All About Our New Electric Trains


Here’s the inside of Auckland’s new Spanish-built electric trains arriving from 2013:

Inside the new trains

And the outside…

Compared to our present trains:

  • The new ones accelerate and brake twice as fast - a third as fast as a jumbo jet on full thrust
  • Can do 0 to 60km in 24 seconds compared to 40 seconds
  • Faster, quieter
  • Have twice the number of air conditioning and heating units
  • The doorways are 150mm wider
  • Maintenance costs will be halved.
  • Maximum power of  2720kW– existing trains are hauled by locomotives with a power of 1800kW
  • Maximum speed of 110km/hr; the same as most of the existing trains but with the increased power this speed will be achieved more frequently
  • Each car will have 77 seats compared with 66 seats on the existing cars
  • 2 air conditioning units in each car will provide twice the air conditioning power of the existing trains
  • Each car is three metres longer than the existing cars

Other facts about the new EMUs:

  • Each car will be formed from 3 cars, one trailer car in the middle and a powered driving car at each end. The 3 car unit will operate in service as a single unit or as 2,3 car units couple together.
  • Each car can carry 120 passengers.
  • The trains are made from stainless steel and meet latest crash standards.
  • They will be powered by the overhead 25kV supply through a pantograph on the roof of each train.
  • Each train will be fitted with regenerative braking allowing energy to be produced by the train and fed back into the supply when the trains brake. This provides a considerable improvement in the efficiency of the trains allowing recovery of up to 20% of the energy used.
  • They will be quiet, much quieter than the present trains.
  • The trains have a life of more than 40 years.
  • The trains used a state of the art propulsion system using IGBT technology to control the electric drive motors in an efficient manner. On board computers control and monitor each of the systems and equipment and provide real time information to the crew.
  • Each car will have 2 doorways on each side located about 1/3 and 2/3 along the length of the car. The doors will be a sliding plug type proving a good weather and soundproof seal and will have an open width of 1450mm to make sure the swell times at stations are kept to a minimum. Doors are fitted with obstacle detection and will automatically open and re close is something is trapped.
  • A dedicated space will be identified for wheelchair passengers with easy access to the platform.
  • Space will be provided for bicycles alongside an area for people with restricted mobility such as elderly or mums with small kids.
  • The units will have state of the art passenger information systems with both visible and audible information.
  • All cars have air conditioning.
  • An on board CCTV system will operate in all covers providing images to the driver from 16 cameras.

At peak times the trains will operate six trains an hour from Papakura in the South, on the Eastern line and from Swanson on the Western line.
The extra trains increases rail stock from 148 cars to 171.

AT predicts the number of trips on the Auckland rail network will increase from 9.7m a year to 17.3 m by 2016.

Peak capacity: Currently

SA 81

SD 23

ADL 20

ADK 18


SX 6

Total Fleet (carriages) 148

Post electrification


EMU 171

Total 179


Video -take a ride

This afternoon’s historic signing of the tender contract



  1. Andy says:

    Seriously? 1 line LCD PIDs in 2013? Ridiculous.
    If they are brand new it should be something like this.

    Yeah I know it only seems like a small thing, but if we are constantly talking about a 21st century transport system then lets make it that from the start!

  2. joust says:

    Not sure if one picture adequately reflects the entirety of the Passenger info system.

    Anyway all that sounds marvellous. Great day for Auckland’s Public transport.

  3. pete says:

    Surely it´s 25 KV supply?

  4. Ben says:

    Very nice looking indeed.
    Just hope that the spaces for those with restricted mobility, mums with prams and wheel chairs will be in the middle car.

    Nothing worse then the current SD/SA arrangement when the wheel chair ramp is in the SD trailer driving end and a poor restricted mobility person has to trundle down to the other end - especially the big SD-6 Cars.

  5. Robincole says:

    Not sure about those light blue seats, a darker shade would look a lot better. Otherwise they look great. Looks like they’re dropping the Maxx branding and just using Auckland Transport, boring.

  6. Matt L says:

    Robincole - I prefer the AT branding as I have never liked the maxx one as it doesn’t even stand for anything

    Ben - it wouldn’t matter if yet they were only at the ends because each end will be the same

  7. Ben says:

    @ Matt: True on that regard, but I was thinking along the lines of maximum seating capacity as well (which I forgot to mention :P ). Which if was also the case - middle car would still be most logical for the restricted mobility spaces area. Also if Veolia and AT are dropping on-board staff down just driver and Train Manager (integrated ticketing) then only having 1 car with the restricted mobility area rather then 2 (in case assistance is needed) would also be more ideal.

  8. James B says:

    I love the fact that you will be able to walk through through to the next carriage. Nothing worse than getting onto a packed carriage and getting off at the other end only to see a handful of people in the other carriages.

  9. Greenwelly says:

    @James B, Although you will only be able to move with each 3 car set, there appears to be no interconnection between the set.

  10. James Pole says:

    @Andy: I don’t think having a one-line PID is too bad as long as it is programmed to give out relevant information at the right times during the journey. For some people simpler is better — consider people who have vision and/or language difficulties.

    I love the new look, really looking forward to seeing it in service! And I reckon they look better than the Wellington units too! :)

  11. Kegan says:


    The centre car is the low floor one (can be seen if you look closely at the render). The end cars appear to have Wellington style door wells.

    @James Pole

    “And I reckon they look better than the Wellington units too!”

    Indeed. Easier to do when there’s no requirement for staff access between sets or emergency evacuation through the ends in tight tunnels …

  12. Chris says:

    Sigh; what a let down.
    Is it too much to ask for bike racks, overhead storage, head and arm rests, trays for laptops, etc?

  13. Kegan says:


    There’s a render posted on transportblog that shows bike racks. Agree about overhead storage - easy to do, all Wellington units have it.

    “head and arm rests, trays for laptops”

    IMO more suited to long distance commuter stock rather than suburban.

  14. Bryce says:

    First time poster-I think the site is great.These trains look like a huge step forward for Auckland PT-long overdue.I think we should make the most of this investment by using rail as the backbone of PT,by using buses in outer suburbs to feed rail,and running some through services south to west,east to west etc,avoiding the need to change trains at an overloaded Britomart.I find some of the complaining comments on here quite unbelievable.

  15. Patrick R says:

    Fantastic, brilliant, v. happy… now let’s get that CRL built……

  16. Bryce says:

    P.S. to my previous post-re 1 line PIDs-I’m sure there will be voice announcements too,as on the Matangis,and maybe a simple poster of the train system in each carriage should be enough to help guide those of us with reasonable intelligence who can read something apart from a screen.And as far as “trays for laptops”-get real-these are suburban trains,not A380 business class-maybe put it on yr lap,or even relax and get offline for a bit-your life doesn’t depend on it.)

  17. subria says:

    That front 3/4 view has got to be one of the worst looks ever - there’s what looks like 1/2m of wall between the rather flat front windscreen and the cab door, that will do wonders for driver visibility surely? They’ve tried to hide that by having the black window strip extend and curve down. I also note the renders do not have opening windows - this is fine if the air con doesn’t break, but when it does…

    Other than that, good to see that the order is signed and things are in motion. They should do a good job. Hopefully CAF are better at building trains than their shipyards are at building ships (Aratere anyone?)

    Is not having end doors a bit short sighted if the CRL is ever built (or is that mean it won’t be?).

    For those interested, the Class 332 Heathrow Express:

  18. Jay says:

    Awesome..can’t wait! Curious to know what the ticketing system will be though??

  19. Giel says:

    All very nice sleek lines. Well done!

    I only hope they find some use for the better SA/SD sets with the CNR air bag bogies - Christchurch / Dunedin / Hamilton get your bids in now. Wishful thinking perhaps.

    Interesting is the moving away of KiwiRail from passenger rolling stock maintenance first Wellington now Auckland. A good move to get some private sector enterprise back in there where it is accountable, especially the manufacturers of the units themselves.

  20. Matt L says:

    subria - I’m pretty sure that visibility has been well thought of as part of the design. Opening windows would prevent the aircon from working properly, much better to accommodate that than the 0.001% of the time a train might break down and also take out the aircon (remember most trains will be 2 EMU’s coupled together so if one breaks down power is still supplied through the other set.

    Lastly end doors aren’t needed, they only exist in Wellington because of the tight single track tunnels, when the CRL is built it will be done so in a way that allows people to evacuate out of the sides if needed.

    Jay - The ticketing system is already under way as it will be the HOP card (but the Thales version not the Snapper one).

  21. AKT says:

    @Bryce Welcome. Agree - and I also can’t understand what there is to feel sad about!

  22. richard says:

    I trust the windows will have anti-scratch treatment?

  23. John says:

    @Pete and AKT

    25 kV is correct not 25 KV. k = kilo

  24. Simon C says:

    Yeah - brilliant! It`s an unfortunate fact that even if we chose the world`s best EMU there would be those that would choose to emphasise the negative. I can`t believe the belly-aching of some here.

    While the rest of us are enjoying the new EMUs, those who prefer the “glass half empty” way of thinking can continue to enjoy those wonderful ADLs:)

    Chris, your description reads like the perfect description for an intercity train, not a suburban commuter train.

    @Richard - Yeah. We want those new EMUs looking great for a long time. And woe betide any little sh**s who try to vandalise them. I hope they get sledgehammered!

  25. Luke says:

    Look closer…. There is luggage racks.

  26. pete says:

    I never got my K´s & k´s round the right way back in school so no change there. On the power theme, I hope Kiwi Rail and Auckland Transport will start the education process on the dangers of overhead power lines in schools and communities sooner rather than later.

  27. subria says:

    Matt L October 6, 2011 at 9:26 pm

    subria – I’m pretty sure that visibility has been well thought of as part of the design. Opening windows would prevent the aircon from working properly, much better to accommodate that than the 0.001% of the time a train might break down and also take out the aircon (remember most trains will be 2 EMU’s coupled together so if one breaks down power is still supplied through the other set.

    Lastly end doors aren’t needed, they only exist in Wellington because of the tight single track tunnels, when the CRL is built it will be done so in a way that allows people to evacuate out of the sides if needed.

    Been on enough units in the UK where the air con will fail in a single carriage, or set of four out of 2 units combined, and it’s awfully hot. The train still runs, but It’s not usually a matter of power. In this case, opening windows are provided, but they are normally locked when the air con is in operation, but can be opened by the train manager.

    So you will need one train manager per set (two for a connected set), since there are no connecting doors

  28. Kegan says:


    “There is luggage racks”

    Not convinced. In this picture what looks like luggage racks in a couple the others appears to contain the fluro lighting and the grab rails appear to be separate. If there were racks I’d expect them to be immediately above the windows or they’d be getting a tad high.

  29. Sean says:


    I don’t think you would need 2 train managers + a driver on a 6 car train. Here in Sydney, trains are almost always 8 car and in sets of 4 (this will change with new Warratahs) with 1 train manager. I think it’s impossible to travel between each set while the train is moving. Sydney copes, so I’m sure Auckland can. I think they wait to the next station if they need to go on the next set. Auckland so has to move on from it’s archaic way of having too many staff on the trains! Need to make the rail system as cost efficient as possible.

  30. Owen Thompson says:

    Pity the contract wasn’t given to New Zealand workers. The country needs as much skilled work as possible.

    Anyone else remember when we were thrilled to receive trains from an Australian train museum?

  31. Ben says:

    @kegan: Ah you are correct about the centre car (had to look at the renders again after ‘resting the eyes.’ So in that case, having the middle car for those with restricted mobility, prams or bikes is a well thought out idea.

    Arm rests etc - hehe yeah I thought that would be more suited for Hamilton to Auckland runs then the suburban runs - least the EMUs will have wi-fi :D .

    I see the staffing issue is coming up for what become the Double EMU consists - last I heard that issue is being worked on by several parties however IMO - a single TM with the driver for a Double EMU (6-car) is adequate.

    “Inspectors” (or what ever they are now/will be called) will be targeting stations and trains to try an minimise fare avoidance (now I state here now that I have no idea whether it will work or not until it starts)

  32. Greenwelly says:

    @Ben, Are you saying that other than the Driver, there would only be one staff member for a dual set 6 car train?

    I think that would be a mistake, and that excl the driver there should be one staff member per set,

    Otherwise you will have the situation of if there is an incident in the rear set and the train stops between station, the TM would have to disembark to the track level walk to the rear set, open the doors from the outside board the train and then investigate the issue, -

  33. joust says:

    @AKT + @Bryce, Haters be hating.

  34. Ben says:

    @GreenwellyI am saying it is possible - AT would be best to answer that one fully - especially with what staffing requirements are needed with the new ticketing regime coming onstream.

    I am having the same debate though greenwelly with counterparts and friends alike in regards to the staffing requirements - my answer though is this:
    “We already see fully automated train systems where there is no driver or on-board staff, we also have systems as someone from Aussie mentioned where there is one driver, one “TM,” a pile of CCTV cameras in the train and something like 8 cars. How do those systems cope with incidents as you are highlighting - if they cope well then they can be transplanted here.”

    In any case, if there was a “medical” incident the best thing to do would be to get the train to the platform any-how as that is the best place to check the situation out rather in the middle of no where.

    And pre-empting another question this is the answer.

    Emergency stop Buttons on the EMUs. Idealy if there was a situation onboard the EMU, the passenger would hit a Big Red Distress Button which would alert the TM, Driver and maybe Control. CCTV footage and two way radio communication could be established between staff and the passenger with the video feed being able to give a visual. Thus the driver and control would be able to decide whether to stop the train immediately (like in a fire) or bring the train to the next platform where the situation can be dealt with effectively.

    It is with that logic (and I am not endorsing it or any thing else) that one could reason in having just the TM and Driver - or if going for touch go fully automated.

  35. Daniel says:

    Gee isn’t Subria a bundle of positivity?

    If the Auckland CBD tunnel is ever constructed it will be to modern safety standards and will include enough side space (and probably a raised gangway) to evacuate passengers in any emergency.

    CAF is a very successful and internationally respected company and they know much more about the design of EMUs than you ever will, so I think you’ve got no leg to stand on with your assumptions about driver visibility.
    And CAF has nothing whatsoever to do with the Aratere ferry built by Astillero Barreras. Oh the two companies happen to come from the same country? yeah like Fisher-and-paykel comes from the same country as Bata Bullets…

  36. Andrew J says:

    As posted on the other article, I have absolutely no idea why these trains are being compared to Heathrow’s 332′s. CAF didn;t build these, Siemens did, in Germany. CAF have never built rolling stock for the UK…

  37. AKT says:

    @Andrew J @Andrew To quote Auckland Transport chief Mark Ford yesterday:
    “CAF will design its new trains based on the rolling stock that it supplied for the Heathrow Express.”

  38. Ben says:

    @Daniel. Couldn’t agree more with you on your first remark.

    From what I last heard, the CRL will be wide enough to evacuate trains and have the evacuated people walk safely down the side to an escape point.

    Or to put it simply, the tunnel would be wide enough to hold 3 tracks (with no side egress possible)

  39. Leslie Bravery says:

    The new Auckland trains are nothing like the Hathrow Express. Compare th Heathrow video with the interior photos of the new trains. The seats are not as comfortable as the ones we have at present. Apart from that this is a very great step forward and at last Auckland will have a suburban rail network worthy of a major city.

  40. AKT says:

    @Leslie the “new trains” are just graphic impressions. In reality they may be better or different.

  41. Pim says:

    I really don’t see why people are complaining… From what I see here, they seem a lot better than trains in the Netherlands, and also better than the tube in London. This is very good progress, and besides they’ve already been ordered, what’s the point in complaining?

  42. Ian says:

    Over 2700 kW from a a single motor car sporting four traction motors?

  43. Kegan says:


    Two motor cars per unit, presumably 8 traction motors

  44. James says:

    @pim at least these trains also have tiolets? Don’t they?!
    New trains are better then old diesel trains!

  45. MrV says:

    Some truly bizarre comments on here. I wonder how many of the readers have been on a subway/metro or suburban train anywhere else in the world?
    Auckland is not exactly inventing the wheel here …

  46. AKT says:

    @Mr V Good point! I wondered that myself…

  47. Ingolfson says:

    The trains should have at least 1 staff for every 3-car set. Screw cost savings, that kind of staffing is needed for security. If trouble is brewing - for example with a rowdy group of drunks - you also want to be able to back up the first train manager by a second one (even though in that case he/she would obviously only be able to transfer to the other part of the two-train unit at a station).

    Staff-less trains are for technocrats in fine desktop exercises. Daily routine is a lot messier, and needs good staff, backed up by management.

  48. Chris says:

    @Pim - being Dutch myself, I disagree with you. The trains there are better than what is proposed here.

  49. Ben says:

    @ingolfson. Hehehe had to smile at your last comment there especially the last sentence - and especially the second part of that last sentence. ;)

    What you say is true on that last sentence however, yeah that second part of it…

  50. Pim says:

    @ Chris I am also dutch, and these trains have better information, they look better, they’re more comfortable. I would say that these are better.

  51. Pim says:

    Is there any news on what’s happening to Waitakere and Puke?

  52. KS says:

    @MrV , Second That!

    On another note, i suppose from the images posted here the new EMU’s are world class in bare minimum standards expected with any EMU these days (say some basic form of PIDs, emphasis on passenger confort, speed n disability facilities to touch a few) however what would make them worthy of best as compared with rolling stock overseas are efforts above the basic amenities such as Wi-fi onboard, visually informative PID’s as on say HK metro (even video displays in new Inner Link buses we have now are worthwhile with audio)… I do believe mods such as overhead storage racks, bicycle racks etc would be available in production units, those r basic in today’s rolling stock overseas..
    But then again, to those who havent been on an overseas metro train that is really a dream, even the current snaps would feel like a world change from current rolling stock on Auckland network so they would settle for anything better no matter how small as some of readers have posted..

  53. Christoph says:

    Are all of you failing to realise the obvious here? They are using MORE power than existing trains. Never mind about LCD screens and bike racks! Pim, how is this better than the tube in London!? At least it is underground, taking away strain from over exhausted surface level transport infrastructure (and they had this in 1890!). Also 0 - 60 in 24 sec! I can literally skateboard faster than that. How is this a step in the right direction?


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