Needing the extra 20 EMU’s now and then some more
The growth on the main lines of the rail network has been breathtaking with figures anywhere between 15-24% in comparison to the last 12 months (as a rolling total).
As of November the rail network added an extra 2.8m passengers or a very impressive 18.1%. And critics say people do not catch trains and we should not invest in the rail network. I say that chart above plus full trains either in the peak or off-peak gives every justification in getting more rolling stock (the EMU’s or Electric Multiple Units) as soon as possible.
Auckland Transport has realised the 57 trains we have now are simply not enough and made its case yesterday to the Council Finance Committee that next year Council will need to stump up for an extra 20 EMU’s TO START WITH.
Todd Niall from Radio NZ reports:
New Auckland trains needed earlier than first thought
Auckland might have to stump up hundreds of million of dollars for a new fleet of commuter trains, with rapid growth in the numbers riding the city’s rails.
Auckland Transport said the 57 electric trains introduced over the past two and a half years could be filled to capacity by 2019, and some big decisions would be needed next year.
The $500 million investment in the Spanish-built electric trains has been a huge success, and talk of buying more has come up sooner than previously thought.
Patronage was up 15 percent on a year earlier, and the rising trend was stronger and lasting longer than originally forecast, with annual patronage approaching 20 million trips.
The council-owned transport agency was considering whether any new trains would be hybrids with batteries, http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/regional/305860/batteries-on-track-for-pukekohe-trains which would be able to travel beyond the electricity supply to Pukekohe and Kumeu.
Auckland Transport chief executive David Warburton said the number of new trains that would be needed was not yet clear.
“It depends whether money is put into electrification to Pukekohe for example, it depends on the frequency of services, it could be anything from 15 to 20-plus trains,” he said.
Further heavy investment in trains could be a financial challenge for the Auckland Council. Previous mayor Len Brown stripped $330m out of long-term budgets two years ago, arguing the need for trains was farther into the future.
About $250m might now have to be found in the next three years, with a two-year lag between placing an order and taking delivery.
Dr Warburton said the agency would need to be talking to the council next year about how the cost would be met.
Catch is 20 is only enough to get some decent capacity via frequencies on the Southern Line with a few going out to Pukekohe. It might get us a few more 6-car sets for the Western or Eastern Lines but at current growth trajectories pre City Rail Link (2023) we will need another 20 trains after this initial extra 20 rather soon.
And with the busway from Manukau to the Airport via Puhinui Station on the apparent fast track (allowing direct rail and bus access to the airport thus the ability skipping the highways) extra units to allow extra capacity on both the Southern and Manukau/Eastern Lines will needed sooner rather than later.