Wellington Scoop

After six hour stoppage, trains start running to Kapiti and Johnsonville (but much later to the Hutt)

All Wellington trains were at a standstill for six hours today. They stopped running at 9am, after Metlink announced that an obstruction on the overhead power lines had “caused damage to multiple trains.” But some trains started running again at 3pm, on a reduced timetable.

Metlink advised at 2pm:

After earlier issues with the overhead power lines a reduced peak timetable will be in operation this afternoon. Services will be running to a 20 minute timetable on the Kapiti lines and a 30 minute timetable on the Johnsonville line.

Services on the Melling line resumed at 4.40, with trains every 30 minutes.

No such luck for the Hutt Valley line – it continued to be replaced by limited buses, till all trains resumed normal services on all lines at 6.45pm.

Metlink explained the cause of this morning’s earlier stoppage:

This morning at 7.25am there was an overhead power outage near Wellington station which suspended all services in and out of Wellington.Preliminary investigations indicate the outage was caused by a fault with one of the new masts being installed by contractors on the Hutt Valley line, as part of the $300 million project to upgrade the Wellington metro network. Some of the structure was installed incorrectly and made contact with trains passing beneath it.

Power was restored to all but one line, where the overhead wires were damaged and one train was disabled just outside of Wellington. On further investigation this overhead issue may have caused damage to trains which had run through this section.

All trains across the entire network were then suspended until a visual inspection of both the trains and overhead wires could be completed. Bus replacements were sourced and Metlink buses accepted rail tickets.

There are 15 trains which need to be brought into the Wellington depot for further inspection. They will need to be taken out of service and inspected to prevent further damage. This means we have less trains available to run peak this afternoon so have a reduced timetable.

Earlier report from Wellington.Scoop
It’s been another morning of disruptions for commuters on all Wellington’s train lines.

All trains were stopped soon after 7am when overhead power was lost between Wellington and Kaiwharawhara. At least 11 scheduled services were then cancelled.

At 8am, Metlink said that power had been restored between Wellington and Kaiwharawhara. Kapiti and Johnsonville Line services had resumed, with significant delays. Services on the Johnsonville Line were being replaced by buses between Wellington and Ngaio.

Metlink said Hutt Valley and Melling Line services were still suspended between Wellington and Kaiwharawhara “while we attempt to rescue a disabled train.” Ten minutes later, it said Hutt Valley and Melling services had resumed, with significant delays. At 8.30: delays on all lines were continuing, and trains were not running to schedule.

Then at 9am: another complete shutdown:

Services on all lines are now bus replaced across the network due to the overhead power issue. Due to an obstruction on the overhead that has caused damage to multiple trains; all trains that have been through the damaged section of lines will need to be taken out of service and inspected to prevent further damage to unaffected trains or overhead power lines. We have sourced limited train replacement buses and regular buses are accepting rail tickets.

Metlink then advised that replacement buses were running half-hourly. And it said regular buses were experiencing heavier than normal loadings. As a result: more delays.

RNZ reports: KiwiRail group chief operating officer Todd Moyle apologised for the delays and said crews were investigating the cause of the fault and working out how long it might take to fix.

Metlink, which manages the train fleet, said the trains that travelled through the fault this morning were all parked at different stations and were being visually checked to see if they were safe to move to a depot. If they were not, they would need to be towed away.

Due to the lack of trains, even if rail services return before the afternoon peak begins, services would be running at a reduced capacity this afternoon and evening.

Metlink’s bus travellers faced extra problems too. At 7.30 Metlink reported “a morning break down on the number 2 service which caused a delay. Two buses will be running to help with capacity issues. Sorry for the delay this morning.”

Plus morning cancellations that weren’t being counted.

And tonight: delays for traffic on State Highway 2. NZTA reported at 5pm:

Due to a prior crash on SH2, southbound traffic is congested from Ngauranga back through the Dowse Interchange and Petone. Please expect significant delays or delay your journey, if possible.

And at 5.15, delays for motorists trying to get out of the city:

Due to a higher number of vehicles leaving the CBD, there are significant northbound delays on SH1, with queues impacting all traffic leaving or travelling through the CBD. Please delay your journey, if possible.


  1. Benjamin Love, 15. August 2019, 8:25

    Bridges ruining dreams of good politics, Metlink ruining dreams of good public transport – what a morning. [via twitter]

  2. Eddie Clark, 15. August 2019, 8:56

    What is *happening* to our once perfectly-decent public transport network, Wellington? 🙁 All trains suspended *again*. [via twitter]

  3. Gwynn Compton, 15. August 2019, 11:00

    First a derailment that damaged multiple points, now an obstruction on the overheard that’s potentially damaged a large number of Matangi units. Something seems to be seriously broken at the entry to Wellington Station. Rail has been chronically underfunded for decades, and it’s good that’s started to turn around. I hope in light of these 2 high profile failures that the govt will prioritise more funding to fix, upgrade, & extend the Wellington rail network.[via twitter]

  4. Jane, 16. August 2019, 8:40

    So who do we vote for in the local body elections?
    What are candidates’ public transport plans for the Wellington Region?