Auckland’s New Rail Operator Starts (Partnership) Today

Consortium replaces Transdev who have been operating the Auckland Passenger Rail system since 2004 (through its previous iterations)

As it was once said: So it begins.

From Auckland Transport:

New era for Auckland’s passenger rail services

Auckland One Rail (AOR) has begun its exciting partnership with Auckland Transport (AT) as the new passenger rail operator.

The handover process, which took place yesterday, went smoothly. The contract, valued at around $130 million per annum and $1.2 billion over an eight- year period, was the result of an international tender for the city’s rail services.

While customers won’t notice significant changes in their day-to-day journeys, the new contract will enable better integration in all aspects of operations, including the $7 billion of rail investment for the City Rail Link, electrification of the rail line between Papakura and Pukekohe, and the purchase of additional electric trains over the next few years.

As a result, the new contract will see AOR having responsibility for not only train operations but also electric train maintenance, station operations and maintenance, safety, and security.

AT Chief Executive Shane Ellison says the agreement with AOR is far more comprehensive than previous passenger rail contracts, which were spread out across a range of organisations.

“With one organisation now responsible for the day-to-day operation of our passenger rail network we’ll see better accountability and responsiveness on the issues which matter most to passengers,” he says.

“It’s also exciting that Auckland One Rail will open a new train maintenance facility for train overhauls in South Auckland, with a strong focus on helping local Māori and Pasifika communities into trades and engineering apprenticeships.”

The contract award is part of AT’s ongoing focus to continue the rapid growth in Aucklanders using the region’s rail services, which has grown from just over two million passenger boardings per annum in 2000, to more than 22 million by 2020, a 10-fold increase.

“This new rail franchise contract represents a significant investment for Auckland and Aucklanders,” says Mr Ellison.

“Despite the effects of the global pandemic on the international rail sector, the robust procurement process ensured AT was able to secure a competitive contract.”

AT also acknowledges the work of Transdev Auckland Ltd which has been the operator of rail services in Auckland since 2004. Over that time patronage has grown significantly and as the operator it has played a key role in establishing rail as an important way of travelling around the region. AT looks forward to continuing its relationship with Transdev, which is also the operator of Howick and Eastern Buses.


Further Information

AOR is a joint venture comprising ComfortDelGro Transit Pte Ltd (CDGT) and UGL Rail Pty Ltd (UGL Rail) in a 50:50 equity relationship.

CDGT’s parent, CDG, is one of the world’s largest multi-modal passenger transport providers, with a footprint in seven countries, more than 24,000 employees and annual turnover in 2020 of NZ$3.4 billion. CDG, through its subsidiary SBS Transit, is the operator and maintainer of two Singapore mass rapid transit lines and a light rail system.

UGL Rail’s parent, UGL, is Australia’s largest supplier of outsourced rail asset management and rolling stock maintenance services, with a fleet of more than 2,000 rail vehicles across its Australian rolling stock maintenance contracts. UGL, a member of the CIMIC Group, is also consortium partner in Metro Trains Melbourne, Metro Trains Sydney, Canberra light rail and the operator of the Adelaide light rail system.

The unsuccessful tenderer was Aka Tangata Ltd (ATL); a consortium comprising Transdev NZ Ltd, John Holland NZ Ltd and CAF NZ Ltd.

The existing Auckland passenger rail contract has been in place since 2004 and, following several extensions, expires in March.

The transaction has been structured so that the incoming operator takes over the existing Transdev Auckland operating company and all of its staff, ensuring that the Transdev Auckland staff remain on their existing terms and conditions of employment.

 From left: AT Chief Executive Shane Ellison, AOR Chief Executive Officer Paul D’Alessio, AOR Chairman Andrew McCusker, AT Executive General Manager Integrated Networks Mark Lambert, AT Group Manager Metro Services Stacey Van Der Putten, AOR Board Director Darin Cusack. Source: Auckland Transport
AOR Chief Executive Officer Paul D’Alessio, left, and AT Chief Executive Shane Ellison sign the commemorative certificate to celebrate the new partnership between AOR and AT, while members of AOR’s international offices attend the celebration virtually. Source: Auckland Transport