Auckland's first electric train revealed
The first of Auckland’s new electric trains was revealed at a special unveiling at Wiri Depot.
The event marks the culmination of years of planning and effort from AT staff members and key partners. The trains (which replace Auckland's ageing diesel fleet) will be gradually introduced into passenger service on a line by line basis until all 57 electric trains are in service later in 2015.
AT Chairman, Dr Lester Levy says the trains signify a new era in public transport in Auckland.
"This is a very proud day for Auckland Transport’s electric train team and for our partners in this venture. Partners include central government’s representative and our funding partner, the New Zealand Transport Agency; our other key shareholder and funder, Auckland Council; KiwiRail which we work side by side with; our train operator Transdev and the Rail and Maritime Transport Union; the builder of our trains, Construcciones y Auxilair Ferrocarriles and our contractors, Downer, which built the Wiri Depot with us.
"The electrification project has had a reasonable gestation period. I would like to take this opportunity to thank those who worked so hard, some years ago, to make this project a reality for Auckland. Our thanks go to the previous Chairmen and Board and Chief Executive of the Auckland Regional Transport Authority. Thanks are also extended to the previous Chairman of the Auckland Regional Council.
"The trains have been designed specifically for Aucklander’s needs and meet the latest in comfort, safety and technology. They will be very attractive for passengers with their fresh, modern decor. The seat fabric was designed by three local artists to represent the variety of cultures in Auckland. The interior design was produced from a concept that CAF originally produced and developed by Auckland Transport’s train team.
"Each train will have room for 375 passengers and open gangways between cars will allow movement from one end of the train to the other. Space under the seats is available for luggage, strollers and guide dogs.
"Wider doors mean that passenger flow on and off the trains will be faster and easier for people with disabilities. Wheelchair users and others who are mobility impaired will be able to use automatic ramps on the central carriage doors providing a seamless transition been the platform and the train.
"The trains will have air conditioning to ensure the train interior is comfortable for passengers and crew through the range of Auckland's weather conditions. International best practice passenger information systems will ensure that both audio and visual information is easy to understand with the interior designed to assist the visually impaired.
"Security and safety features include an on-board CCTV camera system which will operate continuously in all cars, providing images to the driver from any of the 16 cameras within each train. Images will be continuously recorded on-board. Emergency call points, which can be found throughout the train, will allow passengers to communicate directly with the train crew in the event of an incident. All doors have obstacle detection systems so they automatically open and re- close if something is trapped in the door", says Dr Levy.
Terry Scott, Managing Director of Auckland Transport’s train operator, Transdev, says, "The next step for this train is driver training out on the network in October. As we introduce electric trains into the system along with accompanying electric wiring, it is important amongst the excitement to remind Aucklanders to watch out as these trains are quieter and can accelerate significantly faster than the old diesel trains. If you get too close to the wiring, there will be no second chance".
Dr Levy says, "Along with so many Aucklanders, we are very much looking forward to the first trains going into service in the second quarter of next year, finally bringing the latest and most modern public train transportation to this wonderful city. We thank Aucklanders for their patience in respect of all the work and preparation that is necessary to begin running these trains on our network".