Walbran Transport Analysis

« Other projects

Wellington Commuter Rail

Wellington is unique among New Zealand’s major cities in that it exhibits the demographic and topographic features that are generally regarded as critical to the successful operation of commuter rail (or other capital intensive, linear rapid transit system).  These are population concentrated along the linear routes and a centralised trip attractor.

Historically the commuter rail service has operated without accounting for depreciation.  Farebox revenue plus subsidy income has been sufficient to meet operational costs and allow the operator to retain a profit.  However the point had been reached where substantial capital investment was required to retain a viable commuter rail system.  Current revenue streams (operational revenues plus subsidy) were not adequate to support the investment.  The proposal was that government (Transfund and the Wellington Regional Council) provide the additional capital required. 

Warwick Walbran Consulting Limited was engaged by the Wellington Regional Council (Greater Wellington) to detail the background, strategic consistency analysis, capital requirements and the economic analysis of the investment proposal.

The economic analysis considered replacement of commuter rail with a bus-based system.  The costings used in the analysis were for the Base Case (defined as the minimum investment needed to maintain the current level of service, allowing for reasonably anticipated patronage growth (1.7% pa)).  The level of rolling stock utilisation assumed in the analysis is high, such that failure of a single unit could result in partial loss of service, particularly in the early years of the analysis. 

The resulting Base Case report was the key technical document underpinning Greater Wellington’s application for $1,975 million of expenditure (including $1,274 million of public subsidy). 

Outcome – Funding obtained

Client Comments

Warwick’s innovative approach, communication skills, and understanding of government procedures were key to obtaining funding approval
– Tony Brennand, ex Greater Wellington

« Other projects