Auckland Electrification Thread

 
Topic moved from NZ and Oceania by bevans on 05 Feb 2015 19:39
  wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed
Auckland rail services face another extended summer shutdown because of a six-month delay to a major component of the region's $1.16 billion electrification project.
Government-owned KiwiRail has revealed that instead of all 85km of lines from Papakura and Swanson to Britomart being electrified as planned by August, its $500 million part in the project will not be finished until early next year.
That will mean having to close railway lines again for several weeks after Christmas. KiwiRail chief executive Jim Quinn blamed access difficulties for contractors to increasingly busy rail corridors for the delays in running overhead power wires to Britomart and elsewhere.
He insisted the tracks from Papakura to Britomart would be fully electrified by April, but said "testing and tuning" of the system would have to continue until 2015, as the process needed full-length trains running frequently beneath the wires.
"We expect to have traction infrastructure in place across the bulk of the network by Christmas, with the rest being completed over the summer block of line [rail network closure] in January.

Commuter and blogger Matt Lowrie, the main contributor to a Campaign for Better Transport website, said KiwiRail's sudden acknowledgement of the delay was disappointing after repeated assurances its part in the project was on track for completion in August - in good time for the new electric trains.
Auckland Transport spokesman Wally Thomas said the council body was continuing to work closely with KiwiRail "and the programme as far as we are concerned is on schedule".
Rail electrification
*85km of electrified lines from Papakura and Swanson to Britomart and 57 three-car electric trains.
*Cost: $1.164 billion
*Planned introduction: April 2014 to late-2015

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  wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed
EMU project
Design
The design activity is now focussed on review of test programmes and specifications for testing of the vehicles in New Zealand. These tests require extensive coordination from four key parties, Auckland Transport, Veolia, KiwiRail and CAF. The detailed scope of these tests is being finalised and plans for access to the rail network, for testing, are being discussed with KiwiRail and NZTA.
Type testing of the equipment in Spain is continuing without any significant issues. Board Meeting 19 April 2013 Agenda item no. 7 Open Session
Production
Vehicles for the first two EMUs are now all on the assembly line and a production flow has been established. The first vehicle for EMU No 1 will move off the production line into the test bay on 8 May, with the second and third vehicles following two weeks later.
Production of the bodyshells and bogies for subsequent EMUs is progressing in accordance with the programme well.
On 30 April the first vehicle was placed on its production bogies for the first time. CAF advised this went very smoothly and identified two minor interface problems which are being corrected. This was a significant milestone for the project, with all major equipment interfaces on the EMUs now tested. The following photographs show the vehicle body being lowered onto the bogies.
Fig 3: First vehicle being lowered onto bogie. Fig 4: First vehicle on bogies.
Programme
CAF is currently two weeks behind programme. Discussions have been held to find a way to recover this delay. CAF are adjusting the sequence of some of the tests to use the time more efficiently and have found a shipping route which will remove several days from the transit time. It is expected that these changes will bring the project back onto programme for the first train, assuming that no significant problems are discovered during the final stages of assembly and testing. The successful bogie installation has increased confidence that the original programme will be achieved.
Three month look ahead
The first EMU will be tested in Spain during May and June. It expected to be shipped at the end of June. Arrival in New Zealand is expected at the end of August.
The Driver Training Simulator is in transit. It will arrive in June and be installed in the EMU Maintenance and Stabling Facility at Wiri. It will be operational and ready for driver training to begin in mid July.
  wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed
EMU Maintenance and Stabling Facility (EMU M&SF) Project
Update
Ancillary buildings are being constructed and the key plant is in transit or being installed. The lifting jacks are almost all in place and the turntable and depot protection system are being installed. The wheel lathe and shunt vehicle are in transit from Europe. Large parts of the building are nearing completion and the trackwork is progressing according to programme. The first overhead lines have been strung and the contractor is committed to completion by the due date of 28 June 2013.
Three month look ahead
Two months remain until the completion of the main construction contract. This will be a very intense period of completing the building fitout, installation of the remainder of the key plant and the civil works (trackwork, overhead line, roads and carpark). After 28 June CAF, Veolia and Auckland Transport will be carrying out their internal fitout in preparation for the arrival of the first train.
Fig 5: Erection of structural steelwork for the train Fig 6: Installation of utilities and trackwork
wash building - note overhead line gantries in the background






  wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed
South Auckland train passengers face evening travel curfews unless they want to catch replacement buses, as KiwiRail plays catch-up on its delayed electrification project.
From tonight, special buses will replace passenger trains south of Otahuhu after 8pm from Sunday to Thursday each week until further notice.
Auckland Transport says the disruption to nine services affecting 300 to 350 passengers a night is to allow KiwiRail to continue installing overhead line equipment ready for electric trains to start running in April.
"Given the significant amount of work to be done, closures on Auckland's rail network will be a regular occurrence for the foreseeable future," said spokesman Mark Hannan. He added all valid tickets and passes accepted on trains could be used on replacement buses.
The disruption follows an admission by KiwiRail that it is running six months behind schedule on its $500 million part in Auckland's $1.16 billion rail electrification project, which it was supposed to complete by August in time for the first of 57 new electric trains to arrive from Spain in September.

Spokeswoman Jenni Austin said contractors needed more time on the tracks to bring the overhead lines up to the right level of tension.
"South of Otahuhu is where there are the most trains ... By having these commuter trains stop a few nights of the week when fewer people are travelling gives our contractor a much bigger window to get in there."
Rail commuter Matt Lowrie, the main contributor to a Campaign for Better Transport website, said he couldn't wait for the electrification project to be finished.
"Having a network that isn't shut down at nights, weekends and at Christmas, along with having faster, reliable and more frequent trains is going to have massive impacts on people's perceptions of trains as well as patronage."
Mr Lowrie is particularly disappointed about the delay after KiwiRail staff were told in an internal bulletin in December they were facing "the last big summer push" for Auckland's electrification and basic rail upgrades.
The Government-owned company has since acknowledged a need for another major rail-network shutdown from Christmas and into January to complete electrification work.
Auckland Transport is meanwhile assuring Pukekohe rail commuters, who will face an interruption to one city-bound service on each night of the service disruption, that it is working on a plan to extend electrification to their town.
The existing project runs only as far as Papakura in the south and Swanson in the northwest, but council transport organisation chairman Lester Levy says he expects a decision within months on feasibility and funding for a service which would see electric trains running from Pukekohe to Britomart every 20 minutes at peak times and every 30 minutes at other times.
A report to his board in November estimated that the extension would cost about $113 million, but would offer an economic return of $2.10 for every dollar invested, given that the population of the Franklin district around Pukekohe is expected to more than treble to almost 80,000 residents by 2041.
Off the tracks
What's happening
Buses to replace trains from 8pm south of Otahuhu from Sunday to Thursday each week.
Reason for the disruption
To catch up on Auckland's $1.16 billion electrification project for the first new electric trains to start running in April.
Scope of electrification project
Fifty-seven new three-car trains to run on 85km of tracks from Britomart to Papakura in the south and to Swanson in the northwest.
Possible extension
To Pukekohe for an extra $113 million.
  alexjc Deputy Commissioner


Laughing Yeah, well this was going to happen...They really are going to put the foot down to get back on schedual. A bit of pain, but worth it for the gain.

And it really looks likely that the extension to Pukekohe will go ahead.
  wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed
Laughing Yeah, well this was going to happen...They really are going to put the foot down to get back on schedual. A bit of pain, but worth it for the gain.

And it really looks likely that the extension to Pukekohe will go ahead.
alexjc

no pain no gain as they say.Sad

It makes sense to electrify to Pukekohe with feeder buses to Mercer and Tuakau, sorry they are in the Waikato and TA is not interested in them.Crying or Very sad
  alexjc Deputy Commissioner

no pain no gain as they say.Sad

It makes sense to electrify to Pukekohe with feeder buses to Mercer and Tuakau, sorry they are in the Waikato and TA is not interested in them.Crying or Very sad
wanderer53

Smile Express buses on the Super Highway, got no problem with that. Do feel for Tuakau and nearby Pokeno though. These are towns that will grow to triple size by 2040, at least the townsfolk mindset is focused on the rail service in future. Could even see a Silver Fern return in the near future. Hence the reason why Tuakau's abandoned island platform remains
  wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed
Smile Express buses on the Super Highway, got no problem with that. Do feel for Tuakau and nearby Pokeno though. These are towns that will grow to triple size by 2040, at least the townsfolk mindset is focused on the rail service in future. Could even see a Silver Fern return in the near future. Hence the reason why Tuakau's abandoned island platform remains
alexjc

A DMU shuttle would be better than buses, my understanding is that it would need to run to Mercer as that is the next point that they can be turned back though, hence the reason for the bus service to run there to build up demand.Wink
Hopefully that would be a forerunner to a full service to Hamilton.
  wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed
Buses to replace future Waitakere to Swanson rail services

Last reviewed: 30/05/2013 4:50 p.m.


Page Content



Rail services between neighbouring Waitakere and Swanson stations will be replaced with a regular bus shuttle service once Auckland’s new electric trains are operating on the Western Line.



As the Western Line is only electrified and double-tracked to Swanson and no funding is available to expand or cut through the Waitakere tunnel to extend the electrified network, an alternative public transport option is needed.



Auckland Transport’s decision to provide buses in place of a diesel shuttle service was based on a number of factors, including the high relative cost of operating and maintaining a diesel service in comparison to a bus service, low demand for public transport services at Waitakere, capital cost savings and comparative travel times (seven minutes by bus versus five minutes by train).



Auckland Transport’s Public Transport Operations Manager, Mark Lambert, says the large injection of ratepayer funding needed to retain a diesel service along the 2km stretch between Waitakere and Swanson stations could not be justified when a more flexible and accessible bus service could be operated for significantly less.


Buses between Waitakere and Swanson are the best and most cost effective option, providing a $20.8 million cost-saving over 25 years, he says.

An estimated $3 million would also be required to upgrade Swanson and Waitakere stations to provide the infrastructure to support a diesel shuttle. A further $3 million would be required to refurbish two diesel trains to provide the service. Annual operating costs for the diesel shuttle would have been more than $1.5 million.


Mr Lambert says studies show that more people from the Waitakere/Bethells area already forego Waitakere Station to park and ride at Swanson, where rail services are more frequent.

“Once electric trains are in service and running more frequently in and out of Swanson, we expect this trend to be more pronounced,” he says.


Residents will be invited to provide feedback on the new bus services proposed for their area prior to all electric trains being in service by mid-2016.
  GeoffreyHansen Minister for Railways

Location: In a FAM sleeper
Well I'm glad I caught a train to Waitakerie when I did.
  wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed
The 4.2 hectare depot that will house Auckland's new electric trains is just weeks away from completion.

A maintenance building, train wash, 6 kilometres of rail track and stabling for 28 three-car trains have been built at the Wiri Stabling and Maintenance Facility.

Principal project manager Doug Carter says it's been a very tight construction timeframe, with the land purchased in late 2011 and construction contracts awarded in May 2012.

"We were buying equipment from overseas before we tendered the first contract."

Auckland Transport spent three months looking around Auckland for a suitable site, he says.

"We needed a big site next to the railway and there are very few in Auckland. If you had endless money, space and time you would put it in Britomart. The closer you can get to the middle is best."

Locations around Otahuhu and the current site at Westfield were also considered.

Many parts used in the depot's construction have been imported from Germany, including the train wash and jacks to lift trains for maintenance.

Safety has become more of a priority since the decision was made to introduce electric trains, Mr Carter says.

As a result, the new signal system is automatic, meaning trains can be guided from one track to another rather than drivers manually performing the change.

And the walls in the graffiti wash area are extra high so it doesn't electrocute the workers.

Mr Carter says better maintenance at the $100 million facility will create a more efficient train service for Aucklanders.

Concrete plasterer Awa Brown says working on the project has been a fantastic experience.

"I started here from the ground level last year through the wind and the rain. It was pretty hard for starters but we got it moving."

Three simulators are also expected to arrive shortly that will help with driver training once the facility opens.

Electric trains will start arriving in Auckland from the Spanish manufacturers in September and track electrification is expected to finish in April next year.
  wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed
Auckland's northwestern settlement of Waitakere is to lose passenger trains after more than 130 years.
In a move condemned by rail enthusiasts and local politicians as short-sighted, Auckland Transport intends axing the final 3.9km Swanson-Waitakere section of its network when electric trains start running on the western line in 2016.
The council body says there are not enough passengers to justify the $6 million needed to upgrade stations and trains for a diesel rail shuttle. Buses will be used instead.
  alexjc Deputy Commissioner

Auckland's northwestern settlement of Waitakere is to lose passenger trains after more than 130 years.
In a move condemned by rail enthusiasts and local politicians as short-sighted, Auckland Transport intends axing the final 3.9km Swanson-Waitakere section of its network when electric trains start running on the western line in 2016.
The council body says there are not enough passengers to justify the $6 million needed to upgrade stations and trains for a diesel rail shuttle. Buses will be used instead.
wanderer53

It's all to do with the Waitakere tunnel, either needs widening for two tracks and/or or drop the floor for cantenary. But who wants to bet that money will be found at the last moment...could be time to talk to Parry People Movers?
  wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed
It's all to do with the Waitakere tunnel, either needs widening for two tracks and/or or drop the floor for cantenary. But who wants to bet that money will be found at the last moment...could be time to talk to Parry People Movers?
alexjc

With the limited number of passengers from Waitakere this service was always doomed. Personally I would have liked to have seen a service to  Kumeu-Huapai trialled as soon as the first few EMU's released enough rolling stock. I understand that  Kumeu-Huapai  is a future growth area. However realistically untill the tunnel under central Auckland is built trains from this part of Auckland have a time disadvantage for passengers wishing to reach the CBD.
  wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed
Q. What is the future of trains on the Western Line? The infrastructure is in place and passengers are waiting to respond to a service with reasonable frequency. And what about further afield on this line? Richard Brown, Muriwai.
The answer to this has been a long time coming, but Auckland Transport announced last week that services between neighbouring Waitakere and Swanson stations (a distance of 2km or so) would be replaced with a regular bus shuttle service once Auckland's new electric trains were operating on the Western Line.
The Western Line is electrified and double-tracked only as far as Swanson and no funding is available to expand or cut through the Waitakere tunnel to extend the electrified network.
Auckland Transport's decision to provide buses in place of a diesel shuttle service was based on several factors, including the high cost of operating and maintaining a diesel service in comparison to a bus service, low demand for public transport services at Waitakere, capital cost savings and comparative travel times (seven minutes by bus versus five by train).


Studies show that many people from the Waitakere/Bethells area forgo Waitakere Station to park and ride at Swanson, where rail services are more frequent.
Residents will be invited to give their views on the proposed bus services before all electric trains are in service by mid-2016.
Given the decision to go with buses, it seems unlikely a commuter train service as far as Huapai and beyond will be provided.
  wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HEpeaTNhQkU&feature=player_embedded
  wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed
Auckland Electrification Programme (AEP) works continue across the rail network, with an increasing number of rail network closures or partial closures required from May onwards. The network was closed in whole or part on a number of May weekends. May also saw the commencement of the closure of the Southern Line from Otahuhu south from 8pm onwards for Sunday through to Thursday evenings to permit construction works. These service disruptions, while covered by RailBus replacements, will have a negative impact on rail patronage in the short term.
AEP commissioning dates by line have been confirmed by KiwiRail and EMU testing and commissioning programmes are being confirmed. Associated additional network and service closures are being assessed as part of this work.
The process of transferring KiwiRail passenger rail drivers to Veolia is being progressed to enable a progressive full complement of passenger rail drivers to be employed by Veolia for EMU operations.
  wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed
Rail
EMU Project
Design
The design activities are focussed on various testing in Spain for commissioning and acceptance testing in New Zealand. The testing in Spain is continuing with factory type testing of the equipment all but complete, and testing of the first train proceeding well. The crew training material is in development with Veolia actively involved.
Production
CAF has now completed the bodyshells for the first six trains (18 vehicles) with ten vehicles on the final assembly line. The first train is in the test bay and the second train is due to commence testing in three weeks' time. The production process and materials supply are now well established.
Figure 1: The finished interior of a motor car Figure 2: The finished interior of the centre (trailer) car
Programme
Shipping is booked for late July with the ship due to dock in Auckland on 7 September. This is approximately one week behind the programmed date for delivery of the first train.
The second and third trains will be shipped in September.
The driver training simulator has arrived in Auckland and is in storage until July 2013, when CAF will install it in the training room at the EMU maintenance facility. Board Meeting 25 June 2013 Agenda item no. 9 Open Session
EMU Maintenance Facility Project
With only five weeks to go until Practical Completion, there is considerable and intense activity on site. The amenities area in the building is being fitted out and ancillary buildings are nearing completion.
Much of the key plant is installed and is being commissioned.
Outside the building, civil works remain to be completed (trackwork, roads and carpark) with contractors are working day and night to get it completed. The overhead line is almost all installed.
The main activity over the next five weeks will be completing the amenities area in the main building and the civil works in the yard. Practical Completion A is on 28 June 2013 and then the building will be fitted out over the next two months ready for the first train. A Powhiri is being organised for 1 July and the Opening Ceremony on 5 July.
Figure 3: Working 24 hours Figure
  wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed
Auckland’s EMU Depot opened Auckland Transport’s new EMU Maintenance Depot at Wiri was officially opened by Mayor Len Brown last Friday.


The brand new facility has been built to service and maintain Auckland Transport’s fleet of EMUs due to start arriving this September. The depot comprises 13 tracks, graffiti wash, train wash, drivers changeover platform, a main building housing maintenance pits and a wheel lathe plus many more state of the art technologies to ensure the new fleet is maintained to the highest standards. The project was managed by Downer’s for Auckland Transport with the Kiwirail Auckland Project Team building the track elements by way of a sub-contract arrangement; 6klm of concrete sleeper track, 27 50kg turnouts and 28 pedestrian crossings.


The first portion of track was laid in August 2012, the construction programme was tight with only 10 months to complete the project as December and January were set aside for KiwiRail Christmas BOL preparation and works. Downer’s subcontractor, Smith & Davies, was responsible for laying the track formation and ballast bed with the Kiwirail team following up right behind them. Project Field Engineer, James Brailsford says "We kept to programme all the way and were constantly pushing Downer and Smith and Davies to handover further track bed to allow track construction".


Project Engineer, Nick Smart, managed the build on the ground and had to contend with multiple contractors trying to deliver everything from drainage, to platform construction, to OLE mast erection, building fabrication, lighting and landscaping. " But we soon got into a rhythm of placing turnouts and laying sleepers on whatever track bed was available on the Monday so when the gang turned in on the Tuesday they could get stuck into clipping and joining the track," says Nick. This construction methodology allowed the track team to keep pace and in some instances ‘overtake’ the formation and ballast bed team.


As the project deadline loomed the pressure intensified and the number of contractors on site increased significantly. This combined with the ever reducing work space meant communication and safety awareness became even more critical. The Kiwirail team responded to the challenge and even managed to fit in some on the job training in de-stress — achieving over 800m a day of full de-stress once they became familiar with the process. During their 10 months on site the team incurred no MTI’s or LTI’s.


In the latter stages of the project Nick Smart had a spill whilst riding his beloved motorbike and the team drafted in Nathan Pinch, Project Engineer Track Freeze, to assist with the final stages of the on-site delivery. Fortunately, Nick has made good progress and even managed to attend the grand opening. The final stages of the project included substantial volumes of over-ballasting, tamping, welding, de-stress and footpath construction. "The scale of the project was immense with scores of contractors working adjacent and in some cases almost over the top of each other. This meant having to plan and coordinate the tamper movements and outstanding track tasks well in advance to ensure all parties were working efficiently," says Nathan.


The team worked tirelessly in the last week on the finishing touches and completed all track tasks including site clearance with at least half-a-day to spare. "The team can be proud of what they have achieved at Wiri while also managing to keep pace with the demands of other DART Projects such as Papakura which were constructed during the same busy months. The quality of the track build is excellent with only minor snagging works to be completed, all done safely with no MTI’s or LTI’s," says Project Field Engineer, James Brailsford
  wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed
The first of Auckland's new electric trains is on its way to New Zealand from the Spanish factor where it was built.
The train is set to arrive in early September where it will be taken to the new $100 million train maintenance depot in Wiri for certification.
It will be the first of 57 three-car trains that will carry passengers on the city's rail network.
Auckland Transport's chief executive David Warburton said the trains, which carry 375 passengers each, would revolutionise public transport in Auckland.
  wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pqYpbYnlhak&feature=player_embedded
  wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed
Auckland’s first new train is on the way The first of Auckland’s new trains is wrapped and ready for shipping from Spain.


The train has left the Construcciones y Auxillair Ferrocarriles (CAF) factory at Beasain in the Basque country in the north of Spain and is now in transit to the port of Santander.


The ship carrying the train will sail via Baltimore and the Panama Canal and arrive in Auckland in early September.


Once here, the train will be taken from the port to the new $100 million train maintenance depot at Wiri for checking and certification. Between September and April the new train, and others as they arrive, will be thoroughly tested and used for driver training before going into operation once there is a sufficient number to run a commercial service.


Auckland Transport’s Chief Executive Officer David Warburton says the first train has been delivered by CAF from the factory on time. "These trains will revolutionise public transport by rail in Auckland. The trains look clean and simple but they are state of the art."


CAF is building a fleet of 57 three-car sets to carry passengers on the Auckland suburban rail network. The trains have been designed to meet the specific needs of Aucklanders and feature the latest in terms of safety, comfort and reliability.


The three-car sets carry up to 375 passengers, around 100 more than the current trains or an increase of 40 per cent.


CAF was awarded the $US300 million contract to build the trains in October 2011 and all trains are due to be in operation in Auckland by late 2015.
  wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed
34. At present, Auckland is in the final nine months of the major physical works to electrify the
urban rail network, to be followed by ongoing commissioning works. To achieve this work
requires substantial rail network closures, with a full weekend network closure approximately
every fortnight, and the replacement of some late evening train services by buses. Another
significant network shutdown will also be required over the Christmas/ New Year 2013/2014
period. This level of service disruption, combined with an inability to add peak capacity in
advance of electrification, has acted as a brake on rail patronage growth.

35. The first tranche of electric trains are planned to come into service on the Onehunga Line in
April 2014. This will allow the diesel multiple units running this service to be redeployed to
build up more peak services to a minimum of 4-car trains.
Further stages of electrification, to
be implemented in stages through 2014 and 2015, will enable further capacity increases as
the new electric trains have substantially more passenger capacity that the diesel rolling
stock that they will replace and enable, in the short term, diesel rolling stock to be
reallocated to parts of the network struggling to meet peak demand
.

36. The full roll-out of the electric train fleet is expected to be completed around the end of 2015
with planned 10-minute peak service on the three main lines
(Manukau, southern and
western lines). These three lines are part of the frequent network, meaning that trains will
run at least every 15 minutes all day, every day a week between 7am and 7pm (and less
often after 7pm). The Onehunga line is constrained by single-track operation and is planned
to operate every 30 minutes at all times.

37. The electric train fleet will add substantial passenger carrying capacity to the network. For
example, western line peak one-hour (the busiest peak hour) capacity is expected to
increase from 2,100 to 4,500 as there will be sufficient electric trains to run all peak one-hour
services on the three main lines as 6-car trains. However, the full benefit of this capacity
increase will only be achieved once the full electric train fleet is in service at the end of 2015.

http://www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/SiteCollectionDocuments/aboutcouncil/committees/transportcommittee/meetings/transportcomag20130807.pdf
  wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed
The train transformation of Auckland has started.
Two "state of the art" training simulators for the city's new electric trains were launched by Auckland Mayor Len Brown this morning.
The $650 million electric train programme is the first step in the $10 billion upgrade of Auckland's transport systems.
Housed in the new train depot at Wiri, the computer-based simulators allow drivers to be trained on the new vehicles without setting foot inside one.
The simulators are programmed with the Auckland railway network, filmed last year and converted into video graphics. This allows drivers to be trained on the new trains over the full network they will be running on.
The drivers can be trained to handle situations that would be very difficult or dangerous to replicate in any other way.
Brown was one of the first to test a simulator this morning.
"I think the thing the people will love about the new trains is the pace of the pickup and the stop. [It's a] much smoother, quieter ride. We are all about pace and momentum in Auckland," he said.
The first trains are expected to arrive from Spain at the end of this month, and be on the tracks sometime in September.
Fifty-seven, three-car trains will eventually join the Auckland transport network.
The new trains will travel more swiftly than the current diesel fleet and shave about 10 minutes off the travel from Papakura to Britomart.
"We want the experience to be top-class. A total indicator to the people of Auckland that we are about to go through a train transformation," Brown said.
  wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed
Auckland’s train drivers are learning to drive the city’s new electric trains prior to the first one arriving from Spain at the end of the month.
Auckland Transport has set up two ‘state of the art’ simulators which are being used to train the drivers. Each simulator is laid out exactly like the driver’s cab in an electric train with all the controls in the same place and a large flat screen display in place of the windscreen. Rather like a giant video game, the screen displays the view that the driver would see from the cab.
The simulator is programmed with the Auckland railway network, which was filmed last year and converted into video graphics, allowing drivers to be trained to drive over the full network.
Auckland Transport Chairman Dr Lester Levy was today shown the simulator. "I was given some basic training on how to drive it, the new trains are going to be great for Auckland commuters and, if the simulator is anything to go by, they’ll be a pleasure to drive."
The simulator can be set to show daytime or night-time and includes a range of weather conditions, it can also simulate faults in the train or events on the line.
Transdev driver trainer William Els says, "Drivers can familiarise themselves with all the safety features before they even get in the cab or out on the network. The simulator means drivers get more than double the practical experience they would have had otherwise."
A training instructor sets up the simulator at the start of each training session to select the route, weather, time of day and any incidents or faults that are required for the training session. The trainee then operates the simulator while the instructor monitors progress remotely, using mimic screens and a webcam that shows what the trainee is doing. Every training run is recorded and can be played back and analysed with the trainee.
Transdev Managing Director Terry Scott says, "Safety is a priority at Transdev so having a tool like the simulator for our drivers to practise on is fantastic."
Once drivers are competent on the simulator they will be test driving the new trains on the network prior to passenger services starting early next year.
There are 57 three-car train sets being manufactured by Construcciones y Auxilair Ferrocarriles (CAF) in Spain, all will be operating by mid-2015.
The simulators have been manufactured by Lander Simulation and Training Solution S.A. based in Spain.

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