Elec­tric at­mos­phere as end nears

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By SCOTT MOR­GAN

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.

Pho­tos: JOHN SELKIRK/FAIR­FAX ME­DIA

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.

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