I had the honour of representing CAA on today’s inaugural ride of Auckland’s shiny new electric trains. Great feelings of eagerness and many happy faces at Britomart this morning – and very many politicians and other notables. But who wouldn’t want to be seen with a shiny new piece of kit like this!
The ride was short, a quick trip enioying the smooth silence of the new trains whisking us on time from Britomart to Newmarket and back, so the 5,000 other eager Aucklanders could get their chance at an early glimpse, before revenue service starts tomorrow on the Onehunga Line.
I didn’t get to bring my bike on board (but AT provided valet bike parking, so that was good), but these trains will be great for Auckland cyclists. Lots of space for bikes (though do keep an eye out to not block the wheelchair spaces when they are needed), level boarding into the centre carriage… and well, FASTER, HARDER, BETTER (quieter) trains all over!
[Yes, Auckland Transport did actually use Daft Punk’s music for their promo video and for a choreographed stage performance – and clearly they were inspired by the Fifth Element in the uniforms for the train staff! It’s the future, baby!]
Yes, more trains, faster trains, more frequent trains – all that is great for cyclists, whether you ride to the train, take your bike on the train, or simply use the train as your “rainy day off” alternative to cycling like I do sometimes. We still have a way to go to make train stations to cycle to as easy as this, but the trains are a big piece in the puzzle.
In a flashback 6 years back reminiscent to that of my Beach Road memories, my first public activity for CAA back in 2008 was speaking to an Auckland Regional Council hearing, where CAA supported a fuel tax to pay to get the trains into service by 2012.
Well, including 2 years of delay (due to the current government changing the law allowing the fuel tax surcharge), the electric trains are now finally here. They are awesome.