A few weeks ago in a post about dwell times I mentioned that from July 20 all services all lines will be operated by electric trains (with the exception of the Papakura to Pukekohe shuttle). Regular rail users may have started to see advertising appear on platforms announcing the change and as part of that there are also new timetables with tweaks made to all lines – the Eastern line is almost completely unaffected.
The new timetables can be found here
Just having a quick look through them I’ve noticed a few things worth to noting:
It seems that all Britomart bound weekday trains leave about 1 minute earlier than the current timetable. Swanson bound trains are mostly the same with a few exceptions.
In April AT increased the overall journey time to Britomart by three minutes. They’ve now shaved one minute off that. Let’s hope with the other improvements they’ve highlighted as coming over the next six months or so that can come down much further.
There has been a change to the timing on parts of the timetable. Most noticeable is that is an extra minute at Newmarket station for the driver to walk the length of the platform – although this comes from less time allocated between Grafton and Newmarket.
As has long been heralded, the introduction of an all-electric fleet will see trains no longer stop at Waitakere. Interestingly AT have decided to leave Waitakere in the timetable but shown as a bus replacement. I wonder if this is just a transitional thing until the next timetable change. On the change AT say
Electric trains will end at Swanson on the Western Line. A connecting bus service (route 139) will operate between Waitakere and Swanson departing from:
- Bus stop on Township Rd outside Waitakere Station
- Bus stop in the Swanson Station car park
There doesn’t appear to be any changes to frequency or how late the trains run.
As mentioned the Southern Line changes see the introduction of a diesel shuttle between Papakura and Pukekohe – this is something that already occurs on weekends. Britomart bound there appears to be either a four or nine minute window to transfer services. Assuming trains are on time then in the evening peak those heading toward Pukekohe have a roughly a 7 minute window to transfer.
The departure times and running times from Papakura and Britomart seem unchanged.
Departure times from Onehunga on weekdays are all three minutes earlier while running times in this direction have been reduced by one minute.
There appears to be no change for departure or running times for trains from Britomart to Onehunga.
While most of the changes are fairly minor – the tweaking of times suggests this could be about improving when trains reach various junctions – the timetable change is significant as with the changes to Waitakere and Pukekohe it likely represent the final structure of the rail network until City Rail Link is built. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t see more improvements though. We know that improvements to frequencies need to come with the roll out of the new bus network and of course Western line desperately needs to move to 10 minute peak frequencies.
Further, the completed roll-out of the electric trains removes one of the major issues AT have mentioned – running a mixed fleet – this means they should be able to focusing on the long list of changes they’ve identified to improve the reliability and speed of services over the coming year – the next few months are shown below but head to the link for the next year.
Just what happens to the old diesel trains remains to be seen. The AT board report says some have already been retired and sent to Taumaurunui for storage – presumably until AT can find someone to buy them. Si if anyone wants a nostalgia trip on the old diesels I’d suggest you do so quickly, they have less than two weeks left before being retired from service.