Yesterday marked 10 years since the first electric train carried passengers in Auckland so it’s a good time to look back at it and the impact it has had.

A brief history

The first proposals for rail electrification in Auckland came in the 1920’s alongside the plans for earlier iterations of what became the City Rail Link. The cost of needing to electrify the network to run trains though the tunnel, on top of the cost of the tunnel itself was a key contributor for the government of the day not proceeding with the tunnel. It was a similar story in subsequent CRL like proposals too, 1940’s, 50’s and 70’s and sadly they no-one seemed to think to separate out the projects.

The modern push for electrification came in 2006 when the Auckland Regional Transport Authority (ARTA), one Auckland Transports precursor organisations, created the rail development plan. It was a 10 year plan to revitalise the rail network and make use of the untapped capacity it held. Core to the plan was the upgrade to the rail network that had started a year earlier known as Project DART. That included double tracking the Western Line, upgrading the Newmarket station and the Newmarket junction, the upgrading of other suburban stations and the building of the Manukau spur line (reopening the Onehunga Line came later).

The plan noted that the electrification of the rail network was a key policy decision. If Auckland was to go down the track of upgrading the network then there was only so long the diesel trains would last before new rolling stock would be needed. ARTA investigated the difference between buying new diesel trains and electrifying the system. When compared in a business case that took into account whole of life costs, electrification came out slightly ahead of buying new diesel trains and was also a requirement if we ever wanted/needed the CRL.

However, then Finance Minister Michael Cullen wasn’t on board and initially rejected the idea but was eventually convinced and included funding for the project in the 2007 budget. The government would pay for the wires and Auckland was to pay for the trains that use them with both funded by their own 5c regional fuel tax.

When National won in 2008 one of the first things they did was to scrap the regional fuel tax and put the whole project on hold pending a review of it. In late 2009 the government announced that it was proceeding with electrification. The review had recommended a number of changes but ultimately the biggest was to makeup of the trains, going from trainsets made up of ~40m long two-carriage trains, like Wellington uses, to 72m long three-carriage trains like is used in Brisbane and Perth. The review had also recommended buying fewer trains but also a fleet of electric locomotives to haul the existing carriages around with. Ultimately the government was able to be convinced that would have higher lifetime costs, result in performance issues and also that those older carriages wouldn’t have the fire rating needed for the future CRL if it was built, so a full fleet of electric trains was agreed to.

In Late 2011 Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles, SA. (CAF) had been announced as the winner of the EMU tender and less than two years later in August 2013, the first train arrived in Auckland to begin testing.

The Onehunga Line was the first to be operated by electric trains 10 years ago and was followed by the Eastern Line in August 2014, the Southern Line in January 2015 and the Western Line in July-2015.

Even before electrification was completed, there has been discussions about how to extend electric trains to Pukekohe. In 2016 Auckland Transport proposed a small fleet of battery-electric trains. By mid-2017 AT were asking for urgent funding to put a deposit down on them even though their own business case had expected the wires to be extended to Pukekohe just a few years afterwards. Ultimately the council decided to go with the option of buying new electric only trains and pushing for electrification – which Labour agreed to fund in 2020 as part of the NZ Upgrade Programme.

How things have changed

The biggest change brought about by electrification, other than having new trains, was a dramatic increase in ridership. When the first services started 10 years ago, annual ridership had just ticked over 11 million trips after significant increases brought about by the opening of Britomart and the upgrading of lines, stations and running more services. By the time COVID hit around six years later, usage had doubled to 22 million trips.

Another way of looking at it, the 2006 rail development plan mentioned above had assumed electrification would be completed a few years earlier than it was and predicted that by mid-2016, rail usage would have risen to 15.7 million trips. Despite the delay and only a year after the all lines were fully operated by electric trains, usage by that time had reached 16.8 million trips.

Perhaps one of the more interesting indications of how fast rail usage was rising came from a six-monthly monitoring report by the Ministry of Transport to the then National government who had put in place arbitrary ridership targets of rail usage being on track to reach 20 million trips before 2020 for the City Rail Link to start construction earlier than that. In December 2013 they said Auckland would never reach the target. The second one in August 2014 they had revised their thinking up a bit, but still said it wouldn’t be met. The third one in February 2015 said essentially the same thing as the second but by late 2015 though that had changed and papers to ministers were saying:

If rail patronage continues to grow at its current rate, it is likely to reach the 20 million threshold that was specified by the Prime Minister by 2018. At this rate of growth, Auckland Transport has indicated that there is likely to be capacity issues with Britomart during the morning peak period from around 2018 which may cause some access restrictions to the station.

Auckland ultimately reached 20 million trips in August 2017. The author of those, and most of the ministry’s work from the time dismissing the impact of CRL, is now in charge of Investment, Planning and Policy at Auckland Transport.

Not all of the growth is due to electrification but a series of frequent upgrades and changes to the rail network as well as the wider public transport network have contributed to it.

Usage on the rail network has been hit hard by COVID and then the numerous issues with the network itself that are still in the process of being fixed. With the Eastern Line open again and other general increases in PT use, ridership recovery has been starting to pick up but still has a long way to go to catch up to the levels buses and ferries are back to.

How they’ve stayed the same

Those increases in usage have come in spite of the service itself not being that much better.

Frequency improvements not delivered

Peak rail frequencies have remained the same as they were before electrification. That was expected as we need the City Rail Link to improve those, but off-peak frequencies remain woefully low and promised improvements to those haven’t eventuated. For example, AT promised to increase off-peak and weekend frequencies to 10-15 minutes but they’re still only every 20 minutes.

That means technically rail doesn’t even meet AT’s own standard to be defined as rapid transit and we have the bizarre situation where in some cases, the feeder buses running at higher frequencies than the ‘core’ of the network it’s feeding into.

Travel times still slower than 20 years ago

Frustratingly our trains are still running slower than they were 20 years ago when Britomart opened.

A journey from Swanson to Britomart is now scheduled to take 54 minutes. But for a period in 2018/19 it was 52 minutes, prior to electrification it was 53 minutes and just after Britomart opened it was just 48 minutes.

This shows how the total travel time from Swanson to Britomart has changed over since over nearly 20 years.

Dwells still way too long

This is an issue we’ve been raising for years but a big part of why the overall travel time is so long is our incredibly long dwell times. It’s not uncommon for a train to dwell at a station for 50 seconds or more whereas on many other rail systems, dwell times can be 30 seconds or less. For a trip all the way to/from Swanson that means trains are at least five minutes slower than they could be.

The reason for slow dwell times is due to poor equipment (slow doors) and poor processes and it’s appalling that after nearly nine years, AT and rail operators have done nothing to fix it.

Originally expected travel times for electric trains

Our trains are on average 5-10km/h slower than similar systems overseas and also slower than the original requirement for our electric trains – which was in line with those many overseas systems. If we were achieving those originally required travel times we’d see the following on our existing network:

  • Swanson to Britomart – 43 minutes instead of 56 minutes (and this is before the CRL makes things even better)
  • Papakura to Britomart – 41 minutes instead of 50 minutes
  • Manukau to Britomart – 32 minutes instead of 37 minutes

It seems unlikely that the rail network rebuild or the CRL will address this.

Electric trains have been great for Auckland but also could be both so much better. They have also been instrumental for setting the Auckland Rail network up for the future.

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    1. Anyone who thinks te huia is going to survive under this government is in dreamland. There is no way they are going to keep funding it

      1. Hopefully the government implode before they explode anything else. They are quickly sending NZ back to the stone age.

        Still find it hard to believe how blinkered so many of us (you) were to vote them in, believing the lies banded about by so many.

        1. Other than making people feel good about themselves for not voting a certain way, there’s very little to show for the last six years other than a pile of debt.

          Still find it hard to believe how people think two parties producing the same eventual outcomes are realistically different enough to get warm fuzzies over voting one way or the other, unless you’re comfortable enough to not care or not be effected by the problems they cause. Not all of us are so lucky.

        2. Martin what might be an example of Stone Age thinking in modern New Zealand? Most of the world hasn’t been in the Stone Age for over 5,000 years. It’s hard to imagine National being able to take life in New Zealand back to what a Stone Age living was like nor that most of the population would be interested in such an existence.

  1. We know that electric trains made people use rail, but we seem to have very little push for electric buses. We are only moving to them for environmental reasons, no one seems to care about the user experience on buses.
    How much of the bus fleet could be transitioned for the cost of electric rail for example?

    1. The main issue with buses is more that a large part of the bus fleet was replaced just before electric buses became mainstream/viable. Bus companies also tend to tie purchasing new buses to when contracts are renewed so they know they’re not going to be investing millions in a new fleet only to lose a contract a few years later and be left holding an asset they can’t use. PTOM contracts are typically between 6-9 years and buses tend to last about 12 years.

      As we’ve seen with the recent news about the WX1 getting electric buses next year as part of a new contract (it is shifting operators too), as other contracts roll over in the next 5 or so years, and the requirement that all new buses are electric, I expect we’ll see a pretty rapid uptick in e-bus numbers.

      1. Yes I guess one is new technology whereas electric trains have been around forever. Although I am not sure why our main routes were not trolley buses even before batteries were an option (well they were at one stage, why would anyone move away from electric?)

        1. The trolley buses were a holdover from the old tram network, they used most of the same power transformers and support poles with modified overhead line, which still had some life in them when the tracks were removed.

          But after the first generation of trolley buses were end of life, so was the power supply infrastructure. So instead of paying for new buses and a new overhead line network, they just got diesel buses.

          Our buses are going electric at full pace through turnover already, i.e. pretty much every new bus is electric. By the end of the decade it will be an almost entirely electric network. There’s not a huge amount to be gained by scrapping good buses a few years before they are due to be replaced anyway, to speed that up.

        2. jimbo the answer is pretty simple. Diesel buses didn’t rely on the overhead infrastructure and could go anywhere. It took until about 2009 for the first battery electric buses to start being deployed commercially overseas. So by now they are hardly ‘New’ technology, but new to Kiwis maybe. Unlike older trolleybuses which would’t go anywhere without current being continuously supplied by now most electric trolleybuses are just battery buses with a really long extension cord. Given that they can get by with a smaller battery. They have all the parts of a battery bus and then some for the continuous charging network. Given advances in batteries and range per charge over the last decade it makes more sense in most cases to ditch the overhead infrastructure and just go battery electric. And if you don’t already have existing overhead extension cords the choice of which type of electric bus to choose for a new route is even easier.

        3. When the tram network was removed diesel buses were still poor performers on hills, thus electric trolley buses took over.

          The exception being Christchurch, which went immediately to diesel buses except on the route that went up the Port Hills, which became a trolley bus.

        4. Jezza, Christchurch trolleybuses dated from the 1930s, and ran on the flat northern side of the city. No connection with the Port Hills on the south side, where trams ran until the 1950s and were replaced by diesel buses.

        5. There is still places I think that they are putting in electric trolley buses. The advantage is the buses can be cheaper and way lighter not needed a massive battery to power them. This could save on road wear and tear. You need to do a whole life span benefit cost study.
          Would still suit a very frequent, simple, right-of-way corridor, for example, our Auckland City Link, but only if it had right of way. Visually the wires not a good thing, can’t think of a route in Auckland that would really suit them. Anywhere you would “nearly” put light rail perhaps.

  2. If you add the cost of electrification to CRL then the overall benefit cost ratio can probably be rounded to zero.

    1. Look forward to us laughing together about how silly your comments are in hindsight of pax growth when CRL

    2. “If you add the cost of electrification to CRL then the overall benefit cost ratio can probably be rounded to zero.”

      Why don’t you look up the definitions of “synergy” and “the whole is better than the sum of the parts”?

      1. Well let’s see. The original B/C ratio for the project was between 0.4 and 0.9 based on a cost of $2.5billion, It is now $5.4 billion with excluding the $1.1billion they later decided was needed to improve the rest of the network for CRL. There are rumours of another $0.5billion they haven’t owned up to yet. Then add on the cost of a public Inquiry.

        They stopped talking about benefits in 2015. Why?

        Synergy you say? Given they will lose public money on every rider this thing generates, exactly how much are you hoping ridership will go up by? How many subsidised passengers can Auckland afford?

        1. The subsidy will decrease with ridership growth you know this miffy, your side lost but there is no need to lie.

          NPS-UD Policy 3 alone will absolve any possible CRL spending, a new apartment city will spring up within the old suburban one. And express commuter trains running into CRL will allow workers in the new medium density suburbs in Drury and Paerata to participate in the superior education and labour markets in the City Center.

        2. Yes some rail enthusiasts won and Auckland and the taxpayers lost. If electrification truly was done in order to build CRL then it should have been subject to an economic assessment at the combined cost prior to starting. Wasting the thick end of $7billion or whatever the combined costs turn out to be (most of it a dead weight loss) is money that can’t be spent on things that actually would have generated a return on investment. The high debt servicing and running costs will be an annual cost. Enjoy your win, but please don’t imply there is any value for money in all of this. It is the standard local government scam of Underestimated Costs + Overestimated Benefits = A Funded Project.

        3. Electrification was done before and independent of the CRL decision.

          It was done because it was cheaper to electrify and buy new electric trains than to buy new diesel trains, and we needed new trains. Thats it.

        4. You said that’s it so I guess it is true. Can’t possibly be wrong. Like putting that’s a fact at the end. Doesn’t require any proof. But if that is true then they probably got it wrong. Add the cost of electrification to Pukekohe on and diesels would have been cheaper. Seems more likely they saw it as phase 1 of CRL and a chance to make a big part of it a sunk cost.

        5. ARTA? I thought they were pricks at the time but that was before Auckland Transport came along. Page 16 gives the comparison, they thought electric had better performance. That’s too funny! The b/c for diesel was 0.86 and electric 0.87, then they committed they sin of guessing future fuel prices. That is how we got a gas to gasoline plant.

  3. Re dwell times, a useful piece about DCO (driver-controlled operation), its subset DOO (driver-only operation) and other relevant operating practices from a UK perspective is at

    It’s worth noting that the London Overground and Underground, Thameslink, the Elizabeth line and Greater Anglia are all 100% DOO (as incidentally are the subways in Boston, Chicago, LA and SF). With the usual Great British muddle the overall picture is patchy, but no UK operators have a person other than the driver sitting in a cab watching screens, duplicating part of what the driver is doing.

    DCO in both forms requires good means for the driver to see all doors clearly at all times when stopped at/pulling away from a platform, sometimes assisted at busy times/stations with platform staff for train despatch, but it focusses train operations on one person, allowing any other on-board stuff to focus on passengers – and the lack of need for communication between on-train staff, or to hit the platform, speed things up, safely.

      1. I’m not necessarily doubting you (I have read some pretty ghastly news stories about it), but is there much in the way of data to demonstrate this danger?

        1. We’ve had people trapped in doors and dragged to their death in Auckland without DOO, the fact that rail accidents exist in places with DOO doesn’t mean that’s the cause.

        2. When I lived in Wales 10 years ago, they still had ticket collectors opening and closing doors. That did not stop deaths on the Valley lines around Cardiff.

      2. Every accident is one too many, but given that the majority of GB rail journeys are in DOO trains (London dominates GB rail usage), is the number of DOO accidents disproportionate? The UK’s Rail Safety & Standards Board, who ought to know, clearly don’t think so, describing DOO as a safe way to operate.

        And we mustn’t overlook the fact that disincentives to rail travel, like slow journey times, mean that people will use other modes instead, all of which are less safe than rail (the level of risk when travelling by car is ten times greater).

        Looking at one statistic (assuming that the comment has a statistical basis) in isolation is always a risky business.

        1. I’m a career train driver, Ive worked both DOO and Driver plus Guard doing doors entirely or in combination. driver only is far quicker and provided the appropriate platform equipment exists, safer IMHO. The only downside to DOO is assisting wheelchair pax.

        2. Agree Mike M. Do you know if that statistic:

          “…(the level of risk when travelling by car is ten times greater).”

          is based on kms’ travelled, per journey or something else?

  4. From my point of view, the CRL is the most important thing we are awaiting in this city, and as you say, probably a good hundred years overdue.

    The fact the Light Rail keeps getting canned is sad also, obviously rail is the fastest, most efficient form of transport, ever invented; for the masses.

    I move my two young boys around on buses, ferries, and trains; guess which one they love the most? The aquatic train of course, as it passes between Waitemata and Orakei.

    As the central city becomes more and more pedestrian friendly, and consequently more frustrating for drivers of cars, the logic of public transport may begin to dawn upon even the least enlightened.

    As a four decade experiencer of our city, I may have been on my way to the Football in Brasil when electrification began, but it is by far the most exciting thing that has ever happened in my lifetime.

    And nothing can halt the CRL!!!

    bah humbug

    1. The frustration is working and the logic of avoiding the city has already dawned on most of us. And it’s not just getting there. You need to enjoy walking around a crime ridden wasteland wondering when the next gun wielding crim is going to pop out of a neighbourhood bar or flop house. There’s a a lot of hopes pinned on CRL somehow encouraging people to make a lot more discretionary trips to the CBD. It’ll be interesting to see how that actually plays out.

      On the other hand it’s good to hear your boys like getting out of the city and seeing a suburb. Have you told them this is the kind of thing other people have right next to their houses? That’d probably enlighten them right off the top of the enlightenment scale.

      1. Suburban living is an exercise in soul-destroying monotony. Children who grow up in an actual urban environment end up better off in the long run.

  5. It’s so disappointing no progress has been made on dwell times or acceleration/deceleration. The AM class are technically very similar to the Transperth B series – 3 car sets with plug doors and 8 of 12 wheelsets driven – yet the difference in dwell times and acceleration/deceleration is stark. Riding the trains in Perth is fast and efficient – but in Auckland it’s ponderous and frustrating.

    Why no action after 10 years?

    1. Not sure if it’s true but pretty sure I heard once that AT actively set acceleration limits on the trains at lower level than on other systems due to health and safety concerns e.g. don’t want someone getting surprised by it and falling over.

      1. The Auckland network is being rebuilt while in service. It’s a bit like the Waikato Expressway having a limit of 30 km/h on the bits being worked on. It wont get faster until all aspects of the system are finished and working properly Even the the 150 year old alignment on the western line is still going to restrict speeds.

        1. The western line was extensively rebuilt in the 1940s (aerial photos of that era are fascinating, showing both old and new alignments) and subsequently, so the alignment of 150 years ago is generally long gone.

      2. Has AT ever provided any reasoning for the dwell times? Surely there must be a reason. I think I once read a post on here that showed a steam passenger train from however long ago was quicker from south Auckland to the city mainly due to dwell times as there was a similar number of stops back then.

      3. Absurd if true. What could make Aucklanders so much more sensitive to acceleration than the people of Perth or London or anywhere else?

    2. It’s a valid concern. A scheduled train showing up could be quite a surprise and cause many waiting passengers to fall over in shock.

    3. Have ridden both “A” an “B” sets in Perth. Dwell times are very short on all lines there.
      Have travelled on the AM sets in Auckland and the dwell times are up to 2 minutes sometimes. You could cut a good 10 mins off Pukekohe to Britomart when it opens by just making dwell times 30 to 35 seconds. All lines would, of course, benefit if this was implemented system wide.

  6. The dwell times thing is just absurd, is it just in everyone’s interest to pad out the timetables so no-one gets in trouble for late running?

    1. Given how shambolically run the network currently is, I also can’t help but suspect that this is the case.

    2. Yes, I think they should be at least a bit more aggressive with their timetable, but I can understand that if it gets out of kilter then it would be hard to rectify. In saying that I’m always optimistic it will happen in small increments. I think a good time to do it next is:
      1. Start of June, once their new control centre is fully “bedded in” & the “Rail Network Rebuild” is complete (bar P2P) & is proving stable & providing faster track speeds. Though west of New Lynn still needs funding.
      2. When Papakura to Pukekohe opens up again (and it’s electrified of course, new stations, express trains)
      3. When the CRL opens and third main works are complete, partly as there is so much more flexibility for alternative running if something does disrupt things, which will always happen.
      4. After any level crossings are removed or other significant track improvements or a way to improve the dwell times process is found.

  7. Prior to the electric trains being approved one of the benefits stated was that the trains would use regenerative braking putting power back into the electric lines. How come the trains make the nasty squeal when stopping ? Because they are using disc brakes to stop.

    1. Regenerative braking slows trains down but it can’t bring them to a stop. That needs friction, like disc brakes.

      1. Yeah guess you are correct. Was thinking in terms of our electric car where we rarely use the traditional brake by using one pedal driving and easily coming to a stop. Trains are totally different from cars however.
        It would be interesting to see how much power saving is made with the trains regenerative braking. They originally said up to 20%.

  8. In Newmarket they never seem to get the schedule right and sometimes trains can wait at the station for 5 minutes or longer. In addition we seem to have a lot of train issues caused by signalling issues or people trespassing on train tracks. Surely more could be done to improve these issues.

    1. Yes hopefully all that work from Waitemata to Newmarket will be more reliable soon. Also do they still not have displays on some of the actual platforms (ie Southern/Onehunga I think) at Newmarket?

  9. I recall that day well – I took the day off work to ride the EMUs from Britomart out to Onehunga and back. Seemed like the future had arrived.
    Looking back 10 years on, its true – some kind of future had arrived. Just not the one we were promised.

    If you look back further in time – back in the late 40’s and early ’50s, when the new suburb adjacent the Eastern Line at Panmure was being developed. There were big signs put up by the developers spruiking the new suburbs benefits – a big sign was stating that the CBD was “17 minutes away by train”. From the now closed Tamaki railway station platform.

    This was one of the fastest possible commuter journeys on the rail network then as it was totally grade separated from the road network so no level crossings and it took the short cut via a tunnel and right across Hobson Bay so more of less went the most direct route possible for the time.

    And that was when they were using steam-powered trains – not the Electric ones we have now or or DMUs or the Diesel hauled trains we suffered with prior to the EMUs.

    Fast Forward (or slow forward if you’re on any train service AT is involved with).
    And compare that journey time with how far 17 minutes of travelling south on the Eastern Line from Britomart station covers – which is a slightly longer journey in terms of distance – mostly as Britomart is nearer the bottom of town than the old Railway station was.

    You’ll won’t get much past Glenn Innes. Probably even less distance actually covered than that, you’re probably still in the St Johns tunnel. Or further back than that, when speed restrictions are in force.

    Considering we’re talking steam trains from 75+ years ago, you’d think the difference in journey travel times performance using electric trains in the 21st century – the experience today would be so much better in terms of travel time reductions.

    Clearly not it seems. You have to wonder if it will take another 10 years after the CRL opens to get anywhere close to the journey times we had (by what will then be 85) years ago .
    I hope not, but I fear it will be so.

    1. Well I know the EMU’s were & are slow with the dwell times, but I checked and the current timetable & the August 2022 one and from Waitemata station to Panmure (further south than the old Tamaki was) is actually timetabled at 15 mins. In the other direction, going north it’s 16 mins.
      Yes, this is a very fast section of our network. I was looking up on GeoMaps the 1940 and 1959 maps funnily enough last night and see that the Panmure station was further south near the basin and William Harvey Place (& quite close to Ireland Rd). Sylvia Park was way down parallel with Sylvia Park Rd. Seems Wikipedia not quite accurate saying it closed during WW2 due to the US Army buying the land for sheds at the current new Sylvia Park Shopping Ctr site.

      1. Oh and in case anyone is interested the old Tamaki Station was where the line is now but opposite Coates Crescent about where Jellicoe Road has a sharp corner.
        Also, Meadowbank replaced the original Purewa station (directly north of the cemetery) but was also known as Purewa until 22 February 1954.

  10. Makes AT look better, makes Auckland One Rail look better, and makes it easier for KR to control the network. So all 3 parties win, at the expense of the passenger.

    Pretty much it’s KR’s interests 1st, AOR 2nd, AT 3rd, and the passenger, who should be #1, is last.

  11. When quoting PT ridership numbers AT still loves to hark back to the halcyon days of 2017-2019 quoting max numbers that haven’t been close to reality for about half a decade. When quoting growth numbers they love to reference from the bottom of the covid dip. Nothing like working both sides of things to cherry pick the most favourable numbers vs presenting the reality that over the last decade there’s been paltry net growth in train usage.

  12. One of the reasons for the slow journey times for the Western Line to Britomart is that we frequently have to wait at Newmarket Station (sometimes around 5 minutes) for a Southern Line service to come in, and then depart. People usually jump off the Western Line train and onto the Southern Line one to save a couple of minutes but it considering the Western service is always at Newmarket ahead of the Southern service, it would make sense to change the signal phasing so that the Western train gets to leave first.

  13. I cannot take the Public Transport since the Maori Propoganda 1984 evil Orwell freak evil plauqing it.

  14. Electrification & electric trains in Auckland has been great. It’s what started me using them & the whole PT system. Also how found this blog actually because I had to look up some information perhaps like when was the Eastern line going electric after trying out the Onehunga line for the first time.
    I had to think back the other day how many times I had used a train pre-electrification over my lifetime and it was only about 5 to 7 times. Normally just for a fun trip or when the car had broken down and was in for re-for repair (Penrose-Parnell, Penrose-Puhinui) or just to see if it was going to work for commuting and I didn’t usually that well as there was too much walking involved compared to the bus (eg university) or car (work) especially without knowing the bus network well or having apps for adhoc trips in those days. The frequency also sucked of course.
    Sadly I don’t really remember using the old Auckland Station with the attached beautiful building, maybe twice but I don’t know if I really looked around or appreciated it. My first trip That I could think of was with my grandmother as young children in the 70’s, would’ve been in the Henderson area on an old clunker.
    I also remember first time by myself as a total of noob with out of Auckland family member, nearly ended up going to Wellington from Papakura, not knowing what train to get on.

  15. Melbourne has been using driver only operation for many years.
    Acceleration and braking is probably around 0.8 to 1 metre per second per second.
    Off peak minor station dwells are usually 20 to 25 seconds

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