More elec­tric trains com­ing

Franklin County News - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - SI­MON MAUDE

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’’

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