Press Release – Greater Wellington Regional Council
Changes planned for the SE rail carriages on the Wairarapa line mean train commuters will have a more comfortable ride by Christmas.
Greater Wellington Regional Council is aware that a number of passengers are not satisfied with the leg room on the six SE carriages, which were added onto the Wairarapa service on 1 July this year.
The council has now decided to make changes to the carriages which will allow an increase in leg room, and to fix tables into the group seating areas. The changes will be completed prior to Christmas.
Wayne Hastie, General Manager Public Transport, says the SE carriages were introduced to the Wairarapa fleet to improve capacity and punctuality – the two most important and frequently expressed concerns of Wairarapa train commuters whenever surveyed.
“Whilst the new carriages helped fix the capacity issue, some passengers were dissatisfied that they have less leg room than in the other carriages on the line,” says Dr Hastie.
“We have looked at ways to address this, and the changes planned for the SE carriages will give, on average, between 80 to 100mm extra leg space.”
To achieve the additional space, the existing seats will be relocated along the seating track. This means there will be a change to position in relation to windows, and will result in 20 less seats over the five SE carriages.
Dr Hastie says the regional council will work with Kiwi Rail to minimise the impact of the reduced seating, possibly by using the SE carriages during the least crowded time of day. However, he says, long-term there will still be 20 less seats.
“We are making these changes within existing budgets, so there will be no additional cost to ratepayers or train commuters,” he says.
“We also have an internal fit-out planned for 2017/18 when we will be able to consider other improvements to the carriages.”