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Breakdown adds to commuter woes

It appears Wairarapa commuters haven’t seen the last of extensive delays due to track and infrastructure issues, after a Monday train service was replaced by a bus that then broke down.

Metlink group manager Samantha Gain said the Wairarapa Line [WRL] 12.45pm rail services was delayed by over an hour due to a track issue in Petone.

“The service was terminated at Featherston, and bus replaced to Masterton to enable the train to return to Wellington in time for the evening peak,” she said.

During the journey from Featherston to Masterton, the replacement bus f overheated and broke down, which was reported to the bus operator at 3.22pm.

“Passengers were transferred to another bus, which was on the move by 3.51pm,” Gain said.

“Metlink appreciates our Wairarapa customers are frustrated by ongoing delays and disruptions to their rail services.

“We’re grateful for our passengers’ patience and acknowledge they were thoroughly inconvenienced by Monday’s unplanned rail issue and bus breakdown.”

This latest delay comes after Friday’s announcement by Metlink and KiwiRail that there will be further WRL speed restrictions due to issues with the interface between the newly laid track and passenger carriages.

The newly laid tracks were completed in December.

Metlink confirmed that an area of track spanning 16km near South Featherston had been laid 4mm narrower on average than they should have been, resulting in vibrations as the track and wheels of the WRL service carriages interact.

“While the vibration issue has had no impact on the locomotives pulling the Wairarapa trains or KiwiRail’s freight locomotives and wagons, its impact on carriages means trains cannot run at their top speed and are restricted to 60kmh instead of the intended 100kmh,” a Metlink statement said.

KiwiRail has said it is investigating all possible options to resolve the issue and will let commuters know in due course.

As this story was going to print, Metlink announced that Tuesday’s 4.25pm and 5.30pm WRL services would face delays and disruption “due to an ongoing mechanical issue”.

The Metlink Journey Planner advised “there may be the possibility of services being replaced by bus, however, if we do get clearance services will face delays before departure from Wellington”.

“Seek other transport options if possible.”

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