State Of Denial


The Herald has today picked up the story here yesterday about the unacceptable times being added to journeys out of Newmarket because drivers are walking from one end of the train to the other.

Great station but lengthy stopovers

The media report says that ARTA’s considering asking Veolia, to post drivers at each end of Western line trains at peak times to reduce the delays “which have become apparent since the station was added to its network on Monday. ”

Hang on. Wasn’t that the promise all along that during peak times there would be two drivers? It was the assurance given to quieten down all our fears when we raised it for months.

The last few days there have been sometimes two crew walking to the other end so I asked yesterday: I thought the idea with two crew was that one would be in the other cab ready to go, as used to happen in the old days.

So let’s get this right. The fact crews have to move from one end to the other causing inevitable delays instead of swinging around Kingdon St to Britomart  comes as such a surprise, only now the station is launched? How did they think the chicken got to the other side of the road?
Come on. If officials were in denial, we certainly weren’t and said so for months.

It should never had got to the point of needing “considering” a few days later.
There also still seems to be some strange denial going on with the official version of events talking of delays at Newmarket being in seconds not minutes.

Maybe someone in high places should try taking a train.




  1. Matt says:

    I think the cases of two drivers on trains might be a case of one being the trainee and the other the instructor, I remember seeing ads for drivers last year. Regardless they need to do better

  2. Graham says:

    In the `old days’ there was a reverse shunt out of Newmarket onto the single siding behind the Warehouse needed to be done for Waitakere bound trains.

    My recollection is not that there were two drivers but that the train manager reversed the train onto the single siding while the driver stayed in his cab and then resumed control when the manouevre was completed.

  3. GAZZA says:

    why not give them a scooter to get there faster, keep it in the cab!

  4. John Dalley says:

    I know that at this time we do not have full double tracking of the Western Line but once we do, why could an alternate trains not always need to end at Britomart.
    what i mean is starting out West.
    One train goes from West to South and returns visa-versa
    One trains goes west to Britomart and return.
    As long as it is well spelt out on the timetables would this not assist the timetable? And in the meantime we use two drivers.

  5. Jon C says:

    @Gazza Or maybe a bungy jump?

  6. James Pole says:

    They should’ve issued a new timetable, adding an extra minute for the stop at Newmarket. Regardless of two drivers or not, I think the extra minute would still be useful.

    @John: Is that your way of saying every other train should terminate at Newmarket? That would require a high amount of transfer pax (i.e. transferring from ex-Waitakere to Britomart-bound trains) which won’t help with timing anyway.

  7. John Dalley says:

    @James. I don’t know enough about the rail route other than checking google maps.
    I wonder, coming from the West,were are most of the passengers going, City our South?
    What i am saying is if you want to go to Newmarket or further south it would be ok to take a West-South train going through Newmarket.
    If you want to go to the city, you catch a West-City train which in lieu of a permanent station at Kingdom St you do not need to go to the Newmarket station?
    I don’t know what the walking distance/time is from Kingdom St to Newmarket Station is, but i would have thought building a permanent station at kingdom st and a covered walkway/travellater within the confines of (if possible) the rail corridor would have been helpful.
    It strikes me as others have pointed out that the Newmarket station is located the wrong side of the western line to be the most efficient.

  8. James Pole says:

    The large majority of passengers off the Western Line would be travelling to either Newmarket or Britomart, hence I would prefer to retain the status quo where trains stop at both Newmarket and Britomart. Your idea of trains continuing via the Southern Line would only benefit a few passengers (I’m guessing <10 passengers per service out of 200pax or so during the peak). So it is more efficient overall to have direct Newmarket/Britomart trains and giving interchange opportunities for those wanting to travel South.

  9. Matt L says:

    The best solution to all of this is to build the CBD Tunnel from Mt Eden down to Britomart, this would stop services from having to reverse and the delays it causes. If I was in charge I would actually reduce the network to 2 lines which would also help with confusion.
    One line heading from West, going through the tunnel to Britomart and then out to Newmarket and then onto Papakura (effectively combining the current southern and western lines)
    The second line would run from Onehunga through to Newmarket, up through Grafton and through the tunnel and then out on the Eastern line to Manukau.

    This way all trains on the network will use Newmarket, Mt Eden, Britomart and the two other stations in the tunnel (K Rd and Midtown)

  10. John Dalley says:

    @James. Thanks for that answer.
    So where do you stand on a Kingdom St platform? Does this help or is the nuisance value of walking between stations override the value of the driver changing ends at Newmarket?

  11. Richard says:

    All drivers require a break every so many hours so on the western line would it not be possible for drivers to take the break at Newmarket.

    The train turns around quickly at Britomart with driver A and heads to back to Newmarket where it stops and driver B from the previous run having taken his break is waiting ready to jump into the cab to head west and driver A stands down for his break and does the same for driver C when he arrives with the next service 10-15 minutes later.

    There are probably technical reasons this can’t be done but another idea for the pot!

  12. curtissd says:

    CBD tunnel will be great, fingers crossed it gets pushed

  13. Kurt says:

    Having now experienced a trip to and from New Lynn I have discovered a big flaw in the cheap option Kiwirail took by leaving out access from platform 1 to the Western line at Newmarket.

    West bound trains have to cross the city bound train lines into Newmarket and vice versa to access platforms 2 to 4. If the timing isn’t right as I discovered either train is held up waiting for the other to clear the lines, in this case a west bound train coming into platform 4 while we waited on 3 city bound.

    The average wait at Newmarket on both trips was 5 minutes and this was a Saturday.

    They definitely need to review movements in the very least to avoid this problem as the West bound train was running woefully late as it was.


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