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Council Pleads for Patience Over 'Appalling' Lack of Punctual Train Services on Wairarapa Line

By Nick James, Wellington Issues Reporter

Published on May 27, 2024

Introduction

Commuters on the Wairarapa line have been enduring frustrating delays due to a lack of punctuality in train services. New Metlink data reveals that trains are arriving at stations on time less than a quarter of the time.

Speed Restrictions and Vibrations

For several months, commuters in the region have faced speed restrictions caused by newly laid tracks, resulting in vibrations on the carriages. In April, only 22.8% of trains arrived within five minutes of their scheduled time, an improvement from the abysmal 5.8% recorded in February.

Reasons Behind the Delays

Greater Wellington Regional Council acknowledges the "appalling" punctuality on the Wairarapa line but cites several reasons. KiwiRail's Future Rail program, aimed at enhancing track reliability by 2028, involves significant infrastructure fixes, including bridges and tracks, which temporarily slow down trains. Additionally, vibrations on the carriages have been a persistent issue.

Commitment to Improvement

Thomas Nash, Chairperson of the Greater Wellington Regional Council's transport committee, empathizes with frustrated commuters. He emphasizes the need to address both rail infrastructure and acquire new trains. The government's plan to purchase 18 hybrid trains will significantly improve services between Palmerston North and Wellington, as well as peak services between Masterton and the capital.

Looking Ahead

While Nash acknowledges the challenges, he urges patience from passengers. The new trains are expected to be operational between 2028 and 2029, promising a smoother ride for Wairarapa commuters.

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