The council expects standardisation of the fleet to deliver savings of $NZ 228m ($US 190m) in maintenance and training costs over the projected 30-35 year life of the new trains.

Last year GWRC announced it would borrow $NZ 80m to refurbish the EMs, and one set was upgraded to assess passenger reaction and the cost of the work.

Hyundai-Rotem and KiwiRail are currently delivering 48 Matangi sets for operation on electrified suburban services in the Welington area. These units will replace all of the remaining English Electric emus, which entered service in the late 1930s and early 1940s.