Wellington [NZ] - Closure date postponed again
K. Budach - 22.05.17
In late May, Greater Wellington Regional Council once again had to postpone the planned closure of the local trolleybus network. The original date of 30 June 2017 had previously been moved to 31 July and this has now been pushed back to 31 October 2017. The reasons for these repeated changes are that suitable replacements for the trolleybuses are not yet available. The withdrawn trolley 362, which is being rebuilt "Whrightspeed Technology" by the namesake producer, is not yet available for trial runs and has not yet returned to Wellington. Even without any operational experience under its belt yet, the Wrightspeed hybrid system is hardly an equivalent replacement for the trolleys, neither from an environmental nor an economical point of view.
Even if the delivery of the Wrightspeed buses is further delayed, this is unlikely to cause further postponements of the trolleybus network closure, as a contractor has already been assigned with the removal of the power lines and works are expected to commence in November 2017.
Despite of the closure decision, the previously mothballed trolleybus 301 returned to revenue service in February 2017, even though it had already been downgraded to spare parts donor. Trolley 301 is the two-axle prototype of the current generation of Designline vehicles. Even trolley 337, which had already been withdrawn at Kilbernie depot, is to undergo an overhaul and return to regular service.
The reactivated two-axle trolley 301 meets the 6-wheeler 382 on 28 April 2017 along Willis Street. Photo: Alan Wickens
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