The last of Wellington region’s 48 new Matangi trains passed all its tests and all the new trains are now ready and available for passenger service. Fran Wilde, Chair of Greater Wellington Regional Council, is delighted this significant milestone has been reached. “The Matangi are a huge investment and understandably have taken a lot of time to plan, design and deliver. It’s wonderful that they’re now all up and running.
“The new trains are becoming a familiar sight around the region and we’re continuing to get fantastic feedback from passengers. They’re enjoying the smooth and quiet ride, the big windows, the air conditioning, the information screens that tell you what the next station is and the low floor area designed especially for people with wheelchairs, mobility scooters or buggies. The Matangi are really taking train travel in the Wellington region to a whole new level.”
“With Matangi trains operating more than 62 return trips on the Kapiti and Hutt Valley lines every weekday, and every service on the Johnsonville line, as well as the majority of services on the weekends, on-time performance for Tranz Metro has risen significantly over the last few months to over 90 percent,” says Tranz Metro Manager Scott Brooks.
“The increased use of Matangi trains has certainly had a positive effect on our punctuality performance, and this has been particularly evident in the last few months as even more Matangi have been commissioned for service.
“In fact, results from a customer survey conducted in September showed a significant improvement over the last six months across all performance indicators. Improved timekeeping and the increasing use of Matangi trains and general service improvements have all contributed to improved customer satisfaction,” Mr Brooks says.
And the Matangi fleet is set to increase as Greater Wellington has decided to pursue the purchase of 35 more Matangi trains.
Fran Wilde says even with all the current Matangi trains, some of the older Ganz Mavag trains are still needed to meet peak hour demand. “Up until the middle of this year we were planning to refurbish the Ganz Mavag which would have given them another 10 years working life. However, a very competitive offer from Hyundai Rotem, the Matangi manufacturer, has enabled us to enter negotiations for more Matangi.”
A recent Greater Wellington survey found overwhelming support for buying more of the trains.
A single electric train fleet would mean extended warranties, smaller spare parts inventories, simpler driver training and the entire fleet would have a working life of 30 years.
If the purchase goes ahead, the second ‘batch’ of Matangi trains would begin arriving in early 2015.