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Mayor hails electrification agreement

1 September 2011

Mayor hails electrification agreement

The Mayor and the Minister of Transport have signed a deal worth more than half a billion dollars that will finally see quiet, environmentally friendly electric trains on Auckland’s rail network at no extra cost to ratepayers.

“The agreement shares the cost of the trains between the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) and Auckland Council and means more and better public transport for people across Auckland,” says Len Brown.

The agreement means Auckland will own more electric trains than originally planned.

Auckland will own the 57 electric multiple units (or EMUs as they are known), which comprise three cars. This compares with the 38 EMUs and 12 electric locomotives proposed earlier.

“This agreement will mean greater rail accessibility for Aucklanders in all parts of the city, and secures trains that are modern, better for the environment, fast and quiet.”

Auckland had expected to pay the half a billion dollar loan to buy the trains through a regional fuel tax. Under this deal, Auckland Council and NZTA will split the loan repayments. The Crown is also making a $90 million grant to the Auckland region to assist with the trains’ purchase. The final purchase price will be set later in the year when a decision on a preferred supplier is made.

“Increased current and forecast use of trains by the Auckland commuters and other factors, such as favourable exchange rates, means we can secure more electric trains than originally budgeted for without any further cost to ratepayers,” says Auckland Council Transport Committee Chair Mike Lee. “We are confident that we have secured the best possible deal for the people of Auckland, both at the point of purchase and also for the decades to come.”

The all-EMU fleet will cost less over their lifespan than the original 38 EMUs plus 12 electric locomotive option. As a result, there will be enough EMUs to run on all three of the region’s train lines. Previously only the Eastern and Western lines had been budgeted for.

“This is particularly good news for people living and working in the south,” says Len Brown.

The trains are due to arrive in Auckland from late 2013 and the electrification project will be complete earlier that year.

“To be the world’s most liveable city, we need a world class transport system. This brings us one big step closer,” says the Mayor. “The new trains are also a necessary prerequisite for the City Rail Loop, upon which preliminary work has already begun.”

Auckland Transport Chairman Mark Ford says the announcement is a major milestone in the development of the region. He says annual rail patronage has topped 10 million and the addition of the new EMUs will add even greater capacity on the network. Mr Ford adds that the electric trains have additional advantages over current rolling stock, including lower operating costs, better reliability and frequency of service, as well as being more environmentally friendly than diesels.

Ends

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