Spain 57 South Korea 0


Auckland is getting electric trains from Spain.

The announcement was to have been made this afternoon but negotiations between the Spanish company and Auckland Transport on the finer points including a maintenance contract were continuing.

So finally the  successful tenderer for Auckland’s new EMUs has been decided.

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

The final decision was between a consortium of Madrid-based Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles ./ and Japan’s Mitsubishi Corporation and South Korea’s Hyundai Rotem Company which is building Wellington’s 48 Matangi EMU trains.

The decision was passed on be decided by  Auckland Transport as it will now own the trains.

CAF (Construcciones Y Auxiliar De Ferrocarriles) has focused on the railway industry for the last 90 years, expanding its activities from Spain towards international markets. CAF designs, manufactures, delivers, commissions and maintains a range of vehicles for passenger railway services including tramways, light rail vehicles, metro cars, locomotives and passenger coaches.

They were on the shortlist to build the Matangi trains.

Recently they have won contracts to build trains for Stockholm, through the company SL AB (company responsible for the transport network in the city). It’s a contract for the supply of 15 LRVs, with the possibility of exercising up to 121 LRVs.

CAF was also chosen by the Grand Beacon region (in the French department of Doubts, in the Franche-Comté Region), as supplier of rolling stock for a new LRV line. The precise number of LRVs shall be established according to the traffic, but will initially range between 15 and 18.

This follows successful tenders, especially throughout Europe - international tenders for trains in Edinburgh, Belgrade and Antalya (Turkey), as well as those in Zaragoza, Granada, Málaga, Seville, Bilbao and Vitoria.

The Spanish company makes these Civia

Under the deal signed a few weeks ago:

  • Auckland Transport will take ownership of the new depot and 57 new three-car trains, along with existing non-electrified rolling stock, and will become responsible for all rolling stock maintenance.
  • A $500 million Crown loan to purchase electric trains will be made to Auckland Council group.
  • Funding assistance from the NZTA to help Auckland Council group repay the loan. This will initially be set at a 60 percent of the costs of the loan repayment (2011/12) and will move to 50 percent on an annual one percent glide path starting at 59 percent from 2012/13.
  • The NZTA has ear-marked funding from the 2012-15 National Land Transport Fund and future programmes to help Council deliver the new trains.
  • Up to $90 million Crown grant to assist in funding the additional trains.
  • Auckland Council will meet any additional purchase costs incurred above the Crown funding.
  • The Crown (through KiwiRail) will retain ownership of below ground assets including track, signals and power supply. The current infrastructure upgrade and electrification programmes will be completed to bring the network to a more functional and reliable standard.
  • Auckland Transport will pay a track access charge to KiwiRail, partly subsidised by NZTA, “reflecting the fair and actual cost of maintaining the tracks and other assets.”

Unsuccessful tenderer Rotem is part of the Hyundai Motor Group and has produced railway systems for various customers throughout the world. Rotem manufactures EMUs, high-speed trains, light rail vehicles, locomotives, passenger coaches and freight wagons.

Wellington's Matangi

In 2006, Greater Wellington Council shortlisted three train manufacturers to supply the Wellington region with new EMU trains. The other one was Bombardier Transportation (Australia).

The Matangi are still arriving in Wellington and there has been one issue with them. Replacement auxiliary power units are being freighted to Wellington to overcome the fault which led to new Matangi Metro passenger units being briefly withdrawn from service.
Last month, after two Matangi units experienced some overheating faults in the auxiliary power unit, electrical engineers from Korean manufacturer Hyundai Rotem, carried out an investigation and confirmed the issue lies with the inductor coil.

The Auckland train tender process has been a protracted one.
Originally there were 4 in the running: Hitachi Limited, Hyundai Rotem,Bombardier Transportation Australia Pty Limited and the consortium of Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles, SA. (CAF) and Mitsubishi Corporation.

A few years before it's time for the old ones to move on

Chinese bids were then added including China North Rail, which became the subject of questions from the Labour Party.

Transport Minister Steven Joyce, answering questions in Parliament later dismissed Labour’s questions about the Chinese tendering as “wild conspiracies” which could be taken with a grain of salt.
“I have seen several reports calling for the procurement of new electric trains for Auckland to be delayed because they were to be built in China—a result of all sorts of wild conspiracies. As it turns out, the two shortlisted consortiums are from Korea and Japan, and Europe—I suppose at least Korea and Japan are in Asia. It is just as well KiwiRail continued on with the procurement job. It all goes to show that people should treat these types of reports..”

The Rail Workers Union has been pressing for at least some construction component of the new Auckland trains.

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 has always said his union 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.




  1. Ingolfson says:

    Okay, FINALLY.

    Though it sadly confirmed what was whispered for a while: trains will be late before they’re great.

  2. joust says:

    [trumpet trill], Ole!!

  3. Matt L says:

    I also saw a comment from the RTMU a while ago that said CAF had been in contact as part of their bid and were keen to do some of the work locally so there may be a bit more work for the people a Hillside.

    Now we just wait to see what they will look like, hopefully we will find out this afternoon.

  4. greenwelly says:

    @Matt L. Yeah the extent of any local input component will be interesting to watch. Whether it is just seats and lights, or something more substantial……

  5. Rob says:

    Yay, the Spanish have got the job! This is great! At last a departure from the traditional kiwi habit of choosing half-baked solutions. Pressure needs to be applied now to ensure that all stations get proper platform-length coverings and automated ticket gates by the time the new rolling stock is in operation in 2014.

  6. BD says:

    Why do we have to wait so long 2014 is a life time away for all we know it could mean early 2015. No one nothing gets down Nationals head is way to far in the tarmac to consider Auckland’s needs.

  7. Patrick R says:

    Wifi please….

  8. greenwelly says:

    @Patrick, well at least throw additional CAT6 into the wiring looms and provision points for external and internal aerials in the future..

  9. Patrick R says:

    Yes, and with the CRL there will be a fair bit of tunnel so we shouldn’t just rely on 3G…. if you’re online time is not wasted…..

  10. Bryan says:

    BD - first unit delivered Sept 2013, for commercial service in early 2014. All units in service by end of 2014. (according to another reputable blog)

    Telecom and Vodafone should be planning for 3G provision in the tunnel - Telecom’s seems to have improved recently around Parnell and Britomart.

    Tried the wi-fi on the train this morning, but couldn’t connect. :-(

  11. Ingolfson says:

    “Why do we have to wait so long 2014 is a life time away?”

    It is - for better or worse, the benefits of the new trains will become felt only by the time of the NEXT election. Whether that particular timing helps National - and/or helps the CBD rail tunnel’s chances - is anyone’s guess.

  12. joust says:

    @Patrick R: though wifi is veering OT, I would be astounded if there was no mobile coverage in any new rail tunnels built in the Auckland area.

  13. nzbcfanboi says:

    Time for a double celebration

  14. Ben says:

    @BD. A few reasons why our (that is Auckland’s) new Electrics will not be fully onstream.

    1) The Electricfication of the network will not be finished until 2013

    2) They have not even begun the works required (Wiri or Westfield) for the new EMU depot

    3) Testing

    4) Staff Training for the new fleet.

    All which takes time.
    Wish it was faster but 2013-2014 it is

  15. Cheryl says:

    Wifi on the western line works for me!

  16. Dlyan says:

    Well 2012 is fast approaching.

    @ Ben, I couldn’t imagine building Wiri will take all that long.

    Won’t be long before the Western line is complete.

    Southern line Penrose-Newmarket, a lot of foundations for mast are complete and underway there, won’t be long before the masts are up.
    And further down to Wiri - what not quite 10 kms of overhead from Westfield junciton.

    Testing and staff training… I can see that taking a great deal of time, especially on a new network.

  17. Andy says:

    It seems by this stage even people on here couldn’t care less where they are from, we have just been waiting for so long. It is a relief to know that finally things can move ahead now.

  18. Ben says:

    @Diyan - spot on :)

    Any case, even I am getting impatient to see the new EMU’s now :D

  19. Alex says:

    @Diyan & Ben.

    The works at Wiri for the new EMU depot have begun. The old quarry is being filled in and stabilized. Access tracks are to go in over Christmas, and the depot itself will not take long to build.

    Mast and resignalling work has only ceased due to the RWC, but expect that to be in full swing as soon as it’s over.

    EMU testing could take a few months, but as our electric infrastructure will be new, I think we’ll see it perform better than Wellington. The actual power supply and catenary will be fully tested before the EMUs arrive. Also bear in mind that there is to be a substantial amount of work to improve track conditions over the next two years, and poor infrastructure was one of the main reasons Wellington had so many problems with the Matangis. Staff training will only be a couple weeks (for each driver and TM, to be as classes) as they will already be familiar with the network.

    I can’t wait for the new trains to arrive either, but I don’t think the commissioning process will be as troublesome as it has been for Wellington.

  20. Ian says:

    Silly buggers choosing that Spanish stuff. The Rotem stock in Wellington is proving very successful with only a few minor teething problems. Good luck to Auckland but seriously, would you buy a Hyundai over a Spanish car (if they made them)?

  21. Alex says:

    @ Ian - Perhaps you should do some reading before making comment!

    Spain do make cars, and I think you’ll find SEAT (Pronounced say-at) vehicles are manufactured in Spain, and are of very good quality. I have driven several of their cars, and I currently own a Hyundai so I think I have a fair idea! I must also point out that both SEAT and CAF have been in business longer than Hyundai or their rail based sub company Hyundai-Rotem, not that it really has anything to do with the tender. Auckland has obviously chosen the best option for them!

  22. Ingolfson says:

    @ian - way to go. You base your opinion on train quality on hearsay and personal opinion of car qualities, with some gratitious Spaniard-bashing included? Lol.

  23. Patrick says:

    I assume that the additional $90 million will pay for the completion of station upgrades and modifications needed at other stations.

  24. John Gilbert says:

    As no electric locomotives are apparently to be bought now, what is to happen to the ex-British Rail carriage sets so excellently converted for use in Auckland not all that long ago?

  25. Ingolfson says:

    “I assume that the additional $90 million will pay for the completion of station upgrades and modifications needed at other stations.”

    It may also be used to pay for quality upgrades of the trains above what was originally specified. Maybe CAF offered some “extras” in the train quality or fit-out that AT was interested in getting?

    Alternatively, it could be related to stabling, or similar further network infrastructure upgrades.

    “As no electric locomotives are apparently to be bought now, what is to happen to the ex-British Rail carriage sets so excellently converted for use in Auckland not all that long ago?”

    Well, first off, we will be using them for 4 more years! That is a lot of wear and tear right there.

    Then, we will still have some diesel lines (Pukekohe) that will need the carriages.

    Finally, we can hope that some (within, or - less likely - without, of NZ) will buy them off our hands, maybe to start up a suburban service somewhere else. Would be nice, but the transport funding climate would likely have to change first.

  26. Ben says:

    Hmmm how about reconverting the SA carriages and running a Inter City Line to compliment the Silver Fern Rail Cards doing Auckland to Hamilton?


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