New Trains CBD Ready


The proposed CBD rail tunnel / loop  is still not a done deal with still no government sign-off but at least everyone else seems to be assuming it will happen.

An examination of KiwiRail’s procurement document for Auckland’s new electric trains has further encouraging noises.

It insists that the new trains are made with a CBD tunnel in mind so that the specific needs of running an underground service through Auckland’s city underground are met, especially in terms of any emergency.

The two passages read:

“Future rail operations in Auckland are likely to include the proposed CBD tunnel so that the units will need to be designed  with that in mind, including fire barriers in the floor, gangways and cab bulkheads… ”

And… “the trains will need to be designed to allow future operation through a proposed CBD tunnel, involving significant underground running and operation through underground stations.”

How very un-Auckland.

For once, someone is thinking ahead rather than ordering and procuring the new trains and then discovering they won’t work in a CBD tunnel situation after it gets approved!

Britomart needs a through tunnel CBD loop

The formal document, detailing the order requirements, seeks:

  • 13 electric locomotives operating in a push-pull mode hauling trains of up to 6 passenger vehicles comprising 5 trailer coaches and a driving trailer.
  • These trains will have a maximum trailing load of 320 tonnes.
  • 38 EMUs formed from one or two units in multiple. A unit will be formed of several cars, semi-permanently coupled with approx length of 140m.
  • A 3 car unit would comprise a classical solution and equates to an approx fleet size of 114 cars.
  • The vehicles will have a design life of 35 years.
  • Wheelchairs must be able to enter the trains without help.
  • The units will be designed for a typical maxim,um service speed of 110km/h in a laden condition.
  • A minimum of about 240 seats per three car unit is required to satisfy the peak passenger load requirements.




  1. Jess McKenzie says:

    Wheelchairs must be able to enter the trains without help - does this mean they are going to be level with the stations?

  2. Nick R says:

    “Wheelchairs must be able to enter the trains without help.”

    Excellent (although I’m sure they mean wheelchair *users* must be able to enter the trains without help. Wheelchairs can’t do anything without help.)

    The wheelchair procedure here in Melbourne is awkward and very time consuming. Basically the driver has to spot the wheelchair user on the platforms, park the train, exit the cab, open the carriage door, unlock the ramp stowed in the first carriage, put the ramp in place, assist the user into the carriage then complete the reverse to stow the ramp and get the train moving again (all on a supposedly level-boarding train)
    Not only is this a complete f*ck around that wastes everybody’s time, it also forces wheelchair users to wait at the very front of the platform to be in-line with the one door with the ramp. The end of the platforms almost never have any shelter, so basically any person in a wheel chair is forced to wait in the rain and wind away from any of the station services.

    As well as being unpleasant it is de facto discrimination and actually illegal under the disabilities act (although I think they have some kind of exemption for existing railway stations)

  3. Jeremy Harris says:

    The CBT tunnel..? I hoped it gets named in CBT’s honour..!

  4. jarbury says:

    Is this the the EOI document that was released on April 30th (supposedly)?

  5. ingolfson says:

    “Wheelchairs must be able to enter the trains without help”

    A push button unfolding a ramp from the train would work.

  6. Jon C says:

    I should have quoted the exact wording re the wheelchair which was:
    The interface between the train and the platform will be addressed to ensure that wheelchair bound passengers can board trains without assistance.
    That sounds hopeful.

  7. Geoff says:

    “…it also forces wheelchair users to wait at the very front of the platform to be in-line with the one door with the ramp.”

    Surely they wait in the middle of the platform? Until the train arrives, they won’t know which end has the wheelchair access.

  8. Matt L says:

    Geoff - both driving ends should have wheelchair access

  9. Carl says:

    it says one engine and 5 pulling carragies? why would they do that? doesn’t that mean the train can only go one way?

    i wish they’d just get the same bombaireder trains they have here in Perth.

    3,4,6 car configuration. cars at each end are the motors, 6 car trains are two three cars put together.

    4 cars are a special set which are only used for express skip station services.

    the wheel chair idea with the fold down ramp is stupid and would be time consuming, the trains need to be level with the station platform and the doors need to uber wide so they can get in and out.

  10. rtc says:

    @Carl they want 13 locos to replace the diesel ones push-pulling the SA sets which are carriages. The rest of the trains will be EMUs. All can go in both directions.

  11. Kurt says:

    The 13 locomotives are bound to be the EF’s currently able to be used or stranded in that isolated electified section between Hamilton and Palmerston North. They too are 25kv.

  12. Kegan says:

    @ Kurt

    Not necessarily. If it was definite, why would KiwiRail be asking for expressions of interest? They already own the EFs…

  13. Carl says:

    Guys / Girls…. I’ve just noticed on the Bombaider trains here on the Perth metro lines, that in the doorways it actually sticks out about 15cm-20cm, this meaning every platform has the same height on the whole system. Clearly there is a small gap, but its not enough to stuff up a wheelchair user or stroller ect….

    does anyone know if all the platforms on all Auckland Metro lines are the same height? i guess if most of the stations are being made with tar seal surly they are?

  14. Kalelovil says:

    IIRC all the auckland stations have a 750mm platform height apart from Britomart which has 850mm.


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