Tag: KiwiRail

Budget 2015: KiwiRail Should be Split Into Two

Tracks to NZTA, KiwiRail a partial listed stand alone freight State Owned Enterprise

While I have been writing posts on rail and contemplating Budget 2015 in regards to transport (i.e not a lot apart from reaffirmation in accelerating the Southern Motorway upgrade (starts October)) I was pondering if there was a better way to handle KiwiRail.

KiwiRail is admittedly a money black hole thanks to neglect to our rail system by both sides since the late 80’s (made worse in 93). However, KiwiRail is not a lost cause as rail is the most efficient and economical form of moving people and freight over longer distances on land. But I wonder if improving our rail could be handled differently and give New Zealand better results.

What I am thinking is splitting KiwiRail into two:

  1. Tracks and associated infrastructure get flipped to NZTA who look after the State Highway network. This way a single agency is: planning, operation, maintaining and investing in both land transport modes under a single umbrella. It also means rail comes under the National Land Transport Fund envelope when it is listed alongside road projects. Given that the NLTF is meant to priorities the best valued investments at the top it would be most likely not uncommon for rail to take three of the top five NLTF spots.
  2. Freight operations including rolling stock and rolling stock maintenance facilities spun off into a stand alone State Owned Enterprise. While being an SOE though I would have 49% of it listed on the NZX to allow fresh capital and NZX oversight to this division.

With the freight side spun off though I would also allow others to run their own rolling stock (while paying access fees to NZTA) on the tracks if they are inclined to do so. Port of Tauranga might be such a contender with its growing Metro Port services. That said KiwiRail freight operations could also see another source of revenue by the private rail freight companies tendering their rolling stock maintenance to KiwiRail as well.

So what do you think? Something Bill English should actively investigate? Would it help our rail system as well as the Government books. Would it help our Economy most of all?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

True Train Power

Union Pacific Shows How to Haul a Freighter

 

If you have been ever inclined to protest because a Kiwi Rail freighter held you up then spare a thought if you were waiting for these true freighters to clear a level crossing

 

Union Pacific SD70 (their main locomotives) hauling a long train through a work area (you can hear the maintainers talking to the driver)

And that was just one SD70

 

Now for some multiple SD70 hauled freight

Just don’t have the volume too high when the train blasts by

 

And for our serious train fans here is a selection of Union Pacific locomotives of different classes in LA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5N6UMn_kfCo

 

Some quick stats on the SD70 that Union Pacific uses:

SD70ACe

Kansas City Southern SD70ACe 4034 at Nichoals Yard in December 2009

The SD70ACes are similar to the SD70MAC; however, the model has been upgraded to meet Tier-2 EPA regulations. Production commenced in 2004.[1] SD70ACes are equipped with EMD’s 16-710G3C-T2 prime mover, rated at 4,300 horsepower (3,200 kW).[8] They are rated at 157,000 lbf (700 kN) continuous tractive effort (191,000 lbf (850 kN) starting). Braking effort is rated at 106,000 lbf (470 kN).[8]

Although mechanically similar to earlier SD70 units, the SD70ACe rides on a new underframe and uses mostly new sheetmetal above the frame. Electrical cables and air lines have been routed beneath the walkways on opposite sides, allowing for easy access by maintenance workers. The radiator on the locomotive is nearly as wide as the cab, the center hood section is a step down below the roofline, and the dynamic brakes have been moved to the rear of the hood; these changes are reminiscent of the SD80 and SD90 series. The SD70ACe uses the cab design of late-model SD90MAC units, which uses rectangular window glass and is externally different from the two cab variations used on earlier SD70M and SD70MAC units. In 2008, EMD standardized the isolated cab on subsequent SD70ACe’s after non-isolated cab units were restricted from leading on BNSF Railway due to excessive cab vibration. SD70ACe models are rated at 4,300 horsepower (3,200 kW). As of late, more than 1350 examples of this model locomotive have been produced. Purchasers include BNSF Railway, CSX, Ferromex, Kansas City Southern Railway, Montana RailLinkCVG Ferrominera Orinoco, Union Pacific,Quebec North Shore and Labrador RailwayBHP Billiton, Arkansas & Missouri Railway, and Norfolk Southern.

In January 2012, BNSF Railway announced the order of 10 SD70ACe-P4 locomotives. This engine would compete with GE’s popular ES44C4. These units will have a B1-1B wheel arrangement, unlike the ES44C4’s A1A wheel arrangement. They are set for 2013 delivery.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SD70

 

As a comparison a EMD SD70 has 4,300 horse power behind it while our DL’s have a horse power rating of 3,600.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Zealand_DL_class_locomotive

 

DL’s hauling freight

 

So next time you are stuck at a level crossing waiting for a freighter to pass by, remember you are not waiting for a long Union Pacific freighter to go through 😉

Night Closures on Rail Line to be Extended

Southern, Eastern and Manukau Lines to be Closed from 8:30pm 7-Days a week

 

I had received some feedback in regards to the Auckland Electrification Project – specifically around delays and setbacks. I sent some questions to Auckland Transport who have replied this morning in regards to the Electrification roll out (the infrastructure not the EMU trains).

 

While I will need to follow-up with Kiwi Rail in regards to Electrification completion on the Eastern Line (from Westfield Junction to Britomart), Newmarket to Britomart and Britomart Station itself I do have confirmation of extended closures on the rail line south of Otahuhu Station starting this coming Friday.

 

As Southern Auckland rail commuters are aware, from May 27 this year the rail line between Otahuhu and Papakura (including the Manukau Line and Station) would close at 8:30pm – Sunday to Thursday. That means the 8:10pm Britomart to Papakura va Newmarket service is the last full service through to Papakura. After 8:30pm your train will go as far on the Eastern, Southern and Manukau Lines to Otahuhu where you will need to transfer to a Rail Bus to finish your journey. The closure is to allow continued work on the Electrification project in the area.

 

However this “ramp down” as we call it in the rail transport trade is now to occur seven days a week until the Christmas-New Year Close Down Auckland is use too for the last several years. That means: the 8:10pm Britomart to Papakura va Newmarket service is the last full service through to Papakura. After 8:30pm your train will go as far on the Eastern, Southern and Manukau Lines to Otahuhu where you will need to transfer to a Rail Bus to finish your journey – SEVEN DAYS A WEEK starting this week.

 

Please direct your enquiries on the “ramp down” of services to Auckland Transport please – not Talking Auckland

 

 

So again 

From this coming Friday 11th October 2013 until the Christmas/New Close Down, from 8:30pm – seven days a week (unless otherwise stated by Auckland Transport such as a Special Event); Southern, Eastern and Manukau Line Trains will only run between Britomart and Otahuhu. To go further south (or to come north  from south of Otahuhu) you will need to complete/start your journey on a rail bus. Western and Onehunga Line not affected by this ramp down.

 

 

Money for a Church but No Money for a Death Trap

Council’s Funding Priorities Wrong Again

 

I noticed this morning (well actually yesterday) that the Council Strategy and Finance Committee approved on a vote of 10-6 to give $3m of our ratepayer’s money to the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Parnell so it can get an “upgrade.”

This is while Auckland Transport struggles to find $27m for a grade separation of the Walters Road rail crossing in Takanini and most likely the same amount for grade separating the Morningside Drive rail crossing that nearly killed a woman in a wheelchair earlier this year.

So would the councillors like to explain their logic in supporting $3m to the second biggest church in NZ (the biggest being the Catholic Church) that is exempt from most of our tax and human rights laws yet not give money to a death trap that nearly killed someone in Morningside where they had a human right for authorities to maintain a public crossing in such a way that the accident should have never happened.

And yes I know the crossing has Kiwi Rail responsibility to it as well but it is a shared responsibility with Auckland Transport thus Auckland Council. After the incident at Morningside, the council should have either stumped up the cash entirely or loaned Kiwi Rail a proportion of the money needed to remove the that death trap through a grade separation. But no it goes through the bureaucracy again and again and again and won’t be done for at least five years.

Yet at a drop of the hat Council approves money for a church (where we are meant to exercise absolute separation from Church and State) on the grounds of community facilities needs. Umm if it is for community facilities how about than dumping the money to Local Boards so they can maintain their own community facilities if the money won’t be going elsewhere.

Shame on the every single councillor who voted in giving money for the church while we have a live death trap still floating around (and a few more entering the category as we move to electrification and more frequent trains).

Shows where some have their priorities that need some readjusting in this upcoming election.