20 Jul 2015

Auckland trains go electric

10:52 am on 20 July 2015

Weekday rail commuters in Auckland are in a new era this morning with new electric trains replacing the last of the old diesel-hauled fleet.

One of Auckland's 57 new electric trains at Henderson Station

One of Auckland's 57 new electric trains at Henderson Station Photo: Supplied/Auckland Transport

Today marks the start of all-electric weekday services on Spanish-built electric trains, which have been progressively introduced across the lines.

The new trains complete a rail upgrade costing more than $1 billion, with new tracks, electrification of the network and new stations.

Rail patronage is growing by more than 20 percent annually and the bigger and faster electric trains are expected to encourage further growth.

Auckland Transport said it might take most of this year to eliminate settling in problems on the high tech trains.

Matt Lowrie, who edits the Transportblog website, said the advent of all-electric commuter trains in Auckland today was a big step towards other improvements.

"The next step, particularly for me, is more frequency on the Western line, we're currently running four trains an hour and the plan is to run up to six trains an hour - so every ten minutes.

"That'll be a big step for myself but for others it'll be more services off peak as well."

A handful of diesel units will still remain shuttling between Papakura and Pukekohe on the southern end of the network and the agency is in negotiations to sell older carriages overseas.

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