Occasionally Auckland Transport will publish reports that originally went to their closed after they’re no longer deemed to be confidential. One of these released recently was a deep dive into ATs rail infrastructure and contained quite a bit of interesting but somewhat wonky information, particularly around rail related assets AT have.
With rail, Kiwirail own the tracks, signalling and overhead lines while AT own the trains, stations and other amenities associated with providing rail service.
The paper only looks at the AT aspects. In total, there are 57 electric trains, 10 diesel trains (for the Papakura to Pukekohe services), 40 stations across the network with 55 individual ticket gates across four of them and AT say there are 34 more on order. In total AT’s rail assets are valued at just under $1 billion and a breakdown of that is below.
In an age where multi-hundred dollar and even billion plus transport projects are now common, it seems almost quaint to remember that Britomart only cost a few hundred million to build. It would be interesting to see how the project would have stacked up under the current economic assessment criteria given what we know has happened since it was completed.
On the stations, they say as most are relatively new/recently upgraded as part of improvement works, they have a somewhat artificial “as new” state. Although interestingly they also say that while they’re functional, they “lack the amenity value expected of modern platforms. In particular, there is limited protection from the weather on or approaching most stations“. This is an issue I raised the other day. They also say
Renewals begin from 2021. Station cost for older stations is limited to cleaning and minor maintenance (approximately $150,000 pa) while platforms containing escalators / lifts, glass finishes and on-platform amenities (such as Panmure) rise to approximately $750,000 pa. Total station maintenance cost is approx. $3 million pa.
Below is their forecast for the condition of rail assets out to 2028.
For the trains, the purchase agreement will see the manufacturer CAF responsible for maintaining them based on a rate per train/ kilometre. AT say the cost for the EMUs last year was $12 million and is expected to be $13.5 million for the 2016/17 year due to the increase in services. The document also points out that the trains ran 3.8 million km last year.
On top of these maintenance costs, AT say the annual depreciation is $42.5 million
As mentioned earlier, Kiwirail are responsible for the tracks, signals and overhead lines. AT pay Kiwirail a track access fee to cover their portion of the costs of running the network. For the first time the details of how it is determined how much AT pay is available. This is shown below.
- Track use split – based on kilometres per annum, changed to 89.5% AT / 10.5% KiwiRail (was previously 88% / 12%)
- Track maintenance split – based on gross tonne kilometres per annum, changed to 66.3% AT / 33.7% KiwiRail (was previously 56% / 44%)
- Overhead Lines Maintenance – 100% AT, KiwiRail do not operate electric locomotives in Auckland
While we don’t know the exact figures for these costs, the total amount AT have paid since 2013 along with the budget for the year to June are shown below.
Given the general state of the tracks, clearly a lot more investment is needed. It would be interesting to know how much more Kiwirail would need to spend to get the tracks up to a decent condition
Seemingly in addition to the tracks, the ongoing costs to support the ETCS (European Train Control System) are expected to be about $1 million per year.
AT don’t say how much it costs to run things like CCTV or the HOP infrastructure at stations but do say the OPEX of gating stations is about $500,000 per year primarily due to needing to man the gates.
Looking forward, the report notes that ATAP suggests up to $3 billion of investment will be needed over the next 30 years and includes up to 63 more trains, a second depot, level crossing removal and of course a third and even fourth main in the south. The ATAP table describing this is below.
The major issue though is that other than the CRL, currently only around $150 million has been budgeted in the Council’s Long Term Plan. This along with the investment since AT took over in 2010 is shown below. As you can see, AT spent $737 million from November 2010 to June 2016 but if you exclude the EMU related costs, it equates to $164 million.
All up an interesting paper, if you’re interested in some of the behind the scenes costs for rail in Auckland.