Electric Masts, New Matangis


While the anti-rail New Zealand Road Transport Herald continues to say closing rail at this time proves we don’t need rail here, Auckland and Wellington are getting on with new electric systems - Auckland seeing the first signs of electric masts at Baldwin Ave and Newmarket and Wellington getting more new Matangi electric trains which will run next year.

Again I am filing this while riding fast electric trains on the Brisbane line - on time, safe, clean, regular, efficient, very busy even now at 9pm at night and did I mention they are experimenting with free wi-fi on board! I’m travelling on a day pass for about $16 which also enabled me to ride the city ferries! Oddly I have been asked only once to show it at Central station. No one else has checked so I guess it must be run on trust.

Anyway thanks reader Andrew for taking a few snaps in my absence so everyone but tired old Granddad Harold can share the excitement. The sign of masts is another sense of relief that electrification is happening, even though the payment for the new trains, the Auckland $30m overspend bill demanded by Joyce and the unusual Chinese tender preference process lurk in the shadows.

Baldwin's revamp

Newmarket gets ready for electrification

More Matangi arrive |www.wn.net.nz




  1. Anthony says:

    I was on trademe the other day and someone made a thread wondering why there are masts appearing along side the tracks, i replied saying that it is the electrification and he and several others were completely surprised!

    it is amazing how little news this has made to the media, but it isn’t surprising.

  2. Glenn says:

    Excellent to see more Matangi delivered. It’s been WEEKS since the 3rd unit arrived.
    For what it’s worth, the Wikipedia article on Matangi is listing 2 units arrived on 24th Dec - TMS numbers 4155 & 4161. So that makes 5 that have arrived (I cannot vouch for accuracy).
    Good news, and looking forward to testing of 4 & 6 carriage trains in the next month or so..

  3. Anon says:

    I’ve been thinking, will 38 EMU’s be enough?. And would there be enough trains for when the Northern Line, Airport Line and Howick Line open?

  4. Matt L says:

    Anon - no it won’t be enough, there will also be 13 electric loco’s to pull 6 car SA sets on the southern line. For any other new lines like the airport line, we will require more trains and they would be considered as part of each project.

  5. Anon says:

    So when a electric loco train gets to Britomart and continues through the CBD Loop, would it continue to the Western Line or go back to the Southern Line via Grafton again?. Also, so they would serve the Onehunga & Manukau Branches too?

  6. Matt says:

    Anon, it can do either path. The exit at Mt Eden will be switched such that trains can then head west or head back east to Newmarket and then south on the Southern Line.

    There’s no specific reason for the locos vs EMUs to be used on any given line, as far as I know, other than the particular consists in use to make up numbers of cars on given services.

  7. Matt L says:

    They will southern line only, EMU’s will operate on all other lines as 6 car sets except for on the Onehunga branch which will be 3 car sets due to platform lengths, this is unlikely to change.

    Once the CBD tunnel is built the SA sets won’t be used on the network as they are unable to operate through the tunnel due to fire safety issues, the CBDRL study also included costs for buying enough EMU’s to maintain a 10 min frequency on all lines, the minimum needed was 4 more EMU’s which just goes to show that the network would be more efficient with the tunnel.

    Also Matt there is a reason why EMU’s have been assigned to certain lines, out west EMU’s will be able to handle the curves, grades and frequent stops much better than a loco hauled SA set could do. Also at Onehunga they will only be able to have 3 car EMU’s due to platform sizes and I assume the Eastern will have them as that is meant to be connected up to Manukau and there may be a space constraint with the platform length at either Manukau or Britomart (a loco at one end will be alright for one but not the other).

  8. ingolfson says:

    I don’t want to be too negative, but with the train tendering delays, we might have an electrified system for several years, but with no trains to run on it…

    The “Joyce delay” I call it - he started right out of the gate when in power by a) blocking the regional fuel tax and b) putting the loco procumenet on hold while he told staff to investigate PPP procument instead. All his fault, and no kidding.

  9. Mike says:


    The “Joyce delay” has another name.

    “The biggest recession since 1929″

  10. ingolfson says:

    Yeah, right.

  11. So the New Zealand Road Transport Herald speaks out against the railway in general and rail electrification in particular. Well, as the prophet said, “They would, wouldn’t they!” It’s called selfish self-interest and they only succeed in their condemnatory attempts if the rest of the population takes any notice!
    But I am worried at the anti-rail sentiments of the Government, especially your Transport Minister.
    On another topic, what is the latest news regarding the proposed new line to Marsden? I haven’t read anything about that project for ages.
    Best wishes.

  12. Nick R says:

    John, the National party are preparing to close the North Auckland freight line because it is ‘uneconomic’ but they are planning to build a two billion dollar motorway to be used by trucks instead. If that happens the Marsden branch dies too.


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