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October 6, 2011

Train contract heralds new era in public transport

Aucklanders can look forward to a new era in public transport after the signing today of a contract for a new electric suburban train fleet.

Auckland Transport has signed a contract with Spanish manufacturer, Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles SA (CAF) to purchase 57 three car Electric Multiple Units (EMUs) for the Auckland metropolitan rail network.

The new EMUs will be owned by Auckland Transport (AT) and will come into service from the end of 2013.  They will replace the diesel units and diesel locomotive hauled trains currently providing passenger services to commuters in the city.

The trains will incorporate the latest technology in terms of safety, accessibility and modern amenities like on-board Wi-Fi networks. They will be comfortable, quiet, environmentally friendly and attractive.

 CAF has also signed a contract to maintain the EMUs until 2026 in a new maintenance facility that Auckland Transport is building at Wiri.

The contract signing concludes a procurement process that began in November 2009 when the government announced that it had agreed to provide a $500m loan to buy 38 new trains and build the new maintenance depot.

Circa NZD$400m of the loan will be used to purchase the trains, while the remainder will be used to build the new maintenance depot.

The procurement was managed on behalf of the government by KiwiRail working closely with the previous Auckland Regional Transport Authority (ARTA) and then transferred to Auckland Transport in preparation for the manufacturing and ownership phases.

The Mayor has welcomed the announcement. “The announcement of this contract is the next step towards giving Auckland a 21st century rail network,” says Len Brown.

“Without electric trains, the extension of that network is not possible. Without electric trains, vital projects like the City Rail Link are not possible.

“It also means that the train network can cope with the extra demand we are already seeing. This is a great deal from every angle.”

“What I’m now looking forward to is riding these trains on a regular basis along with my fellow Aucklanders. They will be a huge advance on the second hand trains Aucklanders have had to put up with for years, and from what I’ve seen they will be spectacular.”


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