Would a commuter railcar service work in chch?

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Would a commuter railcar service work in chch?

Postby MacRiada » Wed Aug 14, 2013 8:16 am

Last week a press release from the University of Canterbury stated that would be another public lecture next month calling for light rail.
I want to find out if a cheap service could be set up using diesel railcars as alternative to this silly light rail idea that gets all the attention.

I'm mainly looking at Stadler GTW 2/6 which can be upgraded to the GTW 4/12 at a later date as needed. The GTW 2/6 can fit 108 seated and 92 standing, 12 bikes or 4 wheelchairs and has wifi. It has been built in metre gauge before, but the tourist version (Stadler SPATZ) comes standard in metre gauge.

Click to view full size
GTW 2/6

Click to view full size
2 X GTW 4/12


The GTW articulated railcars include more than 65% of the low-floor portions. The vehicle can be custom-built according to the customer's requisites. The length and width of the cars can be modified to meet the requirement of available clearance gauge.
All the systems and drive components are designed to be approachable from the outside for ensuring easy maintenance. The design also avoids the capital investment that is required in the workshop and minimises the maintenance and repair schedules

http://www.railway-technology.com/proje ... -railcars/

Capital MetroRail in Austin has set up a basic single track line reusing an existing freight line and short light rail-esque street run using its own right of way.
It has been a surprising success, particularly with the fact that it is a "bare-bones" system. I find the success surprising with how badly located the stations are and how clearly the area is highly car dependant (tilt slab paradise on the freeway but otherwise no shops in the towns)

Anyway, follow this link to see the line I imagine: http://bit.ly/18swk1i
The street running could be moved onto "the frame" if that is possible and the Hagley park part could later be cut and covered under a bikeway. Hornby, Sockburn, Addington and the Hospital Station all have frequent buses going past (M, C, O, 3 etc) .

Anyway, thoughts?
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Re: Would a commuter railcar service work in chch?

Postby eurokiwi78 » Wed Aug 14, 2013 11:28 am

Wheather commuter rail is or isnt viable at the moment, Now is the time to secure the corridors and right of ways. Anything less shows utter lack of foresight on the people designing the rebuild.

A network of cycleways or parks thru the rebuilt cbd (that could be turned into cutncover tunnels at a later date) would be a good start.
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Re: Would a commuter railcar service work in chch?

Postby mohnjadden » Wed Aug 14, 2013 1:22 pm

The new bus exchange really should be designed as a rail/bus interchange. I think it's terrible that things like this aren't even being considered, there aren't many chances you get at completely redesigning a city. Anything less than at least making it a possibility in future would be appalling.
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Re: Would a commuter railcar service work in chch?

Postby tuktuk » Wed Aug 14, 2013 4:29 pm

This kind of crystalises the discussion really.

Given that protection of rail corridors is unlikely to be led by central government at present, then the work needs to be done by Christchurch Council planners as a mission critical legacy project. Without corridors designated, nothing can happen in 5 or 50 years. Note also that the corridors need to be credible - like the historical Avondale - Southdown heavy rail designation, like the Northern Busway (convertibility to Light Rail), and unlike Te Irirangi Drive which always was pure greenwash.

With local body elections this year, one would think the opportunity was there to make the politicians aware of what needs to be done, really a planning exercise, rather than having to commit to spending many dollars.
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Re: Would a commuter railcar service work in chch?

Postby dave the rave » Wed Aug 14, 2013 8:02 pm

absolutely agree - with local elections looming lets make it an election issue. why aren't questions being asked in council NOW regarding rail plans for the city or is everyone going to just ignore it? I really don't get it - even dunedinites are more vocal about moves to get suburban rail up and running again...
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Re: Would a commuter railcar service work in chch?

Postby Daniel » Thu Aug 15, 2013 12:01 am

MacRiada wrote:Last week a press release from the University of Canterbury stated that would be another public lecture next month calling for light rail.
:roll: *groan* not again. It is embarrassing for me to come from a nation where one of the supposed top tertiary education institutions is getting involved in something that's not really their forte, let alone that the continue to not bother to properly inform themselves!
MacRiada wrote:I want to find out if a cheap service could be set up using diesel railcars as alternative to this silly light rail idea that gets all the attention.

I'm mainly looking at Stadler GTW 2/6 which can be upgraded to the GTW 4/12 at a later date as needed. The GTW 2/6 can fit 108 seated and 92 standing, 12 bikes or 4 wheelchairs and has wifi. It has been built in metre gauge before, but the tourist version (Stadler SPATZ) comes standard in metre gauge.

Click to view full size
GTW 2/6

Click to view full size
2 X GTW 4/12


The GTW articulated railcars include more than 65% of the low-floor portions. The vehicle can be custom-built according to the customer's requisites. The length and width of the cars can be modified to meet the requirement of available clearance gauge.
All the systems and drive components are designed to be approachable from the outside for ensuring easy maintenance. The design also avoids the capital investment that is required in the workshop and minimises the maintenance and repair schedules

http://www.railway-technology.com/proje ... -railcars/

Capital MetroRail in Austin has set up a basic single track line reusing an existing freight line and short light rail-esque street run using its own right of way.
It has been a surprising success, particularly with the fact that it is a "bare-bones" system. I find the success surprising with how badly located the stations are and how clearly the area is highly car dependant (tilt slab paradise on the freeway but otherwise no shops in the towns)

Anyway, follow this link to see the line I imagine: http://bit.ly/18swk1i
The street running could be moved onto "the frame" if that is possible and the Hagley park part could later be cut and covered under a bikeway. Hornby, Sockburn, Addington and the Hospital Station all have frequent buses going past (M, C, O, 3 etc) .

Anyway, thoughts?
Well a commuter service could be introduced with surplus ADL units and SA/SD push-pull commuter trains once Auckland's EMU's are all in service.
But what it really needs more than anything is a proper railway terminus within walking distance of most of the CBD. Its been discussed on here before and I'm sold on the location of the Bus interchange at the corner of Tuam and Colombo Street via a spur from the existing mainline. There could be the beginnings of three lines servicing out to Lyttleton, Kaiapoi and Rolleston and long distance services to Ashburton utilising the existing corridors. Originally I thought that ideally the spur would be a cut-and-cover tunnel under Colombo Street but since the Earthquakes I've resigned to accepting that it will have to be a surface spur, not that much of value would need demolishing. Then a light rail to replace the resultingly more popular bus routes could be introduced using the tourist tram route as its nucleus.

They don't need to give Stadler lots of money for a small batch of custom-built railcars. Although knowing the Cantabs they'd whinge at getting Auckland's DMU's and would expect something brand new...
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Re: Would a commuter railcar service work in chch?

Postby MacRiada » Thu Aug 15, 2013 1:19 am

eurokiwi78 wrote:Wheather commuter rail is or isnt viable at the moment, Now is the time to secure the corridors and right of ways. Anything less shows utter lack of foresight on the people designing the rebuild.


To be ripped up by the end of the year without public consultation:
Click to view full size

eurokiwi78 wrote:A network of cycleways or parks thru the rebuilt cbd (that could be turned into cutncover tunnels at a later date) would be a good start.


"The frame" is a bit like that only it will surround the new CBD and not go into it.
Click to view full size

Plus also:

The recently opened $600,000 Ilam Rd cycleway is a "guinea pig" project that will shape the rest of Christchurch's major cycleway projects, says one of its designers.

The cycleway would have a major bearing on future designs in the city, said University of Canterbury transportation engineering senior lecturer Dr Glen Koorey.

"This is a bit of a test case really," Koorey said. "The key is to come up with something that people will say ‘that actually looks pretty good, I might hop on my bike now'."

Cycling is set to be a major part of a rejuvenated post-quake Christchurch, with $70 million set aside by the council for big cycleway projects over the next five years.

The Ilam Rd project was completed last week after three months of construction and almost five years of planning.

The cycleway, which includes cycle lanes segregated by concrete kerbs on both sides of the road, runs past the University of Canterbury from Creyke Rd in the north to Kirkwood Ave in the south.


mohnjadden wrote:The new bus exchange really should be designed as a rail/bus interchange. I think it's terrible that things like this aren't even being considered, there aren't many chances you get at completely redesigning a city. Anything less than at least making it a possibility in future would be appalling.


Agreed. However I do have the railway station over the road from the bus station in my little plan, but if a cut and cover was done then I think it would clearly be better to have a joint station.

tuktuk wrote:With local body elections this year, one would think the opportunity was there to make the politicians aware of what needs to be done, really a planning exercise, rather than having to commit to spending many dollars.

dave the rave wrote:absolutely agree - with local elections looming lets make it an election issue. why aren't questions being asked in council NOW regarding rail plans for the city or is everyone going to just ignore it? I really don't get it - even dunedinites are more vocal about moves to get suburban rail up and running again...


I'm hoping that this could become a CBT campaign and that other allies could be railed to the cause (Generation Zero etc).
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Re: Would a commuter railcar service work in chch?

Postby MacRiada » Thu Aug 15, 2013 1:52 am

Daniel wrote: :roll: *groan* not again. It is embarrassing for me to come from a nation where one of the supposed top tertiary education institutions is getting involved in something that's not really their forte, let alone that the continue to not bother to properly inform themselves!


I'm embarrassed as a alumni. :oops:

Daniel wrote:Well a commuter service could be introduced with surplus ADL units and SA/SD push-pull commuter trains once Auckland's EMU's are all in service.

...

They don't need to give Stadler lots of money for a small batch of custom-built railcars. Although knowing the Cantabs they'd whinge at getting Auckland's DMU's and would expect something brand new...


At just under 6 million a pop they are pricy, but Austin has got 2900 individuals using their service a day and only have 6 of them.

But I fully understand that logically Aucklands old DMUs would be a much better deal.

Daniel wrote:But what it really needs more than anything is a proper railway terminus within walking distance of most of the CBD. Its been discussed on here before and I'm sold on the location of the Bus interchange at the corner of Tuam and Colombo Street via a spur from the existing mainline. There could be the beginnings of three lines servicing out to Lyttelton, Kaiapoi and Rolleston and long distance services to Ashburton utilising the existing corridors. Originally I thought that ideally the spur would be a cut-and-cover tunnel under Colombo Street but since the Earthquakes I've resigned to accepting that it will have to be a surface spur, not that much of value would need demolishing.


I think if it was a cut and cover through the frame which then had a bikeway built over it, that would still be safe even with earthquakes.

What point of connection to the mainline do you have in mind?

Daniel wrote:Then a light rail to replace the resultingly more popular bus routes could be introduced using the tourist tram route as its nucleus.

These will be on the market soon and will be pretty cheap.
Click to view full size


long distance services to Ashburton utilising the existing corridors

Oh somewhat off topic but:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YU2y4OuyyqA&t=23s
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Re: Would a commuter railcar service work in chch?

Postby MacRiada » Thu Aug 15, 2013 9:32 am

I've made a map for people who don't know the greater Christchurch area very well.

http://bit.ly/13ZYyRj

Red is rail
Blue is past/future rail
Green is tram
light blue is ferry
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Re: Would a commuter railcar service work in chch?

Postby tuktuk » Thu Aug 15, 2013 10:15 am

Nice map there. I think that there is good scope to extend further down the corridor of the old Little River branch.
In a sensible world, it would make darn good sense to give ADLs or SA/SDs a second life in Christchurch. Unfortunately, I just don't think that is politically possible at the moment. And to be fair, at this point in time the economics would be marginal.
Therefore the emphasis must go on to designating corridors with the right sort of geometry that would suit all types of rail technology in future.

This is something that can be done right now and without conflict with central government. It just needs champions within the Christchurch local body and council planning scene to get in behind making it happen. In particular, that pathway through the central city area needs to be secured with some sense of urgency. In terms of advocacy, I believe this must be driven by Cantabrians. If campaigning needs to be done I'm sure connections can be made with CBT, Generation Zero and some of the folk over at Auckland Transport Blog. But there needs to be a critical mass of committed Cantabs first......would the university be a good place to start for such a movement?

Coming back to Stadler versus ADLs, this sort of thing is very visual. Given that this is a campaign to secure future corridors, not start a train service tomorrow, then the good looking Stadler wins. Especially if it can provide some sort of tram/train function at street level through the city centre, as appears to be the case in Austin, USA. Given that it appears to work with "plug and play" motive power technology, it would appear that these vehicles will be early starters for hybrid power and some of the other new energy saving technology to be developed in future. Note these are trains, not trams, so should not have the structural compliance issues when operating on heavy rail track.
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Re: Would a commuter railcar service work in chch?

Postby mango » Thu Aug 15, 2013 11:05 am

While I like the Stadler GTW, It appears that they have an axle load of about 20 tonnes on the driven axles. This might be a problem in terms of needing upgraded track to operate. The GTW has been built in lots of differnt versions so perhaps it can be built with lower axle loads but it is a bit hard to work out from available sources. IMHO the GTW could make a great intercity DMU if it could be built with an axle load of 18 tonnes or less but from what I can see they are quite thirsty for their size.
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Re: Would a commuter railcar service work in chch?

Postby pete » Thu Aug 15, 2013 1:13 pm

Macrida, where was that picture of yours taken, with the caption 'ripped up without public consultation'? I don't recognize area
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Re: Would a commuter railcar service work in chch?

Postby locost_bryan » Thu Aug 15, 2013 1:34 pm

pete wrote:Macrida, where was that picture of yours taken, with the caption 'ripped up without public consultation'? I don't recognize area

Marshs Rd, Prebbleton. Will be removed for the Southern Motorway extension - see Little River Cycleway marked "O" on the NZTA map here.
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Re: Would a commuter railcar service work in chch?

Postby Daniel » Thu Aug 15, 2013 3:31 pm

MacRiada wrote:
Daniel wrote:But what it really needs more than anything is a proper railway terminus within walking distance of most of the CBD. Its been discussed on here before and I'm sold on the location of the Bus interchange at the corner of Tuam and Colombo Street via a spur from the existing mainline. There could be the beginnings of three lines servicing out to Lyttelton, Kaiapoi and Rolleston and long distance services to Ashburton utilising the existing corridors. Originally I thought that ideally the spur would be a cut-and-cover tunnel under Colombo Street but since the Earthquakes I've resigned to accepting that it will have to be a surface spur, not that much of value would need demolishing.


I think if it was a cut and cover through the frame which then had a bikeway built over it, that would still be safe even with earthquakes.

What point of connection to the mainline do you have in mind?
Well like I said:
"I'm sold on the location of the Bus interchange at the corner of Tuam and Colombo Street via a spur from the existing mainline"... ...''Originally I thought that ideally the spur would be a cut-and-cover tunnel under Colombo Street but since the Earthquakes I've resigned to accepting that it will have to be a surface spur, not that much of value would need demolishing".

So a spur more or less in parallel withand ~10m to the west of Colombo Street.
MacRiada wrote:I've made a map for people who don't know the greater Christchurch area very well.

http://bit.ly/13ZYyRj

Red is rail
Blue is past/future rail
Green is tram
light blue is ferry
I don't understand why your spur is westward from the CBD via Hagley park like that. It would be in close parallel proximity (by rail standards) to the existing corridor and for passengers from Lyttleton it would be highly undesirable.
tuktuk wrote:Coming back to Stadler versus ADLs, this sort of thing is very visual. Given that this is a campaign to secure future corridors, not start a train service tomorrow, then the good looking Stadler wins. Especially if it can provide some sort of tram/train function at street level through the city centre, as appears to be the case in Austin, USA. Given that it appears to work with "plug and play" motive power technology, it would appear that these vehicles will be early starters for hybrid power and some of the other new energy saving technology to be developed in future. Note these are trains, not trams, so should not have the structural compliance issues when operating on heavy rail track.
It's not really "tram/train operation". It's just good old train operation. It may not be commonly-seen in little old NZ but heavy rail lines have long used roads as routes even before trams were invented. Often the heavy rail is embedded into the road. It's no different to heavy rail embedded into the road it crosses as used in industrial heavy rail sidings in NZ. Of course in NZ the corridor would not be allowed to be shared wih cars.
The rail lines into Oakland, CA's man station at Jack London Square is a good example.
But I still maintain that buying new railcars especially for a from-scratch Christchurch service wouldn't be justified, at least unless it was as part of a wider large purchase for NZ rail. They might even be able to get 2nd hand Deisel railcars from a Japanese operator if the ADL's weren't available to refurbish.
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Re: Would a commuter railcar service work in chch?

Postby eurokiwi78 » Thu Aug 15, 2013 4:26 pm

The dead end spur would not work for lyttleton. The corridor needs to continue east and rejoin the rail line somewhere near the old moorhouse station.

I measure about 3km that should be set aside as a linear park or cycleway to futureproof for rail.
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Re: Would a commuter railcar service work in chch?

Postby MacRiada » Sat Aug 17, 2013 2:50 am

My lack of concern for possible Lyttelton commuters in my plans was not because a lack of consideration.

I don't normally agree with David Welch, but I do have a somewhat similar point of view on this matter.

KiwiRail See No Prospect of Lyttelton Commuter Rail link

I am no supporter of sloppy or wasteful use of public resources that also bring public transport into disrepute when the same systems if well planned can be so much more practically, socially and financially cost effective.

It seems to me too many people approach rail options full of fantasies and dreams rather than any sensible calculation of costs, even in the broadest way. Unfortunately few things are so dear to create and can leech public money so rapidly and continuously as a train service failing to attract adequate patronage levels.

I am hardly in a position to do a sophisticated study but below is a few guesstimates based on my knowledge of localities and typical rail costs etc. I was a local business association representative on Banks Peninsula Promotions, an unpaid BP District Council organisation, keen to attract business/tourists to Lyttelton back in the early 1990s, so these are not new issues for me.

Lyttelton has a resident population of about 3,500 (at most) and nowadays probably an influx of workers well below 500* in any work day, some of these on shift work outside normal hours or visiting (briefly) seamen. To this might be added 1,400 (many retired) living in Diamond Harbour, Purau etc and 2500 in Heathcote. To this might be added (generously?) 1000 tourists averaged a day(mostly day or evening cafe traffic trips by city residents) . Many of the tourist groups will of course already be traveling by car or tour bus, day tripping around, and cafe entertainment groups will typically also share a car, or be families going to Corsair Bay etc, too far for most from the rail line.

This gives a "top" user possible catchment base of 9,000 - - all added together still below the 10,000 suburban population enclave that, I believe, is normally considered the minimum necessary catchment to sustain a half hourly bus service in a New Zealand city.

http://buswatchnz.blogspot.co.nz/2012/0 ... elton.html

Of course he is forgetting about The Tannery which is over the road from the Woolston Station, but how many extra trips would that create?

Click to view full size

So a spur more or less in parallel withand ~10m to the west of Colombo Street.


Sorry, I meant to say how would you connect it to the mainline? At the back of the former harvey norman store?

I don't understand why your spur is westward from the CBD via Hagley park like that. It would be in close parallel proximity (by rail standards) to the existing corridor


It would be the only way to have a south and north service without fixing the addington junction problem.

matthew25187 wrote:There are two tracks under the "new" Blenheim Road overbridge and no (obvious) provision has been made for any future reinstatement of the "triangle" link track at Addington. To install a third "triangle" link would either require removing the Turner's Car Auctions yard at the end of Detroit Place and putting in a sharp curve between the current Addington station and the Addington car and wagon depot, or realigning Blenheim Road and redesigning the Deans Avenue/Blenheim Road/Moorhouse Avenue/Detriot Place intersection to allow the railway track to run roughly on its original alignment.
viewtopic.php?f=9&t=1835&p=50266#p50266
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Re: Would a commuter railcar service work in chch?

Postby MacRiada » Sat Aug 17, 2013 10:07 am

Anyone know anything about CAF's "REGIONAL TRAIN AM800":

Click to view full size

Plus are any of the other modern railcar models an alternative?

For instance:
Siemens Desiro
Alstom Coradia LINT
Bombardier Talent

If we could come up with a basic service with decent frequency at peak times (15-20mins), with a price tag that cantabrians wouldn't bork at, then we could get some traction.

I think if phase one would (for instance chch to Rolleston) come in at around 130 million (with christchurch ratepayers paying 100 and selwyn ratepayers paying 30), it would be well supported and easy to market.
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Re: Would a commuter railcar service work in chch?

Postby eurokiwi78 » Sat Aug 17, 2013 10:45 am

The issue with christchurch is we dont really know what the current population is until the census results are released yet we need to be thinking about the future population. Certainly if there is some indication a million people were going to live there in thirty years time for example no futureproofing for rail would be almost negligent.
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Re: Would a commuter railcar service work in chch?

Postby Daniel » Sat Aug 17, 2013 1:39 pm

MacRiada wrote:My lack of concern for possible Lyttelton commuters in my plans was not because a lack of consideration.

I don't normally agree with David Welch, but I do have a somewhat similar point of view on this matter.

KiwiRail See No Prospect of Lyttelton Commuter Rail link

I am no supporter of sloppy or wasteful use of public resources that also bring public transport into disrepute when the same systems if well planned can be so much more practically, socially and financially cost effective.

It seems to me too many people approach rail options full of fantasies and dreams rather than any sensible calculation of costs, even in the broadest way. Unfortunately few things are so dear to create and can leech public money so rapidly and continuously as a train service failing to attract adequate patronage levels.

I am hardly in a position to do a sophisticated study but below is a few guesstimates based on my knowledge of localities and typical rail costs etc. I was a local business association representative on Banks Peninsula Promotions, an unpaid BP District Council organisation, keen to attract business/tourists to Lyttelton back in the early 1990s, so these are not new issues for me.

Lyttelton has a resident population of about 3,500 (at most) and nowadays probably an influx of workers well below 500* in any work day, some of these on shift work outside normal hours or visiting (briefly) seamen. To this might be added 1,400 (many retired) living in Diamond Harbour, Purau etc and 2500 in Heathcote. To this might be added (generously?) 1000 tourists averaged a day(mostly day or evening cafe traffic trips by city residents) . Many of the tourist groups will of course already be traveling by car or tour bus, day tripping around, and cafe entertainment groups will typically also share a car, or be families going to Corsair Bay etc, too far for most from the rail line.

This gives a "top" user possible catchment base of 9,000 - - all added together still below the 10,000 suburban population enclave that, I believe, is normally considered the minimum necessary catchment to sustain a half hourly bus service in a New Zealand city.

http://buswatchnz.blogspot.co.nz/2012/0 ... elton.html

Of course he is forgetting about The Tannery which is over the road from the Woolston Station, but how many extra trips would that create?
Well the fact is that you've already got a railway line and station there. There wouldn't need to be much capital investment to get it operational for a commuter/suburban rail service terminus.
I understand that Lyttleton currently doesn't have a big population. But I've got as much of an eye for;
1) The en-route places of interest like the Polytech and the suburban areas Waltham, Woolston/Hillsborough and a station at Ferrymead with a bus connection to Sumner. The railway line's there and there's even still the convenient sites of the old stations, and with the reletively low cost of reintroducing the service they may as well run further to a terminus at Lyttleton for the slightly higher running costs.
2) Future urban development of Lyttleton and Ferrymead. A frequent rail connection to the Christchurch CBD and beyond would make those locations more desirable places to live. Ferrymead as a suburb and Lyttleton as a commuter satellite town.
MacRiada wrote:
So a spur more or less in parallel withand ~10m to the west of Colombo Street.


Sorry, I meant to say how would you connect it to the mainline? At the back of the former harvey norman store?
Well obviously they'd have to demolish the old building that the Harvey Norman outlet currently utilises. I appreciate its heritage merit but it's probably been structurally damaged by the Earthquakes anyway. Beyond that; there's only a crummy 80's mall and some other unattractive architecture to demolish en-route.
Alternatively they could always use the vacant lot/carpark opposite Harvey Norman and build the Spur to the east of Colombo Street instead.
MacRiada wrote:
I don't understand why your spur is westward from the CBD via Hagley park like that. It would be in close parallel proximity (by rail standards) to the existing corridor


It would be the only way to have a south and north service without fixing the addington junction problem.
matthew25187 wrote:There are two tracks under the "new" Blenheim Road overbridge and no (obvious) provision has been made for any future reinstatement of the "triangle" link track at Addington. To install a third "triangle" link would either require removing the Turner's Car Auctions yard at the end of Detroit Place and putting in a sharp curve between the current Addington station and the Addington car and wagon depot, or realigning Blenheim Road and redesigning the Deans Avenue/Blenheim Road/Moorhouse Avenue/Detriot Place intersection to allow the railway track to run roughly on its original alignment.
viewtopic.php?f=9&t=1835&p=50266#p50266
Well fixing the "Addington problem" would be a lot cheaper and less disruptive than running a line through Hagley park let alone building a cut-and-cover tunnel.
MacRiada wrote:Anyone know anything about CAF's "REGIONAL TRAIN AM800":

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Plus are any of the other modern railcar models an alternative?

For instance:
Siemens Desiro
Alstom Coradia LINT
Bombardier Talent

If we could come up with a basic service with decent frequency at peak times (15-20mins), with a price tag that cantabrians wouldn't bork at, then we could get some traction.

I think if phase one would (for instance chch to Rolleston) come in at around 130 million (with christchurch ratepayers paying 100 and selwyn ratepayers paying 30), it would be well supported and easy to market.
There are many modular models of diesel railcars offered by the manufacturers of rolling stock across the world. But if Christchurch were going to acquire new rolling stock it would be by via tender process where they express a desire for new units according to specifications and the interested manufacturers respond with offers.

But without meaning to be rude, I think like most Cantab's I've seen express an interest in reintroducing rail; you're unrealistically expecting something very flash off the bat. Perhaps it's deep-down all pipe-dream idealistic stuff without any expectation of it ever actually happening.
The best approach would be to begin with something modest and allow patronage to slowly grow. Initially the patronage wouldn't be impressive but slowly over a 5-10 year period it would grow as it became part of people's consciences, and as people build their lifestyles around it. So yes initially a Lyttleton terminus would be the line of secondary importance to the main lines to Kaiapoi and Rolleston, wouldn't attract a great deal of patronage and would only justify peak services and probably hour-frequency services at other times. But after a decade it should be a very different story. Over the years as patronage across the Christchurch network grows the powers that be could look at increasing service frequencies and integrating more bus services around it. After 15-20 years they should be in a position to justify buying new rolling stock, and there's a good chance it may even justify electrification and EMU's. From there they could look at relaying the Prebbleton Branch and this time extending to Lincoln and possibly building new branches to the Airport via the NW suburbs. It would be justified by the patronage levels. The big initial investment would be with a terminus convenient to the Christchurch CBD, because that is what has been missing from fulfilling the potential of Christchurch rail for the last 150 years.

Christchurch rail needs not be some fanciful pie-in-the-sky; it could happen with some visionary and realistic political leadership. And it could've been a silver lining to the earthquake. But sadly; Cantab' ignorance and narrow-mindedness is looking like denying them of this golden opportunity
"I don't like it when posters here seem to be impugning the professionalism or even the good faith of PT planners and staff, and I wish that wasn't allowed on this forum" - Doloras.
Daniel
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Re: Would a commuter railcar service work in chch?

Postby john-ston » Sat Aug 17, 2013 2:14 pm

The question I have is how easy would it be to turn the SAs into DMUs? You have 23 SD carriages, so that would enable 11 units (two SD cars for each unit with a spare), and then you could use 22 SA carriages for your intermediate trailer cars. Peak hour supplementary services could be run by DC hauled SA sets, with an AG van (granted, this would require a turntable or turning wye at each terminus).
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