New Wellington Train Contract


The contract Auckland train operator Veolia has with Auckland Transport is being used to help frame a new contract for the provision of Wellington’s passenger train services. which will hold train operator KiwiRail more to account for its train service.

Greater Wellington currently lacks an effective contractual mechanism by which to hold KiwiRail accountable for system wide performance. A new contract being thrashed out will do so - including the problem of issues such as late trains.

In March, big changes to the way Wellington commuter rail will operate in relation to the relationship between the Government and the regional council, Greater Wellington were announced and at the time, AKT predicted that those changes could eventually see another train company taking over the running of the service under contract, like Veoila does in Auckland.

Included in the new deal is:

  • Greater Wellington Council will own all metro rail rolling stock. It already owns the new Matangi trains and would take over ownership of the Ganz Mavag units
  • Greater Wellington will own and be responsible for maintaining stations (other than Wellington Station), station car parks, stabling and the electric train depot
  • The Government will support the new arrangements financially through the NZTA
  • The Government will continue to own the Wellington metro rail network (rails, signals and power supply) and fund capital upgrades
  • The Matangi and Ganz Mavag trains operating on the network will be held in a Rolling Stock Owning Company majority owned by GWRC
  • GWRC to take over ownership and responsibility for stations (other than Wellington Station), car parks, train stabling and the electric train depot
  • The Crown (through KiwiRail) to retain ownership of the metro rail track network, the traction and signalling assets, and responsibility for ongoing investment in the upgrade of these assets.
  • GWRC to pay a track access charge to KiwiRail (with subsidy from the NZ Transport Agency) that reflects the fair cost of maintaining the tracks and other assets.


At present there are three contracts between KiwiRail and GWRC – for network access, rolling stock activities and rolling stock maintenance. These expire in 2016.

Greater Wellington is intending to seek KiwiRail’s agreement to establish an overarching or umbrella agreement that will set out KiwiRail’s obligation to coordinate  network access, operations and rolling stock maintenance.

This umbrella agreement will be associated with system wide service reliability and timeliness measures.  Separate technical agreements for access, operations and rolling stock maintenance will be linked to this umbrella agreement.

Wellington station remains Government-owned

The new contract will also recognise that transfer of ownership of rolling stock and stations, other than Wellington Station, to GWRC that formed part of the $165M investment announcement.

The new contract under discussion has these aspects:

Network access: The network agreement includes the granting of access rights to Greater Wellington’s nominated operator together with the operation, maintenance and routine renewal of track, signals and traction.  The access rights will be common to all operators (i.e. freight operators, Veolia etc) and are in an advanced stage of development.  Draft terms and conditions for the operation, maintenance and routine renewal of track, signals and traction have been received from KiwiRail, and will  be recast in GW performance based agreement template.

Operations Agreement: The new operating agreement will include three distinct services: the provision of timetabled train services; the provision of information to passengers; and the collection of fare revenue.  A new agreement is being drafted by drawing from the Veolia agreement that is in place in Auckland and the existing Wellington agreement.  This document is being recast in Greater  Wellington’s performance based agreement template before being presented to KiwiRail for discussion and negotiation.

Rolling Stock Maintenance: The rolling stock maintenance agreement will include asset management, planned maintenance, unplanned maintenance, and management of the spare parts’ inventory.  An interim agreement that included maintenance arrangements for Matangi  was agreed with KiwiRail in March 2011.  The content of this agreement  is to be recast within Greater Wellington’s performance based agreement template, and extended to include GANZ Mavag, English Electric and carriage maintenance and inventory management.

Veolia Transport Auckland operates the Auckland passenger rail network on behalf of Auckland Transport. This contract extends through to March 2014.





  1. Patrick R says:

    A model for AK then?

  2. Donald Neal says:

    OK, so do we get trains with Greater Wellington Region logos on the sides?

  3. Matt L says:

    So if the GWRC are moving to owning the trains themselves, why are Aucklands new trains being brought and owned by Kiwirail?

  4. Luke says:

    @Donald well the matangis have metlink as the predominant branding, same with the newly upgraded Ganz Mavag unit.
    Metlink is the GW brand for PT.

  5. max says:

    “The contract Auckland train operator Veolia has with Auckland Transport is being used to help frame a new contract for the provision of Wellington’s passenger train services. which will hold train operator KiwiRail more to account for its train service.”

    The poor bastards. I weep for Wellington!


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