Old Wellington trains take last trip
Mon, 25 Jun 2012 6:30p.m.
By Dan Parker
Wellington's English Electric trains have made their final scheduled trip, 74 years after they began operating.
The trains were retired on the same day that a new service started between Auckland and the capital.
Pulling out of Wellington for the last time one of the old English Electrics bid farewell to a city it's served since 1938.
On board the last service was a passenger who rode the very first. Gretta Beck made the journey as a seven year old with her father. But she's celebrating rather than commiserating.
“I mean these trains are lovely, but the new ones are wonderful. The new Matangi and it’s progress, we progress, life progresses.”
Today also saw progress in Auckland with the introduction of a new Northern Explorer replacing the Overlander and its aging carriages running to and from Wellington.
Kiwirail chief executive Jim Quinn says the changes have been a long time coming
“It’s way overdue, that's running assets as long as they could. They were obviously well built and they have lasted very well.”
But some of them may not last much longer.
A couple of the old English electrics will be restored and put in museums, but many of the 16 remaining cars will be sold as scrap.
Rail enthusiasts can stop that from happening by buying them on Trade Me, and one man is willing to pay $30,000.
“We have plans to obtain the set and keep it in operational condition and eventually return it to the main line,” rail enthusiast Rob Riley says.
But that would be for the odd cameo - the English Electric days as a workhorse are done.
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30/08/2012 5:52:59 p.m.
i was on that train!
oh how i miss them
27/06/2012 9:09:53 a.m.
The original English Electric trains dating from 1938 were all sadly written off during the 1980s - the present stock was built in 1942 and 1946, and has given at least 60 years' worth of good service.I believe that all of these trains should be preserved rather than sold for scrap - it is disgraceful that they are being sold when there are enthusiast groups out there who might like one.Of all of the sets that needs to be preserved, the best is the DM 556 'Cyclops' set with its original headlight. Not to preserve this would be a crying shame. Of course, it is in relatively good shape, so why not have GWRC donate it to the Rail Heritage Trust for excursion service in Wellington?
25/06/2012 7:39:26 p.m.
John C wrote:
These trains are old - disgracefully so - but they date from the 1950's, not the 1930's. The original engines and carriages have long since been retired.
25/06/2012 7:08:12 p.m.
Why in hell doesn!t the government take them over and send them down too Christchurch remove all the seats and lift them off their bogies and transport them to a site here in Christchurch and turn them into accommodation units for single mens quarters for the rebuild?Al it will take is a bit of lining and furnishings as the unit is already there.
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