A new-look Ganz Mavag commuter train, a pilot for the possible refurbishment of the Wellington rail fleet, returns to regular passenger service tomorrow following a remarkable effort made by KiwiRail.
The two-car unit has been given an extensive mechanical refurbishment, an interior refit and a new external paint scheme.
Peter Glensor, Chair of Greater Wellington’s Economic Wellbeing Committee which oversees public transport, says train’s return was very welcome.
“Every additional train we can get on the track helps meet peak hour demand and takes us closer to having train services back to normal,” Peter Glensor said.
The refurbished train will run on the Kapiti line, with its first service leaving Wellington station at 11:14am on Wednesday.
Passengers will notice the pilot unit has some similar features to the new Matangi trains.
“Inside it looks and feels like a Matangi. It has passenger-demand-operated doors with improved obstacle detection, a full public address system and CCTV, new seating, including some flip-up seats in the wheelchair area, new flooring, plus a passenger information display screen telling passengers what the next station is.”
The improved auxiliary power supply system means there will be no “cold train” syndrome on the new-look Ganz Mavag unit. Reliability will be improved by a modified traction control system which helps mitigate traction motor failures and wheel slip. The completely overhauled compressed air and brake system will also help to boost reliability. Leaky windows and wet floors will become history with all the windows being overhauled.
The performance of the pilot unit will be assessed over two months. “Once we’ve finished the assessment, we’ll be able to make a decision about whether it’s viable and economical to refurbish the entire Ganz Mavag fleet,” Peter Glensor said.
The Ganz Mavag fleet, comprising 44 two-car units, is about 30 years old. The refurbishment should enable the trains to run for at least another 10 years.