Service Updates > Longest Metlink passenger train introduced on the Wairarapa line
Valid from: 15/04/2019 4:30pm
We are pleased to announce that from Monday 15 April there will be an additional carriage added on the busiest Wairarapa service, the 4:25pm from Wellington to Masterton. 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 off for use. 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 2018 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 project 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. For more details about this project work visit the KiwiRail website (external link) . You can visit the Maintaining our Railways page (external link) for more information about the work that is carried out during planned bus replacements.