Wellington in winter

By the start of April, as temperatures drop, we won’t need to impose heat speed restrictions on parts of the Wellington network.

However, instead of the risk of rails expanding in the heat, in winter we will have to deal with ice on the tracks and overhead electric cables, heavy rainfalls that can cause slips around parts of Wellington, sea spray on tracks near the harbour and even heavy leaf fall, which can cause areas of low adhesion that makes it challenging for trains to grip the rail. We’ll continue our vigilance through the winter months, and we’ll be taking a number of actions to reduce the impact of these hazards.

For example, we closely monitor the steep hillsides on the Kapiti Line between Pukerua Bay and Paekākāriki, and in recent years have undertaken slope stabilisation work there and in other parts of Wellington. However, given the terrain on large parts of the Kapiti and Johnsonville Lines, slips remain a risk.

Grit is put down to help manage slippery tracks but ice on the overhead lines can be difficult to deal with. Though there are usually only a handful of days in winter that are cold enough to coat the overheads in ice, when that does happen there is a risk the flow of power to trains is disrupted and services can come to a sudden halt.

We will be doing everything we can to keep things running smoothly, but, as all Wellingtonians know, winter in the Capital is never easy and there is always the risk of disruptions.