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Tranz Rail Introduces New Sprint Train Service

Tranz Rail Introduces New Sprint Train Service

Tranz Rail is launching a new overnight Auckland to Wellington Sprint service for containerised freight between the two cities.

The service will launch on October 29 with the first Sprint leaving Auckland at 8pm and arriving in Wellington at 7am the next morning to enable consignees in Wellington to pick up containers and begin unloading at the start of the business day.

The Monday to Friday service has been introduced to capture the freight forwarding market, delivering to customers on a just-in-time supply chain, and to provide a service that suits other time sensitive containerised freight between the two cities.

Tranz Rail’s Commercial Sales General Manager Craig Stapleton says a great deal of planning had gone into the new service to meet the demand of the market and to ensure the timing of the service met the needs of potential customers.

“For example this service will run at 90kph instead of the usual 80kph as that allows us to ensure arrival in Wellington at a time that works well for customers,” says Mr Stapleton.

“But to do that we had assign extra locomotive power to the service and ensure the bogeys (the wagon that containers are loaded onto) were suitable for running at the higher speed. We worked with our locomotive and wagon maintenance supplier Alstom to ensure this was the case and also worked closely with our track and infrastructure partner Transfield to ensure there were minimum speed restrictions on the line between the two cities.

“Finally we had to find the appropriate slots in the management of our network to ensure the service could be fitted into that time frame.”

The overnight service will be a fixed capacity train of 20 wagons that can carry 40 TEUs (twenty-foot container equivalent units) and can accommodate 40, 20 or 10-foot containers.

“We want to provide a premier overnight service to the freight market between New Zealand’s two largest cities.”

Mr Stapleton said the service had been launched following the success of a similar Auckland-Christchurch-Auckland service that linked in with ferry sailings across Cook Strait.

Fixed consist trains of 26 wagons leave both Christchurch and Auckland late at night arriving at their final destination on the morning of the second day after departure - again timed to be picked up and unloaded for the start of the business day.

“Bookings are made with a single phone call to our 24-hour call centre operation and space booked immediately. The trains are planned so that there is no need for marshalling or train break-ups at Picton or Wellington and are railed straight onto the ferry.”

Mr Stapleton said the Auckland-Christchurch-Auckland service was running at good capacity and a similar response to the new Auckland to Wellington service could lead to consideration of a return sprint train between the capital and Auckland.

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