Today is a pretty special day as Auckland Transport are officially unveiling our first electric train. It arrived in the country a few weeks ago but it was trucked to Wiri under wraps so that staff could start the process of joining the carriages and carrying out initial testing. I’m at the unveiling and will update this post with more details when I can but here are some initial photos and I must say, the train is an absolute stunner. It feels light years ahead of what we have now and that’s when it isn’t even moving.
Note: this is the first time I have tried posting from my phone so please forgive me if it doesn’t look great.
They feel really really long, especially being able to look all the way down the inside of the train. The inside is wonderful.
Update: The photos above really don’t do the train justice. The train is really great and I think they will turn heads when people start seeing them turn up at stations. What’s more it isn’t until you really get on them that you feel how truly great they are. The carriages are connected by a gangway and you can see the length of the train, when on board that helps to make the train feel massive and every single person I spoke to was blown away by how big the trains felt. Even those who have been on Wellingtons new Matangi trains – which have open gangways too – were surprised by how open the train felt. This is due to our trains being quite a bit longer thanks to an extra carriage along with the carriages themselves being slightly longer.
I was also pleasantly surprised with how the stairs have been designed. I was previously concerned they would feel narrow or steep but they didn’t feel that way at all. Some other little features I found out about. Each carriage has a different seat cover pattern and all up I believe there are four different patterns that will be rotated through the fleet. There are a few different types of floor coverings in the train. The entrances have a rough carpet while further inside the carriages it is more like the style that exists on our existing trains.
The trains are absolutely wonderful and now the countdown is on to see them on the track. Here are also some photos from Auckland Transport taken with a better camera than that on my phone.
And here is their press release about the trains
The first of Auckland’s new electric trains has been revealed today at a special unveiling at Wiri Depot. The train arrived at the Ports of Auckland on 24 August and was taken to Wiri Depot for further testing, commissioning and driver training. The trains will be gradually introduced into passenger service on a line by line basis until all 57 electric trains are in service later in 2015. These trains will replace Auckland’s ageing diesel fleet.
Auckland Transport’s Chairman, Dr Lester Levy says the trains signify a new era in public transport in Auckland. “This is a very proud day for Auckland Transport’s electric train team and for our partners in this venture. Partners include central government’s representative and our funding partner, the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA); our other key shareholder and funder, Auckland Council (AC); KiwiRail which we work side by side with; our train operator Transdev and the Rail and Maritime Transport Union (RMTU); the builder of our trains, Construcciones y Auxilair Ferrocarriles (CAF) and our contractors, Downer, which built the Wiri Depot with us.
“The electrification project has had a reasonable gestation period. I would like to take this opportunity to thank those who worked so hard, some years ago, to make this project a reality for Auckland. Our thanks go to the previous Chairmen and Board and Chief Executive of the Auckland Regional Transport Authority (ARTA). Thanks are also extended to the previous Chairman of the Auckland Regional Council.
“The trains have been designed specifically for Aucklander’s needs and meet the latest in comfort, safety and technology. They will be very attractive for passengers with their fresh, modern decor. The seat fabric was designed by three local artists to represent the variety of cultures in Auckland. The interior design was produced from a concept that CAF originally produced and was developed by Auckland Transport’s train team.
“Each train will have room for 375 passengers, an increase of 40 per cent capacity on Auckland’s current diesel trains. Open gangways between cars will allow movement from one end of the train to the other. Space under the seats is available for luggage, strollers and guide dogs.
“Wider doors mean that passenger flow, on and off the trains, will be faster and easier for people with disabilities. Wheelchair users and others who are mobility impaired will be able to use automatic ramps on the central carriage doors providing a seamless transition been the platform and the train.
“The trains will have air conditioning to ensure the train interior is comfortable for passengers and crew through the range of Auckland’s weather conditions. International best practice passenger information systems will ensure that both audio and visual information is easy to understand with the interior designed to assist the visually impaired.
“Security and safety features include an on-board CCTV camera system which will operate continuously in all cars, providing images to the driver from any of the 16 cameras within each train. Images will be continuously recorded on-board. Emergency call points, which can be found throughout the train, will allow passengers to communicate directly with the train crew in the event of an incident. All doors have obstacle detection systems so they automatically open and re- close if something is trapped in the door”, says Dr Levy.
Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee says “The unveiling of the first electric train is an important milestone in the government’s $1.6 billion programme to provide a step change in the performance and capacity of Auckland’s rail network.”
Terry Scott, Managing Director of Auckland Transport’s train operator, Transdev, says, “The next step for this train is driver training out on the network in October. As we introduce electric trains into the system along with accompanying electric wiring, it is important amongst the excitement to remind Aucklanders to watch out as these trains are quieter and can accelerate significantly faster than the old diesel trains. If you get too close to the wiring, there will be no second chance”.
Dr Levy says, “Along with so many Aucklanders, we are very much looking forward to the first trains going into service in the second quarter of next year, finally bringing the latest and most modern public train transportation to this wonderful city. We thank Aucklanders for their patience in respect of all the work and preparation that is necessary to begin running these trains on our network”.
Lastly AT have released this timeline explaining what will be happening with the EMUs over the coming years.
Oh and a video of the unveiling