Improving the Wairarapa Line
Wairarapa Line developments
GWRC has welcomed 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.
As you may have noticed there has been an increase of services being replaced by bus, this is due to the commencement of the project mentioned above. To further facilitate ongoing works, Sunday services will either be changing times or be replaced by bus. Please ensure you check times before you travel.
Performance & Capacity
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.
In April 2019, a larger 9-car Wairarapa Line service was introduced to allow more seated capacity for our peak commuters.
In the summer season, hot weather can 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.