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
1902 was a year for firsts. Teddy Roosevelt became the first United States President to ride in a car, the air conditioner and neon light were invented, a radio transmission was received and the Mayor of Auckland, Alfred Kidd, started the Hobson St power station generators which kicked the world's first coast-to-coast electric tram system into life.
Mr Kidd and his council made the decision to shift from horse-drawn trams that had served Auckland since 1884 and start the country's biggest engineering project.
Men using picks and shovels built the Auckland Electric Tramway. Horses helped move and install heavy poles for the overhead lines.
The system, completed in just over a year, started with 43 trams, all shipped from England and assembled in Ponsonby.
The first trams ran from downtown to Onehunga. The new electric trains start on the Onehunga line.

Mr Kidd was a visionary. The 600,000 invested in the electric tram system for a city of just 60,000 people was the equivalent of $100 million in today's terms.
For the next 50 or so years, Auckland's growth was led by the vision of Mr Kidd and his council - until 1956 when the unfathomable decision was taken to remove the electric trams from city streets.
So here we are, 50 years and hundreds of millions of dollars later trying to recreate history through investment in infrastructure and services that will guide and direct Auckland for the next 50 years and beyond.
And while Monday appears to be all about the new electric trains, the reality is that it is about more than just rail. The new trains in themselves are breathtakingly wonderful, faster, quieter and smarter than before.
But they cannot be seen in isolation, more importantly than the comfort, speed and reliability they will provide our customers on a day to day basis, they will create the critical spine for a new rapid transit network in Auckland, off which an expanded and more frequent bus network will flourish.
Who knows, we may move even further "back to the future" with light rail - the equivalent of Mayor Kidd's electrified trams - as we continue the transformation of transport in Auckland. But that is perhaps a story for another day.
In many ways what we are celebrating here on Monday is Auckland coming full circle with trains, buses and other modes such as cycling returning to take their place in a balanced, rapid, public transport system.
I feel sure that Mayor Kidd would be scratching his head as to how we managed to find ourselves in the predicament that we are now climbing out of.
But equally, I am sure he would be tipping his top-hat to both governments and councils who, like him, grasped the nettle and have been bold enough to invest thoughtfully into both today's and future generations.
Never again should we let happen what happened in 1956, an act which marginalised public transport in Auckland for a very long time.
In the same way that electric trams ushered in affordable and rapid public transport, changing the city of Auckland, our developing rapid transit network will do the same - it is a matter of "back to the future".
• Dr Lester Levy is chairman of Auckland Transport.

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  GeoffreyHansen Minister for Railways

Location: In a FAM sleeper
It's great news about Auckland's electric trains starting.
  wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed
Dignitaries, train enthusiasts and children flooded central Auckland to be the city’s first electric-train passengers.


Dignitaries, train enthusiasts and children flooded central Auckland this morning to be the city's first electric-train passengers.
The service took them the 15-minute round trip from Britomart station to Newmarket and back, before the trains start properly tomorrow on the Onehunga line.
The $1.7 billion rail-electrification project saw the purchase of 57 Spanish-built trains, each of which has 232 seats.
Auckland Council will be hoping the electrified network sparks a rise in patronage to fast-track the City Rail Link (CRL) - an underground tunnel connecting Britomart to three new inner-city train stations.
The council wants construction of the $3bn CRL to start in 2016 but the government said it will have to wait until 2020, unless CBD employment grows by 25 per cent or rail patronage heads toward 20 million trips a year before 2020.
A Labour Government would build it immediately, funding the loop "50/50" with the council.
Labour's transport spokeswoman Darien Fenton said delays could cost taxpayers an extra $500 million.
"This is Auckland's number one challenge. The City Rail Link will double the number of trains on the network, ease congestion, and put Auckland on track for a world-class transport system."
The Green Party was also pledging to start the project next year, if it made it into Government.
Transport spokeswoman Julie Anne Genter said it was the "next essential step" in creating a smarter, more environmentally friendly transport network.
''Construction of the City Rail Link must begin next year, but National keeps blocking it. The Green Party is committed to getting this project moving as soon as possible," she said.
"Following construction of the City Rail Link we can extend lines to the airport and the North Shore. These projects will create a congestion-free network that will make moving around Auckland easier, help to de-clog the roads, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions."
About 11 million trips were made in the year to March, while Auckland Transport has forecast 15 million trips per year by 2017.
In a speech this morning Auckland mayor Len Brown spoke about the "dawn of a new era" but was quick to throw in a proviso.
"Those new electric trains will only reach their full potential when the CRL is built."
The morning's festivities were not just men in suits addressing the crowd about the technological strides forward.
A masked dance group in silver lycra performed a version of Daft Punk's Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger to underscore the message.
He did not quite repeat the lyrics but chairman of Auckland Transport Dr Lester Levy said the trains would be "faster, quieter and smarter".
Currently for every 100 journeys made by Aucklanders in a car, only one was made on a train.
Dr Levy said that imbalance needed to be addressed to ease the city's congestion problems.

THE NUMBERS
-57 new electric trains, made up of a motor cars and a trailer car
-232 seats per train
-110 kmh maximum speed
-One carriage on each train will be at platform level for wheelchairs, prams and bikes.
  wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed
It's great news about Auckland's electric trains starting.
GeoffreyHansen

Indeed it is and only about 60 years late.
  wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed
Transport planners say today's electric train launch will jolt Auckland's rail system into the 21st century, but its long-term success will hinge on getting enough passengers onboard.
The upgrade follows close to 90 years of discussions and $1.7 billion in public funding.
Auckland Council will be hoping the electrified network sparks a rise in patronage to fast-track the City Rail Link (CRL) - an underground tunnel connecting Britomart to three new inner-city train stations.
The council want construction of the $3bn CRL to start in 2016 but the government said it will have to wait until 2020, unless CBD employment grows by 25 per cent or rail patronage heads toward 20 million trips a year before 2020.
About 11 million trips were made in the year to March, while Auckland Transport has forecast 15 million trips per year by 2017.
Transport expert Tony Garnier said he expected passenger numbers to climb on the back of new trains being rolled-out.
''The next six to seven months will be one of the most critical periods,'' he said.
''The government need to make sure its investment in the CRL is not just money down the sinkhole. But if patronage goes up on electrified trains, then that can be taken as a signal that it's worth getting on and building the CRL as soon as possible.''
New Zealand Transport Blog editor Matt Lowrie agreed electric trains could push usage close to the 20 million mark.
He said the CRL was the next major step for the city's transport system but he criticised the government's ''double standards'' in setting thresholds for the construction timeline, which he said didn't apply to other infrastructure projects.
''The problem is it might be too late and we will be chasing to keep up with demand,'' he said. ''We need to be planning for this well in advance.''
He said while the CRL came with a huge price tag, it offered major benefits and flow-on effects for the economy.
''It's the equivalent to the central motorway junction, in terms of how critical it is for keeping the city moving.''
Auckland Transport chief operating officer Greg Edmonds said the CRL was one of the largest, if not the largest capital works project in New Zealand's history.
''Even though it's only a 3.5km tunnel it will be up there with the Manapouri dam or the Huntly power station,'' he said.
Edmonds said today's introduction of Spain-built electric trains marked an end to the city's second-rate passenger rail system.
He offered a blunt assessment of the outgoing fleet of ''unreliable, uncomfortable, noisy, and not environmentally friendly'' diesel trains, but said the new models would offer a faster and more efficient service.
''It's about turning what was traditionally a freight rail network into a metro passenger service,'' he said.
''We'll see a massive improvement in reliability. With the level of funding invested we'll be very disappointed if we don't.''
Edmonds said a key part of the upgrade was attracting new passengers, particularly ''car-addicts''.
''It's not just about the hard infrastructure but also what we need to do to make it more socially acceptable for people to use trains. It's about providing an alternative for people who would otherwise rely on their car.''

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Auckland mayor Len Brown expected a greater uptake of the new international-standard trains, as opposed to the current ''clunkers''.
He said residents increasingly demanded better public transport and faster delivery of projects, such as the CRL.
''Aucklanders know public transport is our number one issue,'' he said.
''This is stuff that should have happened incrementally over 90 years. Now we're trying to get it happening within five years.''
Brown said the council was also under mounting pressure from the private sector to develop infrastructure to cater for growth.
''The danger for the city and the nation's point of view is we're seeing the private sector invest in major economic development projects that are based on transportation. Having made this commitment (to the CRL) we've just got to get on with it.''
Auckland chamber of commerce chief executive Michael Barnett said the council needed to better communicate the benefits of rail projects. He said the business community were supportive of the CRL being brought forward.
''It's really Auckland Council's challenge to be able to explain why it should be built sooner. I think the biggest challenge is having people really understand why we need it, and what it will mean for the city's growth and productivity.''
A spokesman for transport minister Gerry Brownlee said the government had ongoing talks with the council about rail infrastructure. He said the specific timeline for the CRL would be subject to regular monitoring meetings.
Prime Minister John Key said at the switching on of the electrified network earlier this month the new trains were part of the city's transport solution and that ''if we want Auckland and indeed New Zealand to be efficient and competitive on a world stage we have to have good access to public transport.''
Edmonds said Auckland Transport engineers would be ready to go with the CRL, as soon as it got the go ahead.
''We don't get involved in that policy area we just do the prep-work that's required and hopefully someone will say to us 'yep you can get started on that' and they'll deliver the money by a certain date.''
Today's electric train launch will see 5000 ride for free before trains are officially in service on the Onehunga line from tomorrow.
  wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed
As thousands take free ride on electric train, Len Brown warns rapid start needed on follow-up project.
Nian Sukha, 4, is thrilled to be one of the first to ride in the new electric trains. Photo / Sarah Ivey
Aucklanders welcoming slick new electric trains to their transport arsenal this morning are being reminded they need to dig deeper for more answers to the city's congestion woes.
Mayor Len Brown expects passengers to flock to the "stunning" three-car trains, two of which took thousands of joy-riders on free jaunts from Britomart yesterday and will from today be joined by three others on half-hourly commuting runs between Onehunga and the city.
"They are quiet, fast and modern, giving a real sense of space - you'll love them, they move beautifully," he gushed to the Herald after an earlier test ride on the first of what will swell to a 57-strong fleet by the middle of next year, marking the completion of a $1.14 billion rail electrification drive.
Gallery: Auckland's electric rail starts rolling

[img]http://media.nzherald.co.nz/webcontent/image/jpg/201418/SCCZEN_270414NZHSRITRAINS23_460x230.jpg[/img]GalleryElectric rail starts rolling

But Mr Brown warned that without a rapid start on a follow-up $2.86 billion underground rail project, Britomart will soon be bursting at the seams as a dead-end station from which the new trains will have to keep reversing until a twin-tunnel extension is built to Mt Eden by about 2025, under a Government timetable.
"We could probably max our patronage on the present suburban rail network at between 16 million and 17 million [passenger trips] per annum," said the mayor, who wants construction of the 3.5km extension to start as early as 2016, after asking his council to make hard decisions next year on how the city will match the Government's half-share.
"I think once the electric trains come on, we'll get there pretty quick."
Although patronage on the old diesel fleet has languished over much of the past two years, after more than quadrupling from 2.5 million trips since Britomart opened in 2003, it has since edged up to a new high of 11 million.
Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee yesterday reiterated that the Government would consider an earlier start on the underground railway, but only if Auckland can prove urgency by showing train patronage is on track to hit 20 million trips well before 2020, and that CBD jobs are growing by 25 per cent.
He opposed the use of tolls, congestion charges or a regional fuel tax to pay Auckland's share because he felt motorists should not have to carry an extra burden for the project.
Mr Brown acknowledged spending by the Government and its Labour-led predecessor accounted for more than 75 per cent of the rail electrification project, and said it would be up to Aucklanders to guide the council on new revenue sources needed to fill a $12 billion funding gap over the next 30 years on top of $56 billion already earmarked for spending on roads and public transport.
"They know there is no easy fix and in the end it's basically back to us - in our hands, in our pockets - dealing with the challenge we have got as a city."
He has meanwhile reconvened an advisory "consensus-building group" which last year left the council with two unpalatable funding options, the first relying on hefty rates and fuel tax rises and the other involving road user fees such as motorway network tolling or "congestion charging" for peak-time trips on arterial routes.
The group, slightly reduced to 15 representatives of sector organisations after the withdrawal of the Automobile Association and a parking company, has been asked to construct financial models for each of the options for the council to put to public consultation early next year.
Neither a regional fuel tax nor road charging is favoured by the Government.
AA spokesman Barney Irvine said his organisation supported last year's exercise but believed it went as far as it could with that, and now the council should be "taking leadership and ownership of this, rather than an external group".
But the AA intended canvassing its 279,000 Auckland members on a preferred funding option, ready to take full part in next year's public consultations.
Design wins plaudits from disabled
Chris Orr felt proud to be on the train when his guide dog Riley slid into the space under the seat and lay down with tail tucked out of the way of passengers passing along the aisle.
"The seats are cantilevered so dogs, and bags, can go underneath and Riley was not going to be stood on," said Mr Orr, who takes the train from Manurewa to his job in Newmarket as environmental awareness adviser for the Blind Foundation.
"We were involved in the design of the train from the word go, from the concept stage, and the result is you won't get any better around the world for accessibility."
Mr Orr said that as well as the design of the seats, Auckland Transport took advice on interior colours.
"Most of the Blind Foundation's clients have some residual vision and are not totally blind. So our work was to get good lighting and colour contrast so people with low vision can use the train easier, which is important for our growing older population.
"The use of contrasting dark-blue and yellow colours means features can be picked up straight away - here's where the hand grip is, the edge of the steps, they shine."
Mr Orr praised the use of contrasting colour for the passenger information display and a further aid - the announcement of stations coming up en route, which could be heard above background noise and despite use of headsets.
But as a regular train user since 1976 who has advised on designs for new stations, he was enthusiastic about other improved accessibility features.
"In the 1970s, you had to climb three steps to a narrow door but today stepping off at Newmarket the platform was almost level with the train. Users of wheelchairs will appreciate the new ramps' sensing the edge and height of platforms.
"The subtle controls for the new trains means they will stop at the same place at the platform for passengers using the low floor part of the train.
"That's enormous for people with limited mobility who sometimes have to walk 20 to 30m along the platform."
- Wayne Thompson
Electric train rollout
• Today - Onehunga-Britomart (via Newmarket)
• Late 2014 - Manukau-Britomart (via eastern line through Panmure and Glen Innes)
• Early-mid 2015 - Papakura-Britomart
• Mid-late 2015 - Swanson-Britomart (western line).
  wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed
Aucklanders get the first taste of the future of transport26/04/2014 10:02:04 p.m.
An exciting new era in public transport is being ushered in today with the launch of Auckland’s half billion dollar electric train fleet.

The trains have been launched at Britomart by Mayor Len Brown along with Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee and Auckland Transport Chairman Dr Lester Levy.
Len Brown says the new trains are world class. “Now is the time for Aucklanders to get on board and I know they absolutely will. Recently we hit the 11 million mark for annual trips, and given these trains and agreement on the City Rail Link, our aim of 20 million trips is now a very realistic target in the coming years”.
“The new trains are setting up public transport in Auckland for the future. Combined with the City Rail Link, the new trains mean that in time we will see trains operating every seven to ten minutes on all lines”.
The City Rail Link, with its three new stations, will see journey times reduced dramatically, the trip from New Lynn to Aotea will take just 23 minutes and from Panmure to Newton 27 minutes.
To mark the launch of the trains, 5000 Aucklanders are today enjoying a free ride between Britomart and Newmarket and return.
Dr Levy says Aucklanders have good reason to be excited, “The new trains are a huge step up from what our customers have been used to. They are enviromentally friendly, energy efficient and produce no air pollution. The trains are modern, comfortable, safe and a pleasure to ride”.
The trains travel faster than the current fleet and will allow services to run more often and get passengers to their destination quicker.
Each train has seating for 232 passengers and standing room for more. The trains have wider doors making it easier for passengers.
The central carriage is at platform level for wheelchairs, prams or bikes and automatic ramps mean a seamless transition between the platform and the train.
Open gangways between cars mean passengers can move from one end of the train to the other.
Fifty-seven trains are being put into service across Auckland between now and the middle of next year.
Tomorrow morning the first paying services start with the electric trains running on the line between Britomart and Onehunga.

Some facts and figures about the new electric trains:

  • There are now 12 electric train units in Auckland. Seven have been commissioned - that is, they have their registration and warrants with five more about to be tested.

  • The supplier, CAF has used equipment from Japan, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Spain - taking the best from the world to create trains specifically for Auckland.

  • It takes more than 15,000 hours to fabricate and assemble one electric train unit, there are 110km of wiring in each unit.

  • Each train is tested for 1000 hours on the tracks.

  • To create the weight of passengers while we were testing the trains, we used 1800 20kgs sandbags on each train.

  • To date we have trained 47 drivers, 86 train managers and 13 supervisors.

  • We have spent 3008 hours on driver training and 1504 hours on theory.

  • Drivers have spent 752 hours on the electric train simulator.

  • To date we have driven more than 25,000kms with the electric trains during testing and commissioning.

  wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed
A mixture of extra vigilant staff and passengers unsure about how to open doors, has been blamed for delays as the first of Auckland's shiny new electric trains went into commercial service today.
Passengers complained some services were up to 30 minutes late.
The first commercial service by one of the Spanish-built trains left Onehunga for downtown Auckland before 6am.
By shortly after 9.30am train operator Transdev Auckland was warning of "some minor delays" on the Southern and Onehunga lines.
"Fantastic way to launch the new electric trains Auckland... off to a 30 min delay on a Monday morning. #notimpressed," Kelly Parlane tweeted.
In a statement Auckland Transport said its rail operator Transdev had a few early operational changes with the new electric trains.
"On-board staff have been extra vigilant when customers have been boarding and getting off the trains which has caused some minor delays and these have impacted on subsequent services," Auckland Transport chief operations officer Greg Edmonds said.
Some passengers were also still getting used to the way the train doors were activated.
"It is not a fault with the trains, it is a mixture of staff being cautious and customers being eager to embrace the new technology. We were prepared for minor teething problems and we expect these issues will disappear as staff and the travelling public become more comfortable with the trains. It might take a few days for the changes to bed in," Edmonds said.
Trains had spent longer than usual at each station, particularly as large numbers of people had been travelling. By 12.30am, when the statement was released, trains were running to timetable again.
Yesterday dignitaries, train enthusiasts and children flooded central Auckland to be the first passengers on the new trains.
The service took them the 15-minute round trip from Britomart station to Newmarket and back, before services started properly today.
The $1.7 billion rail-electrification project saw 57 of the 232-seat trains bought from Spain.
Auckland Council hopes the electrified network sparks a rise in patronage to fast-track the City Rail Link (CRL) - an underground link connecting Britomart to three new inner-city stations.
The council wants construction of the $3 billion CRL to start in 2016 but the Government said it would have to wait until 2020, unless CBD employment grew 25 per cent or rail patronage headed toward 20 million trips a year before 2020.
A Labour Government would build it immediately, funding the loop "50/50" with the council, party transport spokeswoman Darien Fenton said. Delays could cost taxpayers an extra $500 million.
"This is Auckland's No 1 challenge," she said.
"The City Rail Link will double the number of trains on the network, ease congestion, and put Auckland on track for a world-class transport system."
The Green Party has also pledged to start the project next year, if it made it into Government.
Party transport spokeswoman Julie Anne Genter said it was the "next essential step" in creating a smarter, more environmentally friendly transport network.


"Construction of the City Rail Link must begin next year, but National keeps blocking it," she said.
"The Green Party is committed to getting this project moving as soon as possible.
"Following construction of the City Rail Link we can extend lines to the airport and the North Shore. These projects will create a congestion-free network that will make moving around Auckland easier, help to de-clog the roads, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions."
About 11 million trips were made in the year to March, while Auckland Transport has forecast 15 million trips a year by 2017.
In a speech yesterday Auckland mayor Len Brown spoke of the "dawn of a new era" but was quick to throw in a proviso: "Those new electric trains will only reach their full potential when the CRL is built."
The morning's festivities were not just telling the crowd about the technological progress, a masked dance group in silver lycra performed a version of Daft Punk's Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger to underscore the message.
Chairman of Auckland Transport Dr Lester Levy did not quite repeat the lyrics but said the trains would be "faster, quieter and smarter".
At present, for every 100 journeys Aucklanders made by car, only one was made on a train.
Levy said that imbalance needed to be addressed to ease the city's congestion problems.
  wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed
Auckland's gleaming new electric trains launched into business at 5.48am today - and quickly experienced delays.
Much fuss was made this morning as the first trains to enter passenger service headed out of Onehunga with regular commuters outnumbered by transport officials, politicians and journalists on the 72-metre train.
However a combination of driver nerves and possible problems with the retraction of the door steps meant trains were running up to 25 minutes late this morning.
Special ambassadors on board the train told passengers they were sorry for the delays but there were a few teething problems.
They then reportedly asked passengers for their patience while the drivers got used to the new trains.
One official at the Onehunga station told the Herald the delays were due to a problem with the automatic steps which were not retracting properly.

A press release from Transdev at 9.30 confirmed some Southern & Onehunga lines are experiencing some minor delays.
"Good morning customers thank you for your patience this morning as we introduce our new electric trains," said communications supervisor Jacob Tobin.
Read more:
Enthusiasts gather for electric rail launch
Lester Levy: Electric update transports city 'back to future'

Herald reporter Mathew Dearnaley said there were mixed reactions to the delays. Some passengers waiting at the station were understanding but people quickly took to Twitter to vent frustrations.
"If true that poor staff training was reason for trains running late this morning, very poor form from Transdev. Big black mark," tweeted Luke Christensen.
Not all were disappointed however.
Regular Onehunga commuter Reuben Thompson, catching the early train to Britomart, before cycling to his labouring job in Beach Rd enjoyed wheeling his bike at platform level to the three-car train lower-midsection.
His one niggle was that only four spaces are allocated for bikes and they have to be shared by wheelchairs. But after the 28 minute trip to the city, he marvelled at the smoothness and spaciousness of his new coach to work.
His only competition for space at that time of morning was wheelchair user Murray Waring from Pukekohe, who appreciated the automatic ramp reaching out to the platform for him.
Prang Howard was expecting an old diesel clunker when she boarded Te Papapa for her cleaning job in the city, but said the new machine was "awesome''.
The train was joined for its return trip from Britomart by Auckland mayor Len Brown, who said he could sense a pride among the first Aucklanders who rode on the new train at open day yesterday.
"There's a sense of it being a continuum. People are saying it's a good start, a step up into a truly international city,'' Mr Brown said.

Brown: More rail investment needed

However Mr Brown has warned Aucklanders they'll need to dig deeper for more answers to the city's congestion woes.
Mayor Len Brown expects passengers to flock to the "stunning" three-car trains, two of which took thousands of joy-riders on free jaunts from Britomart yesterday.
"They are quiet, fast and modern, giving a real sense of space - you'll love them, they move beautifully," he gushed to the Herald after an earlier test ride on the first of what will swell to a 57-strong fleet by the middle of next year, marking the completion of a $1.14 billion rail electrification drive.
Gallery: Auckland's electric rail starts rolling

[img]http://media.nzherald.co.nz/webcontent/image/jpg/201418/SCCZEN_270414NZHSRITRAINS23_460x230.jpg[/img]GalleryElectric rail starts rolling
But Mr Brown warned that without a rapid start on a follow-up $2.86 billion underground rail project, Britomart will soon be bursting at the seams as a dead-end station from which the new trains will have to keep reversing until a twin-tunnel extension is built to Mt Eden by about 2025, under a Government timetable.
"We could probably max our patronage on the present suburban rail network at between 16 million and 17 million [passenger trips] per annum," said the mayor, who wants construction of the 3.5km extension to start as early as 2016, after asking his council to make hard decisions next year on how the city will match the Government's half-share.
"I think once the electric trains come on, we'll get there pretty quick."
Although patronage on the old diesel fleet has languished over much of the past two years, after more than quadrupling from 2.5 million trips since Britomart opened in 2003, it has since edged up to a new high of 11 million.
Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee yesterday reiterated that the Government would consider an earlier start on the underground railway, but only if Auckland can prove urgency by showing train patronage is on track to hit 20 million trips well before 2020, and that CBD jobs are growing by 25 per cent.
He opposed the use of tolls, congestion charges or a regional fuel tax to pay Auckland's share because he felt motorists should not have to carry an extra burden for the project.
Mr Brown acknowledged spending by the Government and its Labour-led predecessor accounted for more than 75 per cent of the rail electrification project, and said it would be up to Aucklanders to guide the council on new revenue sources needed to fill a $12 billion funding gap over the next 30 years on top of $56 billion already earmarked for spending on roads and public transport.
"They know there is no easy fix and in the end it's basically back to us - in our hands, in our pockets - dealing with the challenge we have got as a city."
He has meanwhile reconvened an advisory "consensus-building group" which last year left the council with two unpalatable funding options, the first relying on hefty rates and fuel tax rises and the other involving road user fees such as motorway network tolling or "congestion charging" for peak-time trips on arterial routes.
The group, slightly reduced to 15 representatives of sector organisations after the withdrawal of the Automobile Association and a parking company, has been asked to construct financial models for each of the options for the council to put to public consultation early next year.
Neither a regional fuel tax nor road charging is favoured by the Government.
AA spokesman Barney Irvine said his organisation supported last year's exercise but believed it went as far as it could with that, and now the council should be "taking leadership and ownership of this, rather than an external group".
But the AA intended canvassing its 279,000 Auckland members on a preferred funding option, ready to take full part in next year's public consultations.
Design wins plaudits from disabled
Chris Orr felt proud to be on the train when his guide dog Riley slid into the space under the seat and lay down with tail tucked out of the way of passengers passing along the aisle.
"The seats are cantilevered so dogs, and bags, can go underneath and Riley was not going to be stood on," said Mr Orr, who takes the train from Manurewa to his job in Newmarket as environmental awareness adviser for the Blind Foundation.
"We were involved in the design of the train from the word go, from the concept stage, and the result is you won't get any better around the world for accessibility."
Mr Orr said that as well as the design of the seats, Auckland Transport took advice on interior colours.
"Most of the Blind Foundation's clients have some residual vision and are not totally blind. So our work was to get good lighting and colour contrast so people with low vision can use the train easier, which is important for our growing older population.
"The use of contrasting dark-blue and yellow colours means features can be picked up straight away - here's where the hand grip is, the edge of the steps, they shine."
Mr Orr praised the use of contrasting colour for the passenger information display and a further aid - the announcement of stations coming up en route, which could be heard above background noise and despite use of headsets.
But as a regular train user since 1976 who has advised on designs for new stations, he was enthusiastic about other improved accessibility features.
"In the 1970s, you had to climb three steps to a narrow door but today stepping off at Newmarket the platform was almost level with the train. Users of wheelchairs will appreciate the new ramps' sensing the edge and height of platforms.
"The subtle controls for the new trains means they will stop at the same place at the platform for passengers using the low floor part of the train.
"That's enormous for people with limited mobility who sometimes have to walk 20 to 30m along the platform."
  wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed
Passengers gave Auckland's new electric trains high marks for comfort on their first work-day today - before door-opening problems and staff nerves cascaded into delays of up to 25 minutes.
Although beaming faces among commuters made for a novel start to the week, there were grumbles among some who wanted only to get to work on time.
Auckland Mayor Len Brown was effusive at Onehunga Station while waiting for a return trip to Britomart, promising a breakfast television audience a cracking pace once a $520 million fleet of 57 electric trains banishes "the old dinosaur diesels" from Papakura to Swanson by mid to late next year.
"At that point, we'll be running every eight to 10 minutes and that's what people want - they don't want to be mucking around waiting."
But moments later, a sigh of dismay rippled around a crowd of about 80 waiting passengers at an announced 12-minute delay to their 7.10am service.

The history-making first train out of Onehunga had left just two minutes late at 5.48am, its silence and smooth motion almost imperceptible to some passengers, as the platform slipped behind them in the darkness.
By 9.30am, however services were running 25 minutes late.
That forced rail operator Transdev to cancel a return trip on the Onehunga-Britomart run and and bring in a third train to get back on schedule by about midday.
Its troubles were compounded yesterday evening by disruptions to diesel trains on the western line after a pedestrian was knocked down and seriously injured on tracks near Henderson.
But at least it did not have to call on a small fleet of replacement buses it had on standby at Onehunga in case of any mechanical meltdowns.
Auckland Transport apologised for "minor delays as train changes bed in", putting those down to rail staff being extra vigilant while supervising boarding passengers who were unfamiliar with new green buttons used to open and shut the wide doors on the three-car electrics.
"It is not a fault with the trains, it's a mixture of staff being cautious and customers being eager to embrace the new technology," said chief operations officer Greg Edmonds.
A Transdev spokeswoman said the company had adjusted procedures at Britomart "for the time being so that all doors are opened on arrival and stay open until departure, and we'll review [that] as the trains settle in and people get used to them."
And as his late service picked up pace on an incline between Ellerslie and Greenlane at about twice that of old diesels struggling to get much faster than 40km/h, Mr Brown quipped: "It's like we're going downhill - we should have a speedometer outside to show off to motorists."
  wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed
Auckland's new electric trains have been running late on their first day, with some services up to 20 minutes behind schedule.

The first trains in the city's new electric fleet began operating between Onehunga and Britomart this morning.

Auckland Transport puts the delays down to teething issues.

The organisation says the drivers of the new trains are being overly cautious.

It says commuters are also getting used to pushing the buttons to open the doors - some are pushing them too often and too soon before the door is released by the driver.

'Quieter, smoother and better'

The new trains are said to be quieter, smoother and better for the environment than their old diesel counterparts, which have been running for over 60 years. They are also capable of reaching maximum speeds of 130 km/h, according to Auckland Mayor Len Brown.

He dismissed claims by transport lobbyists that a city rail link is desperately needed to properly utilise the new trains.

Mr Brown also defended Auckland Transport's ambitious goal to boost the number of people using public transport to up to 375 passengers per day for each of the 57 trains Auckland Transport hopes will be running by the middle of next year.

"That's just a normal aspiration for an international class city," Mr Brown says.



"I have no doubt at all that we'll get to those figures. Every city that goes through this type of rail change...they pick up big patronage shifts and I'm expecting the same here."

However, Mr Brown admits that creating a fast and efficient rail service will be a gradual process as the new trains are phased in. He says by next March trains should be operating at every eight to 10 minutes.

Ticket prices for the new trains are currently under review, but the mayor has denied there will be a price hike to meet the $1.7 billion cost of the railway overhaul.

"We've been down the track of pricing people out of public transport. We're not going there again," Mr Brown.
  wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed
Mike Lee's comments.

Electric Trains in Auckland – here at last!
Posted on April 27, 2014 by Mike Lee

It’s been a long time coming, and believe me, it wasn’t easy getting there, but Auckland’s new electric trains have now entered service – opening a new era in Auckland’s history.   While Wellington’s rail electrification began in the late 1930s and Melbourne’s even earlier in the 1920s, electrifying Auckland rail proved to be much more difficult.  It was first proposed in the late 1940s, and then again in the early 1970s (Mayor Robinson’s ‘rapid rail’) but both these projects foundered for lack of government support.
It turned out to be 3rd time lucky.  Auckland’s third push for electrification began in the early 2000s.  As the chairman of the Auckland Regional Council from 2004-2010 I was involved in a long campaign to persuade first the Labour-led government to grant its support and then, after National came to power in late 2008, starting all over again to persuade them. This was a challenging, sometimes frustrating experience that certainly confirmed Arthur Schopenhauer’s words.
“All truth passes through three stages. First it is ridiculed.  Second it is volently opposed.  Third it is accepted as being self-evident.”

[img]http://www.mikelee.co.nz/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/photo-300x195.jpg[/img] New EMUs at Britomart Station. A long time coming - but worth the struggle.


But we got there. Now looking to the future, Auckland’s new fleet of 57 EMUs (electric multiple units) will be a quantum leap forward for rail commuters, both in performance but also in comfort and design.  Built by the Spanish rail company Construcciones Y auxillar de Ferrocarriles (if that’s hard to say, call it ‘CAF”) after a world-wide tender, these trains are more powerful and much faster (maximum speed 110km per hour) than our present diesel fleet – allowing services to run more often and get travellers to their destinations quicker. Each 3-car unit (two motor cars and one trailer car) can carry 375 passengers. The new trains are also more environmentally friendly: energy-efficient, quieter, and produce no air pollution.  The central car has level boarding for pushchairs and wheelchairs and room for bikes. Regenerative braking will enable them to recover 20% of the electricity used.

These trains are going to be popular with Aucklanders.  As an indication five thousand people got a free ride after the official launch today, Sunday 27 April. The tickets were snapped up in a few hours after they became available early in April.
The first electric trains are now in service on the Onehunga Line (which is also a buzz given the long battle I had to get that line re-opened) and will be progressively put into service after completing their checks at Auckland Transport’s vast new high-tech depot at Wiri. Towards the end of this year they will be in service on the Eastern Line, running from Britomart via Orakei, Glen Innes and Panmure etc., to Manukau. Early next year it will be the turn of the Southern Line: Britomart to Papakura via Newmarket etc., followed by the Western Line, Britomart to Henderson, Swanson and all stations in between.  The project is a credit to Auckland Transport who bought the trains and to KiwiRail supported by the government who erected 80kms of wiring, masts, new signalling and a major amount of civil engineering to make it all happen. But many people played a critical role in this historic achievement. As I often said during the long campaign to secure central government support, new electric trains for Auckland will not only change Aucklanders’ attitudes to rail and public transport but also the way we think about our city.
  Edith Chief Commissioner

Location: Line 1 from Porte de Vincennes bound for Bastille station
You can charge motorists to pay for rail services, if you sell the idea as paying for other people to stop using their road.  This was the approach that got the BART (*Bay Area Rapid Transit) in the 1960s in San Francisco.  The freeways were clogging and there was no obvious way to increase their capacity. The ratepayers voted for their municipalities to borrow money for BART as it meant that the freeways would be freed up.  Most of those who voted for it had no intention of using it.
  wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed
EMU passenger services begin Aucklanders have enjoyed their first taste of their new electric trains after the services were launched between Britomart and Onehunga on Monday 28 April.




The day saw strong patronage as regular commuters and visitors alike checked out the new electric multiple units (EMUs).



This first commercial service was preceded by an open day at Britomart held by Auckland Transport on Sunday which saw 5,000 Aucklanders ride the new electric trains to Newmarket and back for the first time.


"It was a successful event that included attendance from local and national politicians and members of the KiwiRail AEP project team. Our AEP team have done a fantastic job ensuring the network was ready for these services. The infrastructure has been working very well throughout testing and the first few days of passenger service operations have been relatively smooth," says Chief Executive, Peter Reidy.


Auckland Transport also nominated TrackSAFE as its official charity for the Open Day.




"It was a great opportunity for us to promote the TrackSAFE brand and communicate safety messages about quieter trains to thousands of Aucklanders," says Manager, Megan Drayton.



"It also provided an ideal context to boost the electrification safety awareness campaign."

Megan says she was grateful to KiwiRail staff Jenni Austin, Matt Poland and Greg Hackett who helped promote the rail safety cause on the day.


The new Spanish-built EMUs are state of the art and represent a huge leap forward for commuter services in Auckland. Passenger comfort and safety has been a key design objective.


Each train can carry up to 375 passengers and offers a faster and more comfortable service. The trains are also environmentally friendly— they are more energy-efficient and quieter than the current diesel locomotives and produce no air pollution.



The new EMUs will provide Aucklanders with a more-frequent and reliable passenger service.


Fifty-seven brand new electric trains, comprising 2 motor cars and 1 trailer car, will be rolled out across the network through until 2015.
  wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed
An historic milestone The successful start of the first electric train services from Britomart to Onehunga is an historic milestone.


It marks the culmination of the largest and most significant infrastructure development New Zealand rail has seen in decades.


The programme comprised two major projects — Developing Auckland Rail Transport (DART) and the Auckland Electrification Project (AEP).




These projects stretch back 10 years and it is timely to note their enormous scale and complexity.


Completed in May last year, DART comprised a $600 million series of projects and was funded by a special government appropriation.


It began in 2004 with the double tracking of the western metro section of the North Auckland Line from Newmarket to Swanson and included the development of new feature stations at Newmarket, Grafton and New Lynn.


Major upgrades of a number of other stations on the network were also made in conjunction with Auckland Transport.


DART’s next phase involved the refurbishing and commissioning of the line from Penrose to Onehunga and the construction of a new Manukau Branch Line and Manukau station.



A new station was built at Papakura and new stabling for the rail fleet built at Papakura, Henderson and The Strand. Major track work was also completed at Britomart and as a result Auckland Transport has already been able to bring into effect a 10 minute timetable for commuter trains.


A significant amount of track work was also done across the network to ensure that it is could support the operation of the new Electrical Multiple Units (EMUs).


Once this phase of the development of the Auckland regional network was complete, resources were fully concentrated on the completion of the Auckland Electrification Project.




This also was a massive and complex project accounting for more than 650,000 hours —all worked with zero environmental issues and just two minor lost time injuries. It involved the installation of 3,800 foundations and masts, carrying 560 km of overhead lines across 175 kilometres of railway tracks.


Six new substations were built, two with connection to the Transpower grid which supplies the power to the new network and included 36 panels of switchgear, three 220/25 kV power transformers and 10,000m of underground power cable.



The project involved a lot of other civil work aside from the foundations with the raising of 24 road and foot bridges that span the corridor to provide sufficient electrical clearance and the associated safety screening on all 84 bridges in the metro area as well as other vulnerable locations.




A special feature of the project was the deployment of state-of-the-art signalling technology that will provide greater levels of automation and improve communications and safety across the network, well into the future.


The design and construction of a SCADA control system and an upgrade to our Traction Control Centre in Wellington is one such development.



Other leading edge technology includes, the implementation of a new train control system that overrides drivers if they are travelling too fast towards red signals, and advanced automated signalling equipment that is a ‘world-first’ .




The new signalling system also allows for bi-directional operation and Automatic Route Setting, which enables train control to optimise train movements around the network and minimise delays to services.


The result of these projects — alongside Auckland Transport’s ongoing focus around operational performance — has been a progressive improvement in frequency, reliability and connectivity with other modes of transport, and ultimately a progressive increase in rail patronage.


With the start of the new EMU passenger services this trend can only gather momentum.


It ushers in the creation of a truly modern commuter network that provides a reliable and convenient service and has the capacity to serve the Auckland region well into the future.


It is an historic milestone that will stand as an enduring credit to engineering skill, commitment and sheer hard work of all the teams who have made it a reality.


They worked long and hard, mostly at night and often in arduous conditions and did the best possible job, we owe them a huge vote of thanks.



Murray Hood


General Manager, Project Management Office
  wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed
Drivers of electric locomotives complain safety-focused override system is calibrated too conservatively.
Onehunga commuters wait to board one of Auckland's new electric trains. Photo / Greg Bowker
Speed controls on Auckland's new electric trains are overriding their drivers to make them slower than the diesel clunkers they are replacing for $520 million.
Auckland Council infrastructure chairman Mike Lee says trains are up to 10 minutes late as a result and has accused rail operator Transdev of running them "too conservatively".
The train drivers' union shares the view and will meet Transdev to discuss the issue this week.
"They don't seem to realise that what the public wants is speed," Mr Lee told the Herald. "We have got to go as fast as we can - every second counts if we want to win the competition with cars."
He said drivers were frustrated at being overridden by a new automatic European control system to restrict them to 10km/h when arriving at Britomart through its tunnel, or 15km/h when approaching Onehunga and Te Papapa stations from up to 200 metres away. That compared with a 25km/h limit for the old diesel trains at Onehunga and Britomart.

The top permitted speed for the three-car electric units on open tracks is 110km/h - about 20km/h slower than Mayor Len Brown says they are capable of.
Rail and Maritime Transport Union organiser Stuart Johnstone confirmed the delays and said drivers were becoming frustrated with the electric overrides on what were otherwise "very good trains".
Although the new control system was "a good safety device to have", he believed it needed recalibrating.
Transdev blamed delays of up to 25 minutes last Monday, the first day of work for the electric trains, on passengers' unfamiliarity with a new door-opening system and drivers taking extra care with new equipment.
A spokeswoman acknowledged the control system was "configured pretty conservatively at the moment, which is a good thing, but it will be modified as we get them [the trains] into service".
Auckland Transport, which contracts Transdev, expects the trains to cut 10 minutes off 50-minute trips from Papakura to Britomart in 2015.
It hopes all 57 of the new trains being delivered from Spain will be running on all lines by the middle of next year, although a new timeline published last week suggests it may not be until late 2015 that western services go electric.
Chief operations officer Greg Edmonds said it was "entirely correct" for the train control system to be configured conservatively to start with.
Speeds compared
Electric trains
Top permitted speed on open tracks - 110km/h.
Top test speed - 122.6km/h.
Theoretical top speed - about 130km/h.
Diesel trains
Top speed - about 80km/h.
  wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed
AUCKLAND ELECTRIFICATION ENERGISATION WARNING New Section added – NIMT Westfield to Auckland Permanent energisation of the traction overhead system from Westfield Junction and Quay Park Auckland on the NIMT will commence at 1200 hours on the 16th June 2014.


From 1200 hours on that date, the Traction Overhead System between;


• 666.17km at Westfield and 680.59km (Quay Park Junction) on the NIMT, - will be added to the existing energised line sections listed below; • 0.00km (at Newmarket) to 3.26km (Quay Park Junction) on the Newmarket Branch • 0.00km (at Westfield) to 8.70km (Newmarket) on the North Auckland Line, • 0.00km to 3.39km (end of line) on the Onehunga Branch Line, • 657.90km at Wiri to 666.17km at Westfield on the NIMT • 680.59km (Quay Park Junction) to Britomart Station end of line on the NIMT • 0km to 0.5km on the Manukau Branch • Wiri EMU Depot from a point 20 metres south of 2025 signal through to the North EMU Exchange road and continuing to the northern end of the West Exchange Road at 658.89km. These line sections must be treated as being alive at 25,000 volts at all times. The Traction Safe Working Procedures for general rail corridor requirements and any Bulletin requirements as issued by KiwiRail are to apply. Allan Neilson Manager Traction & Electrical Engineering, KiwiRail Infrastructure & Engineering 11 June 2014 This supersedes the Energisation Warning notice issued on the 12/2/2014 for the energisation of the Newmarket to Britomart Station section. N SWANSON STATION KINGSLAND STATION NEWMARKET STATION SYLVIA PARK STATION MANUKAU STATION PAPAKURA STATION NEW LYNN STATION ONEHUNGA STATION BRITOMART STATION HENDERSON STATION TO WAITAKERE Metcalfe Rd Bruce McLaren Rd Glenview Rd Fruitvale RdPortage Rd Spartan Rd Manuroa Rd Taka St Walters Rd St Georges Rd Chalmers StSt Jude St Woodward Rd O’Rorke St Maurice Rd Mays Rd Church St East Church St Alfred St Galway St Captain Springs Rd Victoria St Rossgrove Tce Asquith AveMorningside DrGeorge St Porters AveNormanby Rd Sarawia St Sherrybrooke Pl Mt Lebanon Lane Auckland’s Rail Network Electrification Sections Energised KEY === Energised Sections TO PUKEKOHE Level crossing with 4.25m height restriction Level crossing with 5m height restriction 4.25m 5.0m Applicable until subsequent energisation warning notice issued. Allan Neilson, Manager Traction & Electrical Engineering
  wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed
Basically that is the Eastern line now live, next to go live I believe will be the Manakau branch.
  wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed
Auckland’s brand new fleet of $400 million electric trains are barred from running at top speed, but there is debate over what is behind the go-slow.
Auckland Transport spokesman Mark Hannan said the electric trains were restricted from travelling at up to 110 kilometres per hour in order to fit in with timetables designed around the 39 slower diesel passenger trains still in operation, which top-out at about 80kmh.
But the Rail and Maritime Transport Union (RMTU) said the 57 brand new electric trains would remain as slow as the diesel fleet until a costly upgrade to onboard software is made.
Hannah said when the diesel passenger trains were removed from the network the electric trains would reach their full potential.
At this stage the only benefits commuters will be noticing from the electric trains is improved comfort and noise levels, Hannan said.
‘‘We can’t really get the proper benefit from them until the full roll out when everything is electric which will be the middle of next year.’’
Also new timetables would need to be introduced and software which controls the trains’ speed, called European Train Control Systems (ETCS), would need to be reprogrammed to improve transit times, Hannah said.
The ETCS is a train protection system designed to help train drivers and ensure they stick to speed limits and obey signal rules to prevent collisions.
The system provides a speed range the driver can operate the train before it intervenes to limit speed.
RMTU general secretary Wayne Butson said Auckland Transport purchased the cheapest, entry level ETCS software.
The only way to increase speeds was to upgrade to more expensive versions which could handle trains running in closer proximity to each other, he said.
‘‘I’m told that Auckland would operate a lot better if it purchased two or three versions higher,’’ Butson said.
Train drivers were frustrated they could not provide a satisfactory service for commuters, he said.
‘‘We believe that it was a foreseeable issue.’’
There are 16 electric trains in Auckland with just two operating at any one time.
The average diesel train speed on Auckland’s Western Line was about 31kmh , he said.
Once all diesel passenger trains are removed the average electric train speed along the Western Line will be 35kmh, Hannan said.
  wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed
Speed controls on Auckland's new electric trains have affected punctuality between Onehunga and Britomart, where the first three have run since late April.
Only 72.8 per cent of Onehunga line trains arrived within five minutes of scheduled times at final destinations in May, a report to Auckland Transport's board reveals.
That compares with a 12-month rolling average of 92.7 per cent on the line, where the first electric trains replaced old diesel clunkers on April 28.
The latest monthly figure ranks Onehunga services the least punctual of any in Auckland, a reverse of previous scores.
Initial delays were blamed on rail crew and passenger unfamiliarity with new systems, including door controls.
But the report mentions work with KiwiRail "to target short-term track speed improvements on the Onehunga line to improve both journey times and resilience to network impacts on the timetable".

It also reports a "risk review" of a new European train control system which has frustrated drivers by overriding their attempts to make the trains go closer to a 110km/h maximum speed.
A survey of 391 passengers found 97 per cent rated the new trains positively, scoring them high for appearance, comfort and ease of use.
  wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed
AUCKLAND ELECTRIFICATION ENERGISATION WARNING New Sections added – NIMT Papakura to Wiri and Manukau Branch Permanent energisation of the traction overhead system from Papakura to Wiri and the Manukau Branch will commence at 1200 hours on the 4th July 2014.


From 1200 hours on that date, the Traction Overhead System between;






  1. 646.13km at Papakura and 657.90km at Wiri on the NIMT, including the south end entry into the Wiri EMU depot, and

  2. 0.5km to the end of line at 1.73km on the Manukau Branch



- will be added to the existing energised line sections listed below;



  1. 0.00km (at Newmarket) to 3.26km (Quay Park Junction) on the Newmarket Branch

  2. 0.00km (at Westfield) to 8.70km (Newmarket) on the North Auckland Line,

  3. 0.00km to 3.60km (end of line) on the Onehunga Branch Line,

  4. 657.90km at Wiri to 681.84km at Britomart Station (end of line) on the NIMT

  5. 0km to 0.5km on the Manukau Branch

  6. Wiri EMU Depot from a point 20 metres south of 2025 signal through to the North EMU Exchange road and continuing to the northern end of the West Exchange Road at 658.89km.




These line sections must be treated as being alive at 25,000 volts at all times. The Traction Safe Working Procedures for general rail corridor requirements and any Bulletin requirements as issued by KiwiRail are to apply. Allan Neilson Manager Traction & Electrical Engineering, KiwiRail Infrastructure & Engineering 30 June 2014 This supercedes the Energisation Warning notice issued on the 11/6/2014 for the NIMT Westfield to Quay Park section

This just leaves teh western line from Newmarket to swanson to go live later this year. I understand that all the wires are in place now on this line.
  wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed
Auckland's new $400 million electric trains will run as slow as their diesel counterparts for at least another year, Auckland Transport says.
Auckland Transport spokesman Mark Hannan said the electric trains would reach their full potential after all 39 diesel passenger trains were removed from the network.
"We can't really get the proper benefit from them until the full rollout when everything is electric, which will be the middle of next year," Hannan said.
Also, new timetables will need to be introduced and software controlling the trains' speed, called European Train Control Systems (ETCS), will need to be reprogrammed to improve transit times, he said.
The ETCS is a protection system to assist train drivers and ensure advised speeds and signal rules are adhered to and to prevent collisions. If drivers operate trains outside a designated speed range the system intervenes to limit speed.
But the Rail and Maritime Transport Union (RMTU) said the 57 new electric trains would not be able to speed up until a costly upgrade of the ETCS software.
RMTU general secretary Wayne Butson said Auckland Transport had bought the cheapest, entry-level ETCS software.
The only way to increase speeds would be to upgrade to more expensive versions, which could handle trains running closer to each other, he said.
"I'm told that Auckland would operate a lot better if it purchased two or three versions higher," Butson said.
Train drivers were frustrated they could not operate the trains to timetable, he said.
"We believe that it was a foreseeable issue."
Twenty new trains have arrived in Auckland with just two operating at any one time.
Hannan said the only benefits from the electric trains noticeable to commuters now would be improved comfort and noise levels.
The average diesel-train speed is about 31kmh on Auckland's Western Line, which is one of the most built-up in the city, he said.
Once all diesel were gone the average electric-train speed along the Western Line would be 35kmh, Hannan said.
The electric trains have a maximum speed of 110kmh, compared to diesel trains which typically have a top speed of 80kmh, with some able to do 90kmh
  wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed
A power fault has led to Auckland's new electric trains being replaced on the Onehunga Line.
Auckland Transport has stressed the faults had not resulted in any safety issues.
The power fault has occurred twice in the last 24 hours and while it could take several days to fix timetables will remain unchanged.
Auckland Transport chief operations officer Greg Edmonds says the organisation intends to get to the root of the issue.
"So as not to inconvenience customers we have decided to run diesel units," he says.
Mr Edmonds also says issues such as this are expected while phasing in a new train fleet.
The trains were built in Spain and are part of a new $100 million depot in South Auckland.
The upgrade follows close to 90 years of discussions and $1.7 billion in public funding.
  wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed
Auckland's flash new electric trains have been grounded by power faults which are mystifying the region's transport authority.
Four of the state-of-the-art Spanish-built trains were disabled in one stroke this week due to power failure.
They have been replaced on the Onehunga-Britomart run since Tuesday by their diesel predecessors, and Auckland Transport says it could take several more days to identify and fix the problem.
But Auckland Council infrastructure chairman Mike Lee says the "bizarre and unacceptable" irony is the old diesels are running at faster speeds than the electric trains were allowed to reach.
The trouble has struck just weeks before more trains in what will ultimately be a 57-strong fleet costing the council and the Government $540 million are due to start running between Manukau and Britomart via the eastern line through Panmure and Glen Innes.

Auckland Transport chief operations officer Greg Edmonds said the $1.14 billion electrification programme - on which the Government has also spent $500 million on power supply and signalling infrastructure - remained "on track" for trains to run from Manukau from mid-August.
"We are working to get to the bottom of the problem - this is a process of elimination," he said yesterday. Mr Edmonds said "intermittent power issues" shut down the engines of four trains which were running on Monday afternoon between their new $100 million Wiri depot and Britomart to collect homebound commuters.
Although they were re-started almost instantly, power was cut again on Tuesday, after which all six electric trains on the Onehunga roster were taken out of operation and replaced with diesels.
Buses had to be put on rail routes until the diesel fleet could be drafted back in.
Another Auckland Transport spokesman said it was too soon to consider whether there was a case for compensation from suppliers.
Mr Edmonds said special measuring equipment had been installed at both of the electrification system's two power supply substations, and on the trains themselves, ready for simulated services to be trialled last night.
"We need to get to the root of the issue, but just as importantly we must ensure services run reliably for our customers. So as not to inconvenience customers, we have decided to run diesel units."
There had been no safety concerns associated with the power failures, nor any damage to the trains.
"They operated exactly as they're designed to do when there is a power problem," he said.
Mr Lee rejected his description of the problem as involving "minor issues" but accepted those were to be expected with the introduction of new trains.
  wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed
A faulty train or power surges may be why electric trains on one of Auckland's busiest rail lines were grounded for 10 days, Mayor Len Brown says.
Auckland Transport was investigating, he said.
The "intermittent power fault" occurred twice in a day and led to electric trains being temporarily replaced on the Onehunga Line from July 23.
Chief operations officer Greg Edmonds said there were no safety issues associated with the incidents.
"We need to get to the root of the issue but just as importantly we must ensure services run reliably for our customers," he said in a statement at the time.
"So as not to inconvenience customers we have decided to run diesel units."
Timetables were unchanged.
Brown told Fairfax Media this afternoon there was a "possibility of one of the trains being faulty" and "possibility of difficulties around power surges".
"So I want to be sure about Auckland Transport's final report because this is critical.
"If it's about power delivery then that is systemic and we've got a problem."
If the issue was about one train "that wasn't quite right then we need to really be laying [it] at the feet [of those responsible] and be really, really clear around their delivery.
"We haven't had a finalised position on that," he said.
"We need to make sure that analysis is absolutely spot-on. I expect that in days, not weeks."
Knowing the exact issue was "critical" due to how busy the Onehunga line was, he said.
"I'll expect people to be doing yeoman's hours to make sure everything is all right."
The fault caused delays but the electric trains were now back, Brown said.
Edmonds said minor issues such as the fault were to be expected during the commissioning phase of the new train fleet.

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