Rail transport

Rodney Hide on Auckland’s rail fixation

Rodney Hide talks about Auckland’s rail fixation at NBR:

What bedevils Auckland are planners and their decades-old besottedness with trains.

Their single-minded commitment causes high property prices, densification, congested roads, a transport system that struggles to cope and renders Auckland stressful and difficult to do business in.

The train decision drives all others. Because trains are the answer, the motorway system remains incomplete. To make trains less of a dog, Aucklanders must live “compact[ly].” That drives up property prices.

We now have a modern city relying on 19th century technology. Trains are useful but only for shifting freight long distances on flat, easy landscapes. They are the worst of ways for moving people around a city like Auckland.

The basic problem is obvious to a child: Trains only go where the tracks go. And can’t pass on the same track.

Read more »


Another reason rail is on the way out

The lunatics, mostly of the left, want us to all use trains.

Trains for passenger transport and trains for bulk transport.

Well, one of the links in that transport debate is about to be severed, which will further reduce the amount of freight sent by rail.

Kiwirail says its ship, the Aratere, may be the last such rail-compatible ferry it runs.

The sight of a train rolling onto a ferry has long been a dramatic sight for onlookers, as the train’s heavy weight can cause the ship to move substantially in the water.

But Kiwirail chief executive Peter Reidy said acquiring rail-enabled ferry technology was very expensive.   Read more »

Key enters a complex political situation by funding Len’s rail loop early

John Key is set to destroy the central plank of Phil Goff’s mayoralty campaign.

Prime Minister John Key will lay out his political priorities tomorrow, with his State of the Nation speech expected to focus on Auckland’s transport infrastructure.

Mr Key is expected to bring forward plans to fund the contentious City Rail Link.

The project puts in new stops at Aotea Square and Karangahape Rd, creating a loop that joins up Auckland’s rail network.    Read more »

Looks like the rest of NZ is going to pay for Len’s train set

It looks like John Key is going to take away one of Phil Goff’s election planks by promising to have the rest of New Zealand pay for Len Brown’s train set.

Prime Minister John Key is expected to announce the Government will help fund Auckland’s $2.5 billion inner city rail link two years earlier than originally promised.

It’s understood the PM will make the commitment in a speech to the Auckland Chamber of Commerce on January 27.

The City Rail Link will join up Auckland’s train network, allowing for double the number of trains and passengers and making rail a more attractive alternative to driving on the city’s congested roads.

In 2013 the government agreed it would jointly fund the CRL with Auckland Council, but said it would provide its share in 2020.

It passed its new Long Term Plan last year based on the premise that construction of the CRL would begin in 2018 and be finished by 2022. Enabling works for the project are already underway.    Read more »

No it doesn’t and neither does the case for trains

The NZ Herald editorial comes out against the loopy idea that trams to the airport would be a winner.

Auckland councillor Mike Lee is not alone in doubting the practicality of running trams from Britomart to the airport. The proposal is one of several under consideration by Auckland Transport for another mode of public transport to and from the airport, which has asked for a decision by the middle of this year so that it can include a rail or bus station in its plans for a new domestic air terminal.

The fact the airport company has made this request is good news indeed. Though it has long said it is open to the idea of a rail service to the airport, the revenue it earns from carparking and retail rentals in and around its terminals has given reason to wonder whether it would really welcome trains from downtown Auckland.

The ability to greet or farewell travellers at Britomart may be more convenient than driving all the way to Mangere for many Aucklanders. For that very reason a rail connection to the airport should be a high priority for the Auckland Council, as it was until, inexplicably, Mayor Len Brown postponed it to the 2020s in his planning.

Read more »

The demise of Lenny’s train set is close

Driverless technology is advancing quickly…certainly far quicker than rail technology ever will.

Rail transport has an inherent flaw in it…it rides on rails and they are fixed in place. Roads provide detours and work arounds, now if we could just fix the inherent flaw in driving…the driver.

They are a familiar sight on roads across the country, but the white van man may no longer be seen carrying out deliveries in Britain after the government announced plans to try driverless vans.

As part of a multi-million pound scheme being trialled next year, driverless delivery vans will be used to move parcels between either warehouses and shops or stores and homes in south east London.

While there will be no driver in the vehicles, an operator will sit within the van – which could be as big as a classic Mercedes Sprinter – to ensure the operation runs smoothly and to take control in the case of an emergency.

The scheme will be rolled out across a pre-determined route in Greenwich, London, next year, with the route possibly taking in a large Sainsbury’s distribution depot, a Tesco store and the O2 arena.    Read more »

Public transport rulez…oh wait!

trains crippled

How about that public transport huh?

Three out of four lines on Auckland’s rail network have been shut down.

Auckland Transport spokesman Mark Hannan said the Southern, Eastern and Onehunga lines had been temporarily suspended while the network was being reset after a train broke down earlier this morning.

Mr Hannan said buses were now transferring passengers but people could expect delays.

Auckland Transport tweeted a limited replacement bus service was operating between Otahuhu and Orakei and The Strand.    Read more »

Hands up who wants to take public transport?

No matter how hard Auckland Council tries to peddle trains as a solution for all – they aren’t.

There are plenty of reasons why. For example most of Auckland is nowhere near a train line because there are only three strands. And the trains go to places that most Aucklanders don’t work.

But trains are also a transport mode used heavily by scumbags. Lowlife thieves, fare dodgers and vandals who graffiti the inside like it’s a dodgy toilet block.

That’s hardly a surprise and it says that the trains are totally unsafe places to be.

Auckland Transport and police are discussing possible live video feeds from the city’s new electric trains to combat soaring vandalism.

A monthly repair bill of about $50,000 is triggering a review of how on-board CCTV cameras can be used more effectively.   Read more »

A solution for Kiwirail

Durch die Möglichkeit des Lkw nahtlos vom Dieselbetrieb in der elektrischen Betrieb zu wechseln, sind alltägliche Fahrsituationen wie Einfädeln oder Überholen ebenso umzusetzen wie mit konventionellen Lkws. Auch Ausweichen, Schlingern und Vollbremsung funktionieren problemlos. Thanks to their ability to switch seamlessly from diesel to electric operation, eHighway trucks can perform everyday maneuvers, such as overtaking or changing lanes, just like conventional ones. Also swerving, nosing and full braking are all possible without difficulty.

Thanks to their ability to switch seamlessly from diesel to electric operation, eHighway trucks can perform everyday maneuvers, such as overtaking or changing lanes, just like conventional ones. Also swerving, nosing and full braking are all possible without difficulty.

I’m done with pouring billions into Kiwirail.

Even yesterday a transport company was moaning about how many more trucks would be needed in a rather poorly written article in Fairfax. The quoted number was 27,000 extra trucks which of course is complete rubbish.

Freight is already delivered to rail by trucks and removed from the other end by more trucks making the freight triple handled.

But there is a solution, one which won’t mean extra trucks on the roads, and one which makes sense.

  • Rip up the rail tracks;
  • Get rid of the rolling stock and staff but keep the overhead power lines;
  • Tar seal the rail corridor to form a two way dedicated road;
  • Charge trucks a toll to use them – because of the dedicated use, the trucks (and passenger versions) could be driverless or at least highly automated.

A hugely more flexible option that allows freight operators to bear the capital costs directly and takes the long-distance stuff off the current roads.  It uses proven technologies.

Fortune magazine has an article on just such a solution.  Read more »


KiwiRail loses less money than last year, and everyone is excited..why?


Oh yay, KiwiRail lost a little bit less than usual.

KiwiRail had a much better 12 months to June 30 than a year earlier, improving its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and asset impairments to $91 million, 17 percent ahead of the previous financial year, which was marred by several one-off costs.

The result was achieved on total revenues of $721 million, down 3 percent for the year, with freight revenues falling 7 percent to $434 million in an environment where coal deliveries by Solid Energy fell, offset somewhat by higher levels of dairy production.

The forestry, import/export and domestic freight categories together performed slightly ahead of last year.

For the year ahead, chief executive Peter Reidy told BusinessDesk the state-owned rail business expected volatile trading conditions, with Solid Energy recently placed into voluntary administration and a sharp downturn in dairy prices expected to lead a reduction in milk solids production.   Read more »