Auckland has finally caught up with the rest of the world with an upgraded rail network.
A new era in New Zealand’s public transport is being ushered in today with the launch of Auckland’s NZ$500 million 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.
While eventually 57 electric trains will run across Auckland by mid-2015, only seven trains are being commissioned this month. The new trains are faster, quieter and can run in both directions of a track. (For features of the new train, watch the video at the end of this article.)
The City Rail Link with its three new stations will see journey times reduced – the trip from New Lynn to Aotea will take just 23 minutes and from Panmure to Newton 27 minutes.
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”.
To mark the launch of the trains, 5000 Aucklanders are enjoyed free ride between Britomart and Newmarket and return on Sunday. Comments from members of the public include: “They’re so quiet”, “The ride is so smooth” and “These trains are really good”.
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.
Tomorrow morning the first paying services start with the electric trains running on the line between Britomart and Onehunga.
- 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.