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Trains make return to Featherston

Daytime trains will return to Featherston next month after two years of bus replacements.

Kiwirail confirmed that the major track upgrade works are largely complete between Upper Hutt and Featherston, allowing daytime services to resume on May 29.

Buses will still replace the train services between Featherston and Masterton, but travellers will no longer need to brave the Remutaka Hill on double-decker buses.

Kiwirail said there will still be some disruptions to the trains south of Featherston until Christmas because of preparation work for planned maintenance in Maoribank and Remutaka tunnels.

Metlink acting general manager Tim Shackleton said passengers will get more details of future disruptions in the coming weeks.

Kiwirail said they will now be focusing on completing the remaining work causing train cancellations between Featherston and Masterton, aiming for daytime trains to return to Masterton in early 2024.

The large-scale track maintenance is a multi-year project involving track renewals, remedial works on three bridges, new crossing loops to enable trains to pass each other, more half-arm barriers at level crossings, and a new signalling system between Featherston and Masterton.

Once it is complete, it could mean an end to most of the rail speed restrictions north of the Remutaka Tunnel, meaning a faster commute to and from the capital.

The work is due for completion in late 2025, but Wairarapa’s 50-year-old trains reach their end of service life in 2028.

The government has not yet confirmed funding for any new trains.


  1. please electrify the rail from Upper Hutt to Masterton ,simple you don’t have to buy new trains . You can use your excisting electric units !!

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Flynn Nicholls
Flynn Nicholls
Flynn Nicholls is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age who regularly writes about education. He is originally from Wellington and is interested in environmental issues and public transport.

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