24 Sep 2023

Hybrid trains on the way for lower North Island

3:01 pm on 24 September 2023
Waterloo train station. New Metlink buses first business day in operation, some delays to services.

Great Wellington Regional Council has announced it will purchase 18 four-car, tri-mode trains from WSP. Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

The Greater Wellington region is a step closer to ditching the diesel engine.

Greater Wellington Regional Council has announced it will buy 18 four-car, tri-mode hybrid trains. It has announced WSP as its procurement partner to help it buy the trains.

As part of the Lower North Island Rail Integrated Mobility (LNIRIM) project, the government announced in April it would purchase the trains, and associated infrastructure, for the Wairarapa and Manawatū rail lines.

"The new trains and infrastructure will quadruple services between Palmerston North and Wellington on the Manawatū line and double peak services between Masterton and the capital on the Wairarapa line" Greater Wellington chair Daran Ponter said.

Ponter said Wellington had an electrified network through to Waikanae and Upper Hutt.

The new hybrid trains would then be able to run on battery through to Palmerston North and Masterton.

Greater Wellington City Council Chair Daran Ponter

Daran Ponter. Photo: LDR

Ponter said they would effectively replace the diesel locomotive.

"These are the first hybrid trains probably in the Southern Hemisphere."

Ponter said the new trains would also include a host of features such as comfortable seating, air conditioning, heating, onboard toilets and a real time information system.

The trains were expected to arrive in 2028/2029.

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