Minister of Transport Steven Joyce has just announced the new ownership and operating model for metro commuter rail services in Auckland and Wellington. In a nutshell:
- KiwiRail subsidiaries will own the rolling stock (that means neither ARTA or the Greater Wellington Regional Council will own rolling stock, as currently proposed);
- Train operators will lease the rolling stock and operate services. This differs from the status quo in that Veolia currently operates Auckland’s rail services under contract to ARTA, while Tranz Metro in Wellington is a wholly-owned subsidiary of KiwiRail.
The model looks a little bit like the current system in the United Kingdom, minus franchises. This model has had mixed success, while passenger numbers on rail transport is up in the UK, overall service quality has decreased (although some argue that the correlation is related – poorer service results from higher demand, due to underinvestment during Government ownership).
The full paper is available at the Ministry of Transport.
2 thoughts on “New Metro Rail Operating Plan Released”
Am I to understand that all those newly refurbished BR carraiges will become redundant? Is the purchase of all that new stock from Korea going to cover both the Auckland and Wellington systems? I had a vague idea that the refurbished BR stock was a prelude to electric locomotives to power them. If not it seems pretty wasteful. Or is Wellington getting the new Korean material, and all its old stuff rolling north to ensure the electrification is completed on budget?
All of the Korean stock will go to Wellington, as they new trains are DC (Direct Current, the same as the former Otira – Arthur’s Pass and Port – Christchurch sections) based while Auckland’s proposed system is AC (Alternating Current) the same as the NIMT electrification.
Not sure what KiwiRail will do with the existing BR stock in Wellington. It’s not that different from the current push/pull trains used in Auckland, so it wouldn’t be too hard to put into service – knowing the way we do things in NZ, it’ll probably be a lick of paint and away we go!