Auckland Council will make a decision next week on authorising a $207 million purchase of 17 new electric and battery powered trains.
The new fleet would be able to operate on parts of the southern line that have not yet been electrified.
A solution for commuters
Mayor Phil Goff says, "New electric and battery powered trains will have major benefits for commuters living south of Papakura in the high growth areas of Drury, Paerata, Pukekohe and potentially Pokeno. It will also honour a commitment I made at the last election.
"The purchase of the new units which can operate on lines not yet electrified allows us to eliminate aging, less reliable diesel trains currently used on the Pukekohe line.
"For commuters it means removing the need to transfer trains at Papakura making travel quicker and more convenient. It brings in a cleaner form of transport, eliminating diesel emissions and ensures a more reliable and comfortable trip for commuters.
"The result is a more attractive public transport system which will help tackle growing congestion levels, especially on the Southern Motorway.
Fleet could have future uses
"The units could ultimately be transferred to the Kumeu-Huapai line when the southern line is electrified in 2025," says Mayor Goff.
"The purchase of 17 new units needs to be made now to meet the greater than estimated demand for rail travel. Demand has increased by 17 per cent over the last year and within months will achieve a record 20 million passenger trips a year in Auckland.
"This is ahead of forecast and a decision to purchase the units needs to be made now to deliver them by late-2019 and head off capacity constraints expected by that time."
Finding the funds
"The estimated cost of the units is $207 million, though cheaper options are also being examined," says Phil Goff.