Wellington Train Fleet May Get Spruce Up


Wellington awaits its new trains

While Wellington awaits the arrival of its new Matangi trains being built in Korea, a prototype refurbishment of a Ganz Mavag train is about to begin at KiwiRail’s Woburn workshops.

The refurbishment includes improvements to propulsion, brakes, doors, auxiliary power supply, and the passenger information system. It would extend the life of the train for at least 10 years.

A decision will be made on whether or not to proceed with the refurbishment of the entire fleet, when the prototype has been assessed.

When the first of the new trains arrive in August, they will be tested and then just before Christmas. run initially on the Hutt Valley line. As they continue to arrive, they will then be introduced onto the Johnsonville lines, followed by the new extension of the electric service to Kapiti.

Thorndon's new KiwiRail depot |Greater Wellington

The 48 two- car unit, being built at the Hyundai-Rotem factory in Changwon, South Korea, will be running on all lines by June 2011.

KiwiRail’s Thorndon depot, where electric trains are maintained and repaired, is being extended northwards into a new purpose-built facility for the Matangi and existing Ganz Mavag trains.

Key features of the new depot include:

  • A sunken floor with rails on pedestals to give easy access to the bogies and other equipment underneath the floor of the trains
  • A new set of train jacks enabling a two-car unit to be lifted in one go
  • Raised platforms on two ‘lanes’ or ‘roads’ of the depot that will provide safe and easy access to the air conditioning systems and pantographs (that connect the train to the electric power supply) on the top of the trains.
  • A new drive-through train wash, using recycled water
  • A state of the art wheel lathe, in a separate new building, to maintain the condition of the wheel

Features of the new Matangi trains include:

  • a modern, stainless steel body
  • a low floor multi-function area in one car of each two-car unit for passengers with wheelchairs, buggies and bicycles
  • air-conditioned cooling and heating
  • doors operating on demand
  • open movement between a two-car unit; hearing loops in all cars
  • a public address system
  • information systems with automated visual and audio next station information.




  1. Jeremy Harris says:

    Wow that sounds like an impressive depot… Auckland falls behind again…
    Why would they refurbish trains a couple of years before they are replaced..?

  2. Matt L says:

    Jeremy - I think the are still keeping the Ganz but getting rid of the other ones. Also surely as part of the electrification project Auckland would get similar facilities.

    What are hearing loops, I initially thought they were a PA system but that is listed separately

  3. Grant says:

    The Ganz Mavag fleet is not being replaced. The Matangis are replaceing the English Electric fleet, with a few extra to expand overall capacity.

    And the prototype Ganz Mavag overhaul is well advanced..its been out at Woburn since late last year.

    And while the depot will be slightly bigger, its important to know that once the new section at the northern end is completed and in use, a portion of the southern end will be demolished to provide additional stabling space for the bigger fleet.

  4. Kegan says:

    “Why would they refurbish trains a couple of years before they are replaced..?”

    If they go ahead with the Ganz (EM/ET) refurb, the units are meant to last at least another 10 years. If not, I think the alternate plan is to replace them in 5 or 6 years. Either way they will not be worked as hard due to being peak only units (like the Hutt line EEs currently).

  5. Paul says:

    Does anyone know how long the refurbished EO’s are meant to be running?

  6. Andy says:

    Oh the depot will be a good one Jeremy - I put more than twenty years of experience in to the design that is now being constructed.

    Both operationally and in terms of safety it will set new standards in this part of the world. When I occasionally pass it on SH1 - I always have a quick look and smile at what is taking shape.

  7. grennwelly says:

    @Matt L- The PA system is for the non-hearing impaired, while the hearing loop provides direct delivery to wearers of hearing aids, without them needing to pick up and amplify the audio waves,


    Hearing loop or Audio Induction Loop systems, also called audio-frequency induction loops (abbreviated to AFILs) are an aid for the hard of hearing. They are a loop of cable around a designated area, usually a room or a building, which generates a magnetic field picked up by a hearing aid.

    @Grant, the “few extra” will actually yield a 63 car addition to the fleet and will add 51% to the overall capacity



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