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Aucklanders get first peek into new electric trains

Auckland transport electric trains

What’s common among New Delhi, Heathrow and Auckland? The sleek new electric trains.

Auckland is set to get brand new electric trains supplied by the company that’s made trains for rail networks in New Delhi and Heathrow.

The Spanish manufacturer of the units, Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles SA (CAF), is designing the new trains based on the trains it supplied for the Heathrow Express that takes passenger from London to Heathrow in under 15 minutes.

The CAF built trains also run in major cities including New Delhi, Hong Kong, Rome, Dublin, Brussels, Amsterdam, Helsinki, Washington and Pittsburgh.

Auckland transport electric trains

The prototype of the new Auckland electric trains

Auckland Mayor Len Brown and the board of Auckland Transport had their first look at a prototype of the region’s new electric trains, due to run in Auckland in 2014.

The mock-up which has just arrived from the manufacturers in Spain has a full driver’s cab and sections of the upper and lower seating areas of the passenger cabins. It weighs 8 tonnes, is 12.5 metres long, 3 metres wide and 4 metres high.

The mock-up will allow representatives of the drivers, train managers, and passengers to experience and test the layout, features and equipment intended for the new trains and identify any refinements to the design.

Describing it as “another milestone as we create a 21st century rail network for Auckland” the mayor says he is looking forward to seeing the first of the new trains on tracks. “Without electric trains, we will not be able to cope with the extra demand we are already seeing.

“They will be a huge advance on the second hand trains Aucklanders have had to put up with for years, and judging by what we are unveiling today, they will be spectacular,” says Len.

The prototype of new electric trains being ordered by Auckland Transport.

Auckland Transport Chairman Mark Ford says, “Ensuring passengers are comfortable, well informed and safe is a key objective in the design.”

In October last year, Auckland Transport signed a contract with CAF to buy 57 three car Electric Multiple Units (EMUs) for the Auckland metropolitan rail network.

The trains will incorporate the latest technology in terms of safety, accessibility and modern amenities like on-board Wi-Fi networks. They are comfortable, quiet, environmentally friendly and attractive.

Each train can carry 375 passengers, around 100 more than are currently carried on Auckland’s trains.

The new EMUs will be owned by Auckland Transport and will start arriving at the end of next year. They will replace the diesel units and diesel locomotive hauled trains currently providing passenger services to commuters in the city.