Veolia Transport is working through a review of all operations on Friday 9 September with Auckland Transport. Many details of the operation and the many incidents that occurred are still being confirmed but a general overview follows.
For all Rugby World Cup matches including the Opening Night Veolia agreed a detailed train plan with Auckland Transport, using all available network resources. This was focused on maintaining a normal daily operation and special event services to Eden Park.
The Opening Night plan included the usual Friday timetable – always a busy day of the week with about 15,000 people travelling – plus 88 additional train services to transport an agreed capacity to Eden Park of about 15,000 people.
Our initial estimate for the number of people travelling on the rail network on Friday is at least 60,000.
All of the available 148 carriages were in service on the network.
From late morning on Friday trains were heavily loaded and capacity issues began to arise. Delays began to creep in but these were manageable and trains were still moving.
We implemented contingency plans at the earliest opportunity and all available back up bus services were brought into service.
In the late afternoon a number of unrelated and potentially serious safety incidents began to occur which further compromised the network’s ability to deliver planned train services.
As a result of these continuing incidents – including incidents of people on the tracks and serious medical emergencies – action needed to be taken to ensure the continued safe operation of the network. This included suspending services on the line when there were people on the track.
There were also numerous cases of emergency alarms being activated. When this is used the train manager and locomotive engineer must identify the location of the button pressed and identify whether there is an emergency. The emergency brake systems on the train must then be reset which on older trains takes some time.
On Friday evening there was only one minor engine failure at Britomart. The unit was quickly moved out of service and fixed within 15 minutes, and did not affect services. Otherwise, the train fleet performed well.
There was only one minor infrastructure issue, a signal failure at the Mays Rd level crossing on the Onehunga Branch Line, which did not affect services.
What did cause the extensive disruption was a series of separate safety incidents across the network that had to be dealt with to ensure the continued safety of passengers and staff.
A review of Friday’s events is well underway with Auckland Transport as we plan for Australia v Ireland at Eden Park on Saturday 17 September, without the huge crowds that Auckland experienced last Friday.
Aspects of the plan under review include the services planned, availability of replacement bus services, communications on board trains, crowd management at key locations and security arrangements.
The match this weekend is similar to many rugby matches in recent months for which we have successfully delivered a normal weekend timetable and the same number of additional special event services.
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