Travel while work is underway

The Wellington Metro Upgrade Programme, one of the most significant rail projects since the major sections of Wellington rail network were built or upgraded between 1930 – 1961, is being delivered in a busy metro network which has trains running 18 hours a day.

Unfortunately, this means there will be some disruption to services.

When this happens buses will replace trains when they can’t run on the tracks due to construction. Visit MetLink to find out about any changes to passenger services in your area. MetLink is keeping commuters informed of service changes due to upgrade work with an overarching brand called 'Future Rail' - find out more here.

While some smaller parts of the work can be done while trains continue to operate, much of the work involves the track itself.  On top of this, there are overhead wires on most of Wellington's network  and these cannot be live while significant work is being carried out.

To carry out this vital work we need both safe access to the tracks and enough space for our construction teams to work, and this means some disruption for  those using train services is unavoidable. 

Future Rail
Future Rail

Look out for Future Rail on the network as it signals rail upgrade works are happening.

Some of the upgrade work means stopping trains.

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KiwiRail balances  the impact on commuters and freight services with the need to get this necessary work done as quickly and effectively as possible, and wherever practical we aim to keep trains running and minimise service disruptions.

We are working with Greater Wellington Council, MetLink and Transdev Wellington to achieve this

In practice this means:

  • Working on weekends, off peak, evenings and holidays
  • Avoiding heavy works at night near residents
  • Maximising the length of any given access and thus maximising productivity and progress
  • Trying to avoid busy times, including events
  • Blocking only part of a route if possible
  • Concentrating works so one line closure allows work at several sites.

Keeping workers safe on a busy metro rail network

KiwiRail has strict rules for keeping live wires, trains, people and equipment separate to ensure safety

Some smaller works can be delivered by stopping trains while workers clear the worksite before the train travels through at slow speed.

Wherever practical, we arrange to separate work sites from operating tracks by fences or other barriers, use specially equipped machines to ensure they cannot breach the limits for approaching live overhead lines and use Electrical Safety Observers to control works. This allows trains to continue to operate, although sometimes with short delays.

However, for most of the significant work, trains cannot go through an active worksite.

We always plan this type of scheduled work for outside the Monday to Friday peak time.

Working at night

A large part of the upgrade work will be done at nights to minimise disruption. However there is a limit to the amount of noisy work that can be done then, and we also need to run some freight services at night to keep the lines clear for commuters during the day.