New era for Auckland’s passenger rail services 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 AOR 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.