Wellington Scoop

New owners taking delivery of Wellington’s old ‘celebrity red’ English Electric trains

Press Release – Greater Wellington Regional Council
More tender loving care is in store for two English Electric trains, bought and fully refurbished by the Greater Wellington Regional Council, when they move into the hands of their rail heritage owners.

The bright red Phoenix and Cyclops trains were restored about five years ago to help meet increasing demand from Wellington commuters until the new Matangi trains arrived. The two trains were used largely on the Hutt Valley line.

Wellington’s fleet of 37 English Electric cars was retired last June, 74 years after the first began running in the region. One of the trains was sold via Trade Me and is now at its new home in Nelson. Another was sold to a private individual and two cars have been donated to the NZ Fire Service and the NZ Defence Force.

Peter Glensor, Chair of the Regional Council’s Economic Wellbeing Committee, which is responsible for public transport, says most of the remaining fleet has been sold for scrap. “But we wanted these two celebrity red trains that were so lovingly restored to go to good homes.”

The Phoenix is bound for the National Railway Museum Project alongside the Ferrymead Railway at the Ferrymead Historic Park in Christchurch.

The Cyclops train has been secured by the Wellington Heritage Multiple Unit Preservation Trust (WHMUPT) and will be based at the Rimutaka Incline Railway Heritage Trust site at Maymorn, north of Upper Hutt.

Bryce Pender, spokesperson for the Preservation Trust, says the trust does not plan for the Cyclops to remain idle. “We really want it to be up and running but that will cost, so we’re keen to start fundraising as soon as possible to make this happen.”

Peter Glensor says he’s pleased one of the trains will remain in the Wellington region. “Wellington has a rich rail heritage. Keeping one of these marvellous old trains in the region helps that heritage remain visible and tangible. I’m really pleased that we could help the Multiple Unit Preservation Trust achieve this.”

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1 comment:

  1. Phil C, 26. January 2013, 0:34


    I’m surprised that rail societies aorund the world have not been door knocking for spare parts from these trains. Anyone know who is scrapping them? I’d love to get some bits from these trains that I fondly remember from my youth.

    Three cheers for the great Kiwi workers that maintained them over the decades. Don’t listen to the financiers; Kiwis are great at making and stuff and making it last.