Auckland’s new trains are slick, sleek and state of the art. Mayor Len Brown and the board of Auckland Transport have today had their first look at a prototype of the region’s new electric trains, due for commissioning in 2014.
The mock-up, which has just arrived from the manufacturers in Spain, has a full driver’s cab and sections of the upper and lower seating areas of the passenger cabins. It weighs 8 tonnes, is 12.5 metres long, 3 metres wide and 4 metres high.
The mock-up will allow representatives of the drivers, train managers, and passengers to experience and test the layout, features and equipment intended for the new trains and identify any refinements to the design.
Interest groups such as Plunket and Grey Power will also get a chance to test the mock-up train and give their feedback to Auckland Transport.
Mayor Len Brown says “This is another milestone as we create a 21st century rail network for Auckland. Without electric trains, the network cannot reach its potential. Without electric trains, vital projects like the City Rail Link are not possible. Without electric trains, we will not be able to cope with the extra demand we are already seeing.
“What I’m now looking forward to is seeing the first of the new trains on our tracks and riding these trains on a regular basis. They will be a huge advance on the second hand trains Aucklanders have had to put up with for years, and judging by what we are unveiling today, they will be spectacular,” says Mr Brown.
Auckland Transport Chairman Mark Ford, says, “Some months ago we received a mock-up of the driver’s cabin. This was used to help refine the design and was incredibly well received by drivers, the unions and so on. With their advice and input we were able to make modifications to improve the operational effectiveness of the cabin and that is exactly what this mock-up will also be used for.
“Ensuring passengers are comfortable, well informed and safe is a key objective in the design,” says Mr Ford.
In October last year, Auckland Transport signed a contract with Spanish manufacturer, Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles SA (CAF) to purchase 57 three car Electric Multiple Units (EMUs) for the Auckland metropolitan rail network.
The trains will incorporate the latest technology in terms of safety, accessibility and modern amenities like on-board Wi-Fi networks. They are comfortable, quiet, environmentally friendly and attractive.
Each train will be able to carry approximately 375 passengers, around 100 more than are currently carried on Auckland’s trains.
The new EMUs will be owned by Auckland Transport (AT) and will start arriving at the end of next year. They will replace the diesel units and diesel locomotive hauled trains currently providing passenger services to commuters in the city.
CAF is designing the new trains based on the rolling stock that it supplied for the Heathrow Express.
Its trains are run in cities such as Hong Kong, New Delhi, London, Rome, Dublin, Brussels, Amsterdam, Helsinki, Lisbon, Mexico, Sao Paulo, Santiago de Chile, Buenos Aires, Washington, Pittsburgh and Sacramento.