DC to AC overhead line conversion
The request was successful.
From: Carl McCormack
I was wondering if work were to be undertaken to convert wellingtons metro overhead line system from 1500V DC to 25Kv AC in accordance with the NIMT and Auckland Metro, how much work would need to be undertaken, what would the cost be and if such project would be feasible or possible in the future
From: Dave Allard
Good afternoon Carl
I'd like to acknowledge receipt of your official information request dated 30 January 2021, for information on converting the electric supply for the Wellington Metro network.
We received your request on 30 Jan 2021, and will endeavour to respond to your request as soon as possible and in any event no later than 1 March 2021, i.e. the 20 working days after the day your request was received.
If we are unable to respond to your request by then, we will notify you of an extension of that timeframe.
Any questions, please get in touch with me.
From: Dave Allard
Good afternoon Carl
Please find our response to your query under the OIA.
You asked - I was wondering if work were to be undertaken to convert
wellingtons metro overhead line system from 1500V DC to 25Kv AC in
accordance with the NIMT and Auckland Metro, how much work would need to
be undertaken, what would the cost be and if such project would be
feasible or possible in the future.
In response we would like to comment.
KiwiRail is committed to improving its environmental performance over time
and our targets are a 30 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by
2030 (compared with a 2012 baseline), and to be carbon neutral by 2050. As
you would expect, new acquisitions using new energy systems and improved
technology will be part of our response. Many initiatives are possible but
that is not to say that we have the funding for them. Currently, our
funding priorities are upgrading the network to make it more reliable and
resilient, upgrading our rolling stock to better serve our customers, and
progressing our New Interislander project to replace our ageing Cook
Strait ferries. Having more modern technology will improve our carbon
footprint. We constantly assess our energy systems across our network
asset base, in line with our shareholder’s carbon neutrality objectives.
In terms of the need to convert either the Wellington, or Auckland Metro
overhead line systems, current thinking is that we would avoid the need
for any such conversion by running duel voltage locomotives instead.
As you note, any new electric locomotives would need to be dual-voltage to
enable end-to-end services between the 1500 DC system and the 25kV AC
system, but this is now relatively mature technology internationally.
There could also be potential for locomotives to run a small distance on
battery, to and from the yards to the electrified main lines. Our existing
electrified locomotive fleet, which is currently being life, extended
cannot be converted to dual-voltage.
KiwiRail cannot provide an updated per kilometre cost at present. However,
it is likely to be higher than the 2016 cost estimate that was noted to be
$2.5 million per kilometer for electrification. In addition, there are
other factors to consider, such as the cost of improving clearances in
If we were looking to electrify the whole network, a substantial part of
the cost of electrification is civil works in the rail corridor and
installing the foundations for the traction poles. This could be done by
New Zealand firms that have a history in rail construction. However,
currently these are generally at capacity with other rail upgrade projects
and the City Rail Link underway, so it could be difficult for this work to
scale up without major offshore support. Configuring and stringing the
wires is specialist work.
Other elements which would need to considered include the availability of
electric rolling stock (which would need to be purchased internationally)
and the necessary depot improvements.
We hope you find this information useful, any further questions please get
Dave Allard | Government Relations Advisor
DDI: +64 4 498 3218
Level 4, Wellington Railway Station, Bunny Street, Wellington 6011 | PO
Box 593, Wellington 6140, New Zealand
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