Thursday, March 23, 2006

Yes please!

This report says Plans are in the pipeline for a commuter rail link between Auckland and Hamilton. The Hamilton City Council and Waikato's regional council are funding a $25,000 feasibility study on such a service. It is envisaged the train would stop at up to five Waikato stations on its journey from Hamilton to Papakura, where it would link with other city bound trains.
A similar service failed five years ago but the Council says this one would be different, as it would be directly related to user demand. A study on the project has been initiated and will be put to Land Transport New Zealand as part of an application for funding.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Time for some public protest

The Herald's excellent commentator Brian Rudman wrote a disturbing piece about how past plans and promises about the rail have simply not been kept giving us little hope anything will ever change.

Take the appalling state of the Newmarket platform (above) and the bizarre way the train has to backout of the station, the dis-used Onehunga line that is just waiting to be activated the state of platforms everywhere and the fact that the growing number of passengers mean most of us now spend our travelling life having to stand in cramped smelly hot carriages.

Local and government politicians that promised much about the rail and seem now to be going to deliver nothing need to be warned: we will dump them all next election. Maybe it's time for a petition.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Hear My Train A Comin'

Good to read in this morning's Los Angeles Times that after years of retrenchment, railroads across North America are reporting record profits and rolling forward with massive expansion projects of the kind that haven't been seen in decades.

The growth has been fueled by a flood of cargo containers filled with Asian products, which ended the coal industry's 102-year streak as rail's biggest revenue generator in 2003 and has surged further ahead since then. Railroads are gaining ground on the rival trucking industry, which has been suffering from sharply higher diesel costs and a shortage of long-haul drivers. But companies that move their goods by train are complaining about increasing rates and delays.

The long wait home...

Due to a technical fault the 8.08pm train service from Waitakere has been replaced with taxis for connecting Britomart train service at Henderson.
Due to a technical fault the 7.47 train service from Britomart has been delayed by approcx 10 minutes.
Then there are the signs on board. Tonight as we headed out of Brit for Waitakere the sign said we were approaching Glen Eden. There was some panic on board assuming we were on the wrong train!

Auckland's best kept secret

This is a wonderful free outdoor exhibition -and the outdoor space at the back of the Brit is so nice and relaxing. I hang out there when I arrive too early for a train. No-one I speak to has ever heard of this place. Is it Auckland's best kept secret?

No busking, no fun!!!

So it is OK for some clown to scare tourists with a very bad Richard Clayderman impersonation outside the ferry buildings in the morning but no busking is allowed at the Brit.
Look it is so-o-o-o boring waiting for a train. Platforms in other countries add some colour by allowing busking. Why not the Brit?

Waterwater everywhere

The water leaks continue in the Brit concourse and the word on the street is they still have no idea what is causing them.
Were the same engineers /firm responsible for the Aotea Centre carpark leaky building crisis?

If so this is a major public scandal.

Someone should be asking questions.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Angry people going nowhere

I always envy the Sydney rail service but everytime I check in on the Sydney Herald, there are screaming headlines saying how bad the train service is -and they say it never gets better despite offical promises and government "concern."
Today under the headline Angry people going nowhere
the paper reports:

SIX months after it introduced a new timetable to fix massive delays on the rail network, CityRail is still battling to run trains on time, new figures show.

More than half of the weekday peak hour trains were late in November, December and February, despite cuts to services and an increase in travel times.

The revelation came on a disastrous day for Sydney commuters. The aim of the timetable was to have 92 per cent of trains arriving at their destination within five minutes of the scheduled time. To do this CityRail cut services to improve efficiency, slowed travel times and extended the definition of "on time running" by more than a minute. Afternoon peak hour is the worst, with one in 10 trains late this month. On the Illawarra line - which does not have a new timetable yet - only 53.9 per cent of afternoon peak hour trains arrived on time last week. Over the entire week, just 82.3 per cent of peak hour trains were on time. (The Tansport Minister spin doctor says): CityRail's new timetables are not a cure-all for reliability because they do not prevent incidents impacting on train services - from police operations to signal failures, electrical storms to sick passengers."

Hmm... glad I live in Auckland!

The trains were packed tonight but it would have been helpful for the guard to tell people when they arrived at Eden park (for the cricket). Perople had no idea in the standing room only train what was going on.

On the iPod: Organic Audio Presents Hi-Life: An Uplifting Selection Of Afro-House Grooves

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

The best train trip in Auckland

Watercare run this cute train through the Waitakeres to get to the dam.

What will tourists think?

For a week or so, high tech looking electronic info booths have been around Brit. High tech? Yeah right. Someone has written on the screen ..coming soon all you need to find your way in Auckland. Posted by Picasa

The whale of a train

I didn't know this. And what has it to do with trains? These are planted on Morningside platform. Posted by Picasa

Train fares rise

Train fares went up this week.

No surprise and the fares are still reasonable.

The good news is that Auckland trains are busy - there has been a 30 percent increase in usage in the six months to the end of December.

I caught a train around 8 Saturday night and there were lots of patrons.

More trains are on time - but there are still problems. That Saturday train was about 10 minutes late and a few other trains I have caught recently have also been late. The 6.04pm from the Brit last night was cancelled.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Melbourne has big train problems!

The Melbourne Age has an interesting front page story today about the problems in that city.

OVERCROWDING on Melbourne's trains has worsened dramatically, resulting in contraventions of load limits and raising questions about how the State Government can achieve its goal of increasing public transport use. High petrol prices and population growth along rail corridors have led to booming train patronage in the past year — and regular breaches of passenger limits on major suburban lines, Government figures have confirmed.
Public transport advocates have accused the Government of having no immediate plan to alleviate the crisis, and have called for urgent action to expand the suburban fleet.
According to the franchise agreement under which Connex runs the system, a six-carriage train should carry a maximum of 798 passengers. Department of Infrastructure figures reveal that between 7.30 and 8.30am, average passenger loads on most train lines are near or above that limit — indicating that some services during that period are exceeding the load standard. On four lines — Broadmeadows, Dandenong, Pakenham and Sydenham, the average number of passengers per train during the peak hour is above the limit. On the Sydenham line it is 950.
The news comes as city commuters are being hit for the first time by increased parking fees, the result of a new tax designed to encourage a shift towards public transport. The cost of all-day car parking in the city rose yesterday by as much as $4, while rises of about $2 were seen across the city.
The breached train load standards are evidence of what many commuters have long suspected: that carriages are becoming more crowded. They also raise questions about whether the train system is ready to cope with a new influx of passengers if the parking tax succeeds in prising commuters from their cars.
The Government says the car park tax could cut congestion by 10 per cent and that this would remove 5000 cars from the road. Louise Perry, a spokeswoman for Transport Minister Peter Batchelor, said she was confident that the train network — which carries 150,000 commuters each morning peak — could absorb such an influx.
"In the longer term, however, the increasing trend towards public transport will require substantial investment in rail infrastructure, and this Government is determined to meet the challenge," she said.
Public Transport Users Association president Daniel Bowen said extra services were already badly needed to reduce peak-hour overcrowding.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Holiday nightmare

Took a train up to Henderson today to get something from the Warehouse there. I had forgotten what a flipping nightmare the trains were!
The train was late because of a breakdown in the Brit tunnel.
Then the train bellowed in smoke near Henderson so passengers had to alight and the train be abandoned.
Then finally after much confusion and numerous conflicting stories among the guards, taxis were called for those heading west.
The rest of us hung about for nearly an hour.
Eventually it was decided to hitch the dead train and take it back to the Brit.
Except a train heading west had broken down so there were more delays.
The adults on board who were trying out the train were bewildered.
"Is it always like this," they asked?
What can you say!
4.47 Due to technical problems the 3.15 from Britomart has been replaced with taxis from Henderson.
4.54 The 5.08pm service from Waitakere has been cancelled due to an earlier technical fault. Next servuce from Waitakere at 5.38
5.03 Due to an earlier technical fault the train services on the western line in both directions are running late by 30 mins
5.13 Due to technical problems the 5.15 western line servie from Britomart has been cancelled. The 5.45 will replace the 5.15 service.
5.43 Due to an earlier technical problem the 6.08 from Waitakre (sic) has been cancelled. 7.08 service to replace this service.
6.00 The 5.45 service to Waitakere from Britomart has been delayed by approx 20 mins.

Ahh, yes, the txt messages. How I have missed them.