Sunday, July 31, 2005

Government to speed up double tracking?

The Herald on Sunday reports here that

Transport Minister Pete Hodgson said last night that the Western Ring Route and the double-tracking of parts of Auckland's commuter rail system would be advanced. That's great news but rather short on detail. When? How quickly.
Meanwhile in the same article Auckland's Mayor Hubbard has emerged from the shadows to call for public funding to

electrify the commuter rail network, costing about $200m.

Yes please! Thanks Mayor. Keep the talking going and make it turn into action.
This election period is our only chance to get something happening.

I've ordered this clear backpack so that no-one will worry I'm carrying a bomb. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Can we order some please?

High-speed trains made locally will begin service in South Korea in 2008. Bullet trains can travel at a maximum speed of 300 kilometers per hour.


A German man's severed finger travelled 60 kilometers by rail after its owner trapped his hand in the door trying to board a train at the last minute. Passengers traveling from Freiburg to Cologne noticed the finger lying on the carriage floor and alerted police.
Officers collected it at the next station.
Doctors said they were confident they could reattach the finger to its 34-year-old owner after it was rushed back to Freiburg in an ambulance.
Read here what would have happened if this has been on a UK train.

The taggers have already attacked the undercoat at Morningside before they could paint the final colour Posted by Picasa

Fast Train Comin Posted by Picasa

Fast train comin!

The Dominion reports Nine runaway freight-train wagons hurtled through 12 rail crossings and ploughed into a ute in rural Wairarapa, leaving the driver in a critical condition. Three investigations have begun into the incident, in which the linked wagons, weighing 190 tonnes, slammed into the vehicle of Dominion Post delivery contractor Steve Geange, 56, at an uncontrolled intersection at the southern end of Carterton yesterday. The wagons had rolled 16 kilometres and through the 12, mainly controlled, crossings before the collision at Hodders Rd at 5.30am. Police, the Transport Accident Investigation Commission and rail operator Toll New Zealand are investigating. How the wagons started rolling is at the heart of the inquiries.

Friday, July 29, 2005

This week has seen a ray of light for the rail service. Posted by Picasa

Onehunga to get rail?

The Central Leader reports the disused Onehunga branch rail line could be back on track, providing a 25-minute journey from Manukau Harbour to the inner city. Auckland City Council transport committee chairman Richard Simpson says his committee will make a recommendation later this year to coincide with the release of a regional public transport strategy. The link, which runs from Onehunga to Britomart via Penrose and Newmarket, was popular with commuters in the early 1900s but closed to passengers in 1973. Over recent years, a campaign to bring it back has been gathering steam. Auckland-based lobby group Campaign for Better Transport convener Cameron Pitches says it took just 22 minutes to travel by train from Onehunga to the inner city in the 1970s. A final decision on whether to reopen the route lies with the Auckland Regional Transport Authority, which controls rail network fundi
Sign the PETITION here!

Other suburban stories:
Work to upgrade Meadowbank train station has yet to start - causing the project to be delayed by another month.A public notice in the East & Bays Courier on June 3 said work on the station would be completed by the end of September. The announcement came after rail users complained they had not been kept informed by the Auckland Regional Transport Network, who hoped to complete the station by May. The work has been further delayed because an Auckland City Council backlog means building consent has not been granted. Read more here.

A Kingsland fashion design business is claiming $20,000 in compensation for losses incurred during prolonged building of a new railway station. Sera Mitchinson and Stephen Wilson, who opened the Selector clothing store next to the Kingsland station in March last year, are seeking the money from the Auckland Regional Transport Authority. They say business was initially good, but customers were turned off when builders moved on to the station site last December.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Connex explain changes

This email in from Connex's general manager Chris White clarifying the timetable changes. Thanks Chris. Great to see an important person taking the time to explain things to us humble train users. Appreciate it.

Trains will be held at Henderson in the counter-peak direction. This is to allow two services to travel down the single track in the peak direction. To clarify this, in the AM peak, a service travelling to Waitakere will be held at Henderson to allow two services to travel into the city. In the PM peak, a service travelling to the City will be held at Henderson to allow two services to travel to Waitakere .

This allows us to address the issues with running time without compromising the number of services to and from the city during the peaks. Initially one service will be held to allow two trains to travel along the single track in the peak direction. The train being held will be a counter peak service ie. opposite the main flow of people. This is important to note as it will shape people’s opinion over the level of inconvenience associated with the change to the services.

In addition, we will have 14 SA trains by mid next year.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Waitakere Councillor: "Auckland's trains are not even a Lego train set!" Posted by Picasa

Connex chief addresses Waitakere City Council

There is no quick fix to relieving the growing frustrations of Western Line train users because of the need for upgrades and improvements to Auckland’s rundown rail service. That’s the grim but realistic message Connex general manager Chris White gave to a meeting of the Waitakere City Council tonight. And he warned there may be even more short term pain while timetables are adjusted to be more realistic and further delays are caused by the next stage of double tracking.

Waitakere mayor Bob Harvey ,who had had invited him to answer consumer angst, told the meeting that his city believed in rail especially with the growing petrol price but he could understand people getting “thoroughly cheesed off” turning up at the train platform and the train not arriving or being late.

Councillors, who echoed those sentiments, called the trains “Thomas the half-tank engine” and “not even a Lego train” while Mr Harvey brought laughter when he wondered aloud if the trains had been bought on auction site Trade Me.

Mr White gave consumers these answers to the two key issues troubling them:
1. Why are system faults causing the trains to run late?
“Auckland’s rail network has suffered from under investment for many years. The infrastructure (signals, track, rolling stock) is old and needs upgrading and replacement. This is being addressed in the short term through
- ongoing track duplication
- procurement of an interim train fleet
- improved maintenance
In the long term procurement of a new train fleet and a core infrastructure are needed.”

2. Who do trains run late when there are no system faults?
“ In some ways, we are the victim of our own success because of the various reasons:
- the growth of passenger numbers
- the changing balance of vehicles in the fleet
- speed restrictions
- timetable running times
- significant increases in services while the network remains unchanged.
“There are more trains on the way: eight SAs around September and 14 by mid-year. These will be more reliable. Late running is amplified by the single track sections between Avondale and Henderson, Henderson and Waitakere and also because of the configuration of Newmarket that causes issues.”

In developing an overall long-term solution, Mr White said Connex and the ARTA were developing plans, the implementation of which depended on their more additional SA trains and more train drivers.

Timetable to be changed
In the short term there would be a revised timetable to reflect an achievable journey time. The changes would see peak trains providing trains every 35 minutes from Waitakere plus an express service and peak trains every 15 minutes from New Lynn. Because of the problems of multiple peak direction services passing on the single track section of the Western Line, some morning peak hour services would be held stopped at Henderson station for around eight minutes. Eight services from Waitakere would arrive at Britomart between 7am and 9am including one express.
“The revised timetable will help ontime performance with carrying capacity from the West increased but speed restrictions from further future track duplication will have an impact.
“The solution remains dependent on the ongoing acquisition of more fleet and drivers. Changes to the timetable will not remove delays caused by system failures.”

Mayor’s reaction

Mayor Harvey told Mr White that while it was not all good news, it was important to know the situation and for the council to have a dialogue with the train operator. Asked about a comment that trains seem to run better in India, Mr White said this was because “in India, they have a realistic view of the implication of the equipment and can match timetables with that.”
Lack of information questioned
Councillor Penny Hulse, who said her son regularly tried to catch the train so gave her a running account of the problems, asked why there was no simple explanation given to train users when things went wrong. “Surely this is a simple customer service approach?”
Mr White: “We provide text messages and that touches people. There is a project to put displays on stations for those without mobile phones and this involves fibre optics. My staff are also have mobile phones so can pass on the situation.
“But the trains are controlled from Wellington and until two weeks ago, we had no idea where the trains were. We now get a download of that information from Wellington so we can interpret where the trains are. Otherwise we would not know other than by talking to the train driver by radio.”
We’re paying the price for a rundown service
Another councillor said it was a fact that people were still trying to use the train system even though it was “rattly, loud and late” so this proved a train system for Auckland was wanted. One councillor urged pressure to be put on the ARTA and Government funding agencies to put capital investment in the rail system which she described as a classic example of a market experiment going wrong. She called it an was a 1950s train system now being put back together and “not even a Lego train system at the moment.”
The Mayor thanked Mr White for attending, adding that it was not meant to be a witch-hunt but an information briefing. His city believed in rail and always had, “and that’s why we’re hanging in there.”
Good on you Bob!
Well done to Mayor Harvey and the council for giving us the opportunity to hear first hand of the situation and one can sympathise with Connex for the enormous problems they face. As one councillor pointed out, they are the operator and there are bigger players who need to be investing in the infrastructure and building a Perth-type service.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Connex faces the critics

Connex's chief has been called to explain the sad story of the Western Line services before a Waitakere city council meeting Wednesday night.
SlowTrainComin' will be there and reporting in full after the meeting.

Perth a model?

Interesting letter in today's Herald by W.McKenzie of Morningside.
Perth has many similarities t to Auckland; a one million plus population, beaches, outdoor lifestyle, low-destiny housing, a suburban railway system with three of four lines, about 100km of motorways and a population passionately in love with the car.
A difference is that in the early 1990s, Perth sold its diesel suburban railcars (to Auckland) , electrified its rail lines, upgraded all its stations and bought dozens of new trains, which resulted in patronage increasing from six million in 1991 to 30 million last year.
Perth has 57 train stations, Auckland 39 which would increase to 43 if the Onehunga line were brought into use.
Apart from the North Shore and Howick-Pakuranga, our existing rail network provides excellent coverage of Auckland's elongated shape, as good as rail coverage in the broad exposure Perth enjoys.
If Auckland's existing rail line and rolling stock were upgraded to Perth's standard, our ridership would quickly rise to about 20 million a year, which would be of tremdnsous benefit to the region.

Good one Mr McKenzie. This is election year. It's time to ask our potential MPs.
Perth's train system maps are here.

Please buy the train driver a compass!

The other day I asked train control how many directions trains on the Western Line went.

Two they said.
I argued.
Take a look at today's typical txt messages:
8.13am Due to a technical fault train services in both directions on the Western Lineare delayed by approx 23 mins. Services departing on time from Britomart.
5.01pm Due to a mechanical fault train services in both directions on the Western Line are delayed by approx 12 mins. Services departing Britomart on time.

In my simple world, trains go to Waitakere from the Brit and to the Brit from Waitakere. I make that two directions. But if services are also leaving the Brit to Waitakere on time that means there must be three directions.

What is the third? Derailment?

What direction is this train travelling? Answer: one of three! Posted by Picasa

Monday, July 25, 2005

I love the concourse under the Downtown shopping centre to The Brit. You can dream you are in somewhere exotic where the trains run on time like Paris.  Posted by Picasa

This blog is HOT this month! Posted by Picasa

Do I really look like a suicide bomber? Posted by Picasa

Warning: Am I really a suicide bomber?

The Herald today carried a description that sounded like me on the train platform.

It wrote of :
A young man, sweating profusely (I wish they would solve the temperature controls on the train: either its like being in a furnace or being in Antarctica)....

looking around furtively (since reading overseas media reports, I'm scared someone will snatch my Ipod and so I always keep an eye out)

carrying a rucksack (I call it a backpack -see picture above)

or wearing bulky clothing (sometimes you never know how Auckland's weather will turn out).

He may lick his lips (I'm starving by the time I wait for that 5.45pm train home and can't wait for dinner. I started grabbing a muesli bar at the convenience store as I rushed to the platform but not now as I am too afraid I will miss the train)

He may appear nervous (not so much nervous as apprehensive as to whether the train will ever come especially after getting vague txt messages suggesting otherwise)

If he is carrying a bag, he may be checking it
(true, making that decision: shall I take out the Listener and continue reading Jane Clifton's column or will the train actually turn up the moment I do it?)

He may also wear a baseball cap or other headwear that would obscure his face from closed-circuit TV (baseball cap? How unusual -see photo)

This article, sourced from the UK Daily Telegraph, tells you how to identify a suicide bomber on a train or train platform.

I laughed and laughed when I read this description but as it is so close to home, I may have to start wearing T shirt and shorts, sport a silly happy grin and leave the bag at home.

Otherwise, in today's climate, some over-zealous British cop may shoot me. Please don't!

Thanks Metro!

Thanks Metro!

Metro this month has this blog as being what's hot this month. "Hilarious" it says.

Thanks Metro. That's a nice buzz.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Failed Britomart shops: even the lettuces have gone. Posted by Picasa

The sad state of Britomart

For months there was just a pile of fresh lettuces left outside the locked crepes shop inside the Britomart station each morning.

Even when the pancake place did open, there never ever seemed to be customers.

What a missed opportunity the shopping floor has become. A great example of greedy landlords not being customer-centric.

What do people dashing into a railway station want? A coffee, a magazine, something from a chemist? In other words quick convenience stores.

Where is the Whitcoulls, the Life Pharmacy, the dreaded McDonalds?

The coffee store opposite the crepes store is great but people disembarking from the trains take the escalators and leave to the left - not to the far right where the coffee shop is. No doubt the coffee place is doing better now that it has expanded to having a bar on the actual railway platform as well.

No-one has time to order a pancake or sushi before heading out the main doors of Britomart for their day job or other destination. It has to be food and drink on the run or a real quick fast food fix. Especially when the chances are you are already late because the trains were late.

The pancake shop is now closed. It is just inside one of the main Queen St doors. It gives the impression of a sad closed unused failed shopping area.

It doesn't have to be like this.

When on a St Patrick's Day Friday, live buskers entertained on the floor, even the coffee shop people were smiling saying business was up and people were loving it.

Let's put some life back into the place - not just once a year - and make the shops useful for train users.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Reving it up!

The Auckland employers stir on Auckland transport has gone online
and it's great to see it isn't all about cars. Check it out. The campaign is headed by the Employers & Manufacturers Association (Northern).

The section on public transport says:
Britomart has certainly made an impact on train travel: during March 2005, 391,000 passenger journeys took place across the Auckland rail network - the highest ever recorded. Buses remain the staple public transport mode in Auckland, carrying 82 per cent of all public transport trips in 2004.

Despite the improvements, Auckland’s public transport system still has a long way to go. REVUP believes the priorities for public transport in Auckland must be:

* Integrating bus only lanes in all new motorways
* Double-tracking the western railway line and completing the Manukau rail link
* Improving the passenger train rolling stock and station facilities to provide 15 minute frequency on an electrified heavy rail network
* Enhancing walking and cycling facilities

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

I missed it! Posted by Picasa

Sweet revenge!

Serves me right! I have so long been complaining about the trains being late, this morning is was 1 minute early and I could only watch it sail by as I ran for it. A pity though trains can not stop at the station until the correct time as per the timetable. Posted by Picasa

Campbell Live plugs the train

Good to see TV3's lively Campbell Live show tonight give the trains a plug.

A Vodafone employee tried out the bus, train and cycling from Mt Albert instead of driving to the mobile phone company's new HQ in Fanshawe St.

The train took him 50 minutes (bus 1hr 30 but was held up) but he enjoyed cycling the most.

Let's hope it gives other Aucklanders a taste of the alternatives.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Mugged outside Britomart

The poor guy who got on the 5.45pm tonight had just been mugged in the lane outside Britomart as he was dashing to the station.
Three guys demanded money. He said he had none. One held him down while the others kicked him. His knee was so bad he could hardly walk and thought he had some internal injuries or brusing.

Sadly, hardly a surprise.

While it's good to have security people inside the station, has anyone ever seen a police person in the lower Queen St / Britomart area during the day?

But most of us have seen the low life wandering around and been asked for money (which one obviously has going into Britomart on your way home).

With the city council so keen to develop that part of Queen St into an attractive area, what have they to say about the fact some poor guy can't even go to the train at 5.30 at night without ending up being taken to A & E (which his friend was going to do when they got off at New Lynn)?

And what does the minister of police have to say?

Oh, sorry, I forgot it was that clown Hawkins.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Here's that new-look graffiti-free wall at Morningside that people have to stare at for ages. What stupid official decided that Guantanamo prison colour was fashionable? Or did someone -pardon the French - poop on it? If they're going to eventually paint it green as the final colour, let's hope it's an interesting green. Posted by Picasa

Thankx 2 that txt message service, I'm in for a long wait til the next one... and I'm not happy! Posted by Picasa

Connex: "Oh yeah, it is stuffed!"

At last I was able to prove to Connex tonight that their text messaging service that alerts passengers to delays is often misleading -or, even worse, plain wrong.

When I got this text message at 5.09pm..(The actual) message was timed 16:56)
Due to a technical fault, train services in both directions on the Western line are delayed by approx. 15 minutes.
...I stopped running briskly for the 5.23pm trip to New Lynn from Britomart.
Then to my horror, with my feet on the top of the escalator down to the platform, I saw the 5.23 disappearing on its way West. This at 5.24pm.

The train had left on time.

Furious, I stormed in the direction of the control room.

I asked the guy if trains on the Western Line were running on time.
He look at his sheet: "Yes they are."
In both directions: "Yes."
I told him rather loudly that the 16:56 txt message said trains were delayed, hence I was delayed. And that this happens all the time.
So did the ARC sent out these messages or Connex or Maxx or an idiot?
"We do."
Connex? "Yes."
Who writes them:
"I do."
OK, well your latest messages says the trains in both directions are running late.
"Yes but you didn't read it right. You need to scroll down to the end of the message where it says "Trains leaving Britomart ontime."
I told him he was wrong and we argued for a while until I found the message on the phone.
I asked him what was then meant by the words both directions because in my mind -unless a train is derailed or (heaven forbid) blown up by a 16 year old Luton kid - both directions meant trains go to Britomart and leave Britomart. At least the ones I have used for the last year went only in those two directions. So what other directions was the message meaning?
By this time, I had found the message.I read it to him, then showed it to him and asked him to read it aloud.
"Oh, we'll I didn't write that one."
Ahh, a hacked message perhaps?
So where do you get the information about trains running late? "Train control tell us."
I said regular passengers like me are fed up of misleading messages, incorrect messages, hard to understand messages and messages arriving late adding to the confusion (the latter problem I acknowledged was the telcos sending out messages not Connex).
He said there was some awareness in Connex the txt service was not running well and they were examinging how to make it better including making it cleaer and faster.
He suggested I raise my concerns directly with Connex head office to speed up the process and make them aware of the wide passenger frustration I mentioned.

I told him I would call him as a witness that incorrect messages are going out -and he agreed.

So progress of sorts.

I should say this man was very polite and trying to be helpful and seemed genuinely shocked to find what he thought had gone out was a different message in reality.

I actually apologised to the poor guy who is only trying to do his job and said my anger was not directed at him. On the whole I have found Connex staff like him most polite.
We all need to ring Connex head office and tell them if they're going to run a txt message, they urgently need to start getting it right.

Or I will sue them for missing my train!

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Thanks Telecom

Telecom today announced the addition of new Telecom wireless hotspots, including Queenstown airport, Auckland’s Britomart transport centre and Downtown Ferry Building
Thanks Telecom. That will give us something to do while we wait...

Get the txt messaging sorted

The ARC service that sends you txt messages when the train is late or cancelled reached a new abusdity tonight.
At the Brit, scores of people were waiting anxiously for the 5.15pm Western line train.

At 5.09 many of our mobiles beeped with a message that said because of a mechanical fault trains in both directions were 20 minutes late.

Ay 5.10 the announcer at the Brit said the train would leave at 5.15.

None of us knew whether to believe him or the txt message and so go for a walk.

The train arrived at the platform at 5.15pm and left a minute later.

This txt messaging service is proving more of a pain than a help.

Can't someone get it right?

Maybe someone should start making our boring old recycled-from-train-museum trains a bit like the New York trains during the early hip hop era. Check out Posted by Picasa

Who decided this art needed to go? Posted by Picasa

Blink. The colourful graffiti at Morningside has been blanked over with a dreary Stalinesque brown. Posted by Picasa

Thanks Blogger

I flicked into my blog tonight to find the template had been mysteriously messed with and the site was blank.
I'm slowing piecing it back together.

Every train passengers nightmare

KARACHI - About 120 people were killed in Pakistan when three passenger trains were involved in a crash, police said.
19 carriages derailed when a train hit another train. A third train also hit the derailed carriages.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Can't the vandals at least leave the important signs alone? Posted by Picasa

A hopeful sign?

The word on the platforms is that generally the rugby trains on Saturday worked well.

Mind you , they didn't have to cope with the usual rush hour as well which contibuted to the major problems with the mid-week game.

But credit where it is due. If this is a sign things may be improving, this is good.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

This is so symbolic of the London underground (now copied on Auckland platforms as above) Posted by Picasa

New York's take on those mysterious packages

More debate about whether you would take any notice of those discarded packages on a train - and more about the problem of making trains secure.
This in today's New York Times on the New York subway situation:
Yesterday, the city's Police Department announced it would continue to have at least one officer on every subway train during the commuter rush, which began after the London bombings, until next Friday.
And in December 2002, the authority unveiled a public awareness campaign featuring a slogan: "If you see something, say something." The message seems to be working. On Thursday, the police recorded 28 calls about suspicious packages in the transit system, according to Paul J. Browne, a police spokesman.
Far less, though, has been done in purchasing and installing equipment to protect the system from attack. Part of the problem is the open nature of transit systems, which by their nature cannot strictly control access, as is the goal in commercial aviation.
Brian M. Jenkins, a counterterrorism consultant at the Rand Corporation who has studied terrorist attacks on transit systems across the world, said that transit agencies have to work on four tasks simultaneously - deterrence, prevention, mitigation of casualties and prompt response by emergency workers in the event of an attack - and not just on public awareness.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Kings Cross(AP) Posted by Picasa

Would you take any notice?

If you spotted a small package under a seat next you on the train, what would you do? Anything?

In theory, sure.

In all honesty, I'm not sure I would push the emergency button. You know, you just bury yourself in your Ipod or book and think it's just something disgarded by a passenger who had left the train. Just a litterbug. Well, he didn't look like Osama.

London tube rider Laurel Wamsley raises this in a Slate article:
Suicide bombers make the task of security and protection that much harder. Security measures in London are regarded as quite good, but they have tended to focus on suspicious packages spotted by alert passengers. Hundreds of closed-circuit TV cameras operate on the London Underground, but even without the added threat of suicide bombers, they cannot look into every nook and cranny on each and every train carriage.

There are constant warnings to the public about abandoned bags and suspicious packages. But on one of the busiest public transport systems in the world, security standards can slip. I was on an Underground train just a few weeks ago that stopped in a station after a passenger told the driver there was an abandoned bag in another carriage. I suggested passengers move away, but people milled around as the driver and passengers poked the holdall. Lu
ckily it contained nothing more dangerous than unwashed gym clothes.

After the Madrid train bombings last year, London's Mayor Ken Livingstone said, "It would be miraculous if, with all the terrorist resources arranged against us, terrorists did not get through, and given that some are prepared to give their own lives, it would be inconceivable that someone does not get through to London."

On Thursday morning his prophesy was realized. For hundreds of dead and injured people commuting into central London, their journey became our worst nightmare.

Why trains can't be as "safe" as planes

AS a train user, you can not help but wonder if more should be done for passenger safety in the wake of the terrible attacks in the UK.

The Los Angeles Times has done an interesting item on how vulnerable all public transport systems are to such things - and how they are second class citizens when it comes to funding considerations from authorities.

"We cannot realistically apply an aviation security model to surface transportation," said Brian Michael Jenkins, director of the Mineta Transportation Institute's National Transportation Security Center in San Jose and a terrorism expert at the Santa Monica-based Rand Corp. think tank.
"We have about 800 million passenger boardings a year on airplanes. We have 430 commercial airports," Jenkins said, compared with about 25 billion boardings on buses, trains and subways each year. "It would take an army" of screeners to check public transit passengers.
But public transit advocates said there were steps that would make the system significantly safer — and would not bankrupt the federal government.
"We think public transit riders are being treated as second-class citizens," said Rose Sheridan, a vice president of the American Public Transit Assn., which represents regional transit systems.
Local transit officials have wish lists of projects they say would enhance their ability to thwart a terrorist attack, as well as other dangers.
They would like to purchase new communications systems and to install more closed-circuit cameras on trains and city buses. They would like intruder detection systems at tunnel openings and other entrances. And larger cities want to install automatic chemical and radiological detectors like equipment used in Washington.

But few agencies have the resources to buy that kind of equipment.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Rescue at one of the tube stations (Sky News) Posted by Picasa

Let's hope it never happens here

Emergency services were called to London’s Liverpool Street Station after reports of an explosion shortly before 9am.

Words can not describe this shocking terrorism attack in London.
It is just sickening to see the terrible TV shots of people emerging dead and injured from the underground.
You can only pause and wonder how Auckland authorities would cope.
Already on the new Auckland network, we have had 2 fires and parts of the Britomart station falling down on trains.
By the way, where are the results of the inquiries into those incidents?

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Sadly, the Lions game was so predictable

...we are talking trains here.

The ARC encouraged people to use the trains to the Auckland game at Eden Park.

We tried to warn them.
The trains are broken, they won't go on time, they won't cope with the numbers.

So what a surprise when the Herald
reports on the front page the shambles:
Rugby fans who went by train to Auckland's rugby clash with the Lions last night described the service as embarrassing after standing in packed, stationary carriages and getting to Eden Park after kick-off.

Claire Teirney of St Heliers said she left from Newmarket at 6.25pm and arrived in Kingsland, a short walk from the ground, at 7.20pm. The game started at 7.10pm.

She called the rail service "an embarrassment, a complete shambles".

"I've been to international rugby games in Auckland last year and thought they would have fixed the problems, but they obviously haven't ... It was pretty much a disaster."

Angela Kenealy, of Remuera, waited 15 minutes inside a stationary, packed train carriage before it left Britomart about 6.20pm.

"Then it stopped at Newmarket for five minutes and we didn't see anyone get on or off."

She did not arrive at Kingsland until 7.20pm. "And there were fans waiting for trains behind us."

Angela Kenealy said she was standing in the train next to two Welshmen and an Englishman, who were angry.

"They were saying that any other city in the world would never have done this ... It raises huge questions."

A spokeswoman for rail operator Connex, Tessa Marjoram, said heavy passenger numbers had delayed two trains by 15 minutes.

"But as far as we're aware, people leaving before 6.40pm got to Kingsland before 7pm.

"It's very difficult to move that number of people in that time, but most people got here early as we requested."

Connex had a special deal of $2 for a return trip to the game from Britomart and Newmarket, and added extra services for the evening.

Tessa Marjoram said about 7000 passengers passed through Britomart.

One fan said the service did not improve after the game.

Michael Luxford said just one train was waiting at Kingsland. Lots of people had given up and set off on foot, hoping to catch a bus.

The spin from the ARC and Connex is just appalling. Laughable. Tragic. Unacceptable.

It is time the authorities faced the facts: you've blown it.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Poor rugby fans

It's Lions day for Eden Park -and extra trains are being laid on with the public being urged to use public transport.

What a joke. Here it is 8am and the trains are already broke for the day.

Due to a "mechanical fault" morning "rush hour' trains are now running at least 42 minutes behind schedule.

People going to the game tonight had better start walking.