Running close to capacity already on the Southern Line
This morning the Electric Trains in both three and six car set configurations joined their soon to be retired diesel counterparts in running the morning peak services on the Southern Line (Pukekohe and Papakura to Britomart via Newmarket). The EMU 6 car sets have a capacity of 750 passengers compared to the DF-SA 6 car diesel sets of around 650 and the SA 4 car with 425. So alone the EMU’s give a substantial boost to passenger capacity over their diesel counterparts.
Well as I said the EMU’s were running on the Southern Line this morning in the peak (I also believe for the first time as well) giving passengers a taste of what to expect post August 1 this year (date of full roll out). I have always known that the Electrics would be “fully” tested on the Southern Line given that it is both the busiest line as well as having freighters sharing the tracks. What I did not expect so fast was reports coming in that the EMU 6-car sets this morning on the Southern Line were “comfortable.” That is “quite full” but not at capacity, so probably 90%.
Already hitting around 90% on some of the 6-car sets in the peak already this morning should probably give alarm bells to Auckland Council, Auckland Transport, and the Government that the spark effect might be a rather “run-away’ situation. The old mantra of build it and they shall come is surely applying and once the Electrics are full-time on the Southern Line there will be a larger uptake in rail transport.
So then and assuming reliability and punctuality hold and improve post August the question does ask itself of: “do we need to speed investment up?”
- Pukekohe Electrification and the Manukau South Link complete by 2017
- Third Main from Westfield to Papakura done by 2018
- City Rail Link main phase beginning 2018 (enabling works start this year)
- 30 more EMU’s to allow for Pukekohe running and the creation of more 6-car sets (as I have not even factored in the Western Line yet)
All things considered though having an EMU 6 car set at 90% already this morning does inspire confidence!