mclgnd wrote:Thanks for the background story. I knew most of that but not all.
One of the problems when talking about the EE sets is terminology. The following is for my benefit but it may be of interest to others.
The trains we are talking about are English Electric EMUs. The have been known to Wellingtonians for as long as I can remember as the "units".
The original units were two car and were painted blue. Later, possibly as a war time economy measure, they were repainted in what I consider to be the traditional red colour.
The units came in two and three car formations. Two car set could run anywhere in the Wellington network; the three cars were not permitted on the Jville, presumably because of insufficient power to get up the hill. Originally there was a cab in the dog box so one car trains were possible and there probably are photos of a one car set on the Jville.
In the 1980s some two car sets were upgraded for Johnsonville services. As well as new wiring they were given an olive paint scheme to match the Ganz Mavags. These sets are referred to as the Jvilles. The remaining sets with original wiring worked on the Hutt line. They were not repainted so became known as the red sets. It is possible that originally all sets were known as "reds", I am not sure, but I think that the term "unit" was more common.
I do not know if it was by design or accident but the red sets were all three cars so compatibility with the Jville sets was not an issue.
In 2002 there was a proposal to scrap all Hutt red sets apart from two for Melling services. Fortunately that did not happen. Then the GWRC decide to upgrade the red sets and they were repainted blue - hence the term blue red-set The exception was a three car set that was the only set that had the original large headlights. This was repainted in traditional red and called Cyclops. A short while later it was deemed unsafe for trains to run without yellow front ends and so Cyclops was modified accordingly. Grrrr!!!!!!!
The Jville sets were also re-painted blue, taking them back to the original colour of the Johnsonville units, although probably not the same shade.
Then along came Robyn (Ferrymead, large headlight) and Phoenix (re-built derelict) - they are both red-sets.
In January 2012, about 75 years after EE units first entered service, the operational EE fleet is:
Jville sets 4
3-car blue red-sets 2
Robyn 2-car red-set (with large headlight)
Phoenix 2-car red-set
Cyclops 3-car red-set with large headlight. Currently at Hutt Shops. Fate unknown.
Note that 6 sets are required for peak Jville services so that is why Robyn and Phoenix are helping out.