has occurred. I think Auckland Transport have coped with the impact better than they have with issues in the past but there are still a few areas I think are worth highlighting.

Comms Comms Comms

Whenever there is a disruption on the network, one of the first things that seems to go out the window is communications. A good example of this is that Auckland Transport have been telling people that services are running every 20 minutes but not saying which 20 minutes the services are running to. As such, you could turn up to a station and find yourself waiting for 5 minutes or 15. To make matters worse, right at the time you need them the most, the real-time boards are blank and ATs app just shows all originally services, not only those running. It seems AT need to build more flexibility into their systems to allow rapid changes.

Only every second train is running but which ones?

What about the Network

When unexpected disruptions occur there is understandably little time available to implement contingency measures. ATs standard response is usually just to say that buses will accept HOP cards and then leave passengers to find their own solution. Sometimes they might even send people to their awful journey planner. All of these responses aren’t great.

I believe Auckland Transport need to be doing more to talk about the power of their network so that when disruptions occur, more passengers are likely to understand their options. That could not only help people get around faster but also take pressure off disrupted services.

This is where simple network maps can come in really handy, assuming they’re easily available from ATs website, apps and stations. I can understand if AT are waiting for the New Network to finally be rolled out first but it is something that’s needed.

As an example, trains are running at reduced frequencies and western line trains are terminating at Newmarket, from where passengers can squeeze on equally infrequent Southern line services for the final leg to Britomart. But that isn’t the only option AT could have talked about. One alternative is to get off at Mt Eden and transfer to a bus. That section of Mt Eden Rd sees all of the Mt Eden Rd and most of the Dominion Rd buses driving past so there’s never one far away.

I, along with a lot of others, did exactly this yesterday and a bus turned up within 30 seconds of me exiting the station. I probably ended up in town faster than had I stayed on the train. Many more could have benefited from this if they had a better understanding of the PT network (and the same in reverse too). Although there is a bit of a risk with this as Mt Eden Rd buses are often very full. Today two passed me (including a double decker) without any space onboard. This perhaps highlights one of the challenges with our PT network, with so many years of being squeezed it has very little capacity available to deal with disruption.

As an aside, in the debate about whether to retain train managers, one thing I think would help their cause would be if they actually had detailed knowledge of the PT network they could share with passengers. For example knowing the location of the nearest bus stops and services to catch in the event the network is shut down or heavily disrupted.

Auckland Transport are going to need some good contingency plans post-CRL

As we increasingly rely on rail to move more people around, AT and its partners are going to need much better contingency plans for when situations occur. Derailing is rare but signal, points or train failures, along with health and safety issues, are much more common and need to be worked around.

Finally, disruptions are a good example of why it’s useful to have multiple options and not just an overreliance on one mode, be it car, bus, rail or light rail.

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  1. yes we argued for some retaining of redundancy (or perceived redundancy) when they redid the networks. But in most cases were told why would you need a bus just use the train its sort of in the same direction. But this is a good example of how having a somewhat overlapping network is really rather good. But one can only do so much on what funding one has and perhaps redundancy/contingency is one of those things that there is little resource for.

  2. Another good reason for keeping the TM’s on – services on the Southern and Manukau lines were halted for
    15 to 20 minutes this morning – a ‘medical event’ on a train at Papatoetoe.

    An “overreliance on one code “- that’s exactly what we poor folk at Pukekohe have to suffer. I was on a train
    this morning, due in at Papakura at 11.27 am, to connect with a DMU leaving for Pukekohe at 11.30 am.
    Unfortunately the EMU was three minutes late and I got off at Papakura at 11.30 am, just as the DMU was
    moving out. The EMU TM must have seen us.

    When I complained at the ticket counter I was told it was my fault, I should have got to Papakura five minutes
    sooner (??????)

      1. The car ferries to Waiheke were good like that, you could phone ahead and say you are just a few minutes away and they would wait. You would drive straight on and the would pull away immediately lifting the ramp behind you.

  3. Two simple recommendations to AT that require no great I.T. and website spend:
    1. helping customers find The Strand Station with more ambassadors can make a big difference.
    2. station intercom updates are required every 5 minutes i.e. the next train is currently at xx station

    Customer experience 1. on the 1st day AT asked all commuters to move to The Strand if they wanted to catch Eastern Line trains. There were no ambassadors anywhere on the route and loads of people were getting lost and confused. Lesson :do not go to the lovely old Railway Station building like 100 people did when I was walking! Need ambassadors outside Britomart, Scene, outside Spark, 2 outside old Railway Station, Ronayne St and alley way to the station and at the carpark before platform. 10-15 maximum required for 2-3 hours in peak.

    Lesson 2: very little speaker updates at stations across the last 2 days. Sat at Ellerslie and G.I. for 25 mins both times – only heard one update at Ellerslie and none at G.I. When there is no info on the electronic boards and no-one is telling you when the next train is coming it causes anxiety and frustration.

    Simple, regular station comms and helping customers with ambassadors can make a big difference.

  4. Add real-time tracking of services to the stations that currently have electronic noticeboards, so that passengers have a better idea of how far away their scheduled services are approximately located in relation to their station.

  5. Worth keeping in mind that at least once a day this week, there has been a crash which has rendered the motorway system or parts thereof unusable.

    Hell, the North Western is unusable just from people trying to use it!

  6. Great comment about the information boards that I had not thought of – this is the time we need them!!

    And the TM’s have been no help that I have seen over the last couple of days, this disruption has not convinced me they should be on the trains. I have been on plenty of trains London because of disruptions and never had a train manager on board.
    Unfortunately this is a historic job that is no longer relevant and they need to go, to speed up trains and reduce wages costs; the H&S safety concerns just don’t hold up with my experiences in London.
    Hopefully they can trf to the Transport Officer roles or working at the new gated stations maybe??

  7. Are you offering that map up under the heading of ‘Simple Network Maps’ as an example of one that is simple, or one that is not? I would suspect that to all except a very small number of people, most of whom are probably readers of this blog, that picture is just an incomprehensible tangle. I find it to be for me.

    1. I’d encourage you to look at a tube map if you think that map is confusing. I and millions of others used that incomprehensible tangle just fine when the jubilee line stopped for a whole day last week

  8. The announcements on the train heading south still told people to transfer to Onehunga services at Ellerslie or Newmarket. This would have seriously confused anyone who needed to transfer to an Onehunga shuttle at Penrose.

    Given reduced frequencies happen quite often due to signal issues, the automated announcements should really be programmed to allow for these contingencies. Giving no information isn’t ideal, but giving false information is even worse.

    1. To illustrate just how unlikely it is that AT could or would carry out your perfectly sensible idea, consider that the EMU information computer still doesn’t have route information for standard daily journeys like Britomart to Puhinui and Britomart to Henderson. No standard special event routes like Britomart to Kingsland or Penrose. No common Block Of Line routes stopping at Sylvia Park or Otahuhu. They do, however still have routes featuring Westfield that closed a year ago and Papakura to Britomart via GI, that hasn’t been used in 3 years. Best of all, they are still programmed with the special voice messages that were used on the very first introduction day when EMUs ran from Britomart to Newmarket and back.

  9. I particularly agree about the timetable. Public transport in most cases is not as fast as private transport, and for those of us that prefer public transport for philosophical reasons, need good information. I tried every app that exists to work out which twenty minute it would be on Wednesday, and neither the officials or non officials could do it, although they are always good with buses. Is this because trains have a different system than the buses as far as gps goes? The traffic downtown was ridiculous that evening, obviously because as you note, those 15,000 downtown workers that rely on the train would have found it difficult to find a good alternative, and many would have asked someone to pick them. Auckland in general seems rather panicky and useless whenever a minor disaster occurs, a bit of wind and rain can be chaotic, and when one rail on the no exit central station is blocked, the others are unusable. Was it actually unsafe to use the other rail lines or is it just standard procedure? In any case I lucked out with my train and had to jog to catch it. Sometimes devotion to public transport is its own reward!

    1. I think the response on Wednesday afternoon was quite reasonable, a derailment is a serious incident, I imagine they would have been in the middle of an investigation and needed all the space possible down there.

      I imagine on Wednesday afternoon AT were just trying to get trains running and probably weren’t sure exactly when they would be leaving themselves. The disappointing thing was a lack of a timetable on Thursday.

  10. I realise that the derailment is an extremely rare occurrence, especially being in a tunnel (1st one since britomart opened?), but i do find it annoying that it will essentially take 4 days to clear up.
    If a serious accident occurred in the Waterview tunnels … how long would one lane stay closed for?

    1. Well a serious accident occurred in The Mt Blanc Road tunnel nearly twenty years ago that closed the tunnel for three years.

      1. ive re railed plenty of wagons & locomotives, never in a tunnel admittedly but usually pull back on except the really bad ones.

  11. Great post. PS everyone the “Kiwi Hub” app was showing cancelled services from at least yesterday morning. Right now I see the AT Mobile one now is, apart from it’s showing Onehunga line TO Onehunga as cancelled which I think is incorrect.

    PPS I note an AT Mobile notification at ~2pm that all services now leaving from Britomart but on a 20 min frequency except the Onehunga line which is still operating as a shuttle between Penrose & Onehunga.

  12. I know I said I wouldn’t post for two weeks and it’s only been (I believe) less than a week, but…

    “why it’s useful to have multiple options”

    This used to be the case before the Southern New Network. These days the only way to get from Papakura to Town in less than two hours is the train (or, at peak times, a couple of busses). It used to be that you could endure a very long bus ride that did (iirc) it in 90 minutes. These days you’re left with the 33 to 321 option (or several even longer ones) which takes a very long time indeed.

    (Obviously speeding up the 33 leg is critical, but why must the only options from Otahuhu either take you miles off route, e.g. Papakura to Britomart via Kelly Tarlton’s, or be a specialist journey that doesn’t run on weekends, ever, on a train network where every third weekend is a shutdown!?)

    Also, yes, it’s ridiculous that the train station boards either show nothing or the wrong timetable. Who cares if it’s a pain in the arse to manually enter “C” or whatever happens when a single train’s cancelled for many, it’s your (AT’s) network, your patrons and your job.

  13. AT had more problems this morning as an emu had a serious fault (according to on train announcement) and Newmarket bound about 9:30am terminated at Morningside. It took near 14 minutes to get doors open and passengers off. The emu started to leave Morningside when a very sharp brake brought it to a halt. It restarted about 30 seconds later but emergency stopped again just as the nose of drivers cab was on the level crossing.
    A replacement emu arrived at the down platform and took all waiting passengers.
    What was interesting about this was the replacement running up the down line, staying there through Kingsland and then crossing over points before Mt Eden tothe correct line.
    With all the extant signalling and crossovers in place west of Morningside and east of Kingsland this demonstratedhow easy it would be for AT to implement a fast limited stops express from New Lynn to City with the ability to overtake all station stoppers.

      1. There was an announcement that there was a serious fault with the train. Didn’t hear anything about the LE just walking away. I did see the train was gone later in the morning

        1. Stop assuming stuff, even if you are a passenger. Bludy media should put a cork in it as well.

        2. Trouble with today’s media/reporters then get a lot of it social media and then report it as their own instead of going out and getting their shoes dirty and verify if it is the truth . it could be that it is easier to sit in warm office all day and look at a screen than go and do a proper report

  14. If a truck had crashed on a motorway, the photos and measurements etc would of been done in an hour and the truck taken away and the motorway re opened in less then 2 hours.
    To get the station fully operational again has taken to long.

    1. Agree, tv news said derailed train was removed this morning, however at midday there was dead 6 car emu at platform 2. Why was it not removed when rerailed and station fully reopened?

      1. That dead train wasn’t the incident train. It was there yesterday also.

        Why was the other train not removed – probably because they want to validate and if necessary fix the track where the derailment happened (which that train would have to use to get out). No sense rushing it and having the other train go off too.

  15. It does ask the question, what if the CRL was open and this happened in one of the CRL tunnels not at Britomart.

    Would we have to suffer through the same problem for 4 days too with no trains at all in the CRL?

    Seems to me that AT and KR were simply unprepared for this event EVER happening at anytime.

    Given you do have lots of points on the lines for cross overs, you can derail at those sometimes if they fault or are set wrongly. So its not out of the question that such an event would happen.

    While CRL is supposed to be twin bored tunnels making each tunnel isolated from the other, you would have to evacuate passengers through the second tunnel [presumably onto a waiting train stopped in the adjacent tunnel].

    But once thats done you’d expect the non detailed train tunnel would still be usable, otherwise the CRL would be rendered useless in both direction if any incident happened in either tunnel.

      1. In these circumstances where the Transport Accident Investigation Comission decide to conduct an investigation, they essentially have jurisdiction over the accident site and can prevent any access and secure physical evidence. As they are based in Wellington, they had to send inspectors up from there, further delaying the time it took until they could even start their investigation.

        Only once they have released the accident site back to AT and KR, can they start to clear the site and repair the damage. The investigation process needs to be robust and obviously takes time, but also needs to balance the impact on commuters who have been impacted.

        1. To Ztev Konrad and Martin B
          Overseas it seems to cause major disruptions too – for all of 6 hours or so not 4 days.
          Presumably that includes the initial onsite investigation phase.

          I’m not saying TAIC can’t investigate, they have a job to do too.

          But when there is a major fatal the cops might close the road in both directions for a couple of hours, maybe up to 12 to get the data captured for the investigation, but then they pretty much open up the road – even if partially while they continue their work.

          It seems TAIC is not up to doing its job. They all need to be better prepared. Yeah the report they produce can take a year, the initial information gathering and “site securing” stuff simply can’t.

          Delayed outages doesn’t happen like that overseas. So why here?

          Hell when KR loco derailed near Westfield a few years back the main issue with clearing the line/site quickly was that the damn thing was found to be [illegally] full of asbestos and no one would touch it while they argued back and forth who would. Agree it wasn’t in a tunnel. But it was located under the electric overhead wires so can’t just rock up with a crane and pop it on the rails because of that. But they cleared it away pretty quickly.

          But when you build lines underground these events can and will happen – so you have to have contingency to recover when they do. And ensure that they can do so speedily.

        2. I thought that TAIC handed the site back to AT/KR at around 1900 on the same evening.

          I suspect that the balance of the time was removing the train and fixing any track damage, all this whilst trains were running alongside the worksite on the up line

        3. They should a) have at least one on call in Auckland at all times (seeing as how large and congested Auckland is).
          B) there were no fatalities and no or only minor injuries. They can do an investigation but it shouldn’t be in a way that delays reopening the lines.

        4. The biggest delay in opening the line was the need to continue using the other line. There’s only about a metre between trains on each line in the tunnel and with one coming or going every few minutes, no progress was ever going to be made on investigation or recovery while services continued running on the good line. Not to mention that nobody is lifting disabled trains back onto the tracks under a live 25,000 Volt overhead supply.

          You either shut the place down and keep it shut until the job is done, or you run a reduced service plan to keep people moving in the day and do the recovery work at night. There’s no magic bullet here and no crystal ball. Four days of reduced service or 1-2 days of no service at all… and we can only say that much in hindsight.

    1. With the two crl lines running in separate tunnels there are likely no points between Britomart and Mt Eden. Also there are no sharp curves in the track geometry and guard/check rails may be included to minimise derailing and derailing damage.

        1. I could be wrong but none of the info from AT or CRRL showed the two tunnels had a rail interconnection. Sure there are pedestrian connects between the two for safety/evacuation purposes but why would a train need to swap between tunnels when in a tunnel?

        2. After the major fire in the channel tunnel the passengers were able to get ino an interconnecting safety tunnel before being rescued and they don’t have cross overs there either but while that tunnel was out of action trains were still able to use the other tunnel with a reducer timetable .
          And going by 2news tonight the fault for the derailment seems to be caused by faulty Chinese steel , which has also been found on the bridge in Whangarei and on a lot of building sites

        3. And to think some people want China involved in the construction of the CRL.
          Phil Goff would be one of those people.
          After all, he did accept a large donation from Chinese interests for his election campaign.

        4. Well there you go Vance. No need for an expensive investigation when you can get all of the information you need from a dipshit 2 news reporter who states that it “may potentially” (FFS!) be caused by faulty Chinese steel. They even got a union rep on to offer his take on it. Who needs a metallurgist when you have a union rep? Would the union rep perhaps prefer that it were faulty Korean steel? Or Japanese?

        5. One wonders how the Chinese can run trains on 10,000km+ steel rail at 320kph without issue when little old NZ can’t keep our trains on the lines at 20kph.
          Will be another case of piss poor maintenance, same as all these signal faults that seem to be a uniquely NZ thing.

          What a nonsense story.

        6. Yes. I couldnt find a trackplan for CRL which shows crossovers, but Sydney does have them, admittedly they have a more complex city underground.

        7. No crossovers between Britomart and Mt Eden. Having one is an invitation for frequent disruption from minor routine faults and infrequently, from scenarios just like last week, but much worse. Thankfully nobody will ever have to find out what a horrible idea the underground flat junctions would have been at Newton and in previous iterations, under Downtown.

    2. “Given you do have lots of points on the lines for cross overs, you can derail at those sometimes if they fault or are set wrongly.”

      Faults at points seldom result in derailments as the signalling system and the various interlocks preclude a train from passing over them. The consequence of a fault is generally a stationary train at a signal. With ETCS the likelihood of a derailment is even less.

      This failure and subsequent derailment is in a different league altogether and (from what I have gathered) seems to be of a type that can result in multiple fatalities or serious injury if speeds are higher and if the train overturns or impacts stationary structures or other rail vehicles.

      1. Any derailment has potential to cause death and serious injury especially in an ecnlosed place like Britomart where the train could slam into walls or pillars if it came off the tracks.

        But every time the track curves as at sets of points, the chance of a derailment goes up.
        Because of simple geometry.

        You seldom get a derailment on straight track, if the track rail and bed [and the train bogies and wheelsets] are all ok. Platforms 1 and 5 being the furthest “off the centre”, require the most switching to get to, so the wear so the potential for an issue with those two platforms is higher compared to platforms 2,3 and 4.

        But every time I have used the Eastern line train when it arrives in Britomart, the entire EMU is shoved left right and centre quite violently at times – as it cross the various points and turn outs as it switches/crosses from the incoming lines in the throat across to the platform 1 track.

        Now, I’m no rail track expert, but its obvious that when the EMUs are having such a rough ride on the track – even at the slow speeds as they run inside Britomart, there is something going on which indicates there is a potential for bad things to happen.

        Bad track or poor track alignments will obviously wear the EMU bogies way more than expected and in turn worn bogies will wear the track by simple mechanical stress and wear.

        Over time even a minor issue will become a major one.

        Given that the track and bed inside Britomart was fully relaid early in 2014 in preparation for the EMUs arrival that year, you have to suspect that maybe the track hasn’t stood the test of time as well as it should have for one reason or another – could be bad initial construction, poor/lack of maintenance, failure of the EMU bogies or faulty track bed or rails. Or a combination.
        Both the track and the EMUs are barely 5 years old, thats not very old for track or EMUs. And Its not like we’re running freight trains through the place either.

        Once Britomart opens as a through station I expect the track will get a lot less wear due to limited or no change overs from the track route into Britomart. Even if the number of trains doubles. I expect as part of the CRL works, the track at Britomart will be reconfigured so that its a straight/main path from the 2 lines in the throat to the track for Platforms 1 and 5 where the CRL lines will join. As thats the main path that will be used the most by all trains.

        1. “But every time the track curves as at sets of points, the chance of a derailment goes up.
          Because of simple geometry.”

          For a given speed turnouts generally have orders of magnitude more potential for derailments than simple curved track and, as such, have much greater mitigation in their design, the design of the signalling system and the speed limits that pertain as a function of their setting. They are also subject to more frequent inspection (or should be on a well-run railway). One of the prime functions of the signalling system on a railway is to indicate the maximum speed at which turnouts must be negotiated.

          Simple turnouts of the type used on the Auckland system (and almost all other similar systems) are always going to be subject to rougher riding than curved track of the same radius; wheels drop into the gap at the frog and climb back up. Combine that with reverse curves typical of station track geometry and “rough riding” is almost inevitable. The mitigation is low speed limits. From what I have seen/heard of the turnout fault (which is limited and of questionable quality) the derailment would have happened irrespective of the speed of the train and is highly atypical of a turnout fault. I am guessing that there will be a lot of inspections taking place in the short term.

        2. So it would seem likely that when Britomart is a through station then platforms 2, 3 and 4 will no longer be used , perhaps track lifted and spaces filled in. This would remove all existing points so there is no underground points between the entrance to Britomart and Mt Eden.
          Maybe Strand station becomes the terminus for RRR

        3. Initially the platforms and points remain as they are. When the “East End Remodelling” project is undertaken, 2/3/4 will be stripped out, along with the tunnel end elevators/escalators and some obstructions and all the existing 25kph turnouts. The replacement arrangements will be two terminal platforms for express and intercity services in addition to the two through line platforms, a simplified crossover/turnout arrangement rated at 40kph and new elevator/escalator facilities.

        4. Yep it’s part of the design that the terminal tracks are retained, if only so they can run britomart as a four track terminal for suburban services in the event the tunnel is closed.

          I’m not sure I understand their design decisions, I would have though it would be better to have the terminal tracks in the centre and have two broad double sided platforms. That means bigger platforms for everyone, only two sets of lifts and escalators.

        5. Turnout rated at 40kph. Why do we constantly aim so low? Would 60 or 70kph be too much to ask for a turnout. Boggles the mind when you get used to HSR turnouts taken at 200kph.

  16. If anything this demonstrated the incredible lack of flexibility the rail network has in respect of incidents.

    The Stand was not used, I assume because the overhead cannot be isolated for Britomart only and the Strand falls within the same dead zone, meaning trains were terminating at Panmure, miles and miles from Britomart.

    Secondly there are no “turn outs” to cross from one line to the next after Panmure until you reach the Strand which and again I assume is inside Britomarts overhead zone therefore trains could not even reach Orakei and then turn around.

    Thirdly and despite the system having “multiline” running capability, meaning trains can and should easily use either line in either direction, there is a profound lack of signalling to run in the reverse direction.

    All this adds up to the cluster f@#k alternative delivered by AT. And this has been an ongoing issue forever, every incident, similar headless chicken confusion and sub optimal alternatives.

    Time the network grew up, the budget model failed us again.!

    1. The Strand was used, I caught an Eastern line train from there on Wednesday afternoon. Where did you get the information that they were terminating at Panmure?

        1. The train derailed on Wednesday morning, they were terminating trains at The Strand within a couple of hours of this (I caught one on Wednesday afternoon), I don’t know what this ‘first day’ you are talking about is.

          If they were terminating trains at Panmure it was only for a very short time after the derailment.

          By Thursday morning they were running trains back into Britomart.

  17. A swift implementation of through running between Newmarket and Strand and beyond (basically reinstating the old pre-Britomart network) seems obvious. Sure, they were not expecting a derailment but a terminal station (as in non-through-station) like Britomart is always going to create special problems. BTW does anyone watch the excellent Paddington 24/7 show on Prime on Thursdays? It describes the perils of a terminal station quite well, they seem to have a disruption to the “throat” (= the lines in and out of the station) every episode.

    1. Agree. Surely its not beyond AT to have a Plan B if for any reason Britomart is blocked? The simple answer for east / south would be to run Papakura to Manukau via Strand and vice versa on 20 min heads. I realise the single through track at Strand may hamper this somewhat, but its not insurmountable and a better idea than what came to pass last week. Western line would have to be to and from Newmarket as before. It’s like they don’t prepare for these things. And as the article points out – Comms, Comms and more Comms.

  18. I was under the impression that the strand was used for eastern line services. It seems to me that they made a good job. The strand is within easy walking distance of Britomart. When Parnell gets a decent walkway it will be as well. So we have a plan because it will happen again. Southern and western line can terminate at Parnell and eastern at the Strand.
    Good point all train managers should be walking encylopedies on alternate routes if there is an incident. And ditto for the secutity people we have manning our stations. We shouldn’t rely to much on the tech it will never be reliable when something out of the ordinary comes up. A competent person on the mike will help. But well done to all involved. We should learn from this if an extra isolation switch is needed for the overhead do it. If we need to change signalling so trains can reverse at Parnell do that as well.

  19. I challenge that the fault was unexpected. I work in IT and my risk modelling include a tsunami generated by a M9 on the Hikurangi Trough fault, causing Christchurch to disappear and my DR site along with it.

    A derailment on a train track is many many orders of magnitude more likely than this, and the fact that it occurred in a tunnel does not make it significantly worse.

    Deal with it, AT.

    1. Your DR is just paperwork ( which you will never have to account for, unless you work for Vector!).
      A Train off the tracks in a tunnel is not just a listicle or wave the magic wand.

      1. But thats not a theoretical danger either.

        It can and as we see this week, really does happen.

        You must therefore have real contingency plans to deal with it when it happens.
        Not just KR, but AT and TAIC as well.

        Would we the public, airlines, local and Central Gov’t or the Airport Company itself blithely accept a non-fatal plane crash on the runway at Aucklands airport to take the airport out for 4 days? While TAIC took their time assessing the scene.

        12 hours at a stretch maybe a day, but not longer.

        So they would all have plans in place to handle the problem from the very moment it happened.

        Not make it up as you go along as was clearly the case this week.

      2. There are five terminal tracks, two throat tunnel tracks and, from memory, three unique sections of trackwork joining them. So that’s a total of ten locations a train could become disabled. Is it so crazy they would have a disruption plan with ten scenarios to cover every eventuality?

        Maybe they do, seems like they were back to operations the second they could switch then power back on after investigation.

  20. There is a block of line this weekend. I believe they will be working on the damaged points and track. The unit can’t be removed until the track is fixed.

    1. I assume the derailed emu was taken back to Wiri depot. Is info available yet on any damage it sustained, did the bogies survive?

    1. Yes, according to the article that was for after 9pm on Thursday night, I think that was when they were extracting the train. They were definitely running through to The Strand on Wednesday afternoon and running all the way to Britomart again on Thursday.

      1. The initial response was to terminate at Panmure so that buses from there could handle the city pax load. Strand station can cope with an occasional surprise trainload, but for repeated and ongoing use it needed some arrangements made for staffing and guidance.

        1. Seems reasonable, I think it was 2-3 hours after the derailment that they started operating from The Strand.

  21. I tried to take the train into the Jimmy Barnes event at Spark last night planning to have a few drinks afterwards, it was a complete failure..

    I was running a bit late, because you know, wife. When we got to Ellerslie station about 7:15pm, there was two trains on the board, both with a big ‘C’ next to them, and no word on when the next one would be arriving.. I tried checking the journey planner, which still showed all the cancelled services. We didn’t want to risk waiting more than 15 minutes with no train coming, so gave up and took the car in. So sober night for me..

  22. The Western line is out again this weekend for scheduled work. Apparently Britomart might not be ready for Monday. So one derailment has effectively killed heavy rail PT to the west of any sort of acceptable quality for five or six days. Way to go AT. Lets hope a train never falls over on it’s side. That would probably take a month of Sundays to fix.

  23. Yes back to full service today, which suggests the reports in the media of faulty Chinese steel was just racist scaremongering.

    1. It just proves the junction has been patched up to the point where it is functional again. It says nothing about the underlying reason for the derailment.

  24. for those of you that want to see a derailment view Paddington 24/7 on Prime at 7.30 on the 31st of may as it shows it happening as the train moves through the platform

    1. Thanks, watched this the other week. Yes certainly shows you a lot of what can be involved sorting things out later. Been watching the series since, had interesting other ones with all sorts of issues.

  25. Also with Auckland they have one other thing to worry about and that was 16000 volts above their heads , and I hope you are enjoying the series Grant

    1. Surprised they hadn’t picked up on the rot on those sleepers at Paddington in such a major Station. The non contained toilets seemed pretty primative.

      One thing with disruptions on last week’s show was use of simple old fashioned large white paper & marker pen on the platform to write up notes for the passengers (i think) to read for communication. Good on the fly, on the ground stuff. Rather than just mumbled intercom announcements people miss hearing or no one can understand.

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