On Wednesday is the next meeting for the Auckland Transport Board and as usual there are a couple of interesting items worth looking at. I will cover the main business report in a separate post as there is lots in there but there was one separate item I felt deserved its own post which is an update on our new electric trains (EMUs) that are being built by CAF in Spain. The report to the board says that the design is 70% complete and that the current work being undertaken is to finalise all of the details. As many of the key parts of the design have already been finished, work has already started to actually build the first unit with construction on the chassis, body shell and bogies under way. Work has also started by a subsidiary of CAF to build a simulator that will be used to train all of the drivers and they will video the entire Auckland rail network to make it as realistic as possible. Over the next few months the design will be finalised, as will the first body shell which will then be painted before assembly starts early next year. What is really positive is that overall everything is still on schedule.
What is the most interesting thing about the document though is that we are starting to get some firm dates for when things will happen. Below is a list of the key milestones for the project and as you can see it appears that we can expect the first train to arrive at the end of August next year. Of course both it and the rail network will then need to undergo some pretty extensive testing so it is not expected that we will see it regular service until some time in 2014.
And here is a more detailed summary of the milestones including dates for the first 5 EMUs.
What is perhaps most interesting is the date of the last EMU. It is due to arrive in mid 2015 which is about 1 year earlier than previously announced and my understanding is that due to AT getting an additional production line. This is great as it means we will be able to get the trains arriving faster and therefore see the benefits of the entire fleet sooner. I really can’t wait to see these new trains as they are going to be such a significant improvement in every way to what we have today.