Over the next few days I’ll be doing a series of posts recapping the year before beginning the new year by looking at what we can expect in the year ahead. For me when it comes to transport, 2013 was always going to be a bit of an “in progress” year. By that I mean that a heap of projects (both PT and road) would be advanced throughout the year however there would be nothing major completed that would fundamentally change transport in Auckland – that will change in 2014. For this post, I’m just going to be recapping public transport.
Wires are now a familiar sight across much of the rail network with primarily just the Eastern Line and the inner parts of the Western Line still to be completed however this was originally meant to have been completed by September. Back in May we revealed that the project was running late and is unlikely to be fully completed till March/April with Kiwirail saying it will be all done by the time the first electric trains are running in April. Britomart and the Eastern line are the focus over the Christmas shutdown and as I was in town yesterday I popped into Britomart which was a hive of activity and flashing lights with crews and vehicles working on each track.
While the case for extending electrification to Pukekohe came out in 2012, the new development that is now expected to occur along the rail corridor thanks to the Unitary Plan is likely to help bring forward the need and justification for it. At the other extreme of the network Auckland Transport announced this year that the Waitakere station would close due to a combination of stubbornly low patronage and high costs to run a diesel shuttle service. The outcomes of two more stations – Westfield and Te Mahia – are still under review after it was suggested they would be closed too.
At Wiri the new state of the art depot to maintain our new electric trains was completed in time for the arrival of the first train.
The first of our new electric trains arrived at the end of August and staff have been busy testing it. Since then it has been joined by three others with more due to arrive soon. The trains are arriving at a rate of two every month till December when they increase to four per month. From my personal experiences of riding on them, I think they’re fantastic and people will be surprised when they first get to try the out next year.
City Rail Link
The City Rail Link perhaps provided the biggest surprise of the year when in June the government suddenly turned around and agreed that it was needed and said they would help fund half of it. This was quite a change from the position they had previously taken, especially their earlier responses including to the City Centre Future Access Study which even Ministry of Transport officials had been a part of. It is believed a large part of the reason the government had such a change of heart was that their polling was showing a lot of unhappiness amongst Aucklanders about the lack of support towards the regions preferred transport and housing solutions.
While the announcement saw the government finally support the project it doesn’t mean they agree with everything about it as the government don’t want to start the project till 2020, roughly the time the council want it finished. They have set some aggressive but potentially achievable targets for starting early. Regardless some parts of the project will actually start next year (or in 2015) following an agreement between the council and Precinct Properties (who now own the Downtown Mall) for part of the tunnel to be built when they redevelop their site. That removed potentially one of the biggest issues from the consenting process which has been proceeding fairly quietly in the background. We should hear the results of that in the new year.
We here at the blog had been getting pretty frustrated with the way the project was being sold by AT (and others). Finally in November we saw a decent effort by AT with this video.
Integrated Ticketing and Fares
Integrated ticketing has one of those projects where if something can go wrong it will, frequently stumbling from one issue to the next with deadlines frequently missed as a result. The project had already been delayed multiple times in the lead up to 2013 and this year showed no sign of that changing with more deadlines missed. This year we were told the roll-out of AT HOP to buses would be completed by the end of the year however issues with the change overs pushed that back again. Birkenhead, Urban express and NZ Bus buses have now all been converted to AT HOP and fingers crossed the rest will be complete within the first few months of 2014. It will mean that for the first time people will be able to get around the city on PT with a single ticket (which is different to a single fare).
While getting integrated ticketing is a good step, integrating fares will be one of the keys to unlocking the system and making it more usable. While it has always been mentioned that integrated fares would come sometime after integrated ticketing, many at AT had previously given off the impression that it was more of a nice to have and there had been no real push. From what I have heard there has be finally been a shift and realisation within AT that integrated fares are desperately needed, especially to support the new bus network and as such work has been going on behind the scenes on this so it should become a reality.
New Bus Network
Early in the year we saw that there was a hugely positive response to the Regional Public Transport Plan of which one of the key features was the new bus network. This enabled AT to go out to the first detailed consultation which was in South Auckland. Once again there was a overwhelmingly positive response to the proposed changes. Auckland Transport deserve a lot of credit for this result as wasn’t just that the new network was good but that AT took their time to explain the reasoning behind it. Despite consultation now being complete in the South, we won’t actually see the changes made till 2015 as AT still need to work though significant issues like contracting with the bus companies. The video below is one AT put together to help accompany the consultation and explained excellently much of what is happening.
Patronage growth was fairly stubborn throughout 2013 after a poor few years partially exaggerated by the Rugby World Cup. However there have finally been signs of improvement in the last few months, especially on the rail network. I suspect we will start to see some decent growth occurring once again in 2014.
Along with some of the big projects mentioned above, below are some of the other important things that have happened over the year:
Anything major PT wise I’ve missed? Upcoming posts will look at and recap what’s happened with road network, walking/cycling, development/planning and finally the blog itself.
One of the biggest developments that has occurred this year has been the arrival of our first electric trains. There are now four in the country and the depot is filling up so fast that in a few weeks time they will have to start storing the trains outside rather than keeping them wrapped up inside. The first three units have been undergoing different stages of testing while the fourth which just arrived this week is starting to be set up.
Back in October Auckland Transport were kind enough to invite me for a ride on along when the first of our new trains took its first tentative steps with run outside of the depot. Back then the train was only being run slowly however it was already evident just how much better these new trains would be compared to what we have in use today. Since that time we’ve heard that the engineers have had the train up over 122 km/h which is faster than they will be allowed to run in normal service
On Tuesday both Patrick and I, along with TVNZ and Radio NZ were lucky enough to be invited back for another test run – this time running at full speed – so that we could experience just what the trains were like. The train we were on had been loaded up with sandbags which were there to represent passengers and so they could more accurately test how it would perform under various conditions. They had taken some of them out for the test run we were tagging along on but at the height there were 1776 sandbags piled up in the train with each one weighing 20kg.
The good news is that even loaded down with a full load of passengers these trains performed superbly. You could really feel the acceleration when taking off from a stop yet the train was quiet and smooth while doing so, not noisy and jerky like our current trains. In fact the performance was so good that I was surprised at one point when I found out we were already travelling at 110km/h – although this may have been partially related to the testing taking place at night so it wasn’t possible to get any sense of speed from just looking out of the windows.
For one run the engineers dropped us at Papatoetoe Station then took off back down the track so that they could come through the station at speed to help give a sense of just how fast the trains are travelling. You can see this in the One News piece.
There’s more good news in that while there have been a few issues that have arisen out of the testing, nothing has been major and none of the trains tested so far have had a break down while out on the tracks, something which even some of the experienced engineers were pleasantly surprised with. This hopefully bodes well for how these trains will perform in the years to come.
I think it also needs to be mentioned that despite so many different companies and agencies involved in operating trains in Auckland, they appear not only to be getting on but actually working well together. There are heaps of companies or agencies involved at all levels. There is Kiwirail who own and operate the tracks, Auckland Transport who effectively pay for the services, Transdev who run the trains, CAF who are building and maintaining the trains and the NZTA who are the safety regulators. Again this gives me hope that AT will be able to fix and improve the services once these trains really start coming on-stream from April next year.
All up it was great to be able to experience these trains at their maximum permitted speed. These trains are truly impressive to ride on and I suspect that the general public will be pleasantly surprised when they finally get to have a ride on one.
Lastly its really nice to see that we can have a PT project that is (so far) actually being delivered on time with a good result. Congratulations to all of those involved.
The haze at Britomart from the diesel fumes. I can’t wait for the day when we only have electric trains stopping at the station.
Speaking of electric trains, reader Gianfranco sent me these photo’s showing our second electric train being unloaded yesterday. Have also heard that testing on the first EMU is going well and they have even had it up to just over 122km/h – although the trains won’t run that fast with passengers on board.
A single electric train would be able to carry more people that all of the cars in that last photo (at normal occupancy rates).
The first of the trains is in the country and undergoing testing with the good news being that the testing is going well with the train performing well. This was the update to the AT board yesterday:
Completion by KiwiRail of the first phase of electrification and permanent energisation of the overhead 25kV traction system was achieved in September between Westfield and Wiri
including the Wiri Train Depot.
The first EMU operated successfully under its own traction power within the depot on 30 September following the first weeks of static testing and commissioning in preparation for dynamic testing from the weekend of 5 October.
Progress to date has been good, with the control system stability checks going well. Testing progressing according to the programme.
The EMU testing and commissioning programme has been finalised and issued to KiwiRail.
The second train is in transit to New Zealand, due to dock around 4 November, with the following trains due to be shipped at 2 weekly intervals.
CAF are now well established in production mode after the summer shutdown. Vehicles for the first 10 trains are now in production, with trains 3, 4 and 5 in test. The supply of materials to the production line is working well.
Our new electric trains are going to be wonderful. They will be bigger, more frequent, quieter and faster than the trains we have today. However there has been one benefit that hasn’t been talked about much and that is how much it is going to cost to run them. We all suspect that because the trains will be running on electricity that they will be cheaper but the question is just how much cheaper. The good news is that thanks to Auckland Transport I now have some information that can help to answer that question. The information that has been provided compares the fuel/electricity costs and the maintenance costs which are admittedly just one part of the total cost equation. The cost per kilometre for running our new electric trains compared to what we have now is below.
So all up the electric trains are 54% cheaper to run on a per kilometre basis than our existing trains which is a massive difference. Some quick calculations suggest that on the current rail network the trains run about 3 million kilometres per year and so based on that figure it suggests fuel and maintenance costs are currently about $24 million per year. By comparison running the same frequencies with electric trains would save about $13 million per year. That’s not too bad however the real benefit comes in the future when we want to run more services. We could easily see the number of service kilometres double from what they are now and so the good news is that if that were to happen, the train operating costs would still be less than what they are now.
As mentioned the costs above only represent one part of the cost of running the rail network and many of those costs will not change with the introduction of the EMU’s. Some of the other costs include:
- The Transdev contract which includes Staffing costs e.g. drivers, on-board staff, ticketing staff as well as the people behind the scenes that keeps the network going.
- Track access charges that we pay to Kiwirail to run and maintain the rail network.
- The running and maintenance of the various stations on the network.
The big thing that would impact on the operational costs from running more trains is the need for additional staff. We would obviously need more drivers to drive the trains as well as more on-board staff (something I understand the unions have demanded be retained despite the trains being designed for driver only operation). At this stage I’m not sure just how many extra staff would be needed or how much that would cost but I suspect that with the savings that will come from the electric trains we should be able to make a vast improvement to the number of services that a run each day for no additional cost above what we’re already paying. That should mean we can improve both peak and off peak services for little or no additional overall cost and boosting frequencies can have a really positive effect on patronage.
Being able to run more services for the same amount of money is the kind of story that Auckland Transport need to be shouting from the roof tops. This is especially important with so many people concerned about rates and council finances. So good for passengers, good for the city, good for the environment and good for the accountants. What’s not to love about these trains?
Six weeks ago Auckland’s first electric train arrived in the country, just over 3 weeks ago it was officially unveiled and yesterday marked a new milestone as testing reached the point where it was able to exit the Wiri depot under its own power for the first time. What’s more, Auckland Transport kindly invited me to be on board. Up until now the testing has been confined to the depot with the focus being on ensuring all of the systems work properly.
Testing isn’t allowed to take place on the main lines unless there are no other trains running so we were limited to the parts of the third main that have been completed as far as Puhinui just over 1km to the north of the depot however it was enough that I can say from personal experience that these trains are going to be amazing. The train was super quiet and smooth in accelerating, in fact the low rumble of the wheels on the tracks seemed louder than the electric motors.
As the testing was happening during the morning peak there were quite a few scheduled services going past, I noticed that the drivers of those trains were all almost hanging out of their windows to get a good look at their future office.
Regular train users will likely know that trains aren’t running this weekend to allow for electrification works to continue and so the testing team will take the opportunity to get the EMU out again and up as far as Otahuhu – they can’t go further north than that till some other bits of work have been completed in a few weeks.
Since the unveiling, the inside of the train has had everything covered up to protect it and the engineers have set up testing stations in the train to monitor its performance however it also shows that if patronage somehow doesn’t grow as expected, AT could always turn the train into a mobile office and rent out desk space. They have also added some large barrels which are/will be filled to help represent the weight of passengers.
The platform that extends and will provide level boarding to the low floor section
At Puhinui some passengers got a look at the new train for the first time.
But I’m sure you don’t want to see pics of the interior. AT also filmed the event giving one of the best views most will have yet seen of the train. I’ve used the non-music version but it’s worth noting that the sound seems a little sharper on video than it is in real life.
Oh and in case you’re wondering what the white things sticking out from the doors are, they are polystyrene blocks and are being used to help test clearances as the EMU will need to be tested against every single platform and other structure around the network to ensure there is no conflict.
Lastly reader Alex was at Puhinui for one of the trips there and took a some of photos of the train being tested. The one below in particular highlights the differences between the cabs of the current loco hauled SA trains and the EMU
Just in case you haven’t had enough news of the electric trains, here is a short video of them put together by Auckland Transport
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
On Saturday our first electric trains arrived and last night they were moved to Wiri in the early hours of this morning where they are now tucked away out of sight for engineers to begin the commissioning process. Here is Auckland Transports press release about it.
The first of Auckland’s new electric trains has arrived and has been delivered to Wiri Train Depot for certification.
The train landed in Auckland on Saturday after a five-week sea journey from Spain, via Baltimore and the Panama Canal.
After clearance from Customs, the three cars of the train were trucked 25 kilometres from the port of Auckland to Wiri early this morning.
The train will be certified at Wiri Train Depot before being officially unveiled in early September. The new train, and others as they arrive, will be thoroughly tested and used for driver training before going into operation, once there is a sufficient number to begin running a commercial service. This is planned to start in the second quarter of next year.
All of the 57 new trains will be in full service in 2015.
Auckland Transport’s chairman, Dr Lester Levy, says this first train has been delivered right on time.
“These trains will change the face of public transport in Auckland,” he says.
“Train services have improved significantly in recent years and these attractive new trains will provide an additional incentive for people to get on board,” he says.
The trains have been designed to meet the specific needs of Aucklanders and feature the latest in safety, comfort and reliability.
“Along with so many Aucklanders, we are looking forward to the first trains going into service next year. This is a very exciting time for Auckland,” Dr Levy says.
“We thank the people of Auckland for their patience as all the work and preparation is undertaken to get the trains here. Finally, the day has come for the first of our new fleet to land on New Zealand soil.”
Each three-car train can carry up to 375 passengers – around 100 more passengers than the current trains and once all 57 three-car trains are in service, they will provide for a 40 per cent increase in network capacity. The total cost of the fleet is NZ$420 million.
AT have also released some photos of the trains, still wrapped up like a giant presents being delivered to Wiri.
The train sitting on the wharf just after being delivered
Being loaded onto the rails at Wiri
One news also ran a piece this morning about them with an interview with AT chairman Lester Levy.
We now have to wait a few weeks before the train emerges from Wiri when AT officially unveil it.
Update: some more photos from Auckland Transport along with some video of the move and them being moved into the depot. Sadly no pics of them without the plastic wraps on. Photos are by Patrick.
There has been various proposals to electrify the Auckland rail network over the last 90 years (usually also involving building a version of the CRL at the same time) so it’s been a long wait but today our first electric train has finally arrived in the city. The ship carrying the train is currently docking and the train should be unloaded shortly before being trucked to the new Wiri depot.
At Wiri the three cars of the EMU will be unwrapped and joined together before starting to go through what I imagine will be a fairly extensive testing phase. The train itself will be unveiled in a few weeks time.
For those interested here is a video AT had made of the train making its way from the factory in Spain to the nearest port, a journey that involves travelling some fairly windy mountain roads.