Improving the Wairarapa Line
Wairarapa Line developments
Thirty seats will be added onto peak Wairarapa services by the end of November 2018. This will mean the new eight-carriage SE/SW train with extra seats will operate Monday to Friday, at 6.20am from Masterton and the busy 4.25pm service from Wellington.
In a poll of Wairarapa Line users, 75% of respondents said they wanted additional seating.
Additionally GWRC welcomes significant investment in the region’s railways, with New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) announcing $193 million in funding to improve the infrastructure and capacity on the region’s rail lines. This includes $96 million in track renewals, largely on the Wairarapa Line.
A nine-carriage Wairarapa Line service is planned for early 2019.
Along with the speed restrictions on the line, Wairarapa services have also been affected by inconsistent running times of services and congestion once the services arrive on the Hutt Valley line. To help with reliability, we have implemented a few changes to the timetable, with further changes to the Hutt Valley timetable expected soon.
Our timetable changes have focused on slight changes to running times. Our new timetables have more realistic running times. In the past, the running time of services was often longer than scheduled, for example, trains would arrive 15 minutes after arrival times shown on the timetable, due to speed restrictions or other factors holding services up. Time has now been added to particular spots where services have been losing time due to speed restrictions, plus we've been making travel times through certain sections more realistic.
This will also allow Wairarapa services to better slot into allocated spaces between services south of Upper Hutt, reducing conflict with Hutt Valley line services.
We are now in the summer season when hot weather will also cause delays to trains. The hotter weather may see speed restrictions in place if tracks become heated and there is a risk that they are out of alignment. The rail network is monitored by a remote system, which measures the temperature of the track and the air temperature. When these reach a certain point, usually 40°C, heat inspections are carried out. Temporary speed restrictions are introduced in selected locations as a precautionary measure.
Speed restrictions mean that arrival times are later than scheduled. To find out more about how heat affects rail, visit our What Delays Trains page.
While the air conditioning on the Wairarapa services is functioning as designed, we accept it is not proving effective in dealing with Wellington's latest heatwave, especially on busy services. We are working to improve comfort levels. The air conditioning system is turned on hours in advance of journeys and curtains are being closed to reduce sun exposure. We are also trialling changes on some carriages to improve the system’s air flow. If successful, we will make these changes across the fleet. We also have an international expert in rail air conditioning systems here to advise on other improvements we can make.
Keeping up to date
Keep an eye on this page for regular progress updates. We will also post updates on Twitter @metlinkwgtn (external link) , GWRC facebook (external link) and the Wairarapa Commuters facebook (external link) pages. Send us your contact details and we will can also keep you up to date via email.
Also watch our Service Updates page for line-specific information.