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New era begins for Auckland passenger rail

Auckland One Rail (AOR) has begun its partnership with Auckland Transport (AT) as the new passenger rail operator.

The contract, valued at around $130 million per annum and $1.2 billion over an eight- year period, was the result of an international tender for the city’s rail services.

While customers won’t notice significant changes in their day-to-day journeys, the new contract will enable better integration in all aspects of operations, including the $7 billion of rail investment for the City Rail Link, electrification of the rail line between Papakura and Pukekohe, and the purchase of additional electric trains over the next few years.

As a result, the new contract will see AOR having responsibility for not only train operations but also electric train maintenance, station operations and maintenance, safety, and security.

AT Chief Executive Shane Ellison says the agreement with AOR is far more comprehensive than previous passenger rail contracts, which were spread out across a range of organisations.

“With one organisation now responsible for the day-to-day operation of our passenger rail network we’ll see better accountability and responsiveness on the issues which matter most to passengers,” he said.

“It’s also exciting that AOR will open a new train maintenance facility for train overhauls in South Auckland, with a strong focus on helping local Māori and Pasifika communities into trades and engineering apprenticeships.”

The contract award is part of AT’s ongoing focus to continue the rapid growth in Aucklanders using the region’s rail services, which has grown from just over two million passenger boardings per annum in 2000, to more than 22 million by 2020, a 10-fold increase.

“This new rail franchise contract represents a significant investment for Auckland and Aucklanders,” Ellison said.

“Despite the effects of the global pandemic on the international rail sector, the robust procurement process ensured AT was able to secure a competitive contract.”

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New rail operator for Auckland