Trains May Get New Life


Wellington’s present trains may get a new life - and continue to run on the city’s services when more trains are needed.

What some may have missed in the excitement of Wellington getting new trains was a line in the 2004 business case, which provided the justification for the the new Matangi electric trains (which start arriving in August)  and the accompanying wider rail upgrade.
That case provided for the
refurbishment of the entire Ganz Mavag fleet.

And detailed work is being done to put that in place, although a final decision has yet to be made.

Work is well underway on the prototype vehicle at the Hutt rail workshops.

Refurbishment of the train at the Hutt workshop

Work completed includes reconstruction and modification of the pantograph well (a major source of water ingress), internal/external stripping and hydro blasting of the exterior painted surface.  The prototype will be put in service by the end of the year for a few months so it can be accessed.

The refurbishment will restore the vehicle water tightness by replacing the corroded material and refreshing the corrosion protection system.  It will also inspect and restore as required the structural integrity of underframe mounting points, such that the vehicle bodies will be deemedfit for service for at least the next 10 years.

The new refurbishment would make it look similiar to aspects of the new Matangi trains, including the green interior.

The new trains can’t arrive quickly enough with a regional council report today revealing the unreliable service means rail patronage in the capital is continuing to decline and this has once again increased the amount of subsidy required to operate the passenger rail services.

The net operating surplus from operations for the Wellington council’s public transport division for the ten months ended April 30 was $1.8m compared to the budgeted deficit of $0.7 million. Total expenditure on operations was $67.1 million compared to the budget of $70.9 million. The most significant variance was the expenditure on rail operations during that time - $21.6 million compared to the budget of $20.7 million.

The 88 car strong Ganz Mavag fleet was introduced into service in Wellington in the early 1980s.  The fleet was given a minor refurbishment in the mid- 90s.  The fleet has been the mainstay of Wellington metro services and demand for capacity has required a very high level of vehicle availability.  As the units have aged, a more intensive maintenance regime has been hampered by the required availability.

The units are now officially deemed relatively unreliable from both an ability to complete a service perspective and the ability to maintain all on board systems (ie. heaters).  They are prone to parts obsolescence and generally look tired.

Prototype work started

The prototype construction cost & performance verification would run until June next year with a decision and any fnding approval happening after that.

Here is a chart comparing them.




  1. ingolfson says:

    Ah, I wish we knew that much about our new Auckland trains already! Instead we get conflicting stories about badly written specs in the press.

    Well, better now than at delivery, I guess.


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