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Auckland Rail Chaos Unacceptable

On Friday last, Auckland rail went into meltdown yet again with service cuts and truncated services which were all preceded by a single signal failure in Britomart.

This time PTUA chair Niall Robertson was using the system. Robertson had travelled north on the Te Huia service from Hamilton, but transferred to an Auckland Eastern Line service at Puhinui due in Britomart at 1210pm. Robertson was meeting a colleague for a business lunch at 1230pm. However due to the signal failure Robertson was delayed 30-40 minutes before the train reversed to Orakei station to enable passengers to catch buses to Mission Bay or Newmarket to connect with other services to Auckland.

Robertson said, ”I kept in contact by phone with my colleague who was waiting for me at Britomart. After one bus was too full to take me from Newmarket, my colleague told me that the trains were running again. We had our business lunch at 2pm, 90 minutes late.”

On arrival back at Britomart Robertson found that the train which would be his connection with the southbound 3.20pm Te Huia service at Puhinui was cancelled. This meant that Robertson had to take the second Te Huia service two hours later.

Robertson said, “...Auckland Transport through their contractors KiwiRail and Auckland One Rail cost me three and a half hours today, because KiwiRail has yet to make the Auckland railway network resilient and reliable and Auckland One rail cannot respond adequately to a short delay which cascades on through the rest of the day”

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The PTUA are very concerned that due to the single signal failure at Britomart a little after noon, that the effects later consisted of halving the number of services on the Eastern and Southern Lines, truncating the services on the Western Line from Swanson to Newmarket only and that ALL services on the Onehunga Line were suspended altogether.

Another problem experienced was with an Auckland One Rail Ambassador. A colleague of Robertson’s asked how to connect to the Western Line and was told to take an Eastern Line train as this person thought that Eastern Line trains ran via Newmarket! Not good enough Auckland One Rail. At Puhinui, the platform tag off monitors were out of action so Robertson had to go upstairs to tag off at the gates. Not wishing to upset security staff he told them what he was doing. One directed him through a security bypass to tag off on the other side. He pointed out that it was tagging him on (as he expected), when a second staff member approached him aggressively and asked, “What’s your problem?” He explained and was told quite rudely that he should have done so on the other side. Robertson said that his attempt to avoid a confrontation ended up being one anyway!

The PTUA is concerned that Auckland One Rail is not able to deploy staff quickly and respond to simple delays in a way that is not very disruptive to services and the customers they serve. We are also concerned that station staff are not given adequate training in order to have good knowledge of the system and be pleasant as well as helpful

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