Short List For Auckland Trains


It’s down to two to be the builders of Auckland’s electric trains.

And neither on the short list is the China North Rail, which was the subject of questions in Parliament last week in relation to the Chinese lobbying of the husband of former National MP Patsy Wong.

Nor is any Chinese bid, putting to bed suggestions the decision to extend  the original number of bids being considered was to accommodate Chinese firms in view of New Zealand’s growing trade relations with China.

The two remaining bidders for the EMU procurement and maintenance contract are:

Wellington’s 48 new Matangi electric trains are being built by Hyundai Rotem Mitsui.

Inside the new Matangi -taste of what we might get?

KiwiRail has given assurances the selection of the preferred bidder will be completed by the end of the third quarter of this year.

KiwiRail CEO Jim Quinn says that over the next few months KiwiRail will work with these bidders to develop the proposals leading to their best and final offers.

And he has not ruled out some local production - something both Labour and the Rail Workers Union have ben pushing hard for.

KiwiRail’s May 2010 tender document encouraged firms to ally themselves with New Zealand subcontractors or suppliers and “include as much New Zealand content and resources in the design, construction, delivery, testing, maintenance and support of the EMUs as is appropriate.”

Rail Workers Union Wayne Butson said last week his union has always wanted these trains to be built in Dunedin and Lower Hutt but local involvement provisions from the lead supplier was the next best option.  It was essential that this is rigorously pursued by KiwiRail.

Mr Quinn says that as part of the process “we will discuss opportunities relating to the degree of local content in each proposal.”

Mr Quinn said there had been a significant level of industry involvement in the procurement process to date which had led to robust and competitive proposals.

“We are very pleased with the quality of the responses and the positive input of all suppliers to date, which gives us great confidence as we head into this vital last stage of contract negotiations and move into the construction phase of the project.”

More pre-electrification work will be done on Auckland's network over Easter

A total of $500 million has been allocated for the purchase of new trains, maintenance and storage depots.

The first units will arrive from mid-2013 but KiwiRail does not expect the trains to be operational for commuters until sometime in 2014.

See also:
Trains will be here in 2013
Auckland’s new Spanish trains?




  1. Cam says:

    Well that’s good news. Puts the conspirisy theories to bed.

    Not making the selection until the third quarter of this year does raise questions about the ability of Kiwi rail to meet the 2013 though dosn’t it?

  2. Patrick R says:

    Mea culpa, on my views about this process, here’s hoping all goes smoothly from here.

  3. Geoff says:

    How long did it take from awarding of tender, to the first Matangi entering passenger service? That should give a good idea of timeframe to be expected.

  4. Matt L says:

    Good news to hear it has been progressed. I had a feeling that some of the originals hadn’t pulled out and I have mentioned before that Hyundai Rotem would have a good chance of knowing exactly what Kiwirail are after due to them currently delivering the Matangi’s, in fact it wouldn’t surprise me if their proposal is just a modification of that meaning they could start production/keep most of the production line running as soon as they finish the Wellington units.

    This at least puts to bed the conspiracy theorys

  5. DanC says:

    Who ever is chosen I hope they can be built and imported quickly, are reliable, comfortable and have Wifi.

  6. Jon C says:

    @nzbcfanboi Hahaha good one! Oldie but goodie.

  7. Jon C says:

    @DanC WiFi would be awesome now.

  8. Andu says:

    I watched some vids of the new wellington trains. they look pretty tidy. very much like the london overground. Hopefully aucklands can be like that.

  9. Kegan says:

    @ Geoff

    The Matangi purchase agreement was signed in November 2007.

  10. Geoff says:

    Thanks, so three years and five months from signing, to in service. So, if Auckland’s trains are signed off at the end of 2011, that would give us an entry into service date of around March 2015, based on the Matangi experience. Gives us a rough idea anyway.

  11. Andrew says:

    Could be quicker than that - assuming the contract doesn’t go to the Japanese/Spanish consortium - if the Auckland units will be similar to the Matangis then there is a production line already in progress which will just need adapting to Auckland specs (length, unit config (M-T-M) and floor/door height), and we’ll have NZ staff already trained in a good amount of their operation - should speed things up.

  12. Gary S says:

    Surely these should be “off the shelf items” by now. The only contention is does the decor enhance the CEO’s wifes outfit? Time and money could be saved by adding a new dress to the budget!

  13. Feijoa says:

    According to an article on Voxy they’ll be running by 2013:
    “Mr Joyce says he expects to see the first trains on the ground and operational from 2013.”

  14. Chris says:

    Hopefully the Spainairds will win the contract! They have strong railway building/maintenance skills and have built many Kms of highspeed railway recently.

  15. Simon says:

    `Andrew You make it sound so simple - just a few specs differences for Auckland. I suspect it`s not quite that simple and there are other requirements such as being able to be used in a CBD tunnel etc that wouldn`t have been part of the requirements for Wellington.

    CAF/Mitsubishi also have a long and proven history for building high quality trains.

    I`m just happy that one of the original tender applicants will build the EMUs and confirms that the extra bidders shouldn`t have been added to the shortlist in the first place.

  16. Andy says:

    I use Hyundai Rotems every single day and I have NEVER experienced a breakdown.

  17. minga says:

    I agree with Simon - it’s not as easy as ‘oh, we’ll just order a couple more of the Matangis’. Apart from everything else Auckland will be running a completely different power supply to Wellington

    I work for KiwiRail, a LOT of work is going into evaluating every legal, commercial and technical aspect of these tenders. It’s frustrating reading the public’s comments when people think that it’s as easy as just picking a manufacturer out of a hat and telling them to make some trains.

  18. AKT says:

    @Minga Good point. It’s a very complex decision. I’m glad KiwiRail is not just picking the winner from the colour of the trains they make!

  19. joust says:

    hear hear Minga. Spare us from the cries of “oh pick that manufacturer because the landscape in their country somehow by osmosis causes them to build more suitable vehicles for the Auckland situation!”

    This is a 500million dollar deal not a trip to the lawn mower shop.


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