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The English Electric trains’ 74-year connection with Wellington will end on Monday 25 June when the long-serving trains take their last passengers.
Fran Wilde, Chair of Greater Wellington Regional Council, says the last passenger service, the 2.39pm from Melling to Wellington, is a significant event in the region’s rail history.
“It’s a time for us to celebrate both the sterling service that these 60 year old trains have given to the region and the progress we have made with the modern, 21st century Matangi trains. There are now sufficient numbers of the new trains in service to enable us to let go of the old ones.”
Thirty-five new Matangi trains have now been approved for service and there are only three more still to leave the factory in South Korea. The entire fleet of 48 trains (96 cars) is expected to be in service later this year.
Fran Wilde says the English Electrics are up for sale as scrap metal value. “We’ve had a few expressions of interest but we’re still looking for a good home for one of the units that was fully refurbished a couple of years ago. So if anyone has some cash and would like to own a beautifully restored piece of rail history, we’d love to hear from you!”
English Electrics, named after their manufacturer, began running in Wellington in 1938 following the opening of the Tawa Flat deviation of the North Island Main Trunk line. The fleet began with six two-car units and was expanded almost 10-fold in the early 1950s in preparation for suburban train services to Upper Hutt. About 30 English Electric cars are all that remain today.
Wellington’s last English Electric passenger service will be marked by a short ceremony at Wellington Station at 2pm on Monday 25 June before the public and invited guests board the train for the last return ride.