Wednesday, April 24, 2024
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Tragedy on the train tracks

A person has died after being hit by a train in the Remutaka tunnel.

Emergency services were called to the incident at 7.20am yesterday. Passengers were evacuated from carriages just inside the southern end of the tunnel.

Passenger Jack Grabham said police told passengers they had established a crime scene.

“We were about three-quarters of the way through the tunnel and it was normal, then suddenly we heard the horn – everyone in the carriage felt the bump.

“The train slowed down and stopped right at the entrance.

“Staff had to ascertain what had happened so the poor old driver had to get out. I think they ascertained pretty quickly.

“There’s no way on the planet he’d have had time to stop.”

Grabham said that the communication from Metlink staff and police was very good.

“It happened at about 7.15-7.20am, so we were probably in there for about an hour, but they kept the train running, so we had air conditioning and lights.

“What they did then was they said the gas levels in the tunnel were very acceptable and moved us down towards the front.

“Police told us to hold onto the rail and we walked probably about 100m to Maymorn, and got on buses to Wellington.”

Grabham said he felt for the family and the driver.

“For us it’s a moment of inconvenience, but for the family of this person it’s a lifetime of grief.”

Metlink general manager Samantha Gain said Metlink staff were deeply saddened by the incident and their thoughts were with the family of the victim.

“We also extend our condolences to the train driver involved in this incident and we are working with our partners to ensure the driver gets support.

“Our thoughts too are with the passengers and staff of the 6.20am train from Masterton who were evacuated from their carriages just inside the southern end of the Remutaka tunnel after emergency services attended.”

Gain said passengers were escorted on foot to nearby Maymorn Station, collected by three buses and taken to Wellington Railway Station.

Passengers on the following 6.47am train from Masterton disembarked at Featherston Station where they were met by four buses and taken to Wellington Railway Station.

“Metlink understands that iwi will bless the site of the incident this morning before clearance is given for the 6.47am and 6.20am trains to proceed to Wellington without passengers.”

Peak-time and evening trains on the Wairarapa line operated as usual.

George Shiers
George Shiers
George Shiers is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age interested in politics and social issues. He reports regularly on a range of topics including infrastructure, housing, and transport. George is also the Tararua reporter and helps cover police, fire and court stories.

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