This post is a little bit of a rant about something that has been annoying me. Recently a change was made to how city bound trains operate through New Lynn which has resulted in dwell times being considerably slowed down. In the past trains would turn up at the platform, train staff would go though their normal procedure and then the train would depart. The signalling system had already picked up that the train was approaching the station and had activated the level crossing at the nearby Portage Rd.
New procedures mean that the train manager now needs to get off the train and has to walk to a box in the middle of the platform to swipe an electronic token which will then activate the crossing and signals. Now this may not sound too bad but I have often noticed that the train manager is not in a carriage that is close to where the box is meaning that they have to walk down the platform to do this and some even walk all the way back before closing the doors so the train can proceed. All up I have noticed that this adds up to 30 seconds to the stop at New Lynn which just makes it that much harder for trains to reach Britomart on time. In many ways this is the same sort of thing that used to have to happen under the old Mt Albert station and was something that was meant to have been eliminated with our new signalling system.
Of course there needs to be a reason for this change and unfortunately I don’t know what that reason is but is most likely to do with the length of time the barriers were down. The problem is that Portage Rd isn’t heavily used and normally I will only see a very small handful of cars waiting for trains to cross yet at in the morning peak trains already have hundreds of people on them by this point. To me it feels like we are now deliberately delaying trains just so that we can make it easier for a few drivers.
So Auckland Transport/Veolia/Kiwirail are you able to give us an explanation as to why you are now holding up packed trains at New Lynn. Better yet can you scrap this stupid policy and go back to the one that seemed to perfectly fine up until recently as in my books saving 30 seconds for a few hundred people on a train is far more important than making a few cars having to wait a bit longer.