Wellington Scoop

After three days of delays, faulty signals repaired and trains running on schedule

After three days of delays, signals faults on the Hutt Valley line and the Wairarapa line have now been repaired. MetLink reports that today’s trains are running on time.

But late in the day …

And on Friday, more problems:

Wellington.Scoop – February 21
Travellers on the Hutt Valley and Wairarapa lines had to put up with a third day of delays today caused by a signals fault between Ava and Woburn which was continuing in spite of overnight efforts to fix it. Trains were however running on schedule on the Kapiti line (after a signals fault was repaired) and on the Johnsonville line (after a slip was removed.)

Hutt Valley line delays today continued to be up to 20 minutes and MetLink said the delays would continue for the rest of the day. At 5.45, things were getting worse – MetLink said trains were facing “large delays.”

However it also said that KiwiRail crews had identified the signal fault between Ava and Woburn and were working to fix it. And at 6.30: the signals fault between Ava and Woburn has been fixed! “But there will still be delays throughout the evening.”

A complication causing extra delays on the Wairarapa line today was a signals fault between Featherston and Upper Hutt caused by storm damage last night. KiwiRail crews are investigating it. MetLink says delays are likely to continue on the Wairarapa line tomorrow.

Wellington.Scoop – February 20
Hutt Valley, Melling and Wairarapa train services have been delayed all day due to a continuing signal fault on the Hutt Valley Line. Crews have been working to fix the fault between Ava and Woburn, however they have been unable to fully resolve the issue.

Delays during the day were up to 20 minutes. But peak hour afternoon trains faced delays of 40 minutes, with some cancellations.

MetLink says the delays are likely to continue for a third day, tomorrow.

Background from MetLink
Hutt Valley, Melling and Wairarapa Line rail services experienced significant delays yesterday due to a major signal fault between Ava and Trentham. The flow on effect from the signal fault caused significant delays to the afternoon’s peak services. While some of the issues have been repaired, maintenance crews are still working on the fault between Ava and Woburn and delays are expected for Tuesday.

Signal Fault

A signal relays information to the train driver on the state of the line ahead. These are red, yellow and green lights which provide direction on speed or tell the driver to stop. If a signal stops working the train staff follow procedures to safely pass. The driver may have to contact the control centre and get the okay to proceed. The train is also likely to travel slower through the area controlled by the signal as an additional safety measure.

Wellington.Scoop – January 19
Train services on the Hutt Valley line were delayed this morning – and then replaced by buses – because of a signals fault. The line reopened by mid-afternoon, but evening peak services experienced more delays because of the earlier breakdown. And MetLink says morning services may also be affected.

News from MetLink at 11am
Due to significant delays caused by signal faults, buses will be replacing train services between Petone and Upper Hutt this morning.

Please expect delays as the bus services will not be running to a scheduled timetable.

We are working to find the source of the fault and hope to have this resolved as soon as possible. Significant delays will continue for at least another hour. Your patience this morning is appreciated and we apologise for the inconvenience this has caused.

UPDATE from MetLink at 3.20pm
We have been given clearance to run train services between Wellington and Upper Hutt.

The signal issue between Woburn and Pomare and Pomare to Trentham has been repaired; however maintainers are still working on Ava to Woburn.

UPDATE from MetLink at 6.15pm
Services had been running to the regular scheduled timetable during this afternoon’s peak; however the signal fault between Ava and Woburn has caused minor delays to significantly increase over the past hour.

The 4:25pm service from Wellington to Masterton departed Wellington 43 minutes late
The 5:30pm service from Wellington to Masterton departed Wellington 30 minutes late

Hutt Valley
All services on the Hutt Valley and Melling Lines are experiencing delays of up to 25 minutes.

UPDATE from MetLink at 8pm
Services have returned to schedule. We apologise for the delays this evening and thank you for your patience

Train travellers were not the only ones who were delayed today.


  1. Marques, 21. February 2018, 7:43

    Maybe it’s time the government steps in. I don’t like people always using the government to solve problems but this is getting ridiculous.

  2. Keith Flinders, 21. February 2018, 12:11

    Rotting gantry poles, failing points, corroding overhead catenary wire mechanical support equipment some up to 70 years old, failing and out of date signalling equipment. Makes one wonder where all the ratepayer funds collected in the public transport levy get allocated to, and why the GWRC isn’t keeping a watch on what the service providers use our money for. Do we need someone better qualified within GWRC management to look after the interests of both rate payers and public transport users ?

    We had the absurd situation of millions of ratepayer dollars that the GWRC paid to Wellington Cable Ltd ending up as dividends paid to the WCC instead of being used to properly maintain the trolley bus network. The result being 280 fume belching old buses poisoning the public.

  3. Dave B, 22. February 2018, 13:43

    Talking about fume-belching buses, I believe the worst are the NZCS (New Zealand Coach Services) buses that are regularly used to replace trains. As they sit there idling away alongside Platform 9 at Wellington railway station, their exhaust stench is terrible.