Is the 57 enough?
Since Auckland went full electrification in July (apart from Pukekohe-Papakura) the question is already being asked if our 57 EMUs (electric trains) is enough to handle the constant double figured percentage patronage growth.
The answer would be a NO if we are wanting more of the big 6-car sets that move 750 passengers in our peak services.
From Radio New Zealand
Rising demand could strain Auckland’s trains
Sharply rising patronage on Auckland’s commuter rail system could prompt a re-think on when the city needs to buy additional trains.
Auckland Transport said if growth did not slow markedly in a couple of years, it might have to add to its new fleet of 57 electric trains, which cost around $500 million.
The number of rail passengers in Auckland has passed 14 million a year and is rising by 21 percent annually.
Auckland Transport expects that growth to be handled by its new, bigger and faster electric trains, the last of which are being commissioned now. Last year it deferred plans to add 24 new trains within a decade, at a cost of $336 million.
AT Metro general manager Mike Lambert said if the slowdown in growth did not fall to near the 5 percent forecast in 2017/18, the agency would consider options.
“If there’s crowding and either we can’t afford to, or there’s a long lead-in time for additional trains, an option could be, for example, to reduce fares either side of the really congested peak period to encourage people to take the less patronised services”, said Mr Lambert.
Mr Lambert said it was too soon to consider whether occasional crowding during the peak was a problem, as additional trains were still to be added, and teething troubles with new technology can disrupt travel patterns.
The agency’s decision-making is locked into forecasts made by a planning model agreed with the Government, called APT3, which would share the cost of any extra trains.
It said so far, the growth was in line with APT3, and if the existing fleet could cope until the opening of the City Rail Link in the early-mid 2020s, that downtown loop would boost the capacity of the rail network by allowing trains to circulate more frequently.
Two things there:
- According to Campaign for Better Transport there is a two year lead in time for a batch of new trains
- It was not a wise idea to defer those 26 new trains especially as Auckland Transport is looking at fitting batteries to the fleet so they can service the un-electrified Pukekohe section as an interim solution
It would be probably a good idea for Auckland and Government to be proactive for once and get those 20-26 extra trains on order now to save us grief in 2018.