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$25 million contract signed for 18 new Carriages

$25 million contract signed for 18 new Wairarapa Carriages

Greater Wellington Regional Council has signed a $25 million contract with Toll NZ Ltd to build 18 new passenger carriages for the Wairarapa - Wellington service.

"I am delighted that after all the talk about improving the region's passenger rail services we're now seeing action," said Ian Buchanan, Chairman of Greater Wellington Regional Council.

Mr Buchanan said that the half million passengers who used the service every year would notice a substantial improvement in comfort and accessibility once the new carriages begin entering service in early 2007.

"The new carriages will have their own toilet facilities, and each train will have a servery area for refreshments. Better quality seating and the latest in lighting and air conditioning are among the new features we've negotiated in the contract, and access will also be improved for those with disabilities."

Toll NZ CEO David Jackson said the signing of the contract gives further confidence in the quality and professionalism of work being carried out at the Hillside workshops.

"Our Professional Services Group has just won the Corporate Award for excellence from the Australasian Railway Association for their work on another project and we are delighted our expertise in this area is recognised by the Greater Wellington Regional Council," said Mr Jackson.

Ian Buchanan said the Government also deserved credit for agreeing to fund the replacement of the outdated carriages currently operating on the route.

"This year the Government has made a substantial commitment to upgrading and improving Wellington's public transport and roading infrastructure. The $25 million for the Wairarapa carriages is in addition to $65 million announced in January that is targeted at improving rail services, and a further $30 million at enhancing other public transport services such as buses."

Ian Buchanan said that the signing of today's contract was not only good news for commuters it was also good news for Dunedin's Hillside workshops where the carriages will be built.

"I'm extremely pleased that Toll NZ has been able to keep the work building the carriages within New Zealand. All in all, this is a great start to the process of upgrading our rail, bus and roading infrastructure. The region's public can expect to see more improvements over the next few years as we get on with these long awaited projects."

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