17 new battery/electric EMU’s to be decided
This just in from the Mayor Phil Goff:
COUNCIL DECISION PENDING ON NEW ELECTRIC TRAINS
Auckland Council will make a decision next week on authorising a $207 million purchase of 17 new electric and battery powered trains.
Mayor Phil Goff said, “New electric and battery powered trains will have major benefits for commuters living south of Papakura in the high growth areas of Drury, Paerata, Pukekohe and potentially Pokeno. It will also honour a commitment I made at the last election.
“The purchase of the new units which can operate on lines not yet electrified allows us to eliminate aging, less reliable diesel trains currently used on the Pukekohe line.
“For commuters it means removing the need to transfer trains at Papakura making travel quicker and more convenient. It brings in a cleaner form of transport, eliminating diesel emissions and ensures a more reliable and comfortable trip for commuters.
“The result is a more attractive public transport system which will help tackle growing congestion levels, especially on the Southern Motorway.
“The units could ultimately be transferred to the Kumeu-Huapai line when the Southern line is electrified in 2025.
“The purchase of 17 new units needs to be made now to meet the greater than estimated demand for rail travel. Demand has increased by 17 per cent over the last year and within months will achieve a record 20 million passenger trips a year in Auckland”, Phil Goff said.
“This is ahead of forecast and a decision to purchase the units needs to be made now to deliver them by late-2019 and head off capacity constraints expected by that time.
“The estimated cost of the units is $207 million though cheaper options are also being examined. This will create challenges in council’s debt to revenue ratios which can be met by minor reprioritisation of AT expenditure. The purchase decision is also contingent on an expected contribution from NZTA to meet half the cost,” Phil Goff said.
Excellent to see 17 more units (giving a capacity boost of 385 x 17 = 6,545 passenger space) to be purchased and applied over the entire metro rail network from Pukekohe to Swanson. The Auckland Transport CAPEX repriortisation is pretty straight forward – it is called dumping a road project off the first decade of the Auckland Transport Alignment Project which should be done any way.
Ultimately having the wires extended to Pukekohe by 2020 rather than 2025 would be knocking three birds with one stone (infrastructure, passenger capacity, replacing the diesels) and should be done.
Seventeen new trains though will give the boost and more 6-car sets needed across the network especially with the strong growth in Southern Auckland.