More electric trains coming
Auckland Transport has frozen a recently announced purchase of battery powered trains in favour of more electric trains.
In September, responding to postponements completing Auckland’s electric rail network, the agency opted to spend $207 million on 17 battery-powered trains.
But now Auckland Transport has suspended the battery train order, spending $133m on 15 new electric trains instead.
Readying for the completion of the City Rail Link loop, the agency has gone back to its Spanish supplier for the three-car trains. It’s hoped the first Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles trains will be running on Auckland tracks from 2019.
Auckland Transport chairman Lester Levy said more trains would mean more frequent services and capacity for Auckland’s increasingly popular rail network. In the past year more than 20 million trips have been taken on Auckland’s trains, an increase of 16 per cent on the previous year.
The extra trains will boost Auckland’s electric fleet to 72 three-carriage units.
Auckland Transport Chief Executive David Warburton said the extra trains meant the agency would be able to operate six-car trains on most services on the southern, eastern and western Lines. ‘‘This will give passengers the confidence that they will have a comfortable trip and they won’t have to worry about not getting a seat.’’
Auckland Transport is also planning to increase weekend frequencies on the same lines to every 20 minutes.
Weekend trains will also operate every 30 minutes between Papakura and Pukekohe.
Mayor Phil Goff said the improved services would ‘‘help relieve congestion ... lower our city’s emissions profile and make Auckland a great place to live.’’
The $133 m contract is funded by the NZ Transport Agency and Auckland Council.
‘‘This will give passengers the confidence that they will have a comfortable trip’’