Auckland Transport have replied directly to my Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act request to the Electric Train Fleet groundinng in July.
Auckland Transport Communications Manager Wally Thomas has said (in regards to the saga):
After 12 weeks of revenue services, disruption first occurred late in the afternoon of July 21 when the EMU shut down after detecting high voltages on the overhead line. As has been widely reported AT temporarily suspended services after several similar events. Onehunga line services return on July 31 however despite rigorous testing to try and replicate the fault, the core issue has yet to be fully identified and diagnosed. In the event of over voltage the EMUs are designed to shutdown to prevent any damage to drive components – in this respect the train performed as designed. The traction system has two feeder substations at Westfield and Penrose. When the initial events were recorded on July 21 and 22 the power supply was switched from Westfield (which was the feed substation for the 12 weeks of successful running previously) to Penrose. The problem however continued. This is a complex issue and not unusual internationally for a rollout of this sort. The issues continue to be worked on by a specialist technical working group comprising AT, KiwiRail, CAF and Transdev, with Transpower also in attendance as and when required. We are also seeking international input and review.
So Auckland Transport are pulling all the stops out to find the original fault and fix it. AT, KiwiRail, Transdev, Transpower and CAF have sought international help as well.
The good thing is the safety systems have kicked in the with the overvoltage! The bad news is trying to get down to the nuts and bolts of the fault in the first place. I have asked Auckland Transport to keep me up to date. They have said yes (to which I send my thanks) and I will be in contact with them next Friday to see where things are going.
The other bit of good news is that the EMU’s are working well on the Manukau Line and performing to expectations. Next step is to test the Manukau Line with the double consist 6 car set which can carry 750 passengers in the Morning and Evening peaks. For starters they would carry more than the SA 6 car diesels which normally carry 650. So fingers crosses and looking forward to the next step. Oh and of course the EMUs on the Southern Line where they will get a good testing.
My thanks to Auckland Transport for their reply on the EMU grounding issue. Much appreciated 🙂