By Red Unit To Wellington

A driver's view of a Waterloo - Taita - Wellington Journey

The English Electric EMUs - known variously as the Units or the Reds (because of their colour) - operate on the 1500V DC Hutt Valley Line during peak periods. They have passenger windows at both the north and south ends, next to the driver's cabs. In contrast the newer Ganz Mavag EMUs have a passenger window only at the north end - the south end of the Ganz Mavags is occupied by the luggage compartment and driver's cab. Consequently it is only on the Reds that photographs can be taken from the the front window as the train travels to Wellington.

In 2001 it was rumoured that peak hour use of the Reds would soon be limited to the Melling Line. I therefore took the opportunity of travelling by red from Waterloo to Taita and Taita to Wellington during the morning peak. The photographs I took form the subject of this page.

Drawing of an English Electric EMU with a "Taita; First Stop Ava" destination sign. From the Official Opening Ceremony Leaflet, 12 October 1953.

Bits And Pieces...

June 2012 update: The last English Electric service ran on the 25th of June 2012, just one week short of 74 years since the first set ran on the Johnsonville line. I have recorded the dates of The last English Electric Services.

November 2006 update: In 2004 work began on a programme to refurbish the English Electric units. The three-car red sets and the two-car olive sets were painted two-tone blue. An exception was the remaining large headlight set which was painted red and named Cyclops. Due to increasing passenger numbers (as a result of petrol price rises) the English Electric cars are likely to remain in service for some time yet.

Who Operates Services? Suburban train services in Wellington are operated by Tranz Metro, under contract to the Wellington Regional Council.

Versions of English Electric Units There were three versions of the English Electric Units in use in Wellington in 2002 - the Reds (the subject of his page) which are used on Hutt and Kapiti Coast peak services; the "Olive" Johnsonville units and a refurbished "Blue" set.

When the English Electric units were introduced on the Johnsonville Line in the late 1930s they were painted blue; later all cars were painted red. In the 1980s the Johnsonville cars were upgraded and painted in colours similar to the original Ganz Mavag livery.

Very last Overhaul? In about 2001 one two-car Olive set was given a thorough overhaul and painted blue. However, the cost proved too high and in 2005 work began on on a "Dulux" overhaul of the red and also the olive (Johnsonville) sets. They were painted blue with a Metro logo. Some red cars were used for spare parts.

2002 Observation In August 2002 I observed a six car red set working the 1645 Wellington - Upper Hutt Express - the need to lengthen Ganz operated trains has meant that the reds have not been restricted to the Melling Line.

Headlights In the 1980s most of the cars were fitted with dual,small headlights. Fortunately several cars retain the original large headlight.

Gangways In 2002 the cars were fitted with Ganz style gangways. Painted yellow they look out of place but I understand that the new gangways are preferred by Tranz Metro staff.

My Timetable on 17 January 2001:

Depart Waterloo

7 38am

Arrive Taita

7 47am

Depart Taita

7 56am

Arrive Wellington

8 26am

Click on an image for a full size photo.....

1. Start of journey. 7:17 am Wellington - Taita arrives at Waterloo at 7:38 am.

2. Approaching Epuni Station.

3. Taita at 7:47 am. The low speed light on 28 Up Platform Starting From Up Main authorises movement into the storage siding.

4. English Electric EMU moves into the storage siding at Taita.

5. Red EMU in storage siding at 7:51 am while 6:35 am Masterton - Wellington diesel hauled train passes.

6. Out of the storage siding and onto the down main. Site of Taita yard is in the background. The loop was lifted in 2000.

7. Ready for departure for Wellington from Taita on the Down Main.

8. Driver's view departing Taita at 7:56 am. Overhead for lifted loop is still in place.

9. Approaching Wingate.

10. Passing an Up Ganz Mavag EMU between Wingate and Naenae. Signal is 1933.

11. Portal mounted signal between Naenae and Epuni.

12. Arriving Waterloo Station at 8:05 am. A Ganz Mavag EMU is pulling into the Up platform.

13. Arriving at Woburn Station. 0km peg for Gracefield Branch is about half way along platform

14. Departing Woburn. About to pass under Whites Line East ramp. Gracefield Branch curves to left on other side of the ramp. Points are hand wound following a fire several years ago.

15. Gracefield Branch curves to the to the left while the main passes under the Randwick Rd ramp. Signal 7 Up Directing From Gracefield is fixed red following a station fire several years ago.

16. Crossing the Hutt River at Ava while passing an Up EMU.

17. Approaching Ava Station.

18. Departing Ava. About to pass under the Cuba St ramp. Signal is 1237. The A light goes out when the Fletcher siding switchlock is operated.

19. Stopped at Petone Station 8:13 am. The 7:58 am Wellington - Masterton train passes. The Signalbox is behind the loco.

20. Alongside Wellington Harbour at Horokiwi. SH2 (Hutt Road) on right. Signal is Petone 65 Down Advanced Starting


21. Ngauranga. The Wellington business district is in the background. Site of lifted Nguaranga yard on right.

22. Stopped at Kaiwharawhara Station. A2R Down Outer Home Approach is showing yellow/red. This is the only stretch of 4-track in NZ. SH1/SH2 on left.

23. 2R Down Outer Home at Wellington Junction. Down NIMT Main on right.

24. Wellington Junction. Ferry Terminal out of sight on left. NIMT Down Main on right.

25. A39 Down Home Approach is showing a yellow low speed light. The Johnsonville Line bank is on the right. Loco Depot out of sight to left.

 26. Signal 39 Wellington Down Home (left) at stop. Westpac Trust Stadium left rear. Walkways from station to stadium in the background. The other signal is 38 Down Home (from Johnsonville).

27. 8 25 a m, Past A Box and English Electric EMU at station throat. Signal displaying yellow is 49 Down Directing and indicates we are going into either P8 or P9.

28. I was planning to photograph the approach to the platforms but I ran out of film!

Last Updated: Tue Jun 26 16:21:16 NZST 2012

Valid HTML 4.01!