Wellington Scoop

Metlink’s longest train – extra 64 seats – on peak afternoon service to Wairarapa

News from Metlink
An additional carriage will be added on the busiest Wairarapa service, the 4:25pm from Wellington to Masterton, from today. This nine carriage train will be the longest passenger service on the Metlink network by almost 20m. It will provide an additional 64 seats to Wairarapa peak services which are continuing to grow in popularity.

Due to the length of the train, we have isolated the door at the southernmost end (closest to Wellington). This means that while the carriage is able to be used, the southern-most door will be locked. The shorter platforms at Waterloo and Petone also mean that passengers will need to board and disembark the service from the three carriages at the north end, closest to Masterton.

Since the nine carriage trial which was held in late 2018 we have been working through the changes required to run a train which is considerably longer than any other. These changes included:

Extending the Wellington rail yard to fit the extra carriage
Measuring and labelling new 9 carriage stopping marks at all Wairarapa station platforms
Working with our team onboard to find a safe process for stopping at platforms with different lengths and therefore different door operations
Testing and improving the onboard radio communications system
Working with our ground crew on the berthing and carriage arrangements in Wellington and Masterton before and after each passenger service

We are continuing to look at options and funding for extending the platforms at Featherston, Woodside and Carterton so that the longer train can fit on the platform.

Since November, we have been running a reconfigured eight carriage train with a mixture of carriage types which provided an additional 34 seats which was in place until the nine carriage train could be operated. This change was introduced following a passenger poll where 75% of respondents voted for this interim measure.

What next for the Wairarapa line?

The only other way to add additional capacity to the Wairarapa rail service would be to purchase additional carriages, or change the timetable and make significant improvements to the signal and points infrastructure on the entire line. These projects represent a major investment, and business cases have been put forward to improve the capacity long term.

Greater Wellington Regional Council welcomed significant investment in the region’s railways, with New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) announcing $193 million in funding in November 2018 to improve the infrastructure and capacity on the region’s rail lines. This includes $96 million in track renewals, largely on the Wairarapa Line.


  1. Dave B, 16. April 2019, 12:28

    If only the kind of money available for road building was available for fixing up public transport. While it is great to get an extra carriage on the Wairarapa Line (albeit with isolated doors), and the promise (some time) of $193 million to improve the rail system and its capacity, it is hardly in the same league as the $billions being squandered on traffic-inducing new motorways at this very moment. Oh for a “balanced” transport policy.

  2. Chris Horne, 16. April 2019, 16:21

    David B will realise that catastrophic climate change and the associated global warming threaten all forms of life on Mother Earth.

    Parliament must move swiftly to pass the Zero Carbon Bill into law. Prompt implementaion of that legislation should mean that Parliament terminates, as a matter of urgency, all motorway construction projects, and invests the billions thus available in our passenger and freight rail networks, coastal freight shipping and bus services.

  3. Dave B, 16. April 2019, 17:52

    You are right Chris. Unfortunately transport policy and carbon-emission-reduction policy have yet to meet and shake hands. Transport policy under the previous government was to build new motorways like there’s no tomorrow. The present government inherited this boondoggle and although it has signalled a move away from it, it has stopped well short of terminating work already underway. So we continue on down the path of greater reliance on road traffic and most of it fossil-fuel-powered.

    Unfortunately many believe the “solution” lies in continuing with this wasteful system but simply converting it to battery power. We have yet to observe what battery vehicles by the billion will do to the planet and we are being a tad presumptuous in assuming that it will be pretty. A sensible transport policy is still one that commits to reducing motor vehicle usage. Boosting Wellington’s rail system is a move in the right direction.


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