Electric Trains Progress At Last


We’re still awaiting a decision on the tender for Auckland’s new electric trains (EMUs) electric trains but, after months of official silence, things will move ahead down the track tomorrow afternoon.

Word on the street is that the Auckland Council, Transport and the Transport Minister will shake hands on a memorandum of understanding covering funding arrangements within the next 24 hours.

We could see Auckland ending up owning the Auckland trains with the precedent already set in the Government’s announced changes to its relationship with Wellington’s Metro rail services.

The Government loaned KiwiRail $500 million to buy the trains, and KiwiRail then leases them to Auckland at a cost to Auckland Transport of $45.6 million over 3 years plus nearly $30m in track charges.

Technically. $500 million has been allocated by the Government for the purchase of new trains, maintenance and storage depots but the complexity is that Auckland Transport has to see it paid back and that would effectively be by ratepayers and from NZTA subsidies.

Wellington’s regional council, Greater Wellington, owns its new Matangi electric trains even though the Government is contributing 90 per cent of their $235 million cost. So why not Auckland?

Under that deal, Greater Wellington Council in fact now owns all metro rail rolling stock. It already owns the new Matangi trains and has taken over ownership of the older Ganz Mavag units. Greater Wellington owns and is responsible for maintaining stations (other than Wellington Station), station car parks, stabling and the electric train depot while the Government continues to own the Wellington metro rail network (rails, signals and power supply) and fund capital upgrades.

As in Auckland, the local authority has to pay a track access charge to KiwiRail (with subsidy from the NZ Transport Agency) that :”reflects the fair cost of maintaining the tracks and other assets.”

The question of funding and ownership has been the subject of closed agenda items on Auckland Transport and Council agenda for many months. At least the subject will see some fresh air.

Back in May, AT’s Communications Manager,Sharon Hunter confirmed to AKT that Auckland Transport understands such regional ownership is in fact the preference of Transport Minister Steven Joyce and Auckland Transport goes along with the idea.

RMTU General Secretary Wayne Butson also said that this idea should be seriously considered.

“Our experience of past National governments is that their commitment to public ownership of rail assets is not good,” Wayne Butson said. “Transferring the ownership of Auckland’s new electric trains to Auckland Transport may protect taxpayer assets in the event of KiwiRail being targeted for privatisation in the future.”

“If this is a way of protecting this significant new investment in electric trains, then it may be worthy of consideration. “Either way, we do not want to see a situation where KiwiRail is privatised under a National government, and these assets are lost for good.”

The tender announcement should follow soon after. Months out from an election, the Government will wish it not to be buried while the media is focused on the Rugby World Cup.

GOING ELECTRIC: Soon we will just need the trains

KiwiRail has a short list of two for the procurement and maintenance of the new 38 trains in a selection process that will be completed in the third quarter of this year.
The two remaining bidders for the EMU procurement and maintenance contract are:

  • Hyundai Rotem Company which has been part of Korea’s heavy industry for 40 years
  • A consortium of Madrid-based Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles S.A./ and Japan’s Mitsubishi Corporation

CAF (Construcciones Y Auxiliar De Ferrocarriles) has focused on the railway industry for the last 90 years, expanding its activities from Spain towards international markets. CAF designs, manufactures, delivers, commissions and maintains a range of vehicles for passenger railway services including tramways, light rail vehicles, metro cars, locomotives and passenger coaches.

Rotem is part of the Hyundai Motor Group and has produced railway systems for various customers throughout the world. Rotem manufactures EMUs, high-speed trains, light rail vehicles, locomotives, passenger coaches and freight wagons. Mitsui’s main business includes sales; manufacturing; export/import; and international trade and services in metal products and minerals, machinery, electronics and information, chemicals, energy, and consumer products and services.

Wellington’s 48 new Matangi electric trains are being built by Hyundai Rotem Mitsui.




  1. Miggle says:

    Mike Lee has mentioned several times at various meetings that the tender has been changed to 57 EMUs and no locomotives. Wonder what we’ll get in the end…

  2. Carl says:

    are these going to be 57 “3 car sets” what does the 57 mean?

    In perth they run in 3 car sets, and 6 car sets for the EDI Bombardier trains.

    the older models are 2 and 4 car sets.

    6 car sets run the length of two lines and sometimes do the short runs.

    surely there will be some peak short runs where trains can quickly be turned around? with the an engine at each end there is need for spinning trains anymore? yes/no correct?

    any news so far is good news I guess

  3. Matt L says:

    Carl - yes the suggestion is 57 ’3 car sets’. I read in the initial business case for the CRL that 57 was the number we need to be able to run all services (except Onehunga) as 6 car sets with 10 min frequencies

  4. Joshua says:

    It will be interesting to see if the 57 is confirmed tmrw.

  5. Carl says:

    ok, and then what happens next? I think Perth now has over a 90 sets and have just decided to get some more and run trains longer into the night.

    Now with Puke not getting elecy (and whatever I’m not complaining)

    what sort of situation do they get? Diesel sets clearly?

    and what is going to Happen too all the Diesel sets that are in use now when all the elecy trains come in?

  6. geoff_184 says:

    I would guess the ADK’s will be offered for sale to heritage operators, and otherwise scrapped, while the SA/SD sets will be put up for sale to anyone (heritage or commercial), possibly internationally.

    It will be a once in a lifetime opportunity for other councils to kick-start an urban train operation, but I don’t like our chances of seeing it happen. Not even Christchurch with all their big rebuild plans have any desire to buy into heavy rail.

    One small possibility might be TGR buying some, then starting a basic sort of service in the Waitati-Mosgiel area. At least with them you essentially have a council-related body run by rail people, so they may see the opportunity coming. They certainly snapped up the 15 or so 56′ cars pretty quick, when that opportunity arose.

  7. Ben says:

    57x 3-car sets would be the best guess so far until the announcement out at one of the stations today confirms other wise. The 3-car EMU’s from what I last read would run on all lines, with the option for doubling the units up to get a 6-car set for more “heavier” services.

    As with the ADKs, don’t worry ADK-688 (Old Reliable) will be around for a while yet. Last I heard a rail enthusiast in QLD wanted to buy the old girl as a “historic” piece.

  8. Rob says:

    I really hope that CAF / Mitsubishi get chosen to provide the EMUs for Auckland. I don’t like at all, the design and the build quality of the Hyundai Rotem Mitsui Matangi trains.

  9. Mike says:

    Some diesels will still be needed for services beyond Swanson and Papakura. Greater Wellington should acquire enough SDs to turn the Wairarapa trains into push-pull, eliminating shunting moves in Wellington station except for the Overlander - and why not make that push-pull, too?

  10. Carl says:

    Wouldn’t it be best to keep using them? can never really have to many trains can you?

    more services to Puke and whatever happens north of the city and more trains that could be leased or sold to Hamilton and surrounding areas?

    surely that is the best idea?

  11. Anthony says:

    I reckon it would be best to keep some of the Diesels as some station won’t be electrified, also, it would be useful to have extra diesels on the line during peak hour.

  12. Max says:

    Carl, some of these things are pretty bloody old, and to keep them in a safe and useful standard is quite an expense on its own.

    Depending on what the actual agreements end up being for the number and types of new rolling stock, it may indeed be useful to keep a few in reserve, but the big mass should be sold on or scrapped. PT at the moment can’t afford extra expenses, with government breathing down its neck arguing for ever higher fees and higher farebox recovery.

  13. Antz says:

    Im sure they would run fine as long as we don’t push them too hard like we do now…


Leave a Comment


XHTML: You can use these tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>