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Wellington Region

Building a better rail network for the Wellington region

Wellingtonians and visitors take more than 14 million passenger journeys a year on the Wellington Metro Rail Network.

While the rail network is well maintained, some parts of it are wearing out and need to be replaced. 

KiwiRail and Greater Wellington Regional Council (through its customer-facing brand Metlink) are working together to upgrade the rail network to make services more reliable and enable more people and freight to travel on trains in the future, with funding provided by the New Zealand Government.

Works in the Wellington Metro Upgrade Programme (WUMP) can be divided into two main areas:

Renewing existing infrastructure so services run as smoothly as possible:

  • Replacing and modernising the overhead power system and signals power supply, and
  • Renewing the track, across the network including inside the four major tunnels.

Adding capacity so more people can travel on trains in the future while still allowing for freight services:

  • Double tracking between Trentham and Upper Hutt,
  • Improvements to Wellington Railway Station approaches and changes at Plimmerton.

These improvements will mean fewer speed restrictions and outages. They’ll also enable Metlink to schedule longer trains, and more services for commuters, and KiwiRail to schedule more freight services for local businesses. Improving the network is an on-going project. Currently funded works will be delivered until 2026.

Find out more about the programme in detail.


Our works are spread across the wider Wellington metro network

Find out more about works underway on:

View all the proposed upgrade activities here.

Further improvements – New Zealand Upgrade Programme

The Government is also making further future-focused investment in Wellington regional rail, through its New Zealand Upgrade infrastructure programme.

These include:

  • Further work to improve the approach to and signals around Wellington Railway Station, so that speed restrictions which slow down commuter trains in the area can be lifted.
  • On the Wairarapa Line:
    • new passing infrastructure at Carterton and Maymorn will enable freight and express commuter trains to operate more efficiently;
    • a second platform at Featherston to support improved passenger services by enabling two passenger trains to pass;
    • a new storage facility for train carriages in Masterton to provide extra capacity during peaks, support anticipated growth, and allow for maintenance;
    • a new signalling system to improve both operational resilience and safety; and
    • changes to level crossings to improve safety.
  • Fully refurbishing former Auckland Transport carriages to replace the aging Capital Connection (Palmerston North – Wellington inter-regional passenger train) carriages. These will be similar to the carriages refurbished for the Waikato-Auckland Te Huia service – including on board wi-fi. The work will be carried out at KiwiRail’s Hutt Workshops.

The network improvements will be integrated with the existing work, where possible.

The new Capital Connection carriages are expected to be completed and enter service in late-2022/early 2023.

Being good neighbours

We’re mindful of how work affects our neighbours. We always strive to finish projects as quickly and efficiently as possible. We plan our works to balance the needs of our neighbours with those of passengers and freight customers.

If you have any queries or concerns about our activity please contact us on:

Find out more here.


Trains during construction

We aim to keep the trains running while upgrading the rail network safely. However some work can only be done when there are no trains, so changes to services are inevitable. We work closely with Metlink to minimise the impact on passenger trains, and ensure alternative transport options are in place.

Find out more here.


Who’s involved

Delivering Wellington Metro’s upgrade involves several organisations working together to increase the capacity and resilience of the region’s network. KiwiRail works closely with the funders (Crown and New Zealand Transport Agency), passenger train service providers (Greater Wellington Regional Council and its contracted operator Transdev Wellington) and our own freight team to deliver the essential upgrades as quickly as possible.

Find out more here.


Plimmerton Station Upgrade

December 2020 - Early 2023

In December 2020, KiwiRail will be starting a significant programme of works to upgrade Plimmerton Station. 

The overall objective of this project is to enable a higher service frequency during peak times between Wellington and Plimmerton. The Plimmerton Station upgrade is one of several key projects that make up Future Rail, also known as the Wellington Metro Upgrade programme. This programme is designed to improve rail services for commuters, and to address commuter growth over the next 25 years as the population increases.

The Plimmerton Station upgrade project involves:

  • building a 3rd platform to enable services to turnback at Plimmerton Station without obstructing north and southbound services
  • upgrading the subway and improving its seismic and accessibility compliance
  • upgrading existing signalling rail infrastructure
  • realigning existing track and overhead line infrastructure
  • improving pedestrian level crossing safety

The works will begin in December 2020 and continue intermittently until early 2023.

The first significant activity will take place between 26 - 30 December 2020.

The majority of the station construction works will take place in 2022, with minimal disruption expected in 2021.