As a result of extensive mechanical issues with the English Electric trains that operate on the Johnsonville line and customer calls for more service consistency, a decision has been made by Greater Wellington Regional Council and Tranz Metro to use a combination of trains and express bus services in the morning peak to assist with reduced capacity on trains until Matangi are introduced on the line on Monday 19 March.
Tranz Metro will operate the usual timetabled services on the Johnsonville line using three trains (one four-car train and two two-car trains), supplementing the 7:46am and 7:58am train services from Johnsonville to Wellington with an express bus. There will also be an express bus that leaves Crofton Downs at 8:00am to assist with passenger numbers at that station.
The buses will be express to Wellington, while the trains will make their usual stops.
In addition to the usual train services, these buses will be running at the same time every weekday over the next six weeks.
“Lower passenger numbers on the other services means we will have enough trains to cope with demand. However, we will continue to monitor passenger numbers and extra bus services may be required on some occasions to cope with extra demand,” says Tranz Metro Manager Scott Brooks.
Peter Glensor, Chair of Greater Wellington Regional Council’s Economic Wellbeing Committee, says the English Electric trains operating on the Johnsonville line are more than 60 years old and beyond their economic life. “After years of sterling service, we have had to recently de-commission some of them due to the extent and cost of the mechanical work required. It is simply uneconomical to pay for the repairs, which could run into the hundreds of thousands, only to have them operating on the line for a very short period of time. I’m sure ratepayers would agree that this is not good use of our funds.”
“We know the disruption Johnsonville commuters have experienced must be frustrating. We are doing the best we can to minimise disruption by implementing a regular and consistent solution to our English Electric shortage. Tranz Metro is looking forward to the introduction of the Matangi trains in six weeks’ time when all English Electrics will be removed, and we will be able to offer passengers a more efficient, comfortable and reliable service,” Mr Brooks says.