Major Wellington rail work continues over Easter

Easter is an important time to progress major improvement project undertake needed maintenance on Wellingtons rail network.

Most of the Wellington network will be closed on Friday 29 March, reopening on Tuesday, 2 April. Trains will continue running between Porirua and Waikanae.

“While Wellingtonians are enjoying the Easter break, about 280 hard-working staff and contractors will be out on rail lines across the region,” KiwiRail Chief Asset Development Officer David Gordon says.

“We are in the middle of an $870 million upgrade of the Wellington metro network and the Wairarapa Line, which will improve reliability and enable more frequent trains to run in the years ahead. And we have to do all of this work while minimising disruption for passengers as much as possible.

“While we are regularly working at nights, some work just can’t be completed by morning before weekday commuter trains need to run. Public holidays, when passenger numbers are low, allow us to work much more productively and make substantial progress.

“Having four full days to work uninterrupted over Easter allows us to replace a worn but critical piece of infrastructure, so that trains can continue running on the Melling Line; continuing work on the old track in the Remutaka Tunnel ahead of the big push at Christmas; and a range of other maintenance and project work.”

Thomas Nash, Chair of Greater Wellington’s Transport Committee says ongoing investment in rail should be a priority.

“I want to thank all of the maintenance crews who are giving up their Easter and time with their families to get this essential work done. Similarly, I want to recognise all of the bus drivers who are activated whenever the rail network is out of action. Metlink and its train operator continue to listen to people’s feedback and their experiences to shape and improve the bus replacement service which will continue to play an important part in the service and infrastructure upgrades in the years ahead.

“We want to get to a point where holiday train travel is the norm, rather than bus replacements. But these tracks have had years of underinvestment, so getting this work done when there are fewer people travelling is extremely important if we ever want to progress. The quicker we can get certainty that investing in rail renewal is in the government’s transport priorities for Wellington alongside LNIRIM and substations in the draft GPS, the quicker the tracks, signals and infrastructure can get up to standard. At that point maintenance will be able to be completed in the quickest and least disruptive manner,” says Cr Nash.

Buses will replace trains over Easter

Work being carried out over Easter includes:

  • Replacing a turnout near Petone, which allows trains to turn onto the Melling Line.
  • Continuing work in the Remutaka Tunnel, ahead of major track replacement work at Christmas.
  • Continuing work on the Fitzherbert St (SH2) level crossing in Featherston. Work over Easter is focussed on the pedestrian part of the crossing and will not require the road to be closed. 
  • Installing cables under the Matarawa Rd and Moffats Rd level crossings around Carterton. This is part of an upgrade to the Wairarapa signals system, to allow more frequent trains.
  • Laying new track at Tawa, which will require the McLellan St level crossing to be closed.
  • Replacing ballast (the rocks the tracks sit in) around the northern end of Waikanae. There will be traffic management around the Hadfield Road level crossing.
  • Continuing work around Wellington Railway Station to improve signals and track layout, which will allow more trains in and out of the station. 

More information about the range of rail projects in the Wellington region is at:

Future Rail: Wellington Metro Upgrade Programme | KiwiRail