Auckland Electrification Thread

Topic moved from NZ and Oceania by bevans on 05 Feb 2015 19:39
  Centralvulcan Train Controller

This morning's NZ Herald reports the Chairman of the Auckland Regional Council as saying that they hope to have the core system electrified by the time of the next Rugby World Cup in 2011.  he defined the core system as Britomart to Otahuhu, and to Henderson on the western line.  Watch this space.

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  Wallip Chief Commissioner

Location: Perth
just courious as to what, if any, operational pattern has been talked about for a staged electrification of the system.

Will they run diesel units to the electric trains only, or run diesels and electrics on the sections done first?

Secondly, personally I think a Light Rail system would be better suited for Christchurch, maybe something that uses the heavy rails where possible, but can then branch off into the CBD without too much cost and disturbance.

Thirdly, I think it would be nice to see an entire NIMT electrification done. Then we would sneak over to QLD and pinch a tilt train to run the overlander service. In fact whilst we are ther lest grab a diesel tilt as-well for the South Island  Twisted Evil
  Centralvulcan Train Controller

Wallip suggests "borrowing" a tilt train or two..... possible..... the rail ferries have been docked in Brisbane before today..... and I seem to recall one brought back the ex QR locos that became the DQs......

Now if Maryborough got the contract for Auckland would it be worth commissioning a link span off the 3'6" in Brissie......
  john-ston Junior Train Controller

Location: Britomart Platform 1, waiting for the next train to Whangarei
The problem with the idea of "borrowing" the Tilt Train is that it would need engine upgrades to be able to cope with Wellington's 1500V DC overhead; that is unless Wellington sees the light, and that doesn't seem likely. I would much rather go for bringing in some more British carriages (yikes, them British carriages will probably end up like the A class of old, everywhere  Shocked )

There hasn't been much discussion about the initial electric operations, although I suspect it would probably be a case of diesels feeding electrics on the Western Line; at least until Henderson to Swanson is done. On the Southern, I am not sure; it could be diesels feeding electrics, or it could be diesels running all stops to Otahuhu and then non stop to Newmarket and/or Britomart.

In terms of Maryborough getting the contract; I would love to see a four car IMU160/SMU260/B Series sort of train. Personally, if I were designing the new EMU, I would have Driving Motors at the two ends and then the middle two cars would be trailers.
  Critical_lemon Station Staff

Location: Wellington, New Zealand
The problem with the tilt trains is that A LOT of work would have to be done such as realignment and in same cases completely moving the line for them to be operable let alone effective. The government may fund electrification, not wholesale changes.
  john-ston Junior Train Controller

Location: Britomart Platform 1, waiting for the next train to Whangarei
Of course - that would be money much better spent on either realigning the North Auckland Line so that it actually is more direct, or realigning the Palmerston North to Wellington and Auckland to Hamilton sections to bring it up to at least 150km/h standard. Personally, I think that the Overlander would do well if they could bring it back up to the 9 hour schedule of the 1980s (those were with the Silver Ferns by the way); and attempt to get it down to 7 hours. Actually, speed improvements on all the major passenger services would be money well spent.
  Somebody in the WWW Banned

Location: Banned
[quote=""]Electrification timeline derailed by legislation
5:00AM Thursday December 13, 2007
By Mathew Dearnaley

Auckland transport politicians fear the region's $1 billion-plus rail electrification project will be shunted into a big hold-up unless bureaucratic hurdles are removed from proposed fuel tax legislation.

Both the Auckland Regional Council and its wider land transport committee, which includes non-elected appointees from "stakeholder" groups, will ask the Government to remove a double-consultation requirement they fear will delay by at least nine months the purchase of 33 electric trains costing up to $500 million.

Government agency Ontrack has already appointed a director for its half-share of the project, to electrify the region's railway lines between Papakura and Swanson, and to modify bridges and other structures for safe clearance.

But council chairman Mike Lee told the Auckland Regional Land Transport Committee yesterday that such a delay in ordering new trains would make it impossible to electrify a core part of the network in time for the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

For that, the council-funded Auckland Regional Transport Authority says it must start the tender process for new trains by the middle of next year.

It all depends on the council's ability to borrow money in the certainty it can be repaid from its half-share of a new regional fuel tax of up to 10c a litre, which the Government promised in the Budget.

Provisions for Auckland and other regional councils to raise special taxes on road fuels are included in a transport amendment bill on which a select committee is not due to report back to Parliament until late March.

That is when the regional council hoped to start consulting ratepayers on a regional fuel tax proposal in its long-term budgeting round.

But chief executive Peter Winder told the council and the Auckland Regional Land Transport Committee at separate meetings yesterday that the legislation would require both organisations to conduct separate consultation exercises.

The committee would have to set the ball rolling, even though it now lacked power to do so, meaning having to wait until after the legislation was passed in April or May.

Even then, council officers believed a drafting error excluded the wider committee from gaining such power.

Assuming the oversight was remedied, the regional council would have to wait for the committee to complete its work before starting a second round of consultations, and then seeking ministerial approval for a fuel tax.

"The short answer is that it's a mess - in essence we would lose a year," Mr Winder said.

Mr Winder said the council believed it had already gained the Government's agreement to be the organisation responsible, after being invited by Finance Minister Michael Cullen in February to submit a proposal for raising a tax for rail electrification.

The scheme proposed in discussions with the Government was to be developed, consulted on, and put in place by the council.

Some members of the wider regional committee, particularly Automobile Association official Simon Lambourne, expressed disquiet at being asked to surrender a new responsibility as representatives of various transport "stakeholder" organisations.

"It looks like the ARC is making a power grab - it smells like it," he said.

But what threatened at one point to become a rift was repaired with a majority vote for the regional council, in consultation with the transport committee, to be responsible for developing and implementing a fuel tax.

Councillor Joel Cayford said it was the committee's job to set the regional land transport strategy and then for elected politicians to take political responsibility for funding it.

Mr Lee said the council did not want to cut across anyone's prerogative, but transport bureaucrats had made the legislation very complicated.[/quote]
  Somebody in the WWW Banned

Location: Banned
Let's bring this thread back up Smile

[quote=""]Ellerslie station gets upgrade
East And Bays Courier Wednesday, 20 February 2008

An upgrade to Ellerslie train station is under way.

The Auckland Regional Transport Authority project began on Monday and is expected to be completed in May. It is part of a wider programme to redevelop stations along Auckland’s rail network.

The platform will be extended to accommodate six-car trains to cope with the anticipated growth in passenger numbers. The platform will also be future-proofed to prepare for operating electric trains on Auckland rail services.

Shelters will be improved and closed circuit television cameras and better platform lighting installed. The platform will be resurfaced to include safety markings and yellow tactile strips for the vision-impaired.

New signage will make it easier to navigate the station.

Trains will continue to stop at the station during the construction period.[/quote]
How is a platform "future-proofed" for electric trains? Confused
  trolleybusracer Deputy Commissioner

Location: St Albans Sydenham Watergardens Line
I dont speak JAFA so i cant help  Razz
  john-ston Junior Train Controller

Location: Britomart Platform 1, waiting for the next train to Whangarei
Well, you have to bear in mind that to the north side of Ellerslie Station is a pedestrian overpass with station access. Much of the work is being done on the southern side of Ellerslie Station with the old platform being raised. The pedestrian overpass is only 4.5 metres above the track, and thus is too low for Ontrack safety standards with regards to electrification. By extending the platform to the south, they are future proofing for electrification as little further work will be required. It is also possible that the tracks may be lowered to allow for the pedestrian overpass to get higher.

Of course, this isn't future proofing enough, since it is designed for six car trains. The present proposal is that post 2013, eight car trains made up of two EMUs will be used in peak hour.
  otternz Locomotive Driver

Location: Sydney
Electric train lines may reach Hamilton

Auckland's proposed $1 billion-plus rail electrification project could ultimately extend to Hamilton, MPs were told at a parliamentary select committee hearing yesterday.

Delivering a submission from the Auckland Regional Council on legislation including provisions for new regional road taxes for transport projects, chairman Mike Lee said his organisation was already considering whether the project should be extended to Pukekohe.

He suggested to the transport and industrial relations select committee at a hearing in Auckland it would not be too far a step from there to envisage electric trains running all the way to Hamilton.

Although an initial plan approved in principle by the Government is for electric trains to run as far as Swanson on the western railway line and to Pukekohe or Drury to the south, Mr Lee said the regional council now had Pukekohe in its gaze.

"We are now looking at Pukekohe - and that leaves only about 60km to Te Rapa," he said, indicating the possibility of continuing the project to the northern extent of the electrified main trunk line between Palmerston North and Hamilton.

He had been asked by the Labour MP for Hamilton West, Martin Gallagher, whether his council was mindful of population growth in the Waikato and the possibility of commuter trains to Auckland.

But Mr Lee expressed concern that electrification of Auckland's basic rail network may be delayed by a year because of a proposed double-consultation requirement in the legislation before the regional council could raise its half-share of a new fuel tax of up to 10c a litre.

The Land Transport Management Amendment Bill includes a requirement for regional land transport committees to hold public consultations before imposing such taxes, to match a Government share of up to 5c a litre.

That is contrary to Auckland Regional Council's belief that the Government promised in last year's Budget to make it responsible for raising tax needed to pay for up to $500 million worth of electric trains which its transport subsidiary wants to start ordering this year.

The council says it would have to wait for its regional land transport committee to complete consultations before embarking on a similar exercise of its own.

Mr Lee said that would jeopardise the council's hope of having a substantial portion of the rail network electrified in time for the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

Auckland Regional Land Transport Committee chairwoman Christine Rose confirmed that body's support for giving the council responsibility for developing a regional fuel tax, but in consultation with the committee.
  colinw_mk2 Station Master, Kippa-Ring

Auckland to Hamilton would be a great run for a QR ICE set.
  GeoffreyHansen Minister for Railways

Location: In a FAM sleeper
It would make alot of sense if trains could use both the anticipated Auckland electrification and the existing main line electrification.
  john-ston Junior Train Controller

Location: Britomart Platform 1, waiting for the next train to Whangarei
By the time that Auckland to Hamilton electrification became viable, the ICE sets would probably be in the Ipswich museum. It was rejected (along with the rest of the NIMT) in the mid 1950s; it was rejected in the 1980s and it was rejected in 1994, with the 1994 rejection primarily due to the costs of signalling for electrification. The other main reason why that section has been rejected is the presence of a massive swamp along the route.

It will probably only be viable in the 2010s or 2020s, depending on growth south of Auckland.

I would like to see Pukekohe electrified though. It would make more sense for at least half of the rail services to terminate there and provide a greater service to Pukekohe.
  Somebody in the WWW Banned

Location: Banned
[quote=""]Transport's big leap forward waiting on law
5:00AM Monday March 03, 2008
By Mathew Dearnaley

The first stage of Auckland's rail upgrade - the $600 million Project Dart - is a quantum leap in infrastructure improvements, mainly along the western line.

Projects include new "feature" stations at Newmarket and New Lynn, upgrading of other stations, signals replacement and completion of the double-tracking programme from Newmarket to Swanson.

This work will bring short-term pain - trains will run late, especially during the New Lynn work - for the long-term gain of comfortable, fast electric trains carrying thousands more passengers at 10-minute frequencies.

Major projects on the southern line include the replacement of the Onehunga branch line and a new branch line to Manukau City Centre.

But the big leap forward - electrification - hinges on the fate of the Government's Land Transport Amendment Bill, due to be reported back to Parliament this month.

The legislation allows councils introduce regional petrol taxes of up to 10c a litre to pay for roading and public transport projects. Up to half the money can go to public transport.

Ontrack's work to electrify the network will cost about $500 million. The regional petrol tax will enable ARTA to borrow about $400 million to buy 33 electric trains.

ARTA is confident that services can be boosted to 10-minute frequencies and the Britomart will be able to handle 18 trains an hour, instead of the present 12, by 2016. By then, it's estimated, around 440,000 Aucklanders will live within 800m of a rail station.

Electrification should be completed by 2013 but ARTA wants electric trains on parts of the "core network" in time for the Rugby World Cup in 2011. However, Ontrack's Phil McQueen, in charge of the electrification project, is wary about tailoring the project towards "three or four rugby matches" rather than the city's needs for the next 50 years.

All the progress could be undermined by the bottleneck at the Britomart tunnel.

There are options to ease the flow - including bi-directional signalling (allowing trains to enter and leave on the same track) and using the old Auckland station yards to park unneeded trains.

But attention seems to be focused on the bigger picture, not the details.

ARTA's ideal solution is the much-vaunted city loop - an underground link from Britomart under Albert St to join the western line at Mt Eden: a snip at $1 billion and at least a decade away.

ARTA points out the loop won't just solve the bottleneck problem but, with underground stations near Wellesley St and Karangahape Rd, would boost CBD shopping and commerce - just as Melbourne's city loop has done.

There are other dream schemes - a link to Auckland Airport, and a Southdown-Avondale link allowing northern freight trains to bypass the inner-city lines. Ontrack even envisage rail services on the North Shore, "we just need to deal with the gap [the harbour] in the middle".

With billions earmarked for the city's motorways, none of these big ticket rail projects are expected anytime soon. Auckland's passenger rail service will continue to run to the Government's timetable - but at least it's on the right tracks.[/quote][quote=""]Uphill slog to fix rail
5:00AM Monday March 03, 2008
By Geoff Cumming

Rail rage has come to the Britomart. Well, almost. The businesswoman losing her composure is stuck on a train waiting to get into the station. She will, she tells the attendant, never darken the doors of an Auckland train again.

Other passengers, me included, share her sentiments. On too many days, our western line train slows to a halt outside the Britomart tunnel - or in the tunnel itself - while they clear space inside. But this day, a recent Monday, is something else again. We've come down the Newmarket line, via Parnell. Another train waits on the eastern line from Glen Innes. A couple of trains have come out of Britomart, so surely there's room inside ... but still we wait. For 27 minutes.

The attendants don't exactly ease passengers' frustration.

Why are we waiting outside the Britomart tunnel? "We are waiting for the red light to turn green."

What went wrong that day defied explanation. A train which broke down at Greenlane had some part in it. Other mishaps quickly accumulated. It was "one of those days", an Ontrack spokeswoman told me later.

The usual cause of delays outside Britomart is the tunnel itself. The Britomart station may be a marvellous asset, a catalyst for reviving passenger rail in Auckland, but it has an Achilles heel - the tunnel installed by the Auckland City Council before it was built has only one line in and one out.

Inside the terminus are five platforms. In the morning peak, trains come in faster than they can get trains out. And when trains leave, they have to go somewhere. The nearest "parking lot" for the passenger trains is at Westfield, near Otahuhu.

The bottleneck has become an issue since frequencies were improved to 15 minutes last July. What will happen when they boost frequencies to 10 minutes, with new rolling stock and longer, electric trains?

Giant strides are being made to upgrade the city's rail network. Project Dart, a $600 million, Government-funded programme, is full steam ahead upgrading infrastructure - double-tracking on the western line, new signalling and new and refurbished stations - ahead of the billion dollar-plus electrification of the network from Papakura to Swanson. ARTA, the Auckland Regional Transport Authority responsible for passenger transport, is pouring more money into stations on the southern and eastern lines. All up, it's the biggest investment in railways since the early-80s.

Photo / Dean Purcell

But commuters live with the here and now. So little was invested for so long that the revival is like following the career of injury-hit Shane Bond - you take the rough with the smooth.

That can mean noisy, rattly carriages with dodgy air conditioning and rudimentary seating. Or trains running late due to signalling failures or a breakdown. Or the "one lane bridge factor" - waiting while a train coming the other way negotiates a single-track section of the network. While double-tracking of the western line is gathering pace, the work itself brings delays. Things will get worse before they get better: Construction of a new station at New Lynn and double tracking between New Lynn and Avondale is expected to bring months of frustration. Like NZ cricket supporters, you've got to have faith. And things are much, much better for a passenger service which was just about extinct a decade ago.

In numbers carried daily, rail remains a small player compared to buses but bus patronage has peaked and buses have to share congested roads with commuters. Trains, in conjunction with buses and ferries, are the key to a meaningful mass transit system for Auckland. Rail patronage has grown from 2 million passenger trips a year to 6 million in five years. Without further investment, the network will soon reach capacity.

Since mad Monday, my train has been on time and whisked me into town from Kingsland in 17 or 18 minutes, no hiccups. That's quicker, and far less stressful, than a motorist can do at peak hour.

That's how it is most days. Signalling failures have been rare since Newmarket was upgraded last year. Progress on double tracking has increased reliability. And 15-minute frequencies at peak times have brought more and more commuters out of their cars.

But small things - like the scrub fire off Gladstone Rd which closed the entire network for an hour - can throw the schedule out for the rest of the day.

A new control room, deep inside Britomart, has improved co-ordination between service operator Veolia, network owners Ontrack (the Railways Corporation) - who control train movements from Wellington - and ARTA. A bank of screens provides pictures of trains entering and leaving almost every station. It's from here that staff can monitor station security and holler at wrongdoers over the loudspeakers. When a computerised network map is installed in a few weeks, staff will be able to pinpoint every train using GPS equipment.

This gives a better basis to respond when things go wrong, such as a breakdown, or when trains are running late.

"Very rarely is it the same two things," says Veolia's Stuart Anderson. "There's always some sort of variable.

"Generally when something goes wrong, there's a big domino effect - a heck of a lot of decisions need to be made quickly. You have to make your decision and live by it."

Veolia general manager Nick French says the new control centre, once fully commissioned, will put Auckland's monitoring and response capability on a par with Melbourne's. "[Then] it really comes back to infrastructure and vehicles and decisions about rolling stock."[/quote]
  Centralvulcan Train Controller

Pressure is now starting to rise to speed up the making of Britomart a through station.... with an underground tunnel running through to the west line at Mt Albert..... The proposed tunnel section would have two additional stations, and is planned for the 2020's.  When (if) built this tunnel would largely solve the capacity problems with the present Britomart terminal... which is a monumnet to short sighted thinking - its approach anyway - the station itself is designed to allow for an onward tunnel section.  Work is now beginning to "reserve" the tunnel right of way - which would, for example, stop developers building great big deep basements under their buildings id these would encroach on the tunnel's route.
  Somebody in the WWW Banned

Location: Banned
I would doubt a City Loop would be the solution to anything.

[quote=""]$1b loop tunnel plan to unlock Britomart
5:00AM Wednesday March 05, 2008
By Mathew Dearnaley

Rail officials have begun planning for a $1 billion central Auckland "loop" tunnel considered the key to ending growing congestion on tracks into the Britomart station.

The Auckland Regional Transport Authority revealed last night that it had begun preliminary planning for a 3.5km tunnel between Britomart and Mt Eden, beneath Albert St and including underground stations near Wellesley St and Karangahape Rd.

Spokeswoman Sharon Hunter said the authority was working in conjunction with the Auckland City Council to "protect" the route, although she did not have details of how that might be achieved, and whether any restrictions may be looming on conflicting property developments.

Although the authority proposed the idea of tunnel as part of an inner-city rail loop to its Auckland Regional Council parent in 2005, Ms Hunter said her board had only recently decided to put the planning wheels in motion.

A Treasury-led group of officials assessing Auckland's transport needs suggested last year that an early start was needed on building a case for the tunnel.

This was because because of a likely 12 to 16-year lead-time for such a project, and an expectation that Britomart's capacity would become "critical" by about 2020,

Ms Hunter said a rail loop would make it possible for 400,000 Aucklanders to reach the central business district within 30 minutes by rail, doubling the existing catchment.

By turning Britomart into a through station, the project would allow greater frequencies than the 10-minute services expected by the end of next year from the Government's $600 million upgrade of Auckland's basic rail network, much of which involves duplicating the western line.

The authority's disclosure follows criticism from commuters sick of having to wait in trains outside the Britomart rail tunnel for other services to pull out and make space for them.

The station has five platforms, but the 9.3m width of its 426m tunnel allows only one line in and one out.

Ms Hunter said shorter-term solutions included better network reliability, with a focus by the Government rail agency, Ontrack, on improvements to signalling, and negotiations for a higher level of maintenance by Toll Holdings of the region's elderly commuter trains.

Full duplication of the western line should also allow better sequencing of arrivals and departures at Britomart.

Pressure on the terminal will increase when branch lines from Onehunga and the Manukau City centre open by the end of next year.

But Ms Hunter said Ontrack's rail upgrade included optimising tracks and signals between the Quay Park junction and Britomart.

Trains will run along 1.1km of new tracks through New Lynn from next week, to clear the way for a $100 million-plus railway trench.

Passengers will use a temporary platform to reach the tracks from Monday, although from the same direction by which they now gain access to New Lynn Station.

Ontrack is looking forward to a busy weekend connecting signals on the new tracks to the rest of its network, during which the transport authority has organised bus shuttles to replace trains west of Avondale.

Traffic barrier arms and pedestrian "mazes" will be moved to cover new tracks at three level crossings, on the Clark St-Rankin Ave roundabout, Veronica St and Portage Rd.

Project manager Peter King said the tracks were to give contractors enough safe operating room for heavy cranes to drive piles up to 40m deep for the first of two 800m retaining walls between Whau River and the western end of New Lynn.

First to be built would be the northern wall, along which trains would run while the southern structure was constructed.

A trench would then be dug between the walls, 20m wide and up to 8m deep, for duplicate tracks and a permanent below-ground station.

Mr King said a new pedestrian crossing had been built over the railway tracks from Clark St.

The trench is aimed at easing traffic congestion through New Lynn by enabling trains to run below road level as their frequency increases.[/quote][quote=""]Transport agency calls for added inflation adjustment to fuel tax
5:00AM Friday March 07, 2008
By Mathew Dearnaley

Auckland's transport agency wants the Government to add inflation adjustments to a regional fuel tax of 10c a litre intended to pay for projects such as rail electrification.

That would be in addition to GST of 12.5 per cent likely to be levied on top of any new fuel tax.

The Auckland Regional Transport Authority told a parliamentary select committee hearing in Wellington yesterday that possible reductions in petrol and diesel sales as oil became scarcer and engine technology more fuel efficient meant relying on tax revenue for loan repayments would carry a financial risk for ratepayers.

That risk could be mitigated partly by indexing a proposed regional fuel tax to inflation, it said in a submission on the Land Transport Management Amendment Bill.

Although fuel excise is adjusted annually for inflation, the authority said the new legislation excluded that provision from the proposed new tax. The bill would allow the Auckland Regional Council to claim 5c a litre from fuel sales for transport projects, and the Government to raise a further 5c for the same purpose.

About 8.3c of the combined amount is expected to be allocated to rail electrification and other public transport projects, leaving 2.5c for new roads such as the western motorway bypass.

Regional councils elsewhere will be allowed to raise 10c a litre, although the legislation includes a 5c limit on how much they could spend on roads.

The new tax is expected to raise about $120 million a year from Auckland motorists, giving the Government and regional council collateral for hefty loans for the $1 billion-plus electrification project and other transport needs.

But the transport authority said its regional council parent estimated that, without inflation adjustments, the potential revenue stream from its 5c share would be reduced by $150 million in net present value terms over 30 years.

The authority, which wants to start ordering electric trains this year, also expressed concern about a "significant" delay to the project if responsibility for the fuel tax was vested in the Auckland Regional Land Transport Committee.

It said the responsibility should rest with the regional council, given strenuous efforts by that body and itself to prepare a case for extra funding for electrification, and the committee's limited involvement in that exercise.

The transport committee accepted in a submission last week that the council should be given that responsibility, subject to consulting the committee.

It also called on the Government to allocate GST on the new fuel tax to Auckland transport projects.[/quote]

And who said you can't tax fuel for public transportation projects?
  Riccardo Minister for Railways

Location: Gone. Don't bother PMing here.
Not knowing Auckland well there any merit in having, instead of a pure loop, simply a line from Mt Eden to Britomart underground with western line trains through-routed onto the eastern route towards Papakura?

How does that affect what's left of the rest of the system?
  john-ston Junior Train Controller

Location: Britomart Platform 1, waiting for the next train to Whangarei
Well, the original proposal involved running Western Line services as a through service, however, there is one significant problem - the amount of traffic that uses Boston Road Station and Newmarket. It is estimated that about 5% of Western Line traffic uses Boston Road Station, and a further 25-30% of Western Line traffic uses Newmarket (about 25% stopping, 5% transferring to the Southern). You will need to maintain some services that follow the current pattern for those passengers, or else their journey is unnecessarily lengthened

The other thing that concerns me about through operations is that when something goes wrong on one line, it will automatically effect the other line. If there was a points failure at Penrose, then your Western Line service would be impacted, as well as your Southern Line service. At least when you run your service as Southern Line to Southern Line, you minimise the effects of failures.

In fact at the present, you have a situation where Southern Line services become Eastern Line services and vice-versa (a carry over from Beach Road, I suspect), and I have seen more than enough Eastern Line services impacted by points failures at Penrose and Newmarket.

The other thing, Somebody in the WWW is that without a 'loop,' we are essentially stuck with an eighteen train per hour station. At the rate things are going, we will probably be hitting capacity in the next decade (if not sooner). Not even building another access route into Britomart under Beach Road or Quay Street will do too much, although it will help in the short to medium term. What Auckland is going to need is a four track CBD tunnel
  GeoffreyHansen Minister for Railways

Location: In a FAM sleeper
john-ston I noticed you saying over at Riccardo's Blog that the real revival of Auckland's rail service was the introduction of the ADK and ADL railcars and that with some of the previous proposals we could still have had Beech Road station. I was just wondering if you could elaborate a bit on this a bit further?

While I think that it's great that Auckland now has its Britomart terminus in the middle of the city I did think that it's sad to see Beech Road station abandoned the way it has been. Perhaps a more appropriate use could have been found for the station rather than student accommodation.

Also what was the Morningside Deviation?
  john-ston Junior Train Controller

Location: Britomart Platform 1, waiting for the next train to Whangarei
Alright, I will elaborate more on the proposals between 1930 and 2004 that would have seen greater rail access into Auckland's CBD.

When the Beach Road Station was opened in 1930, it was never intended to be Auckland's sole railway station. The intention was for a rail bridge to be built over Beach Road and for a tunnel to be bored into the cliffs on the other side of Beach Road, and swing around the CBD into the North Auckland Line. Unfortunately, I have not read the reports on it, and have only seen one map (this being a map of the yards as at 1930) which indicated the proposal and only showed the bit where it went into the cliffs. A piece of land was, however, kept for this purpose (and was only sold in the 1980s). The Depression probably put paid to that.

In the late 1940s, New Zealand was in somewhat of a predicament. There were still serious coal shortages, and as a result, the capacity of the New Zealand rail network was stretched. Conversion of lines to electric was investigated, and the government commissioned the Halcrow-Thomas Report. The report, which came out in 1953, was where the Morningside Deviation came in. The Halcrow-Thomas report proposed that a line would be built from Beach Road, bored into the cliff on the other side, travel underground around the CBD, and then re-emerge in Kingsland, where it would travel along until merging with the North Auckland Line at Morningside Station (hence the name). The report also proposed a massive expansion of the Auckland rail network. The plan would have required electrification of the network. It would have also been very expensive, costing eleven million Pounds (the Auckland Harbour Bridge cost 3.5 million Pounds)

That plan was ditched in favour of the Master Transportation Plan of 1955. While it was mostly in favour of roading, it did propose that a line be built from Beach Road to a new city terminus at Victoria Street East. It would have been similar in size to Britomart today, and would have only required dieselisation (which was being planned by NZR anyhow).

In typical Auckland fashion, another transportation report was commissioned in the 1960s, the De Leeuw Cather Report of 1964. Again, it was mostly in favour of roading, but did advocate an expansion of transit services (which later became the basis of the Dove Myer-Robinson proposals of 1974). The first line that was proposed was a line that would have travelled under Customs Street, then swung into Queen Street and terminated near the Town Hall. With the Dove Myer-Robinson proposals of 1974, it become a city tunnel running all the way to Newmarket, at a cost of $300 million.

The most recent report was an Auckland City Council study in 2004 which of course is the present Britomart to Mt. Eden proposal.

All the proposals, bar the last one, would have enabled the retention of the Beach Road Station as the major station of Auckland, with improved access to the CBD by rail services. Personally, I do think it is unfortunate that none of the proposals were ever undertaken and that Auckland's rail was allowed to sink so far.
  Riccardo Minister for Railways

Location: Gone. Don't bother PMing here.
Maybe there is some urban renewal that would make the Beech Rd station a permanent full time service.

A quick summary of why loops like Melbourne should be avoided:

-EMU and DMU trains don't need "turning around" as they have driving cabs at both ends. They do benefit from "not sitting around" but unfortunately Melbourne has proved my point - the trains helpfully loop the CBD, keeping the driver at the same position of the train; but then 'sit around' at Flinders St when they could keep going and incease the frequency - driver relief and timetable catchup and so on should be done at the line terminus

-much of the length of a loop route the train is going 'backwards' or 'sideways' with respect to the direction the customer actually wants to go.

That said, Auckland CBD sits on a "right angle" of land next to its harbour, which doesn't give a lot options besides building a loop, assuming a tunnel under the harbour is off the menu.
  john-ston Junior Train Controller

Location: Britomart Platform 1, waiting for the next train to Whangarei
Maybe there is some urban renewal that would make the Beech Rd station a permanent full time service.

It was tried in 2003 with the SX loop. At the time it was heavily criticised as it carried very few passengers, while the rest of the network was crying out for capacity. The SX set was eventually brought back together (it had been split in two for the serivce), and became a set for an express that later became an all stops service.

A quick summary of why loops like Melbourne should be avoided:

-EMU and DMU trains don't need "turning around" as they have driving cabs at both ends. They do benefit from "not sitting around" but unfortunately Melbourne has proved my point - the trains helpfully loop the CBD, keeping the driver at the same position of the train; but then 'sit around' at Flinders St when they could keep going and incease the frequency - driver relief and timetable catchup and so on should be done at the line terminus

Driver/Conductor/Guard relief in Auckland is done at Westfield Station, so that is not an issue. Timetable catchup in Auckland is done at both the line terminus, and Britomart, and I think it would be quite difficult for there not to be some aspect of timetable catch-up at Britomart since there will be terminating and through platforms there. With five minute peak and fifteen minute off peak frequencies planned, though, I don't think that there will be much issue with trains merely running through

-much of the length of a loop route the train is going 'backwards' or 'sideways' with respect to the direction the customer actually wants to go.

In the case of Auckland, this is unlikely. The Eastern and Southern Lines will probably carry on in their present fashion, and the Western Line will be sped up since it will no longer travel sideways with respect to customer direction (presently Mt. Eden to Britomart is fourteen minutes, the proposal will cut it to eight)

That said, Auckland CBD sits on a "right angle" of land next to its harbour, which doesn't give a lot options besides building a loop, assuming a tunnel under the harbour is off the menu.

A line to the North Shore is off the menu at the moment primarily because of the new busway. It will probably be explored with the new harbour crossing proposed. Another issue is that the CBD tunnel is planned to open up more of the CBD to rail services (Auckland's CBD is very hilly, and to get anywhere involves climbing up hills - the CBD tunnel would be travelling under a ridge), and that it is intended to speed up Western Line services.
  Somebody in the WWW Banned

Location: Banned
[quote=""]Preparing rail level-crossings for high-speed trai
Friday, 14 March 2008, 2:03 pm

Auckland Regional Council will provide financial assistance to local and district councils to ensure the region’s busiest level-crossings are ready for high-frequency trains.

The regional council has earmarked money from a dedicated fund of $21 million in its draft annual plan to immediately assist with investigation and design work for the grade separation of level crossings.

The current rail upgrade, including the proposed introduction of electric trains, means there will be many more trains. They will be moving faster, more quietly and more often.

The busiest level crossings need to be grade separated so that roads pass over or under rail tracks. Otherwise traffic will have stop to allow trains to pass every 10 minutes or less during rush hour, causing localised congestion, and increasing the potential for accidents.
Some other smaller streets may need to be closed off where they cross the rail line.

The Auckland region has a large number of rail level crossings: 31 on the urban line between Swanson and Pukekohe, 8 on the Onehunga branch line and 13 between Swanson and Helensville.

These level-crossings need urgent attention:

 Manuroa Rd, Papakura District
 Sarawia St, Auckland City
 Morningside Dr, Auckland City
 Normanby Rd, Auckland City
 Woodward Rd, Auckland City
 Glenview Rd, Waitakere City

The level crossing St Jude St in Avondale has the most vehicle traffic of all, but the road is so steep that an engineering solution, so far, remains elusive.
The dilemma, as the regional council sees it, is this:

 ONTRACK will provide signalling, barrier arms and other safety measures at crossings, but isn’t responsible for roads.
 City and district councils look after local roads. They can get Government transport grants, but must be able to raise about half of the cost themselves to qualify.
 The regional council, through the Auckland Regional Transport Authority, can provide high-frequency trains but has no direct responsibility for level-crossings.

The regional council is able to offer financial support because it has been reimbursed by central government for money spent on the first stage of double-tracking the western rail line (Project Boston).
ARC chairman Michael Lee says: “The local councils of the region are confronted with the cost of fixing level crossings as an inevitable outcome of new, high-speed electric rail services.

“The ARC believes money originally earmarked for rail would be well-spent assisting local councils with this challenge.”
Transport and urban development committee chairwoman Christine Rose says ARC councillors have been unanimous that the scale and urgency of the works merit regional assistance.

“These works are expensive and present issues complex to manage and resolve. The ARC sees that by assisting with funding, these important works can be undertaken before electrification begins, saving both lives and money in the longer term.
“We are happy to be able to assist councils to bring projects forward given the significance of the issue to the region.”[/quote]
[quote=""]Pressure grows for trains from airport to downtown
5:00AM Thursday March 13, 2008
By Mathew Dearnaley

More than 10,000 Aucklanders have signed a petition for an airport rail link which also won political support yesterday from regional councillors.

The council pledged its backing for the Campaign for Better Transport's efforts after that group presented it with a petition signed by 10,431 people over four months.

Although the council's transport authority subsidiary is a month away from decisions on preferred rapid transport links for southwestern Auckland, the politicians decided not to hold back their support for the airport rail campaign in the meantime.

That was despite a cautionary note from the council's former transport committee chairman, Joel Cayford, that the authority may also chose to concentrate resources on bus priority measures.

Council chairman Mike Lee said that without a rail link, the country's largest airport would retain a "provincial" flavour.

"In my view it is a very provincial airport and a very provincial experience," he said.

"Until there is a rail link from the airport to the central business district, Auckland will not be an international-class city."

Councillor Sandra Coney said congestion on the Southwestern Motorway was so bad last Friday that it cost her a $97 taxi fare to get from the airport to her Auckland home.

"It took so long crawling along the motorway - I live near Britomart Station and how much better to hop on a train like in many other cities in the the world," she said.

Campaign for Better Transport convener Cameron Pitches said a surge in the price of crude oil past US$110 a barrel on Tuesday after a fourfold increase in four years suggested a race against time to cope with "enormous pressure on our public transport network."

"We need loud, vocal advocates on council who aren't afraid to state the obvious that spending $2 billion on a pair of motorway tunnels at Waterview is a risky investment if petrol goes to $3 a litre," he said.

Mr Pitches said it had taken an appeal to the Environment Court for his group to persuade Transit NZ to safeguard a rail corridor towards the airport beside the duplicated motorway crossing it is due to start building across Manukau Harbour for $265 million from the end of this month.

Transit had since given assurances that it could make room for a rail corridor to the west of a section of motorway it wants to widen between a duplicate Mangere Bridge and Walmsley Rd as part of that project.

"However, Transit - whose sole job is to build and operate the state highway network, have made it quite clear that it is now up to ARTA [the Auckland Regional Transport Authority] to determine the exact route and planning of any future rail link."

Although the lobby group wants top priority given to a rail route through Onehunga, building on the Government's agreement to reinstate and reopen that suburb's branch line by the end of next year, Mr Pitches said a link from the main trunk line at Wiri was also important.

But despite the inclusion of a branch line from the Manukau City centre to Wiri in the Government's $600 million basic Auckland rail upgrade, he pointed to a lack of provisions in district plan documentation for a link between there and the airport.[/quote]
  Centralvulcan Train Controller

I'm not sure why folk have this desire to resuscitate the Beach Road station.  It was isolated from the places it was meant to serve the day it opened - requiring a dedicated tram then trolleybus service to get the punters into the CBD.  I don't really think that, in the intervening years, there has been that much of a population or employment explosion in the area to justify its retention as a functional station.  What Auckland does need is someway of increasing the capacity of  Britomart.... either through trackwork and signalling improvements at the existing entry, or by biting the bullet and heading south west with a tunnel - hopefully making provision for a line heading around towards the north, anticipating a possible harbour crossing in the future.  With regular gas now about $1.80 a litre there will be more pressure on the system to deliver capacity and timely operation sooner rather than later.

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