The herald today picked up on an important trend that’s been happening without trains in recent months, much improved on time performance.
Becoming ruthless with their whistles and no longer waiting for last-minute “runners” at railway stations has helped Auckland train crews to achieve record punctuality.
Although his trains still have some way to go to catch up with buses and ferries for time-keeping, Transdev managing director Terry Scott is delighted that 91.7 per cent of the rail company’s services hit their destinations within five minutes of scheduled arrival times in January.
That was the first time they exceeded 90 per cent, setting the stage for more improvements once electric trains start running between Britomart and Onehunga in two months, with far greater acceleration and braking power than the existing diesels.
Transdev’s client Auckland Transport is also relieved after struggling to see figures rising above 80 per cent in the long years of trying to keep the city’s elderly trains running to schedule during track upgrades.
“If we can do that with 60-year-old trains, imagine what we can do with the EMUs [electric trains],” says the council body’s chairman, Lester Levy, of the latest result.
It’s great to see that the clunky of diesel trains are more reliable and that’s something that the current management team can be rightly given credit for. Of course in the past there have been all sorts of excuses as to why it wasn’t being achieved so now that it’s been done it does beg the question of why it’s taken so long to get above 90%. As Lester says, if this is possible with our current trains then what can we expect with brand new electric trains.
One of the reasons likely behind the improved performance is that the quality of the rail network has improved. The major physical works have been completed and the new signalling system has now been in place for a few years so is bedded in. As an example, in the 12 months to March 2012 there were a massive 454 signal faults on the Auckland network, by comparison from January 2013 to October 2013 there were only 84
Here’s the last 18 months or so of performance history.
I also have much greater confidence in the rail punctuality stats than I do the bus ones the herald notes which are based on when the bus starts it’s run and are self-reported by the operators.
Let’s hope the rail figures can continue above 90 for some many months to come.