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.
Interior of an FT carriage of the Matangi EMU
In serviceAugust 2010
ManufacturerHyundai Rotem/Mitsui
Built atChangwon, South Korea[1]
ReplacedDM/D class
EM/ET class
Constructed2008–2012, 2014–2016
Entered serviceDecember 2010 – 2016
Number built83
Number in service83
Formation1 FP power car + 1 FT trailer per unit
Fleet numbers4103–4610
Capacity147 seated, 230 standing (FP/FT unit)[2]
Operator(s)Tranz Metro (2010–16)
Transdev Wellington (2016–)
Line(s) servedWellington suburban lines
Kapiti Line
Hutt Valley Line
Melling Line
Johnsonville Line
Car body constructionSteel
Train length43.06 m (141 ft 3 in)[2]
Car length21.53 m (70 ft 8 in) over couplers
20.88 m (68 ft 6 in) over body
Width2.73 m (8 ft 11 in)
Height3.64 m (11 ft 11 in) without pantograph
Floor height1.10 m (3 ft 7 in), FP and FT high floor
0.73 m (2 ft 5 in), FT low floor
Platform height0.73 m (2 ft 5 in) nominal
Doors8× electronically operated twin doors (open on demand)[1]
Maximum speed110 km/h (68 mph) design
95 km/h (59 mph) in service
Weight76.9 t (75.7 long tons; 84.8 short tons) total[2]
Traction systemAC electric
Power output680 kW (910 hp)[2]
Transmission2× 340 kW (460 hp) variable-voltage variable-frequency drive
Acceleration0.84 m/s2 (2.8 ft/s2)
Deceleration0.90 m/s2 (3.0 ft/s2) service
1.20 m/s2 (3.9 ft/s2) emergency
Power supply2 × 50 kVA auxiliary power units, producing 230 V 50 Hz from traction supply
Train heatingHeating and air conditioning
Electric system(s)1500 V DC overhead
Current collection methodPantograph
AAR wheel arrangementBo-Bo+2-2
Braking system(s)Rheostatic, electropneumatic and air
Coupling systemKnuckle
Multiple workingWithin class only
Track gauge3 ft 6 in (1,067 mm)

The New Zealand FP/FT "Matangi" class[3][4] (/ˈmɑːtʌŋi/) is 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, operates services on all electrified lines of the network which comprise the Kapiti, Hutt Valley, Melling and Johnsonville lines. The units are owned by Greater Wellington Rail Ltd,[1] a subsidiary of the Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC), and are run by the company Transdev Wellington since 2016. They were previously run by Tranz Metro, formerly a division of KiwiRail.

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 48 units, the 4000 series units, allowed an increase in the capacity of the Wellington network, and allowed the retirement of the ageing 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, were 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.
  • The lowering of Tunnels, extension of loops and renewal of track on the Johnsonville Line.
  • Upgrade of facilities at several stations.
  • Resurfacing and heightening of all the platforms on the Johnsonville Line and some on other lines.
  • 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 EMUs to replace the DM/D English Electric EMUs and to provide additional network capacity.[5] 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.[6] 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 Changwon, South Korea.[7][8]

In April 2008, GWRC announced that an additional 10 units would be purchased,[9] following an earlier addition of another 6 units to the original order.[10][11] 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).[12]

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,[13] as refurbishing the existing fleet of Ganz Mavag units would be costly and their life would only be extended by 15 years, and still suffer excessive breakdowns. The result of the change would be a totally uniform fleet. The first two of these units, FP/FT 5010 and 5027, landed at the Port of Auckland on 12 May 2015, off the vessel Thermopylae.[14]


GWRC advised that the Request for Tender documentation included the following requirements, although some specifications may change and no weight specifications were available.[15]

  • 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.[16] 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.[17]

The 5000 series units have fully automatic Scharfenberg couplers as standard instead of the first batch's semi-automatic knuckle couplers (for emergency coupling to the EMs), and LED lamps for headlights and interior lighting instead of halogen bulbs and fluorescent tubes. Both changes are being retrofitted to the 4000 series units.[18]

With the withdrawal of the EM units on 27 May 2016, the operating voltage was increased to 1700V DC to increase the power output available. In 2020, power supply upgrades on the Kapiti Line ($10.1 million) will allow even longer (8 car) trains.[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.[10] 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.[16] The operating voltage was increased to 1600 volts DC to maximise the power available. 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 9:05 am Hutt Valley service ex-Wellington and the return 10:00 am 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 74 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 (oil) 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 5000 series units, introduced from mid-2015, have sound dampeners in-built. A rubber ring is placed inside the wheel to reduce resonance as the wheel turns through a curve.[33]


During their time in service, there have been three accidents involving Matangi units. Two of the accidents involved trains overrunning Melling station.

  • 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] The KiwiRail investigation determined that driver error was the cause.[35]
  • 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.[36]
  • On the morning of 4 July 2018, A Matangi train hit a person as they were trying to cross the tracks near Linden station in Tawa.[37] Witnesses say the person had headphones in and did not hear the train coming. The person died at the scene.


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).[38] 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. The first batch of units are numbered in the 4000 series: FP 4103 to FP 4610 and FT 4103 to FT 4610, with each FP operating with their corresponding numbered FT. The second batch of units are numbered in the 5000 series.

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


  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). Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 February 2012.
  2. ^ a b c d KiwiRail 2011, p. 53.
  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. ^ "Greater Wellington - All aboard for new train tenders". Greater Wellington Regional Council. 20 December 2006. Archived from the original on 15 October 2008. Retrieved 8 August 2008.
  6. ^ "Metlink News - Issue 2, May 2007". Metlink. May 2007. Archived from the original on 19 April 2008. Retrieved 2 October 2008.
  7. ^ "Greater Wellington - Greater Wellington negotiating with preferred supplier for trains". Greater Wellington Regional Council. 24 July 2007. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 8 August 2008.
  8. ^ "Greater Wellington - Greater Wellington buys new electric commuter trains". Greater Wellington Regional Council. 13 November 2007. Archived from the original on 15 October 2008. Retrieved 8 August 2008.
  9. ^ "Greater Wellington - Option to buy 20 additional commuter trains exercised". Greater Wellington Regional Council. 30 April 2008. Archived from the original on 14 October 2008. Retrieved 2 October 2008.
  10. ^ a b "Metlink News - Issue 5, April 2008" (PDF). Metlink. April 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on 14 October 2008. Retrieved 6 August 2008.
  11. ^ "Extra carriages plan backed by full council". Greater Wellington Regional Council. 22 February 2007. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 2 October 2008.
  12. ^ "More new trains on order" (Press release). Greater Wellington Regional Council. 4 November 2008. Retrieved 5 November 2008.[dead link]
  13. ^ "Wellington's trains: replace or refurbish?". Greater Wellington Regional Council. 23 August 2012.
  14. ^ "New Matangi trains arrive in Wellington from Korea". Stuff (Fairfax). 24 May 2015.
  15. ^ Official Information Request 2008/083 of 4 August 2008
  16. ^ 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.
  17. ^ "Investigation 13-102 -- Passenger train travelled with doors open, Wingate - Taita, 28 March 2013". Transport Accident Investigation Commission. Retrieved 19 July 2014.
  18. ^ Forbes, Michael (17 June 2013). "Train deal a 'win-win' for commuters, ratepayers". The Dominion Post (via Retrieved 3 July 2013.
  19. ^ Wellington Timetable Changes and Infrastructure Upgrades by Bruce Taylor in' "The New Zealand Railway Observer" June–July 2018; No 349 Volume 75 No 2 pages 62,63
  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), p. 3
  22. ^ "Matangi makes first passenger trip". 22 December 2010. Archived from the original on 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". Archived from the original on 27 March 2010. Retrieved 27 March 2010.
  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. Archived from the original on 7 November 2014. Retrieved 7 November 2014.
  28. ^ "Matangi fault investigated". Greater Wellington Regional Council. 21 June 2011. Archived from the original on 22 February 2013. Retrieved 31 March 2013.
  29. ^ a b "Matangi news". Archived from the original on 17 July 2012. 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. ^ "Melling Collision" (PDF). 15 April 2013. Retrieved 30 June 2017.
  36. ^ Cheng, Derek; Quilliam, Rebecca (27 May 2014). "Delays after train hits pole in Wellington". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 27 May 2014.
  37. ^ "Person killed after being struck by train at Tawa, near Wellington". Stuff. Retrieved 19 July 2018.
  38. ^ "Greater Wellington - New name for new trains". Greater Wellington Regional Council. 10 March 2008. Archived from the original on 22 February 2013. Retrieved 15 March 2013.

Further reading[edit]

  • KiwiRail Locomotive and Rolling Stock Register - 2011. Mosgiel, New Zealand: Triple M Productions. 2011. ISBN 978-0-9582072-2-5.

External links[edit]