With the introduction of electric trains to the suburban network, Auckland's rail service is undergoing the largest transformation since its inception. And along with the updated rail fleet, Auckland Transport has built a new home for the trains at Wiri.
The Wiri Depot is a state-of-the-art facility, built to maintain the 57 electric trains, which will all be delivered by mid 2015. The 6.4ha site, which comes complete with a fruit orchard and mature pohutukawa trees, straddles the old Winstone's quarry and land next to the North Island Main Trunk railway line. It comprises 6km of rail sidings, a 7163m² main building, a cleaners' platform and four ancillary structures.
Owned by Auckland Transport, the facility is jointly managed by transport operator Transdev (formerly Veolia), and Spanish train manufacturer Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles (CAF), which is supplying and maintaining the trains.
Project director Steve Hawkins says the facility is a key part of the $600m upgrade to Auckland's suburban rail network.
"Revitalising the region's rail assets to provide a high-quality, high-frequency rail service is fundamental to meet the needs of the rapidly increasing number of Aucklanders using the rail network," he says. "Rail patronage recently hit a high of 11 million passengers annually."
Hawkins says a key strategy from the outset was to procure sound expertise and experience for the design phase. Stage 1, the Master Plan, was awarded to a consultant consortia that included Opus International Consultants, Arup Group, RLB International and Peters and Cheung. The second stage was awarded to Opus, who with subcontractor Arup, continued to refine the overall design. Revit building information modelling software was used to design and draw everything in 3-D format for later use in Auckland Transport's building information modelling (BIM). This enabled Opus to co-ordinate all disciplines electronically in real space, to provide a database model for Auckland Transport to use for operating and maintaining the assets in the future.