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Electrification and EMU update to Transport Committee

At the transport committee meeting on Wednesday Kiwirail provided an update on electrification progress while Auckland Transport had an update on what is happening with the EMUs.

Electrification

The presentation was broken down into three areas looking at the key pieces of work remaining to be done. These are signalling, traction (wires) and operational preparedness.

Signalling

The new signalling and train control systems have now been completely installed and are operational. They said about 18 months ago there were an average of over 100 faults a month to either the signalling system, points or other systems associated with controlling the trains. This is down to about 50 a month and is expected to go lower still. My understanding is that this number includes any small issue and often they may not even affect passenger trains but even so it still seems like a lot. The one piece of work left to complete is the automatic train protection system which will help prevent accidents as it will stop trains from going through red signals. We don’t currently have this system on the rail network although I believe that AT are retrofitting our existing trains with it even though they will only be used for another few years. The new EMUs will come with it already installed.

Traction

The wires are the most visible part of electrification. Kiwirail say they their contractors have now completed all of the mast foundations and have over 70% of the masts in place (2785 out of 3825). If you look at a part of the rail network that has already been electrified you will see that there are three wires that make up the system. One is an earth wire, one is a catenary wire and the other one is the wire the trains connect to get power. All up there will eventually be 550km of wire on the network and so far 355km have been installed (~65%). The parts left to do are the western line from Mt Albert to Newmarket, Newmarket to Britomart, the eastern line from Westfield to Britomart and a bit around Papakura.

Electrification Progress - Sep 13

Associated with the wires are various pieces of work around making the network safe. Kiwirail say that 90% the earthing and bonding of elements in and around the rail network is complete while they are 60% of the way through installing the screens (like the one below) on bridges to help prevent access to the wires.

Bridge Screens

The work will continue over the rest of the year and into another extensive rail shutdown over the Christmas period. They said the rail network would be closed from 26 December through to 19 January which is almost four weeks. I sometimes wonder if these large shut downs will ever end and one of my greatest fears is that Kiwirail will get so used to doing all of their normal maintenance tasks in these shut downs that they will become the norm even after electrification is finished.

In addition to the weekend and Christmas shut downs, there have also been shutdowns on Mondays to Thursdays in the evenings. I have heard that these will now be extended to Friday and Saturday nights however there has been nothing official from AT or any of the other agencies involved.

It’s worth noting that there is a shut down this weekend which will see the wires from Westfield to Wiri completed and livened up. That will mean all AT will be able to test the new train all the way from Wiri to Newmarket and along the Onehunga Branch line.

Operational Preparedness

The only part I found interesting in this section was that Kiwirail have decided that they won’t be maintained the wires themselves and as such will be contracting out the work to another company who they are currently under negotiation with. While they will be working on behalf of Kiwirail I do worry about the fact there will be yet another player being involved in keeping the network running.

Electric Trains

As most readers will have known by now, the first of our new electric trains are now in the country and it is tucked away at Wiri going through initial testing. AT say the next two trains will arrive together in November then we will start getting two a month until November 2014. From December 2014 things ramp up even further and there will be four per month arriving until all 57 are here which should be around July 2015 (which is earlier than originally planned due to CAF opening an additional production line)

The first three trains will undergo testing for 3-4 months to ensure all bugs are ironed out. After that trains 4-9 are expected to take about two months to test while after that they will take about 4-5 weeks before being ready to be used in service or for training. Testing will take place at night or during some weekend shutdowns when there are no other services on the tracks so don’t expect to see one while waiting for a train.

The first passenger services are still on track for April and will start on the Onehunga Line. The key reason for waiting till then is that they need a about 7 trains in the country first. Three are needed for Onehunga services (two operational and one spare), another 2-3 are needed for training purposes and another few will be going through testing. Trains will be rolled out on a line by line bases and will only happen when there are enough to replace all of the services on a line in one go to avoid mixed running a mixed fleet where possible. Following Onehunga the Manukau services should start running with electrics a few months later in mid 2014. Both Onehunga and Manukau are shorter runs with less services so not as many trains are needed to be operational. The Southern line will be the next to go electric at the end of 2014 and the Western line will be the last to change over.

 EMU Introduction timeframe

You will notice on the diagram above that after the services on a line are replaced, that a few months later there is a timetable upgrade. This is to get the lines eventually to what is proposed below. AT said that the shuttle services to Papakura would begin in the end of 2014 once the southern line services were replaced.

Post Electrification frequencies

However while those of us out west in particular will have a while to wait before we see the new trains, AT also said that there may be the opportunity to at least replace all weekend services with EMUs in September next year. I’m also hoping that as the other lines start converting to electrics, that a few trains will be freed up to boost western line frequencies in the interim.

AT also say that modelling has taken place to look at timetable impacts of the new trains and they expect they will be able to deliver time savings of around 12% on a run. That means a trip from Papakura to Britomart would drop from 53 minutes to 45-49 minutes (I’m guessing depending on if stations like Westfield and Te Mahia close as proposed). Of course AT won’t know the exact time savings until they can actually test the trains in real life.

We are really starting to get into the business end of this project but unfortunately that also means a lot more disruption. Looking at current plans there is a weekend shutdown every 2-3 weeks from now up until Christmas and that is something that will not be doing any favours for patronage and people’s views on the service. If there is one advantage to the pain, at least now we are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

55 comments to Electrification and EMU update to Transport Committee

  • Christopher T

    The traction map suggests another little porky from KiwiRail. As you observe in your comment, no wiring has yet been installed from Mt Albert to Newmarket; the map indicates that it has been run from Swanson to Kingsland.

  • Steve F (GEN X Civil)

    Splitting off 30% buses into a rapid core system, with priority in the network incl left lane shared (buses/trucks) will make this transition go a hell of a lot better. In fact extra buses can be moved around to fill up the gaps left with each transition, as they phase in each line sounds extremely logical to me. Not only that but always a full-time rapid fleet (on-hand) to direct urgent needs or blockages not to mention the vertical patronage gains and less congestion.

  • Hm one contradicting detail – contrasting the above mention of no mixed running is Manukau is an implication in the July AT board report (here, table on page 19) that there will be a mixed fleet operating to Manukau (May 2014 target is “Manukau first EMU”, June 2014 target is “Extra capacity on Manukau 3 x 4 DMU’s”.

  • Steve F (GEN X Civil)

    Steve and Anthony If your reading get the other collector feed networks plans ready (East,North, West) and the left lane of all the motorways is available also (30% split to ultra rapid ie 150 motorways say 150 key arterials ) but even with the 700 the rapid approach multi-transfers as the routes combine. I’m pushing for Dec 16th 2013 not 2016.

    • Steve F (GEN X Civil)

      Guys for now we just need a bus stop sign on a post to implement the network. We can work on comfort items later. In terms of consultation put all of Auckland on notice “Smashing Congestion” in a collaborative effort and get them all behind us. One month free trial on the new network. I would put in a day free towards this for a start. I want a better Auckland and know we can do this now not later.

      • Steve F (GEN X Civil)

        I suggest after a mandate we all meet somewhere once a week (initially things like the Hop card need to be discussed..what we can do to simplify etc without zones, a fair off-peak disc etc) . A full day. We are probably only going to get about 11 sessions to put this together plus after each meeting a summary gets uploaded on to this blog. An overall plan-then working backwards from each interchange area. An excel spreadsheet for each road. What is the priority focus mode between RAMM sections ie Freight/Car. Suggest we get delegate Traffic engineering graduates (with safety gear and a watcher) to measure all arterial widths and offset widths to current lines in the direction of the RAMM chainages-measuring from the left hand side kerb face every 50m. Check to see what lines we can -re-utilise or black out if need be.
        Again focus groups (or sectors) like freight/ town centre nodes and an overall strategy team to work on a balance. Not all roads can do all modes. The first 5 sessions on big picture -key focus priorities per road than the last 6 sessions looking at interchange locations/markings on the road/signal optimisation.

        • Steve F (GEN X Civil)

          A serious problem, needs a serious focussed team focussed on one multi-modal goal, one date.

          • Steve F(GEN X )CIVIL

            On Dec 16 all coloured lines through-out will be completed one way or another. Dashed lines are only to get used when the alternative current solution is short term (ie achievable on the 16th via roadmarking). All networks complete as possible, no congestion, not negotiable ( this time the colour line is per mode) . This effort with a month trial free on this trial network will work. I’m sure a few other CPEng’s, and other professionals or keen participants will give their time once they realise what we are up to. It would be good to use that Beca auditorium room (one day per week) and to brainstorm each sector area over the GIS map working backwards from each 2030 interchange.
            Week 0 -Mandate to work this problem out as a collaborative team “Smashing Congestion”-no mode bias but completing all networks …YES.
            Agenda Each Week
            - Intro and Public Transport Fare structure/mechanisms and what is possible. Week 1
            -Focus Strategy -Key Roads Sector (south -since already out for consultation (Week 2) , east (3) , west (4) and North (5))
            Allows one month blog consultation before diving into detail
            -Detail Strategy (interchanges any constraints) (south (6) , east (7) , west (8) and North (9))
            -Town Centre Nodes (10)
            - Trial Network Implementation Wrap Up -Confirm what we are doing (Week 11)
            Dec 16 launch. Try and see. Bus Stops in new areas can be moved by post to suit best locations.
            Holiday contingency measure north and south….really prove this adaptable rapid core works!!!
            After successful trial PT guys /overview work on comfort -finalising the new stop areas via Footpath budgets etc.

          • Steve F(GEN X )CIVIL

            Wednesday would be a good day to meet-Final week give to Road Maintenance/Signal Maintenance. Do it starting that night ready for the next Monday morning. Roadmarkers will need to up resource via subbies. (hit hard Wednesday to Sunday night (15 Dec)).

          • Steve F(GEN X )CIVIL

            Over week 2 week 5. A new 2013 map is created(each colour representing each transport mode) on each motorway, arterial or waterway. From here we will get the engineering students to give us widths to each existing line on the arterials to see if we can utilise them and just add on-road stencilled symbols or whether we need to black-out and put in a new couple of lines..

          • Steve F(GEN X )CIVIL

            Ideally I would like to have the first session starting Wednesday 18th Sept that gives 13 Weeks until the 11 December where roadmarking will need to start (Wed night,thursday night and sunday night) usually night roading shifts don’t do Fri and Sat night. Still would like to finalise plans after session 11. 2 weeks for loops/signal hardware/optimisation ready.

          • Steve F(GEN X )CIVIL

            Draft-Agenda Each Wednesday following mandate approval this week hopefully.
            – Intro and Public Transport Fare structure/mechanisms and what is possible. Week 1(Wed Sept 18)
            -Focus Strategy -Key Roads Sector (south -since already out for consultation (Week 2-25 Sept) , east (3-2nd Oct) , west (4-9th Oct) and North (5 -16 Oct))
            Allows one month blog consultation before diving into detail
            -Detail Strategy (interchanges any constraints) (south (6 -23* Oct) , east (7-30th Oct) , west (8-6th Nov) and North (9-13th Nov))
            -Town Centre Nodes (10-20th Nov)
            – Trial Network Implementation Finalised Plans-Confirm what we are doing (Week 11-27 Nov)
            Week 12-Dec 4 Implementation Progress/Plans feedback/PT Headquarters for managing network/rapid buses contingency etc?.
            Week 13-Dec 11-Implementation Progress-Meeting roadmarkers for Lines/symbols etc.Trial Additional Bus stop -signs/posts
            Dec 16 Monday 6am launch.

            *could start feeding finalised traffic signal improvements after 24 Oct to start physical on the ground changes.
            Feedback welcomed just putting a draft plan of attack out there for a network wide reprioritisation/ and completion based on a green light hopefully.

          • Steve F (GEN X) Civil.

            Ive ordered from GIS Auckland Council -latest aerials, road width layers, boundaries, road names, also any bus route info (if possible) in NZ Map Grid. (i’ll create a base xref) Plus RAMM Info citywide ie RAMM Chainages-sections, Road Widths, Traffic Volumes on Excel Spreadsheet.We will use this to help with minuting decisions on mode focus roads, checking widths/space available etc.Group Roads via Sector and backwards via importance to the public transport network.

          • Steve F (GEN X) Civil.

            “Smashing Congestion”
            We are starting with-left lane Motorways shared bus /truck. Our nominal base split is 160 buses. Spread to suit demand.
            SH1 North-50 (split with NEX) , SH1 South-50 , SH16 (NW) -50 buses
            SH 20/20a-Onehunga to Airport-3
            SH 20/20a -Manukau to Airport-2
            SH18-5- Kumeu to SH1.(Interchange 414 Upper Harbour Hwy on/off ramp)
            This is 1/4 of all our existing buses-approx. 1000 in total.
            All trucks can use this also. Main arteries fully utilised. Not negotiable.

          • Steve F (GEN X) Civil.

            North-South Extents (Wellsford to Bombay then direct to Pukekohe so a strong anchor point)

          • Steve F (GEN X) Civil.

            Actually not 25% buses, 16% buses as a nominal base. The good thing about buses is ability to change type of service and route.With Holiday North and South demands suggest double SH1 buses up to 100 north link and 100 south. By reducing 100 buses from the more isolated 700 collector feeds.

          • Steve F (GEN X) Civil.

            ARTERIALS (140)
            Dominion Rd – 35
            AMETI -(width as is) – 35 buses (feed to Howick (Pak Highway) 25, Feed to East Tamaki/Botany-Ti Rakau Dr -10)

            Split remaining 70 buses

            Botany to Ormiston (Flat Bush) to Manukau City – 15 (Chapel Rd/Matthews/Hollyford/ to Redoubt Rd is the ultimate route ) need to discuss we might need to utilise TI drive and/or we will need to tram mimic Redoubt rd as only 3 lanes-buses go up and turn-around.
            New North Rd/Great North Rd -10
            Great South Rd-10
            St Heliers Bay rd to Panmure Station-5 (leaving out Tamaki Drive on purpose)
            Kepa Rd (St Heliers Bay rd to Britomart)-5 (leaving out Tamaki Drive on purpose)
            Hillsborough Rd-10
            .Esmonde to Devonport-Lake rd-5
            (option ferry or northern busway….. lake rd looks tight in places)
            Glenfield to Northcote-5
            Inner City-5

            then the 700 collector buses similar approach but a more multi-transfer (corner of main road to corner of main road …joining different routes to get you where you need to go. More buses/higher frequency/more priority on where the route lines converge the most.
            No zones at all, one rechargeable card via mobile phone networks etc. $140 per month all times or $90 off-peak (incl Holidays ,weekends) 2 hr continuous travel on network before peak time if applicable work day charge kicks in. Either valid prior or start walking.
            Then we complete Cycle Network as we go. Promote option ferry network where practicable.(ie no mode bias).
            Congestion Smashed from here to eternity! This will also get us through some contingency measures like the electrification.

          • Steve F (GEN X) Civil.

            And we are purposely going to keep bus priority/and ideally car network where practicable away from the key “sunday roads” suggested locations. And the first month is free on the multi-modal trial network.

          • Steve F (GEN X) Civil.

            I’m envisaging we are going to need numerous bus-stop signs for the corner to corner transfers between each bus route.

          • Steve F (GEN X) Civil.

            Like the holiday getaway contingency focus extra bus capacity to pickup rail stations as the electrification impacts on capacity. It doesn’t need to get worse for everyone before it get better. If we generally do what Im suggesting a super size combo of various ideas in one punch. Problem fixed only going to get better with physical improvements as they come on-line! Why start with a 4 out of 10 network let’s get it up to a 8/10 network or better?.

          • Steve F (GEN X) Civil.

            30% target total PT patronage by Feb 16 2014. 50% target total PT patronage by Dec 16 2014. New red lines. If we do a team effort and generally along the lines of these ideas implemented all at once in a new trial network the blue (actual) line may even surpass this. Then we get electrification phasing in. Auckland No10 no way top 5 and a better place to live and productivity up and more time out of the grid-lock

          • Steve F (GEN X) Civil.

            In the meantime ATB if you were given 300 nominal buses (with as much priority as possible with loops-green phasing) on a 2030 network (100 additional buses always on stand-by call to change from lowest patronage services 100 of the 700 to rapid).How would you spread them through-out the network based on shared left lane with trucks on all motorways and arterials (where possible otherwise tram simulation in 3 lane areas) Based on a Dec 16 2013 network pre-electrification. You are welcome to do a 2013 plan and add numbers. Keep thinking big and 50% mode share.

          • Steve F (GEN X) Civil.

            And I would like your northern tip showing Wellsford and key stops to there. South Bombay then Pukekohe.

          • Steve F (GEN X) Civil.

            Steve, Anthony I want you to think 700 buses (100 always airmarked to swap to rapid) on the multi-transfer network. Dec 16 2013.

          • Steve F (GEN X) Civil.

            Then we add in another 11 ideas at the sametime….get the picture. Congestion is about to get munted.

          • Steve F (GEN X) Civil.

            And to round out the top 3 ideas out of the 13 or more. The first month on the trial network is free and rechargeable cards is given to everybody in Auckland (child card and >65 no topup required) with easy to topup instructions pref alongside mobile phone networks.

          • Steve F (GEN X) Civil.

            Auckland is getting 2 xmas presents. 1) a permanent rechargeable transit card (given out staring Dec 1 with proof of identity. Colours of cards to suit category. say shades of pink eg females < 5 (non rechargeable) =16, <=65 (non-rechargeable).The first month Dec 16 to Jan 16(deemed permanent off-peak) effectively topped up $90 (off-peak equivalent). Auckland Transport pays operators income (same last year equivalent). For the under 5s things like Thomas The Tank Engine or Barbie would be very cool. Make the kids proud of ownership and able to swipe card etc.
            2) a new network that optimises all forms of travel and uses the best of what we have. Setup with full-time contingency measures in place. as suggested further above. A network that fully demonstrates that we have got our act together on all modes with all the best ideas combined.

          • Steve F (GEN X) Civil.

            If we are giving the roadmarkers are new multi-modal vision to be implemented over 3 nights and public transport resources aligned to suit, what could be the difference? I would say liveability and making smart use of resources would give instant productivity gains and safer for all with no congestion, less vehicles on the road corridor straight away. This effort will turn the corner but a major operation needs to be military planned to be successful. First we need the Generals to say yes we have a problem and request a deployment to answer to the Campbell Live show “you guys fix it” and you can start again with a blank canvas on the motorways and arterial roads.

        • Steve F (GEN X) Civil.

          Dashed line northwards from Wellsford to link with Northland Buses. Dashed line south of Bombay to link with Waikato Buses.

          • Steve F (GEN X) Civil.

            The Mayor and the Chairman of Auckland Transport can then say we are trying our best to fix the problem. “Smashing Congestion” a team starting next Wednesday – key players “NZTA, Auckland Transport, Hop Team, Cycling Auckland etc” and volunteers from across the industry to plan a multi-modal network and we are going to implement a new road network on Dec 16-Monday 6am “live”.
            One Wednesday for the next 13 weeks until implementation all working together with “one vision” a better all-round transport system for Auckland for now and the future.

          • Steve F (GEN X) Civil.

            I think large attendance meetings is difficult to manage and could be a waste of everyone’s valuable time. I’d just let blog topics and plans do most of the work and open this for the real flow of ideas. We already have a fantastic start with a 2030 network for the rapid core, a multi-transfer south plan done by Anthony and Steve at Auckland Transport, cycle plans already split into south, east, west, north sectors. I don’t mind just dedicating Wednesday to collect ideas and kick things off, and meet with teams one by one and minute accordingly and put out there. My first minutes coming up soon with the mayor’s transport advisors.

  • TheBigWheel

    Summer shutdowns = a complete joke, not worth it, would rather stick with diesels frankly.

    • That is effectively saying you might as well just close down the rail network. The diesels are clapped out, prone to failure and are not likely to last beyond another few years without expensive upgrades. Without this work there is no CRL or any other extension to the rail system.

    • Gian

      In summer every Aucklander spends his time queueing up the Holiday Highway anyway, so who cares?

    • Have you ever used electric trains? The difference is so great and they are so much better than diesels that almost any sacrifice would be worth it.

    • Really Big Wheel? Never improve anything then, bound to be a hassle. This pain is so worth the gain.

      • TheBigWheel

        I spent years of my life dedicated to the cause of electric trains.. travelling the world to more or less every electric train factory there is, including CAF, improving them one way or another, making them go faster and more efficient.

        The Auckland shut downs are totally out of all proportion. Four (or five?) summers of no trains at all, and countless weekends.. and where I live the there’s no replacement bus. So the kids have grown up getting lifts everywhere, visitors can’t get to the city to get on a boat, even I end up driving to Britomart in the evening. Just to upgrade 500 km of track.. what a load of bollox. Kiwirail / AT whoever appears simply not to care about its customers, frankly I’m past the point of caring about them.

  • Steve F (GEN X Civil)

    There is the existing infrastructure, resources, knowledge, projects already happening to implement Congestion Free Network -Phase 1 Dec 16. It just needs a mandate. A vertical spike especially with the first month free trial on the network is such a sure thing it isn’t funny. No widening, just paint,signal optimisation, a rechargeable card, and maybe some minor footpath extensions to stop interchange areas. The impact is huge, the savings is huge.

  • Steve F (GEN X Civil)

    TheBigWheel if we implement Phase 1 (Network Reprioritisation/New Strategy and a rapid core bus to assist the rail backbone ) no problem.

  • George D

    there have also been shutdowns on Mondays to Thursdays in the evenings. I have heard that these will now be extended to Friday and Saturday nights however there has been nothing official from AT or any of the other agencies involved.

    These will make it difficult for AT to maintain existing usage, let alone reach growth targets. If they’re once-offs which once completed are unlikely to be repeated in the next 15 years, then that’s fine. However it seems like that shutdowns are expanding in scope over time rather than becoming more limited. I hope my perception is incorrect.

    For the purposes of ordinary people who use trains because they’re relatively fast and efficient, these shutdowns equal cancellations and should be counted in a similar way.

    • George D

      Reading further down the article, very frequent weekend shutdowns will do even further damage to usage and perceptions of a reliable service. Unfortunately, this is a necessity, but the reality of the situation should be acknowledged.

      Once it is recognised, it can be addressed in the post-EMU environment with faster, better, and cheaper off-peak travel.

  • JeffT

    I was just thinking maybe the system could be shutdown for a block to get all the work down and then I remembered the freight trains. What happens over our annual xmas month-long shutdowns. Are they running the freight trains then or are they closed off as well?

  • JeffT

    By the way, it will be great having a faster service with the emu’s but as we know, Western line services will still come to a grinding halt with the driver changing-of-ends at Newmarket. The building of the CRL can’t come soon enough.

  • simon

    on a summer shutdown they used pukekohe for freights while work was done but apart from the wiri deupot not much progress elsewhere just stumbling along and this lame excuse from kiwi rail CEO back in May

  • cm

    Will this be the death of Puke patronage?

    Wires and some infill stations are needed asap.

  • Simon C

    You have to remember guys that we have had to have big Summer shutdowns just because we have had to basically rebuild the whole network again from the bottom up. So I haven’t had a problem with the big shutdowns, particularly when the trains start again and you see the work which has been done. However it is not usual to have these big shutdowns and Kiwirail needs to be given the message by AT and AC that this year is the last otherwise AT/AC should advise Kiwirail of their intention to refuse to pay the full track access fees they now have to pay each year. @ The BigWheel, for someone who has had a lot to do with electric trains I’m surprised you could even think to still ride old, clapped out DMUs rather than the new EMUs we are getting. There’s no comparison!

    @cm I hope Pukekohe patronage won’t be affected. If you look at Matt’s post, you’ll see every 20mins in the peak for the shuttle which is better than now and every hour off peak which is same AND finally Saturday and Sunday services as well. And every 1hr for Sat & Sun straight off, not just starting with 2 or 3 services which is the usual way when new additions to the timetable are done. Remember the Western line is still at 1hr frequencies even now on Sundays. So the addition of weekend services is definitely an improvement. The main thing to keeping patronage going out of puke is that the transfer time is only 5-10mins max. If the transfer is seamless it’s not a biggie as people all around the world commuting by rail everyday know. If it’s not, then it doeas become a problem, so I hope AT get that part of the equation right. Matt, any word in the meeting on what the transfer time at papakura from DMU shuttle to EMU service would be? Hopefully patronage and future development plans will be enough to get Puke electrication the green light sooner rather than later. I think it will happen but when is the question. It might still be a few years away yet (AT & AC have a lot on their plate already – CRL & Ameti etc). However the age of the DMUs could be a “push” factor in favour of Pukekohe because i can’t imagine AT wanting to run them for too long and incurring increasingly rising costs to keep them in service.

    Just one thing on the Summer shutdown. Transdev’s site says December 25 – January 5th so maybe the whole network won’t be shut till the 19th January.

  • Simon C

    Sorry, I meant to say it’s not usual to have these annual big shutdowns overseas. Also I did mean to comment on the fact that off-peak frequencies are 30mins. I’d like to see better than that, especially on the weekends I would hope to see AT target a 15min frequency once all the EMUs are in service. 30mins on the weekend is still not good enough to encourage people to use the trains for weekend leisure more and more. AT has to realise that weekends should still have pretty high frequency and be busy in a mature system. I think there is still an element of “our rail network is a Monday-Friday commuter network” kind of thinking in AT. I would like to see improvement from AT in that area. Of course, re-instating a family pass in the new ticketing set-up would also help!

  • Sailor Boy

    Doesn’t this contradict the RPTP? I thought that all train lines were on the FSN which meant a train every 15 or less 7-7 everyday including weekends. Or are those frequencies an iterim until we have all of the EMUs

    • The network and frequencies in the RPTP are ‘by the end of 2016′, after all the EMUs are delivered and operational. Hopefully we’d see the weekend go to 15min by then… but I am afraid they’re just going to ignore the principles of the FSN and go back to shitty service on weekends.

  • BBC

    They said last year that that was the last summer shut down and now we have another one, as you say I sure hope Kiwirail doesn’t think they can simply continue to do this going forward. A PT service that isn’t available 10% of a year isn’t one that you can base your transit needs around.

  • Waspman

    Without far more contingency built into the present network these frequencies as shown are a hopeful dream not a reality. It only takes one idiot to push the emergency button for no reason, one crossing fault, one signal fault or one train playing up, etc etc and the entire house of cards will fall over. As I have said before there is not enough ability to bypass stoppages on the entire network. We have a freight network that does suburban and only just when everything lines up perfectly. Yes more trains will cover the holes but if they can’t move then we are back to square one.

    For example,if a train is headed toward Orakei from Britomart none are able to cross over to either line after the Parnell baths until it reaches what was the Tamaki station area. Similarly Onehunga is almost a blind single tracked alley. So if anything has gone wrong in between, services are halted or at the very least severely curtailed. Depending on how long the problem drags on for the knock on effect in delays and cancelled services can be hours. AT has to work immediately at third lines and more points for trains to cross from line to line. Britomart is at its limit I reckon despite the claims it is not yet. It badly needs a 3rd line and those hidden, unused, vacancies for platforms you see if one looks hard enough when entering the main platforms (on the extreme left and right) in use and this is before the CRL. Anything less and forget a smooth running network, shiny new electrics or not.

    • TheBigWheel

      Waspman those look like good points (pardon the pun).. but will the fixes require another five years of summer shutdowns?

      • Waspman

        I don’t think it will involve any further summer shut downs (apart from using the up and coming shut down) so rather time spent during the night or weekend closures re extra points and related signalling. As for Britomart I think extra platform space is needed to at least allow more capacity should more trains than is planned arrive at once or there is an issue with a train at Britomart.. This is a factor I have noticed when trouble on the network strikes. If AT don’t do this, as I say absolute everything will have to go to the minute 24/7 (which of course nothing ever does anywhere) or it wont work.

    • Waspman, FYI those stub tunnels at Britomart aren’t for extra platforms, they were for light rail trams to bypass the platforms. They are only a few metres wide and don’t go far at all.

      Anyway, not sure platform capacity is a particular problem at Britomart, as opposed to tracks and signals.

  • Free Papatoetoe Front

    I assume they will com back & finish the job on the Manukau branch line, still a bit of work to do

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