One of Wellington’s English Electric trains now has a proud new owner in Nelson and will probably be converted into some form of accommodation, following a successful Trade Me auction. The sixty-year old English Electric fleet was officially retired from the Wellington rail network last week and to mark the event Greater Wellington auctioned one of the trains on Trade Me.
The $29,990 reserve was met just hours before the auction was due to close on Monday 2 July. The successful bidder, who wants to remain anonymous at this stage, intends to convert the train into some kind of accommodation.
Zelda MacKenzie, part-time auctioneer and full-time Metlink customer services manager was happy the train wouldn’t end up as scrap.
She says the level of interest in the auction was overwhelming. “When the number of views rose from a couple of hundred to 20,000 within a few hours, I thought we were going to be in for a bit of fun. And we sure were. Trade Me classed it as one of their ‘cool auctions’ and it received more than 85,000 views.”
False hopes were raised mid way through the auction when a bid was received from smiley134. A short time later an apologetic message came in from smiley134: ‘My 4 year old was playing and placed a bid, I don’t actually want to buy the train’.
“Fortunately the bid was removed by Trade Me, otherwise it could have been a very expensive toy purchase.”
Ms MacKenzie’s witty answers to the 300 plus questions about the auction clearly boosted the number of viewers. For example, in reply to a question as to whether the train would be too top heavy to do burn outs, she replied ‘Doing burn outs on nothing bigger than 1km circles means nothing will really topple ever. But I’d come along and watch you try it…’
“I certainly enjoyed answering many of the weird and wacky questions. I think people had a lot of fun with this auction and we’re delighted that it’s ended with a successful bid.”
Greater Wellington is in negotiations with a number of individuals and organisations about the sale of the rest of the trains. About 30 cars are up for sale.