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March of the Wires

Trains started running again on some lines yesterday marking the end of the Christmas shut down for some sections of the network and passengers at a few of those stations will have seen a new sight as well as a bit of a milestone, the first completed sections of overhead wire. The first few wires were actually put up a month or two ago but only now have some sections had the contact wire installedĀ (the part that the train touches). This has been completed out west near Swanson as well as down the Onehunga line which will actually be the first section to be powered up, which will happen in April.

Thanks to Geoff in the CBT forum we also have some pictures, (some of Onehunga are here)

As you can see this are certainly going to change the rail landscape around the city and I guess my only concern is that there will be some people who think that this adds a lot of visual pollution and will get vocal about it, especially once they reach the Orakei basin but by that time it will luckily be far to late. On the other hand it will also act as a great advertisement of the rail network which will assist the ‘sparks effect’ to drive up patronage.

Also of note the new signalling system has also gone live out to Swanson which means that there is only Wiri to Papakura to go :-)

19 comments to March of the Wires

  • I think a particular style (located in the centre of the two tracks with a pretty basic mast system) has been chosen for Orakei Basin to minimise visual effects.

    Overall – wow that certainly changes the appearance of the rail network. We’re starting to look like a city with a real train system.

    (If only we had some trains to run).

    • Matt L

      From memory the only thing that Kiwirail have said is that they worked out that they can now use cantilever masts like you see in the second picture rather than having to use portals which span the tracks like in the foreground of the first picture.

      As for the trains to run on them it will probably at least be two years till we see them regularly carrying passengers (and again Onehunga will be first line to get them)

  • ejtma

    I am not so sure about the Oraki basin and Tamaki drive, when I was out in Onehunga today, I had to go up Victoria Street, and you wouldn’t have noticed the wires until you were around 50m from the railway. I am assuming the masts are being used to blend in from I recall when all this was announced, so the visual pollution should be minimised. AS someone who drives to work down Tamaki drive everyday, I can only see it as positive, especially most mornings the trains go way quicker than the traffic.

  • Andrew J

    Wiri itself goes live on Anniversary weekend, so after that, only Homai to Papakura will remain.

  • Pete

    Going slightly OT – With the Auckland system using 25kV, surely it would be great to see some loco hauled services in the near future with their current (if they have spares) stock that is used between Hamilton & Palmy. Would be great to see the overhead lines in use sooner rather than later

  • Jon R

    Great to see modernisation approach AucklandĀ“s network. Excellent photos thanks to Geoff as well. Can never fault him on his photography skills!

    Why were steel poles chosen over concrete types used on the NIMT?

  • Ben

    Great pics Geoff.

    I have to have smile on my face if the Mayor of Newmarket Cr Cameron Brewer comments about the masts being visual pollutants :|

    As for Swanson – fun fun fun with the platform changes

  • I’ve travelled on the Western Line thousands of times, but I can’t place the second photo – any hints?

  • Matt L

    It is approaching Swanson, just after the Candia Rd bridge (which can be seen in the first shot), basically it is just alongside Pooks Rd. Swanson Station is just around the corner at back of the photo

  • Steve

    Pete: Though both are 25kV AC there is a difference in the current supply that means if the EF’s were run in Auckland they’d be fried. Long term though it should be the aim to harmonise the NIMT central section with Auckland to allow for continuous running from Auckland to Palmerston North once wires go up between Papakura and Te Rapa.

  • Gary Young

    Why are the wires being livened so far in advance of the trains actually using them?

    Just asking out of curiosity.

  • Death penalty for copper theft – self administered

  • Rob M

    Will pretty well the entire Auckland suburban rail network be fully electrified (masts and wiring in place) by Easter 2012?

    • Unfortunately Rob, the only the resignalling will be complete by Easter 2012 (if all goes to plan). As Andrew J mentioned earlier, there are still further changes that will need to made to Papakura, but these are mainly associated with the diesel-electric interchange platforms to be set up there. I’m sure someone else will be happy to give a target date for the traction part of the works…

  • Sean

    I’ve been scrabbling around trying to find the best possible way of getting from Papakura to Britomart and back this week, and I’ve reached the sad conclusion that I’ll just have to suck it up and catch the wretched rail bus. The eye-opening thing for me is that the rail bus, even though it takes a ridiculous route that visits the backstreets of Otahuhu and then goes on to East Auckland, is no slower and is perhaps even a little faster than regular bus services from Britomart to Papakura. I can see the argument for making bus services feed into rail, now.

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