Powering the Trains in Wellington
Upgrading the power supply and signalling system across the Wellington metro network was one of the most significant parts of the Wellington Region Rail Programme (WRRP), but one of the least noticeable. Modernising parts of the power supply and signalling was necessary so newer, more powerful trains can operate.
The system which supplies power to Wellington's electric trains was improved to accommodate the new fleet of Matangi trains and improve the overall reliability of the network.
There are11 new substations around the network, in addition to the existing 14. The new substations are located beside the railway at:
- Wellington Station (2 substations)
- Kaiwharawhara (2 substations)
- Lower Hutt
- Otaihanga Rd
- Lindale Waikanae
The overhead (traction) lines are being upgraded in many areas, including more conductors to carry the power required to run modern trains.
Signals are like traffic lights for trains, indicating whether it is safe to proceed or not.
When a railway is electrified, precautionary measures are needed to make sure electrification does not interfere with the signalling system. For this reason, electrification schemes are often associated with resignalling of the railway.
In Wellington the railway signalling system is being upgraded and about 190 (30 percent) of the older track circuits replaced. Track circuits are used by the signalling system to work out where trains are on the network and are critical to the safe operation of trains.