Rail transport

Schooling Auckland Council on transport

Bryan Leyland gives Len brown and his train spotter friends a real good tickle up on public transport.

The railway tunnel will serve only a very small fraction of Auckland’s population and at a huge cost. Mayor Len Brown is determined to commit Auckland to building a hugely expensive railway tunnel even though no comprehensive independent and objective economic analysis has been made on the merits of the tunnel and whether or not letting the city spread and developing satellite centres would be better.

Auckland Council has neglected its obligation to investigate and evaluate all options. Given the enormous amount of expenditure involved, this amounts to a serious dereliction of duty.

Overseas research on 44 urban rail systems revealed that the average cost overrun was 45 per cent and the number of passengers was half the predicted number. Have the economics of the Auckland tunnel been tested against 45 per cent higher costs and half the passengers? If not, why not?

The railway tunnel will serve only a very small fraction of Auckland’s population and at a huge cost. Right now, ratepayers subsidise 80 per cent of the cost of every train fare. If the tunnel costs blow out by 50 per cent it will need to recover at least $450 million in fares every year for capital repayment and operating expenses. If, as hoped, there are 20 million rail trips every year, they will need to recover $22.50 per rail trip. Most of this will be imposed on the ratepayers.

No one living on the North Shore will benefit from the rail loop but they will paying for it.

No one living in East Auckland will benefit from the rail loop but they will be paying for it.   Read more »

For a moment I thought that the Herald had turned against Len Brown

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But it wasn’t to be.

Darwin was actually calling and a trainspotter answered.

A man fatally struck by the steam train he was photographing did not realise how close it was to him because he was looking at it through his camera lens, a coroner has ruled.

On September 7, 2013, Gregory John Duncraft, a meatworker from Kaiata, was standing on the railway track near Kokiri when a Mainland Steam charter steam train struck him at 5.45pm, throwing him into the air.   Read more »

Welcome back to work, Len’s trains were stuffed as a special present for you

Len Brown’s train set welcomed people back to work by breaking down this morning.

A track fault is signalling woe for Auckland train commuters coming into the city this morning.

Auckland Transport said all lines near Britomart in Central Auckland may be affected by cancellations and delays up to 20 minutes.

The delays have been caused by a points failure outside the Britomart Tunnel.

The fault comes as many people return to work after the New Year break.

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Brown’s rail project an expensive “boondoggle”

Not Len Brown this time, but Jerry Brown, the Governor of California and his ill-fated rail project.

The similarities are astonishing though.

As California breaks ground this week on its new high-speed rail line, it is clear what the $68 billion dollar project amounted to: though the project will surely make unions, construction workers, and bond salesmen happy, it is little more than money the state doesn’t have for a train that its residents don’t need and probably won’t use. TheWashington Post reports on the project’s continued financial troubles, and it’s not pretty:

Voters approved a $9.95 billion bond aimed at funding the initial construction of the rail project in 2008, by a slim five-point margin. The Obama administration added another $3.2 billion in federal grants, and the legislature agreed in 2014 to provide funding through cap-and-trade taxes on greenhouse gases, which will add another $250 million to $1 billion per year.

That means the rail authority will have about $26 billion at best, less than half the estimated total costs. California High-Speed Rail Authority officials have said they expect advertising, real estate developments and private investors to fund up to a third of the total costs.   Read more »

Len’s loopy train set delayed for two years

Spain-train-crash

The councillors at Auckland Council have decided they would rather be re-elected than vote to ratchet rates up even further in order to pay for Len Brown’s loopy train set.

The Auckland Council has voted to put back a start on the City Rail Link by two years.

Mayor Len Brown told a governing body meeting today that a 2015 start was considered too much of a stretch by the Auditor-General.    Read more »

Dear NZ Herald Editorial writer, No we didn’t

The NZ Herald editorial writer today must have been Brian Rudman.

Why?

Because it bangs on about Len’s rail loop, and makes heroic assumptions, the worse one being:

Aucklanders, however, showed they shared the Mayor’s enthusiasm for the link when they re-elected him. There is nothing to suggest this sentiment has waned. Only that some councillors are getting cold feet over issues that can be tackled without the project having to be placed on hold. If anything, the link is becoming more important. The council should acknowledge as much and get on with it.

No we didn’t.

There was a 36% voter turn out in Auckland in 2013 for the local body elections. In 2010 it was 51%, a massive slump of confidence in the process as a result of Len Brown’s first term.

Given there was just a 36% turnout then Len Brown’s 164,338 votes of the 1,047,910 enrolled to vote was just 15% of eligible voters.   Read more »

Auckland’s councillors are revolting

Well, not all of them, but certainly enough to put Len Brown’s pet project in jeopardy.

The $2.4 billion City Rail Link could be deferred until 2020 because of mounting concerns by councillors about its impact on rates, debt and big cuts to community services.

A number of councillors are having second thoughts about an early start on the rail project and support deferring work until the Government comes on board with funding in 2020.

Auckland Mayor Len Brown has locked $2.2 billion into a new 10-year budget to begin work on the 3.5km underground rail link in 2016 and completed by 2021.

On Wednesday, all 20 councillors and the mayor will debate the budget and make decisions on the rail project for public consultation.

One commenter notes:

The best news from the article is that councillors seem to be backing away from the train set – with luck Len’s folly will be initially deferred and later abandoned without fanfare.

And another comments:

Had a quick look. Finally it seems like ‘the people of Auckland are getting mad enough and therefore loud enough to be heard. Reading between the lines it seems like the counsellors have decided they would rather get re-elected and keep their jobs than support someone (Lenny) who is going to lose.

Read more »

Photo Of The Day

The Tragic 1895 Train Wreck at the Paris, France, Montparnasse Station: train wreck.

The Tragic 1895 Train Wreck at the Paris, France, Montparnasse Station: train wreck.

Train Wreck

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Auckland Council admits there is no evidence of support for the Central Rail Loop

On a number of occasions Mayor Len Brown has claimed that there is overwhelming public support for the central rail loop.

To see on what this was based, on June 12 one of the Ground Crew lodged a LGOIMA request with the council.

To : Len Brown

Under the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act could you please provide all material,in printed or electronic form, provided to or by the Mayor/ and or Councillors showing the level of public support for the planned central City Rail Loop.

In particular please provide the results of all opinion polls carried out which indicate the levels of support for the CRL and the methodology under which these polls were conducted.

Could you please acknowledge receipt of this LGOIMA request and provide a date by which the information will be made available.

Could you please provide the answers in electronic format by email.

Thanking you in advance

The council failed to respond and so the Ground Crew member asked again.   Read more »

New trains stuffed and former fan Mike Lee puts the boot in

Mike Lee in happier times when he loved the new electoric trains

Mike Lee in happier times when he loved the new electoric trains

It seems that Len Brown’s much vaunted new electric trains are in fact a dog.

Auckland’s flash new electric trains have been grounded by power faults which are mystifying the region’s transport authority.

Four of the state-of-the-art Spanish-built trains were disabled in one stroke this week due to power failure.

They have been replaced on the Onehunga-Britomart run since Tuesday by their diesel predecessors, and Auckland Transport says it could take several more days to identify and fix the problem.

But Auckland Council infrastructure chairman Mike Lee says the “bizarre and unacceptable” irony is the old diesels are running at faster speeds than the electric trains were allowed to reach.

The trouble has struck just weeks before more trains in what will ultimately be a 57-strong fleet costing the council and the Government $540 million are due to start running between Manukau and Britomart via the eastern line through Panmure and Glen Innes.

Read more »