What’s Your Number, Steven?


waitThe key rail question lost in the flurry over the new Auckland transport agency is how many electric trains Auckland will end up getting.
This will be decided by the government before the agency comes into being but is crucial as to whether it’s enough to cope with Auckland’s growing rail commuter population.
Rail usage continues on a rise and we’re putting up with shocking conditions in the hope interim help is on the way and then we’ll get real electric trains.
They should have been but they’re not.
In May the soon to be scrapped local transport authority was going to offer four suppliers the chance to tender for 35 four carriage trains. That went on hold.
Wind back to December and the ARC, thinking a regional petrol tax was coming, called for interest from overseas tenders for 140 electric rail cars. Four suppliers looked as if they could deliver.
Now there’s growing speculation the minister will cut that number back dramatically, even halve it.
He certainly has made it clear there will be a strict lean budget and it won’t be exceeded.
So let’s hear the exact number please Minister and lets call for those tenders.  And please don’t go searching around backyards for some spare parts to rustle together some DIY second hand trains. We’ve already put up with refurbished trains from an Australian museum.
If the number he chooses is  way below expectations as we fear, hundreds of people better start jumping off the train and finding other transport as there won’t be room on the electric trains whenever they arrive in years to come.

Greens’ Keith Locke says starvation rations for the rail network and supersized meals for the city’s roading network are on the menu for Aucklanders and that a strict cap imposed on Auckland’s rail electrification project is at odds with the Government’s open-ended approach to motorway funding.
“No Crystal Ball is needed to gauge tomorrow’s predictable land transport announcements.  I’m sure we can expect more of the same, Loads of Roads.
“Transport Minister Steven Joyce’s reply to my questions in the House yesterday leave no doubt that an uneven playing field heavily weighted towards private car travel is being imposed on Auckland.
“Mr Joyce insists that electrifying the network and buying electric rail cars must fall within his $1 billion allocation - even if this means not electrifying the entire rail network or buying less than the 140 electric railcars planned.
“This could mean for example that the Onehunga branch line is not electrified because the spending cap would be exceeded.
“The Greens are also concerned about rumours that a fall-back position may be to use older electric locomotives for some services.
“We don’t want a second-rate electrification that is more prone to breakdowns and unreliable service.
“We need a modern, world-class standard system.
“Mr Joyce’s Brave New World looks more like Back to the Future. New motorways for private motorists while public transport commuters get a second rate service.”




  1. You’d think the impending 2011 World Cup would be enough to get this issue kick started.

    If things don’t change there’s no possible way train service is going to work very well to and from Eden Park.


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