Train commuters on the Wairarapa Line were impacted by “large signal failures across all rail lines” on Thursday night.
A KiwiRail spokesperson said there was a signals outage across the lower North Island and the South Island shortly before 5.30pm Thursday evening.
The outage to signals was due to “communications connectivity issues [and] KiwiRail’s investigation into what caused the loss of connection is ongoing”.
The KiwiRail spokesperson confirmed the Wairarapa Line was affected for approximately 30 minutes, causing disruptions to commuters.
Commuters reported that the 5.30pm train from Wellington Station to Masterton had only reached Waterloo Station shortly after 6pm, when it would normally have already passed Upper Hutt.
However, although commuters were warned of “severe delays”, one Wairarapa commuter said the 6.18pm train was only delayed a few minutes.
“Although isolated incidents occasionally occur, an incident involving this much of the network is a rare event and has not happened previously this year,” the KiwiRail spokesperson said.
In the past six months [as of October 30], there have been 14 unplanned bus replacements to the Wairarapa Line services, though no bus replacements ran on Thursday night.
There was an increased focus on safety issues around signal failures in the region earlier this year after a collision at the level crossing on Norfolk Rd in July damaged signals, and KiwiRail indicated the crossing’s flashing lights and bells would take two to three months to fix.
Stop signs, warnings, and a sign reading “alarms not working” on either side of the crossing were all put in place while repairs were completed, along with a 10kmh speed restriction for trains.
A KiwiRail spokesperson has confirmed that temporary repairs have now restored the Norfolk Rd level crossing to operation.