Dismantling Wellington’s trolley bus wires
4 October 2017
The first step in dismantling Wellington’s trolley bus wires begins next week
Work will start on a disused section in the city centre on 10 October as part of a 12-month contract to remove 82 kilometres of overhead wires.
Work on dismantling the rest of the network will begin on 1 November after power to the trolleys is switched off on 31 October.
Greater Wellington Regional Council Chief Executive Greg Campbell says the trolleys have served the city well over the decades, but it’s time to look to new environmentally-friendly technology that can be used throughout the entire city and region.
“Next year, the region will get a new fleet of low-emission diesels, as well as 10 electric double-deckers – and in the next few years we’ll add another 22 electric double-deckers.
“Over time, more and more electric buses will come into service until we eventually achieve our goal of being the first region in the country to have an all-electric fleet.”
Wellington Cable Car Ltd awarded the wire removal contract in May to specialist firm Broadspectrum on behalf of Greater Wellington. Wellington City Council owns Wellington Cable Car Ltd.
Greater Wellington and the NZ Transport Agency will share the cost of removal work.
Wellington Cable Car Chief Executive Officer Simon Fleisher says the week-long first stage will enable Broadspectrum to fine-tune its equipment, processes and safety procedures before the work begins in earnest.
The disused emergency section runs along Featherston Street, Hunter Street, Victoria Street, Jervois Quay, Wakefield Street, lower Taranaki Street and Whitmore Street.
“Residents along trolley routes should expect some limited machinery noise, but only for one night because Broadspectrum crews anticipate removing about 200 metres of line each evening.
“Residents may also be asked to temporarily park their cars elsewhere so crews can get access to overhead wires and poles. Broadspectrum will do letter drops so there will be plenty of warning, and Broadspectrum will also have information online and through its contact centre.
Crews will concentrate on central city areas in January and February before moving outwards to suburban terminals.
He says the overhead network should still be regarded as “live” after 31 October, because other factors could result in the wires being electrically dangerous.
“All safe distances and overhead restraint requirements should be retained until the network is fully removed.”
The overhead network needs to be removed sooner rather than later because it needs regular maintenance, can be a hazard to overheight vehicles, and can complicate other construction and maintenance work in the city centre.
Extra buses will cover for the trolleys until the region’s new fleet starts service next July.
Mr Campbell says the new fleet will result in an immediate drop in harmful emission levels – 38 per cent in Wellington and 86 per cent in the Hutt Valley, where older buses operate.
“Most of the region’s new fleet will meet the Euro VI standard – the most stringent in the world – and this will give us one of the cleanest fleets in the world.”
He says bus services will continue as usual along routes once serviced by the trolleys.