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Rail Operators Working Together At New Auckland Train Control Centre

The new train control centre will see teams from KiwiRail, Auckland Transport and Auckland One Rail working more closely together to improve train services across the city.

The Auckland Rail Operations Centre in Ellerslie was opened today by Transport Minister Simeon Brown and will begin operating on 23 March.

KiwiRail Chief Executive Peter Reidy says the opening of the new centre is a key milestone toward delivering more reliable and frequent train services for Aucklanders.

“KiwiRail is two thirds of the way through a massive upgrade of the Auckland metro network, as we prepare it to safely handle the more frequent trains that will come when the City Rail Link opens.

“The Auckland Rail Operations Centre is an important part of that work. It is needed to successfully manage the greater operational complexity to come and ensure the smooth running of services.

“The centre has an excellent resilience profile but importantly it will see the right KiwiRail, Auckland Transport and Auckland One Rail (who operate metro trains) teams together in the same space.

“It will combine our train control and infrastructure planning teams, AoR’s stations’ control centre, train crewing and customer communications teams and AT’s transport coordinators, who link into Auckland’s bus and ferry services.”

“It means all the right people will be able to work closely together and better manage any disruptions for the benefit of commuters.”

AOR Chief Executive Martin Kearney has worked for public transport in Australia and the UK with experience of similar rail operations centres and says the facility has gone beyond his expectations.

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“It’s world-class and is the gold standard in terms of rail operations. It’s a major step forward in improving the systems and processes used to communicate with the public and with each other. We’re excited to be part of this kind of progress in Auckland as it will make a measurable difference in the long-term for our customers.”

AT Chief Executive Dean Kimpton says the Auckland Rail Operations Centre will enable KiwiRail, AOR and AT to take a more joined-up approach to delivering and managing Auckland’s rail network as one team.

“AT's commitment is to deliver fast and reliable public transport with its partners KiwiRail and Auckland One Rail. This facility will enable us to respond to and handle disruption on the network more effectively. We will better serve our customers by improving the way we communicate with them and by providing them a more efficient service", Mr Kimpton says.

The Auckland Rail Operations Centre has been built to a one in a thousand-year level of earthquake resilience; contains 31km of cabling, around 1,500 power points and has two backup generators; and is a lifeline utility that can link in with Auckland emergency management.

The centre also replicates the systems of KiwiRail’s Wellington Rail Operations Centre, creating an important backup and minimising disruption in a natural disaster. If the Auckland centre went offline, Wellington could take over running Auckland’s trains. If Wellington went offline, Auckland could run trains across the rest of the country.

Background info:

The Auckland rail network today – what we are achieving

  • More than $7 billion is being invested in the Auckland network, including the City Rail Link.
  • There were more than 12.5 million passenger trips in the past year (to end of January 2024)
  • Ferrys are running at over 100% patronage, Buses at 98% and trains at 68%. The train patronage as part of the ecosystem needs to lift into the 90% range.
  • The target for Auckland is 29 million rail passengers 2030 (post City Rail Link opening).
  • Within the next five years our work on the network will enable 50% more passenger journeys. For context that’s 50% more than Auckland Airport’s passenger journeys. But this is still only one quarter of the passenger numbers Auckland Transport is seeing in buses. So, the aspiration is even higher.
  • KiwiRail’s additional upgrade and improvement projects span every single line across the 200km network. They include:
    • Rail Network Rebuild (RNR) renewals and upgrades addressing approximately 30% of the highest priority parts of the network. An example of the success of this work: On the Eastern Line we have increased train frequency by 58% and reduced disruption by 35%.
    • Three new stations in South Auckland: Drury Railway Station, Paerātā Railway Station and Ngākōroa Railway Station, each with large park and rides.
  • Papakura to Pukekohe - 19kms of extended overhead electric lines and track upgrade plus an upgraded station at Pukekohe.
  • A third main line to separate freight from passenger rail at the busiest part of the network. This project, Wiri to Quay Park includes a station upgrade at Middlemore and track reconfiguration around Quay Park to allow freight better access to Ports of Auckland.
  • Track changes at Britomart and Newmarket to prepare for the City Rail Link.
  • Auckland Rail Operations Centre – bringing rail operators KiwiRail, Auckland Transport and Auckland One Rail together to co-locate in a collaborative approach to improving train services across the city; and
  • An additional network power feed on the Western Line, which will improve network resilience.

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