Wellington Railway Station

KiwiRail and Greater Wellington Regional Council are working together on Future Rail, building a more reliable, efficient and sustainable rail network for Wellingtonians.

As part of Future Rail, we’re upgrading the signalling equipment at Wellington Railway Station (most of which dates back to 1937) from a lever-operated system to a computer-based one. This project is funded through the New Zealand Upgrade Programme (NZUP).

We’re doing our best to minimise disruption to commuters, but we’re replacing 90 years of historical assets and working around a lot of fragile infrastructure. There may be some unexpected disruption because of this.

We expect to be working many weekends, public holidays and nights between now and early 2025. 

To check Metlink's services, including bus replacements, visit metlink.org.nz. You can also contact us at contactus@kiwirail.co.nz.

Wellington Metro 14 from corp media library 3.4.24 1

The re-signalling project is funded through the New Zealand Upgrade Programme (NZUP).

The challenge

This is complex work in a confined and busy environment, and we can only work while trains aren’t running on any of the lines.

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Recent updates

(updated Apr 2024)

  • At Christmas 2023 we installed one track turnout and did the foundation work for six more. We also re-laid track at platforms 8 and 9 to allow trains all the way to the end.
  • In early 2024 we poured the concrete foundations for three of the four new signal control huts.
  • At Easter 2024 the first signal control hut arrived. We also installed the track crossover at platforms 8 and 9, pulled cabling through the underground duct route and installed 10 new signals.
  • We’ve also realigned the track and put in a new level crossing on the access road to the depot (off Thorndon Quay), improving safety for those using the crossing.

Ongoing work

  • Signals: In 2024 you’ll see new signals erected. These will either have a white cross over them or be folded down so locomotive engineers do not confuse the two systems. We aim to install as much of the new signalling infrastructure as possible before the final works at Christmas 2024.
  • Track: We’re building 14 new turnouts (moveable track that lets trains move from one track to another).
  • Ducting: Our contractor Downer is digging a 7.6km duct route for signalling and power cabling.

The big finish

During the Christmas 2024 network shutdown, engineers will switch off the existing signalling system, complete any remaining works and then fully test and commission the new system.

This final stage is extremely complex and will involve signalling engineers from all over the world. When trains run again in January 2025 they will be fully controlled by the new system.

A-box signal hut

Signalling is how trains move safely between and along tracks. Since 1937, the signals at Wellington Station have been controlled from a signal box in the station approaches known as A-Box. It’s the last fulltime manned signal box in the country.

In here, seven signalling staff work around the clock in shifts, using manual levers to control the movement of trains from Wellington Railway Station as far as Ngauranga. From here, train movements are managed from KiwiRail’s new train control centre in Wallaceville, Upper Hutt, which controls train movements right around the country (except for Auckland).

By January 2025, A-Box will close, and signalling for Wellington’s rail network will be controlled entirely from the Wallaceville train control centre.



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