Council buys trains
One of New Zealand’s biggest ever used vehicle transactions took place last Tuesday.
Greater Wellington chairwoman Fran Wilde and Transport Minister Steven Joyce signed a deal giving the council ownership of the KiwiRail’s 40 Ganz Mavag suburban rail unit pairs, the maintenance buildings and all stations except Wellington.
Under the deal, the government will fund upgrading the rest of Wellington’s rail network, the parts that were not essential for the new Matangi trains.
Mr Joyce said neither party had got all it wanted, but close’’.
‘‘There is a saying – if you’re doing a deal and both sides walk away feeling slightly bruised then you’ve probably done a pretty good deal.
‘‘And I think in this situation both sides would say there has been a lot of push and pull.’’
Ms Wilde said, ‘‘Hell froze after a few times during the course of this long negotiation, but we got there in the end.’’
For its part, the regional council will begin refurbishing the 29year-old trains in the next few months, at an estimated cost of
‘‘ pretty $ 80 million, and upgrade the stations.
Ms Wilde said there was a process to be worked through before the Ganz Mavags could be refurbished, but the work looked almost certain to go the Hutt workshops.
Greater Wellington transport division manager Wayne Hastie said later the council had to go through the appropriate steps and cost benefit analyses, and satisfy conditions for New Zealand Transport Agency funding.
‘‘We are talking a matter of months,’’ he said. ‘‘It’s months not years away.’’