Wellington Commuters Freeze


Wellington rail workers say they’re sick of freezing cold conditions for drivers and the public on Wellington’s aged metro trains, and are taking action to stop it.

KiwiRail’s Tranzmetro service is upgrading the Wellington train stock with new Matangi trains, but some of the old English electric units, which date back to the 1940s, are still in use.

The heating on many of these units is defective and has been turned off completely.
Workers have called a health and safety meeting next Tuesday lunchtime to address this, Rail and Maritime Transport Union General Secretary Wayne Butson said.
“Rail drivers have had a guts full of the lack of heating on the old English electric Units, and it is certainly annoying the commuting public as well,” he said.
“One of our guards received 70 complaints on his recent shift from the members of the public about the problem.”
“Until the new Matangi trains are on board we are stuck with these old units. If this is the case, then Tranzmetro need to get the heating to function correctly.”

Catching a train can be a cold experience

Wayne Butson said that workers at Tuesday’s meeting would be considering all options, which may include a ban on the use of any of the old English units with no heaters.
“We would certainly be apologetic for the inconvenience to passengers that this may cause, but freezing conditions is significant health and safety concern for safety-critical workers operating the trains, and it is certainly causing a lot of discomfort for the public,” he said.




  1. rtc says:

    Electric plug in heaters?!? Seriously, I don’t know how a ban could work seeing as they’re short of rolling stock as it is…

  2. Ingolfson says:

    rtc - the ban is a threat. Like a strike. “You fix this, or there will be a lot less trains on the rails”.

    Which I fully support, based on what I’m reading above. Sometimes, the only way to get action is to say “That’s it. No more.”

  3. greenwelly says:

    I am fairly sure that the EEs don’t have any 3 point plugs installed, so it is a non-trivial issue to plug in any portable heaters-

    Also they were having heater issues with the Ganzs last winter as well, so unless they can pull finger and get the remaining 8 Matangis they have nto service in the next month, this is going to be another Cold winter for Welly commuters,

    As an aside, and conspiriacy stories excluded, the commissioning of the Matangis does appear to be dragging on much longer than forecast, does anyone on the ground actually know if it is an issue with the actual units, a lack of time to train staff, or the continuing work on the network that is causing the holdups,

  4. Paul in Sydney says:

    So close but so far away

    When is the planned removeal of the EE units, is it a misuse of scares funds to patch them for a number of months - almost there

    It’s a tough one, sorry about the cold

  5. rtc says:

    Will they send the EEs up to Auckland when they’re withdrawn? Auckland will be running out of capacity pretty soon. We’ve already got a collection of hand-me-downs these would fit nicely into the set. Cut off the panograph and attach them to a diesel loco and maybe Auckland can last until 2013-2014 when the EMUs are supposed to arrive.

  6. George D says:

    I absolutely endorse the actions of the workers. Nothing would happen otherwise. Management, and the politicians who refuse to fund services properly, always run it this way.

  7. Chris says:

    Wellington Commuters freeze?
    I think you’re mistaken. They are probably planking

  8. Anthony says:

    I believe there are 4 matangi’s in service, however it still isn’t enough. I feel for the Wellingtonians who relies on the frosty trains that heats up from human breath.

  9. AKT says:

    There are 3 Matangi on the Hutt line, suppose to be 2 more next week and 4 more units have arrived in the capital. It is a slow rollout!


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