Wairarapa Line

As part of Future Rail, KiwiRail is undertaking a once-in-a-generation upgrade of the Wairarapa Line to support the Greater Wellington Regional Council’s (GWRC) plans for rail. Work started in 2021 and will continue until 2028.

When we’re finished, Wairarapa residents will have a railway that…

  • is built to last,
  • is safer for rail users and road users,
  • can support more reliable and faster services, and
  • can move more freight.

With fewer cars and trucks on Wairarapa roads, residents will enjoy less congestion, lower transport emissions and a more sustainable future.

Read about  Recent updates  |  Wairarapa works - Renewal  |  Wairarapa works - Capacity  |  Level crossing closures
Future Rail

GWRC's new hybrid trains are expected in 2029. Supported by KiwiRail’s upgrade works, they will allow for more peak and off-peak services.

Recent updates

(updated June 2024)

  • On 5 June South Wairarapa District Council voted to upgrade Featherston’s Fox Street level crossing and keep it open, meaning the Bell and Brandon Street crossings will close to vehicles. Of the 167 people who took part in our survey, 131 said they would prefer to see the Fox Street crossing upgraded and kept open. Read our press statement for more detail.
  • These past few months we have replaced around 1 km of track from inside the Remutaka Tunnel, and laid kilometres of ducting alongside the line through Carterton and beyond, ready for powering up new signals and the level crossing upgrades. Thank you for your patience while we get this critical work done. 
  • As well as the upgrade work, there is essential maintenance that must be done, and unexpected issues that can all affect travel times. We know it’s frustrating and appreciate your patience. Visit Metlink for a guide to disruptions.

Wairarapa works - Renewal

(updated Feb 2024)

Renewal is when we take out an old, worn-out piece of infrastructure (such as tracks, sleepers and bridges) and replace it with something new that will last a long time.


  • Renewed 58.8km of track to Masterton, including the 572m Maoribank Tunnel.
  • Replaced the drainage in the Maoribank and Remutaka Tunnels.
  • Replaced three aging bridges.

To do:

  • Replace the track in the 8.8km Remutaka Tunnel, so trains can go through it faster than 60 km/h. This is a big, complicated job that’s scheduled for the Christmas 2024 network shutdown.

Wairarapa works - Capacity upgrades

(updated Feb 2024)

KiwiRail is using New Zealand Upgrade Programme (NZUP) funding to build the Wairarapa’s rail capacity for the future.


  • Installed new concrete track slab on the SH2 level crossing at Featherston.
  • Begun the 43km of trenching needed to install signals.
  • Installed the first turnout for the passing loop at Woodside.

To do:

  • Install new signals along the line, which increases safety for road and rail users, increases the efficiency of train movements and allows more than one train at a time in the Featherston to Masterton section, enabling a 15-minute peak service
  • Make safety upgrades at the 30 level crossings, including some closures.
  • Build a new platform and passenger train passing loop at Maymorn.
  • Build a freight siding and backshunt (wagon storage) at Waingawa, to remove freight operations from the main Wairarapa Line and better separate freight from passenger services.

KiwiRail will also use government funding to make station platform improvements. In addition, GWRC will be building a depot where the new trains can be serviced.

Much of this work will happen on weekdays alongside the railway, but train services will still be able to operate. There may be occasional temporary speed restrictions and service disruptions. More disruptive works that require trains to be replaced by buses will be done over select weekends and public holidays.

Level crossings

(updated Jun 2024)

Latest: Featherston’s Fox Street level crossing set for upgrade

To allow for more frequent trains, safety on the Wairarapa Line is being reassessed. Some level crossings will need to be upgraded, and others removed.

Following feedback from the community and consultation with the NZ Transport Agency Waka Kotahi, an independent study has reviewed all 30 level crossings on the Wairarapa Line.



Please contact us on:

Visit Metlink for more details on train services.