2 September 2019

Source: www.stuff.co.nz

The first of Auckland’s latest commuter trains has left the factory in Spain.

The first of the three-carriage trains is due in Auckland next month and should enter service in December.

Fifteen new trains will join the 57 that entered service in 2014, heralding the start of the era of electric trains in the city.

The last of the additional fleet should arrive in Auckland by July next year, significantly boosting capacity at a time of solid patronage growth.

The expanded fleet will mean more services at peak times can run with two of the three-carriage sets.

Auckland Transport figures showed rail patronage in July was 6.4 per cent higher than a year earlier, with overall public transport journeys up 9 per cent.

More than 21 million trips were made on Auckland’s rail network over the past year.

The original intention for the new fleet had been to buy 17 battery-powered trains that could replace the ageing diesel units shuttling between Pukekohe and the end of electrification at Papakura.

In September 2017 Auckland Transport opted to spend $207 million on the more versatile battery-powered trains.

But after negotiation with the Government that plan was scrapped in favour of spending $133m on 15 new electric trains instead.

The fleet is being built by Spanish train-maker CAF, at its factory at Beasain in the northern Basque region.

The additional 15 are largely identical to those already in service.