Wellington’s New Rail Era


The arrival in Wellington this morning of the first of the 48 new electric trains for the capital’s commuter services ushers in a new era.

The new Matangi train will be spotted on test runs on the Upper Hutt and Kapiti lines over the next few months, before the trains start proper service about December.

It’s been another busy few weeks for Wellington rail upgrades as it gets ready for the new trains.

Box Hill Station on the Johnsonville Line re-opened to passengers yesterday, now improvements to the station have been completed.

It was closed in May so the platform could be extended and re-surfaced.

Johnsonville before the improvements

Work to improve and extend Johnsonville Station is now also complete.

The two stations were the last on the line to be upgraded, following work over the past year on all other platforms on the Johnsonville Line.
Making the tunnels on the Johnsonville line larger was another important development work.

The new third main line into Wellington Railway Station was successfully brought into service on Monday morning.

KiwiRail completed the final changes to railway signalling over the weekend to enable the new line to be gradually brought into operation over this week.

Wellington rail upgrade Project Director David Gordon said things have gone relatively smoothly so the team felt positive about how the new line would operate in future.

“It is still early stages but we feel good about how things went, There is an inevitable bedding-in process as we introduce new infrastructure so we’ll be watching closely how things go over the coming weeks,” David Gordon said.

The entry to Wellington's train station

“Our passengers are unlikely to notice any immediate benefit but over time they may realise that their trains have to wait less often at the entrance to Wellington Station.”

Sharp eyed passengers on Monday’s Hutt Valley services which travelled on the new line noticed there were a number of occasions when the new line was used with two trains coming in at the same time, when previously one would have waited to take its turn in the queue.

The line is designed to reduce congestion at a known bottleneck in the rail system. It is ‘bi-directional’ meaning in the morning it will be one of two lines moving trains into station platforms, and in the evening trains will use it to travel away from the city.

Exciting times for Wellington rail commuters - and in a couple of years, Aucklanders will be able to match the excitement with electric trains.




  1. Anthony M says:

    I may be in Timaru, but im just as exicted!

  2. Matt L says:

    There are photos on getty images of the first matangi being unloaded and put onto the rails.


  3. JC says:

    Look great - didn’t realise the end doors are not centred to provide a larger driver’s cab windscreen.


  4. Paul says:

    A little excitement from Sydney, hopefully at Xmas I’ll check it all out.

  5. karl says:

    “Look great – didn’t realise the end doors are not centred to provide a larger driver’s cab windscreen.”

    Hmmm, that looks strange - won’t it affect connectivity? I mean even if the next car is aligned correctly with the door, won’t it be an issue in curves - or are the carriage connections train staff only?


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