Pics: 1st Wgtn Train Ships


Wellington’s first new Matangi electric train has left on a ship from South Korea and will arrive in the capital in about three weeks.

On arrival, the first train will be taken to the KiwiRail depot at Kaiwharawhara where it will undergo rigorous testing, as part of the commissioning process.

Over the next few months it will be able to be seen along the Hutt Valley and Kapiti lines. It is expected to begin commuter service by December.

The train is the first of 48 being built by Hyundai Rotem Mitsui.

The new trains will begin arriving regularly from October.

Wellington's first Matangi train

The first trains will run on the Upper Hutt Line, followed by Johnsonville from April, then Kapiti from the middle of the year.

The Matangi trains have a modern, stainless steel exterior. Inside, they are air-conditioned, spacious, and are equipped with high quality passenger information systems. The trailer car of each two-car unit has a low floor area designed especially to give greater access to people in wheelchairs and passengers with buggies.

Inside Wellington's first Matangi train

Early in the year, the regional council will be deciding  whether to refurbish or replace the Ganz Mavag trains.




  1. karl says:

    Talking of spacious - any rail geeks can tell me what the difference of the *bodies* is between a NZ gauge carriage and a standard gauge? I wonder how much narrower our trains actually are due to the narrower gauge.

  2. anthony says:

    So when are the actually replacing/renovating the GM? 2013?

  3. Diego says:

    To Karl on the narrower bodies. We are using around 2.73 m width on our carriages, however most European carriages are around 2.84 to 2.9 m wide. In other countries where broad gauge is in use you can experience a massive 3.2 m width. Hope this helps.

  4. karl says:

    Thanks - so we’re really only losing 20cm… not enough to put a 5th seat in. Shame we didn’t go for broad gauge, I love “think big” schemes ;-)

  5. Presumably this trailer car is also for people with bicycles?

  6. Carl says:

    I dear hope that all 48 aren’t being delivered one at a time? shipping costs would be through the roof if that is the case?

    3 weeks arrival, plus 3 more months of testing? can someone explain why it would take 3 months to test something that has probably already been tested for the last 5-6 weeks.

    I understand drivers need to get to use to new things? but 3 months? seriously?

  7. karl says:

    Carl, I assume that the shipping is included in the contract, so no need to care about that - also you normally get bulk discounts if you ship everything at once!

    But most of all “The new trains will begin arriving regularly from October.” indicates that they will be spaced out anyway, as they are completed.

    As for your comments on the testing… uhm, would you not rather make sure that what you are getting conforms to the specs? The testing in Korea is presumably the manufacturer testing stuff. We should test it ourselves too. This isn’t (or not mostly, at least) about getting the drivers comfortable with the new trains. This is making sure the thing doesn’t have any hidden defects or shortcuts.

  8. Matt L says:

    Carl - Testing it in the controlled environment of the factory is far different to testing it in a real world working environment. I agree it does sound like a long time but you need to make sure that the builder and the design has done what they said they were going to do.

  9. Paul says:

    @Carl – Testing

    Take Sydney, the new Millennium trains were rushed into service by the pollies. Problems, bugs, glitches and very bad press. After all the ironing, they are now the best train Sydney has every had on the rails. The new trains also need to work with the infrastructure in NZ, signaling etc… Testing is a good thing to get right.

  10. Brent C says:

    Yes the trains will have room for bicycles. They do not have seperate compartments at either end of the unit like the existing EMUs have, but they will have a dedicated space inside the train. Not sure how they will be stored, but I hope they are secured on hooks.

    Currently it is free to put your bike on the train, however this may chance in the future if they are going to be in the passenger area. I am always taking my bicycle on the train, however not many others do

  11. Joshua says:

    Although I am aware extensive testing needs to be carried out, I’m with Carl here, 3 months seems like a extremely long time. Longer than it takes to test airplanes. Can anyone explain why it will take so long? Do they work only one day a week?

  12. Chris S. says:

    They should have gone for maglev trains like in Shanghai (431 km/hr). But then they would need to upgrade the tracks. Oh well, maybe an idea for Auckland

  13. Andrew says:

    They’re not just testing the trains, they’ll be making sure that the Wellington traction power supply upgrades are working as they should and that the signal systems aren’t buggered up by the AC traction motors in the new trains, confirming platform-to-train distance and clearance is as expected, and so on. None of those can be done in Korea.

    I’d say part of that three months includes allowance for finding and fixing a couple of major problems. If it all goes without a hitch, who knows? It may enter service ahead of schedule.

  14. [...] the company making Wellington’s new electric trains - the first of which has just been loaded onto the ship to come to [...]

  15. Mike says:

    The Matangis aren’t “losing” 200 mm in width because they’re not standard gauge, because there’s no simple direct connection between track gauge and structure gauge. To demonstrate this, the S/SA/SD/SE/SW cars were all built for standard gauge, but operate here perfectly well - and similar cars of the same width were built for broad-gauge Ireland. European cars are bigger than British, but are on the same gauge; American ones are bigger still - and bigger than Russian ones, which are broad gauge.



  16. kegan says:

    @Brent C

    The bicycle spot isn’t really dedicated as there are folding seats there. Carriage of bicycles on trains will be reviewed by GW and there is a reasonable chance it will be banned at peak times.

  17. carl from Melbourne says:

    To Karl regarding size differences re different guage size.
    There is very little diffence. NZ 3 ft 6 inches can deliver much the same inside carrage dimensions as carrages set on broader guages. We have 5ft 3 inch here in Melbourne & the inside of our trains isn’t much different. It mostly depends on tunnel clearance/ NZ is a bit sparse & tunnels have a “rounded” profile. E.g J’ville Line/ Also remember the shape & profile of the old Silver Star Train. Your new Matangi trains are great & will give plenty of room. London deep level tube trains are smaller & can manage well enough with their huge commute.

  18. Carl says:

    @ Andrew, so are we all with the idea that once this “first” train has possibly done all this testing, will each set after that also be tested for that amount of time?

    I fully understand it needs to be checked and what, have no problem with that, just when i read 3 months It was more like “aye? why so long” now that its been explained ( which i am happy to admit I’m a dumb arse for not thinking about all that in the first place ) is actually going to take that long for each new set? seems rather odd if it would.

  19. rtc says:

    I would say the first set will be extensively checked such that they can ascertain whether any changes are neeed, subsequent trains will be entered into service more or less as soon as they roll off the ship. This is a pretty normal procedure anywhere for new trains.

  20. joust says:

    you also save on shipping if you are Hyundai who builds and operates a shipping line!

  21. karl says:

    “3 months seems like a extremely long time. Longer than it takes to test airplanes.”

    I assure you that with NEW airplanes, the very first examples are tested more like 3 years than 3 months…


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