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Patchy track record

A train on the Wairarapa Line that left waiting passengers in its wake on Thursday morning has caused further frustration among the region’s commuters.

Anger and confusion greeted a train rumbling through Featherston station and carrying on its way without pausing or with any passengers on board, which a Metlink spokesperson later explained was “an out-of-service train being repositioned [that] may have passed those waiting without stopping”.

There were also complaints about an apparent lack of communication about the suddenly cancelled 6.47am train from Masterton and the fact that a bus replacement was not provided as an alternative, which has recently been a common option while the Wairarapa Line was closed over the holiday period.

In response to queries from the Times-Age, Metlink group manager Samantha Gain said that “the 6.47am Wairarapa rail service from Masterton on Thursday, February 8, was cancelled at short notice because of a mechanical fault in the train’s generator unit”.

“A service alert notifying passengers about the cancellation was issued on the Metlink website and app, and as a result, the 6.20am rail service from Masterton carried more passengers than usual,” Gain said.

“All attempts were made to secure a rail replacement bus from two operators for the 6.47am service, but no buses were available.

“Three complaints were received by Metlink about the cancellation, and we acknowledge passengers were frustrated and inconvenienced.

“We’re grateful for our passengers’ understanding of the ongoing speed restrictions on the Wairarapa line following KiwiRail maintenance over the Christmas period.”

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