New Zealand FP class electric multiple unit

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New Zealand FP/FT class
NZR FP class 01.JPG
Matangi electric multiple unit train FP/FT4103 at Wellington Railway Station Platform 9 for a public open day on 9 September 2010.
Matangi artist interior.jpg
Artist's impression of the interior of a FP carriage of the Matangi EMU
In service August 2010
Manufacturer Hyundai Rotem/Mitsui
Built at Changwon, South Korea[1]
Constructed 2008 – 2016
Entered service December 2010 – 2016
Number built 48
Number in service 48
Formation 1 FP power car + 1 FT trailer per unit
Fleet numbers FP 4103 - FP 4610
FT 4103 - FT 4610
Capacity FP: 76 seated, 109 standing
FT: 58 seated, 121 standing[2]
Operator Tranz Metro
Depot(s) Wellington
Line(s) served Wellington suburban lines
Kapiti Line
Hutt Valley Line
Melling Line
Johnsonville Line
Car body construction 20.88 m (68 ft 6 in)
Train length 43.06 m (141 ft 3 in)[2]
Car length 21.53 m (70 ft 8 in) over couplers
Width 2.73 m (8 ft 11 in)
Height 3.64 m (11 ft 11 in) without pantograph
Floor height 1.10 m (3 ft 7 in), FP and FT high floor
0.73 m (2 ft 5 in), FT low floor
Platform height 0.73 m (2 ft 5 in) nominal
Entry Level[1]
Doors 8× electronically operated twin doors (open on demand)[1]
Maximum speed 110 km/h (68 mph) design
95 km/h (59 mph) in service
Weight FP: 42.1 t (41.4 long tons; 46.4 short tons)
FT: 34.8 t (34.3 long tons; 38.4 short tons)[2]
Traction system AC electric
Power output 680 kW (910 hp)[2]
Transmission 2 × 340 kW (460 hp) variable-voltage variable-frequency drive
Acceleration 0.84 m/s2 (2.8 ft/s2)
Deceleration 0.90 m/s2 (3.0 ft/s2) service
1.20 m/s2 (3.9 ft/s2) emergency
Power supply 2 × 50 kVA auxiliary power units, producing 230 V 50 Hz from traction supply
Train heating Heating and air conditioning
Electric system(s) 1600 V DC overhead
Current collection method Pantograph
AAR wheel arrangement Bo-Bo (FP)
2-2 (FT)
Braking system(s) Rheostatic and pneumatic
Coupling system Knuckle
Multiple working Within class only
Track gauge 3 ft 6 in (1,067 mm)

The New Zealand FP/FT "Matangi" class[3][4] (/ˈmɑːtʌŋi/) are a class of electric multiple units used on the suburban rail network of New Zealand's capital city, Wellington. The class, consisting of an FP power car and an FT trailer car, are operated on all electrified lines of the network which comprise the Hutt Valley line to Upper Hutt, the Kapiti Line to Waikanae, the Melling Line and the Johnsonville Line. The units are owned by Greater Wellington Rail Ltd,[1] a subsidiary of the Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC) and are operated by Tranz Metro, the Wellington suburban service subsidiary of the state-owned rail operator KiwiRail.[5]

The FP/FT units were built in South Korea by a consortium of Hyundai Rotem and Mitsui, with the first unit arriving in New Zealand in July 2010 and entering full-time service in March 2011. The first batch of 44 units, the 4000 series units, allowed an increase in the capacity of the Wellington network, and allowed the retirement of the remaining DM/D class "English Electric" multiple units that were introduced between 1949 and 1954. The 4000 series also relegated the EM/ET "Ganz-Mavag" class multiple units (introduced 1982-83) to peak services only. A second batch of 35 units, the 5000 series, is set to be introduced in 2015-16 to replace the remaining EM/ET units.


In 2005 GWRC unveiled a plan for the upgrade of the Wellington commuter rail system to increase capacity and service frequencies. The plan also included:

  • Extension of commuter services to Waikanae. This involved extending electrification from Paraparaumu and duplicating the line from Mackay’s Crossing (north of Paekakariki) to just south of the Waikanae River. The line was renamed from the Paraparaumu Line to the Kapiti Line when services commenced from Waikanae on 20 February 2011.
  • New station building and associated facilities at Waikanae, and the reconstruction of those at Paraparaumu.
  • Upgrade of facilities at several stations.
  • The acquisition of new EMU (electric multiple unit) rolling stock.

Tender and supply[edit]

In December 2006, GWRC announced that it would begin the tendering process for 29 EMU's to replace the DM/D English Electric EMUs and to provide additional network capacity.[6] GWRC formed a subsidiary named Greater Wellington Rail Limited to purchase the EMUs and three tenders were shortlisted; Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles (CAF), a consortium of Rotem & Mitsui and a consortium of EDi Rail & Bombardier transportation.[7] In July 2007 GWRC announced that the preferred supplier was the consortium of Rotem and Mitsui with the units to be built at the Rotem works in Seoul, South Korea.[8][9]

In April 2008, GWRC announced that an additional 10 units would be purchased,[10] following an earlier addition of another 6 units to the original order.[11][12] A further addition to the order of three units was announced by GWRC on 4 November 2008, bringing the total number of units to 48 (96 cars).[13]

On 23 August 2012 the Greater Wellington Regional Council announced that the option of placing another order for a further 35 units was preferred over refurbishing the EM/ET units,[14] with a resulting uniform fleet of 83 units for the Wellington electrified network intended. The first two of these units, FP/FT 5010 and 5027, landed in Auckland Port on 12 May 2015, off the vessel Thermopylae. [15]


GWRC advised that the Request for Tender documentation included the following requirements, although some specifications may change and no weight specifications were available.[16]

  • The car body height shall not exceed 3506 mm above rail level (ARL) with the pantograph lowered.
  • The external width shall not exceed 2730 mm.
  • The maximum height of the floor shall not exceed 1106 mm ARL.
  • The platform level floor height shall be nominally 680 mm ARL.
  • The single car length shall not exceed 20700 mm.
  • Bogie centres shall be 15300 mm.

The cars have AC traction gear and convert the DC power supply to AC.[17] The inverters converting the power give the trains a distinctive high-pitched hum that can be heard when the train is stationary.

The interior configuration allows for more standing room, increasing the passenger capacity compared with the EM/ET class units. This does not come at the expense of seating capacity, which remains the same but with 42 fewer front/rear-facing seats per set – the A (western) side of the section between the doors of each FT car contains only longitudinal seats, to widen the aisle.

The preliminary design was modified with the addition of an emergency exit door at each end to allow for evacuation in the numerous single-track tunnels on the Wellington network. The end doors also allows train staff to move between units while the train is moving or where no platform is available.

The FP/FT class differs from the EM/ET class in that the power car is the northern car of the pair rather than the southern one. This is due to only the FT car having a floor level with the platforms for wheelchair access (and a retractable ramp if needed) and having the FT at the southern end makes it closer to the concourse at Wellington Railway Station. For easy identification, the doors leading to the low floor area of the FT car are painted lime green, whereas the remainder are painted navy blue. Additional differences include a change to open-on-demand doors - rather than all the doors opening when the train stops at the station (as on the DM/D and EM/ET class), the doors are unlocked and passengers must press a button to open that set of doors. At terminal stations, the doors automatically close again after 90 seconds to keep the elements out of the train interior.

The FP/FT units have a door interlock system, which prevents the driver applying power while the train doors are still open and unlocked. On the EM/ET units, drivers had to double-check the "doors closed" light was on before applying power, potentially leading to human error. This configuration led to an incident in March 2013 when three EM/ET units left Wingate station with their doors open and no passenger staff on-board, after the driver mistakenly thought he heard the "right-of-way" buzzer.[18]

The second batch of units will have some changes as standard, including fully automatic Scharfenberg couplers instead of the first batch's semi-automatic knuckle couplers, and LED lamps for interior lighting instead of fluorescent tubes. Both changes will be retrofitted to the first batch of units.[19]


A large amount of preparation works were undertaken in the Wellington region to allow the units to operate: clearances in tunnels, at platforms and under some bridges had to be increased to take the new trains.[11] KiwiRail installed eleven new rectifier substations to increase the electrical supply for the new trains (nine on existing electrified lines, and two on the new extension to Waikanae), and hardened the signalling system against interference from their AC traction equipment.[17] Despite the power upgrades the length of Matangi trains was initially limited to a maximum of six cars out of concern for the load long trains would have on the power supply.[20] Testing performed by Tranz Metro and KiwiRail in September 2011 with eight-car sets in revenue service on the Hutt Valley and Kapiti Lines found that the network is able to cope with a limited number of long trains (one at a time on the Hutt Valley line and two on the Kapiti line) resulting in eight-car trains being permitted.[21]

The first unit, 4103, operated preview services on 23 December 2010: the 9:05am Hutt Valley service ex-Wellington and the return 10:00am service from Upper Hutt.[22] After these services it returned to testing duties, including four-car running with 4132.

It was intended for the units to be running in regular service on the Hutt Valley and Melling Lines from January 2011, followed by the Johnsonville Line by May 2011 and Kapiti Line from July 2011.[23][24][25] but this has been delayed. Regular revenue service commenced on 25 March 2011 with unit 4103 running on the Hutt Valley Line, initially running two off-peak return services to Upper Hutt and a Melling Line service each weekday[26] However a combination of slower-than-expected testing, certification and driver-training programmes saw this timetable slip, prompting criticism from commuters. Overcrowding on existing services saw temporary measures introduced in April 2011, with morning peak Melling line trains replaced by buses to free up units for the Kapiti and Hutt Valley Lines, and the minimum fare removed on Wellington-bound Wairarapa Connection services to allow Hutt Valley Line passengers to use the train without penalty (the latter change became permanent in October 2011).[27]

4103 at Khandallah station on the Johnsonville Line. The Matangi units were the first new rolling stock to serve the Johnsonville line in 58 years.

Other units were introduced to service as they arrived and completed testing and services checks and were cleared by the New Zealand Transport Agency. In June 2011, all seven units in service were temporarily withdrawn after problems was discovered in the auxiliary power units of two units.[28] A faulty inductor coil in the APUs caused them to overheat, and the trains were fitted with extra cooling fans and settings for the APU power supply were altered so the trains could continue in service while replacement APUs were shipped out from Korea.

Introduction to the Kapiti Line was achieved in August 2011 when sufficient units became available. Another significant milestone was achieved in November 2011 when the units took over about 50% of the weekday off-peak services on these lines from the Ganz-Mavag units.[29]

Services began on the Johnsonville Line on 19 March 2012, having been delayed by a combination of driver training needs, units being required on the other lines due to rolling stock shortages caused by reliability issues with some Ganz units, and the withdrawal of the EO/SE set from service – ironically the older DM/D class units used on the Johnsonville line had fewer issues - and operational clearance not being granted by NZTA. While all units are capable of operating on this line, a small number will initially be dedicated to operating the majority of services.[29]

The lower-floor trailer unit has an area with folding seats for wheelchairs or prams, and for three bicycles during off-peak (and during peak if in the non-peak direction of travel). The entry to low floor area is marked by a lime green door, whereas all other doors are navy blue. In July 2012, a passenger with a bicycle was ordered off a peak-hour train at Petone, and after refusing to comply and holding up the train for 15 minutes, was subsequently removed by police.[30]

Rail squeal[edit]

Not long after the units were introduced on the Johnsonville Line, residents along the line started complaining of the trains emitting a high-pitched squealing noise as they rounded some corners.[31] Although squealing caused by wheel slip is not uncommon on rail systems worldwide, the gradient and curve radius on the Johnsonville Line exacerbated it. During the 2012-13 Christmas/New Year period, dispensers of friction modification fluid were fitted to the line to lubricate the rail and help reduce the noise. The fluid has produced mixed results, reducing the squeal in some places but making no difference on others, however has the unfortunate side-effect of reducing rail adhesion – when combined with a wet rail, it has caused trains to overshoot platforms and to lose traction, resulting in cancellations or delays. Wheel dampers are also to be trialled on two units to help reduce the squeal.[32]

The second batch of units, to be introduced from mid-2015, will have sound dampeners in-built. A rubber ring will be placed inside the wheel to reduce resonance as the wheel turns through a curve.[33]


During their time in service, there have been two significant accidents involving Matangi units, both involving trains overrunning Melling station and hitting the stop block at the end of the line. The cause of both accidents are under investigation.

  • On the morning of 15 April 2013, unit 4149 overran the station and hit the stop block. Several passengers on board suffered minor injuries, while the unit suffered minor frontal damage. [34]
  • On the morning of 27 May 2014, unit 4472 overran the station and took out the stop block and the overhead line pole behind it. Passengers reported the driver leaving the cab telling them the brakes had failed and they should brace for impact shortly before the crash. Two passengers were taken to hospital for minor injuries and shock.[35]


The class wears an unpainted stainless steel finish, offset by the Metlink branding colours of dark blue and lime green, with yellow safety ends.

Naming and classification[edit]

The name Matangi, Māori for wind,[nb 1] came from a competition run by GWRC. Over 100 entries were received, including several Thomas the Tank Engine-inspired suggestions. It was nominated by Linden commuter Brian Bond, chosen for Wellington's windy reputation and the new trains being "as fast as the wind" and a "breath of fresh air to the transport system". The name was also chosen as it is easy to pronounce and spell, is distinctively Kiwi, and had support from local iwi (Māori tribes).[36] From their introduction until 2014, the units displayed "Matangi" on their destination signs when a destination was not selected; in 2014, this was changed to display "" (the GWRC's public transport website) instead.

The class letters have been chosen as a continuation of the class letters assigned to the DM/D English Electric and EM/ET Ganz Mavag EMUs. FP stands for Matangi Power car (FM was not chosen to avoid confusion with NZR FM guards vans from the 1980s, some of which are preserved) and FT for Matangi Trailer car. Road numbers are FP 4103 to FP 4610 and FT 4103 to FT 4610, with each FP operating with their corresponding numbered FT.

The numbering uses the TMS system, in which the first three numbers are the train number and the last number is a check digit.

Class register[edit]

Key: In service Out of service Auckland Transport service Preserved Overhaul/Repair Scrapped
TMS number Delivered Introduced Status Notes
4103 31 July 2010 23 Dec 2010 (one off trip)
25 Mar 2011 (full service)
In service
4126 26 January 2011 July 2011 In service
4132 26 September 2010 April 2011 In service Johnsonville Line unit 3
4149 25 October 2010 April 2011 In service
4155 26 December 2010 May 2011 In service Johnsonville Line unit 2
4161 26 December 2010 May 2011 In service
4178 26 January 2011 June 2011 In service
4184 26 May 2011 August 2011 In service
4190 26 January 2011 June 2011 In service
4201 26 May 2011 August 2011 In service
4218 28 June 2011 October 2011 In service
4224 26 July 2011 October 2011 In service
4230 26 July 2011 October 2011 In service
4247 26 August 2011 November 2011 In service Johnsonville Line unit 4
4253 8 February 2012 June 2012 In service
4276 27 February 2012 June 2012 In service
4282 29 March 2012 August 2012 In service
4299 29 March 2012 June 2012 In service
4316 3 May 2012 July 2012 In service
4322 3 May 2012 August 2012 In service
4339 26 May 2011 August 2011 In service Johnsonville Line unit 1
4345 26 May 2011 August 2011 In service
4351 28 June 2011 August 2011 In service
4368 28 June 2011 September 2011 In service
4374 29 November 2011 March 2012 In service
4380 1 October 2011 December 2011 In service
4397 26 July 2011 November 2011 Under repair Johnsonville Line unit 5. Hit a downed traction pole at Ava station on 8 December 2014.[37]
4408 26 August 2011 November 2011 In service Johnsonville Line unit 6
4414 30 October 2011 March 2012 In service
4420 between 28 June & 1 July 2012 September 2012 In service
4437 26/27 May 2012 September 2012 In service
4443 between 28 June & 1 July 2012 September 2012 In service
4466 26/27 May 2012 September 2012 In service
4472 26 August 2011 November 2011 In service[38] Known unofficially as the Flying Matangi or "Flying Scotsman" after the famous British LNER Class A3 steam locomotive 4472 Flying Scotsman. Overran the stop block at Melling station on 27 May 2014.[35]
4489 1 October 2011 February 2012 In service
4495 between 28 June & 1 July 2012 October 2012 In service
4506 30 October 2011 March 2012 In service
4512 29 November 2011 April 2012 In service
4529 5 January 2012 April 2012 In service
4535 8 February 2012 July 2012 In service
4541 5 January 2012 April 2012 In service
4558 5 January 2012 April 2012 In service
4564 5 January 2012 April 2012 In service
4570 27 February 2012 July 2012 In service
4587 3 May 2012 August 2012 In service
4593 1 September 2012 November 2012 In service
4604 1 September 2012 November 2012 In service
4610 1 September 2012 November 2012 In service
5010 12 May 2015 Commissioning
5027 12 May 2015 Commissioning


  1. ^ Matangi is one of several Māori words for wind or breeze; the most prevalent other word is hau, as in Hauraki Gulf (north wind).


  1. ^ a b c d "Matangi EMU - Fact Sheet" (PDF). 
  2. ^ a b c d KiwiRail Fleet Equipment Diagrams
  3. ^ "Ganz Mavag Prototype Refurbishment" (PDF). Greater Wellington Regional Council. 10 May 2010. 
  4. ^ "Wellington Regional Rail Plan 2010–2035" (PDF). Greater Wellington Regional Council. 
  5. ^ "$168m Wellington Rail Package Signed". The Dominion Post. 5 July 2011. 
  6. ^ "Greater Wellington - All aboard for new train tenders". Greater Wellington Regional Council. 2006-12-20. Retrieved 2008-08-08. [dead link]
  7. ^ "Metlink News - Issue 2, May 2007". Metlink. May 2007. Archived from the original on 2008-04-19. Retrieved 2008-10-02. 
  8. ^ "Greater Wellington - Greater Wellington negotiating with preferred supplier for trains". Greater Wellington Regional Council. 2007-07-24. Retrieved 2008-08-08. [dead link]
  9. ^ "Greater Wellington - Greater Wellington buys new electric commuter trains". Greater Wellington Regional Council. 2007-11-13. Retrieved 2008-08-08. [dead link]
  10. ^ "Greater Wellington - Option to buy 20 additional commuter trains exercised". Greater Wellington Regional Council. 2008-04-30. Retrieved 2008-10-02. [dead link]
  11. ^ a b "Metlink News - Issue 5, April 2008" (PDF). Metlink. April 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-06. [dead link]
  12. ^ "Extra carriages plan backed by full council". Greater Wellington Regional Council. 2007-02-22. Retrieved 2008-10-02. [dead link]
  13. ^ "More new trains on order" (Press release). Greater Wellington Regional Council. 2008-11-04. Retrieved 2008-11-05. 
  14. ^ "Wellington’s trains: replace or refurbish?". Greater Wellington Regional Council. 23 August 2012. 
  15. ^ "New Matangi trains arrive in Wellington from Korea". Stuff (Fairfax). 24 May 2015. 
  16. ^ Official Information Request 2008/083 of 4 August 2008
  17. ^ a b Taylor, Bruce (October–November 2008). "Upgrading the Line to Waikanae". The New Zealand Railway Observer (Wellington: New Zealand Railway and Locomotive Society) 65 (4): 130. ISSN 0028-8624. 
  18. ^ "Investigation 13-102 -- Passenger train travelled with doors open, Wingate - Taita, 28 March 2013". Transport Accident Investigation Commission. Retrieved 19 July 2014. 
  19. ^ Forbes, Michael (17 June 2013). "Train deal a 'win-win' for commuters, ratepayers". The Dominion Post (via Retrieved 3 July 2013. 
  20. ^ KOPP, MICHAEL (16 September 2010). "New Matangi trains glides in". Hutt News (Hutt City: Fairfax New Zealand). 
  21. ^ Ramshaw, Kevin, ed. (29 September 2011), "Matangi unit trials deliver good news on power consumption", The Express (114): 3 
  22. ^ "Matangi makes first passenger trip". 22 December 2010. Retrieved 23 December 2010. 
  23. ^ Greater Wellington Regional Council in the Kapiti Observer of 8 March 2010 page 7
  24. ^ Metlink News # 12
  25. ^ Matangi News
  26. ^ CHAPMAN, KATIE (26 March 2011). "Matangi train finally rolling in Wellington". The Dominion Post (Wellington: Fairfax New Zealand). Retrieved 26 March 2011. 
  27. ^ "Temporary Changes to Wellington Train Operations Announced to Address Crowding and Fare Collection". Greater Wellington Regional Council. 6 April 2011. Retrieved 7 November 2014. 
  28. ^ "Matangi fault investigated". Greater Wellington Regional Council. 21 June 2011. Retrieved 31 March 2013. 
  29. ^ a b "Matangi news". Retrieved 12 June 2012. 
  30. ^ "Passenger with bike ordered off train". Stuff. 1 August 2012. Retrieved 5 September 2012. 
  31. ^ Jackman, Amy (26 July 2012). "Screeching trains anger residents". The Wellingtonian (via Retrieved 6 April 2013. 
  32. ^ "Squeaky wheels blamed on steep track". The Dominion Post (via 21 March 2013. Retrieved 6 April 2013. 
  33. ^ "Fresh batch of trains hopefully squeal free". The Dominion Post. 8 January 2015. Retrieved 8 January 2015. 
  34. ^ "Melling Line reopened after train crashes". The Dominion Post (via 15 April 2013. Retrieved 6 October 2013. 
  35. ^ a b Cheng, Derek (27 May 2014). "Delays after train hits pole in Wellington". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 27 May 2014. 
  36. ^ "Greater Wellington - New name for new trains". Greater Wellington Regional Council. 10 March 2008. Retrieved 15 March 2013. 
  37. ^ Hunt, Tom (9 December 2014). "Power pole in train's path". Wellington: The Dominion Post. Retrieved 9 December 2014. 
  38. ^ "Rail & Maritime Transport Union Volume 2015 #2" (PDF). Rail and Maritime Transport Union. 27 February 2015. Retrieved 27 February 2015. 

External links[edit]