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“Engineering First” Hits Rail Tracks

“Engineering First” Hits Rail Tracks

An engineering and technological first for New Zealand will begin carrying passengers on Auckland’s rail network this month.

The SD “driving cab” is a unique type of carriage that increases train efficiency and capacity.

It provides a new way of controlling Auckland’s new SA Trains by allowing “push-pull” operation of the train with only one locomotive or engine.

Up to ten SA Trains and SD cabs are being refurbished by 2006, in an Auckland Regional Council project to address the chronic shortage of trains in the region.

The ARC Rail Project Director, Elena Trout, says before the first SD cab arrived, the SA trains were powered and driven by locomotives at both ends.

“In the new SD driving cab the controls of the train are recreated in a special compartment in the carriage. This means the SA Train locomotive can be controlled remotely, increasing efficiency and capacity. This technology has never before been used in New Zealand, and is the result of extensive engineering work”.

The new cab has been custom designed and built for Auckland, and also includes unique facilities to carry wheelchairs and cycles.

It features a modern, European inspired interior and exterior, and carries up to 50 seated passengers including an extra large standing capacity.

The SD cabs have been completely stripped and re-built from the same British Rail MKII carriages used for the SA carriages. They form part of a $61 million train refurbishment package which includes an upgrade of the older “ADK” trains.

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The SA carriages recently won a highly commended award for public transport innovation from the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport New Zealand Inc.

The SD and SA carriages were developed by Toll NZ’s Professional Services Group, and were constructed at the company’s Hillside Engineering Workshops in Dunedin.

The first cab will begin services this month, with one of the three SA trains that have come online since April 2004.

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