Electric atmosphere as end nears
The 4.2-hectare depot that will house Auckland’s new electric trains is just weeks away from completion.
A maintenance building, train wash, 6 kilometres of rail track and stabling for 28 three-car trains have been built at the Wiri Stabling and Maintenance Facility.
Principal project manager Doug Carter says it’s been a very tight construction timeframe, with the land purchased in late 2011 and construction contracts awarded in May 2012.
‘‘We were buying equipment from overseas before we tendered the first contract.’’
Auckland Transport spent three months looking around Auckland for a suitable site, he says.
‘‘We needed a big site next to the railway and there are very few in Auckland. If you had endless money, space and time you would put it in Britomart. The closer you can get to the middle is best.’’
Locations around Otahuhu and the current site at Westfield were also considered.
Many parts used in the depot’s construction have been imported from Germany, including the train wash and jacks to lift trains for maintenance.
Safety has become more of a priority since the decision was made to introduce electric trains, Mr Carter says.
As a result, the new signal system is automatic, meaning trains can be guided from one track to another rather than drivers manually performing the change.
And the walls in the graffiti wash area are extra high to prevent electrocution of workers.
Mr Carter says better maintenance at the $100 million facility will create a more efficient train service for Aucklanders.
Concrete plasterer Awa Brown says the project has been a fantastic experience.
‘‘I started here from the ground level last year through the wind and the rain. It was pretty hard for starters but we got it moving.’’
Three driver training simulators are expected to arrive shortly.
Electric trains will start arriving in Auck- land from the Spanish manufacturers in September and track electrification is expected to finish in April next year.
Sparks fly: It’s a busy time in the last few weeks of work at the Wiri site.
Under construction: The Wiri Stabling and Maintenance Facility for the new electric trains is almost complete.
Big job: Principal project manager Doug Carter at the depot that will house Auckland’s new electric trains.
Repair area: An area where maintenance on the new electric trains will be performed.