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70 Years of Clean and Green Trains

Tranz Metro Press Information
30 June 2008

Tranz Metro Celebrates 70 Years of Clean and Green Trains on the Johnsonville Line on 2nd July
- 46,000 tonnes of CO2 Saved

Wednesday the 2nd of July marks a very special anniversary for the residents of Johnsonville in Wellington. It was seventy years ago to the day that the first electrified train service took passengers along the line.

For the anniversary day, a commemorative $1 ticket will be enough for travel anywhere on the Johnsonville to Wellington line between 9am and 3pm.

The first commuter line in Wellington to be electrified, the clean and green trains have saved around 46,000 tonnes of CO2 according to Tranz Metro. “The original idea was to utilise low cost electricity from hydro electric power stations, but this has also resulted in a considerable environmental benefit to Wellington, New Zealand and the planet,” comments Nigel Parry, communications manager for Tranz Metro.

The line itself dates back to 1885 and was the main line north from the capital until 1937, when the Tawa flat deviation was opened to all rail traffic.
In the early 1930’s rail management considered closing the bypassed

Johnsonville line. However local residents campaigned to keep their vital link to the city of Wellington. The idea of using electrical multiple units was put forward and accepted. These would be the first of their kind in New Zealand.
On 24th June 1936, English Electric’s tender for six motor and six trailer cars was accepted and testing began of the delivered units in April 1938. After some adjustments to clearances at the Davis Street crossing, further testing was carried out.

The first train ran on the 2nd July 1938, arriving at Johnsonville at 3.50pm for an official opening ceremony carried out by Minister of Railways, Dan Sullivan and Wellington Mayor Thomas Hislop.

Normal services ran from the following Monday. The service proved such a success that further cars were ordered in the 1940’s.

“The electrification of the Johnsonville line was a trailblazing moment for commuter rail in New Zealand,” comments Mr Parry. “Tranz Metro now takes around ten thousand cars a day of Wellington’s roads and the Johnsonville line has had a big part to play in the clean and green nature of Wellington.”

More information is available from www.tranzmetro.co.nz

ENDS

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