Mobile crop 800 x 640 1

Wairarapa Line

Context

KiwiRail and Metlink are working together to improve rail infrastructure and services in the Wellington region. The Wairarapa Line upgrade is one of several projects in a significant programme of works designed to build resilience and capacity in the network.

A key driver for the works you’re seeing is to make the line safer and more reliable. Most of the Wairarapa line is now due or overdue major maintenance.

As the population grows and commuter traffic increases, upgrading the track also means it will be able to support more passenger trains. This upgrade also means increased capacity to carry freight.

Sustainability is another key objective. By upgrading our infrastructure, we can support new regional trains. Increasing our capacity to carry commuters and freight means fewer cars and trucks on the road, and lower carbon emissions.

Current works

We’re replacing parts of the track, renewing bridges and refurbishing crossings, and carrying out extensive drainage and vegetation work along the line. We’re also underway with planning and designing for more upgrades in the future.

The current work includes:

  • vegetation and drainage clearing and improvements from Upper Hutt to Masterton
  • track renewals from Upper Hutt to Masterton
  • refurbishment of some level crossings
  • full track renewal in the Remutaka and Maoribank Tunnels
  • renewal of three bridges (or part of) to replace the older timber elements.

The programme runs into 2024.

 

This is necessary work. Please bear with us. We will keep you informed about the improvements to your rail network, every step along the way.

Wairarapa Cropped

Double1

In 2021

In 2021, we completed the vegetation removal and drainage improvement works from the north end of the Remutaka Tunnel through to Masterton.

We also re-sleepered most of the track from the north end of the Remutaka Tunnel to Woodside.

Double2

In 2022

In 2022, the plan is to complete the re-sleepering from Woodside to Masterton and begin re-sleepering from the south end of the Remutaka Tunnel to Upper Hutt.

We will also perform ballast cleaning and continue with re-railing work from the north end of the Remutaka Tunnel to Woodside.

To allow us to work faster and more efficiently, buses are replacing trains between peak morning and evening services. We recognise this disruption is frustrating and appreciate your patience. This is necessary work and the benefits will be tangible. You can expect smoother and shorter train journeys, with fewer disruptions. In a few years, you can also expect more trains.

Further planned works

Alongside the current works, planning, design and procurement is underway for additional upgrades designed to improve safety and ready the line for more passenger and freight services.

The additional upgrades include:

  • increasing safety measures at all level crossings between the Remutaka Tunnel and Masterton
  • passing loops at Maymorn and between Featherston and Masterton, to enable trains to pass each other and improve operational resilience
  • a second platform at Featherston to allow two passenger trains to operate at the same time, allowing more frequent train services in the future
  • further upgrades to the signalling system between Upper Hutt and Featherston
  • a new signalling system between Featherston and Masterton
  • improved storage sidings at Masterton for Greater Wellington Regional Council’s proposed new passenger trains.

Train services

Metlink and KiwiRail Freight are proposing that by the end of the decade, the Wairarapa line between Upper Hutt and Masterton will change from a relatively quiet rural railway to a busy semi–urban line with more passenger and freight trains to support the growth of the Wairarapa.

We are planning for the potential to increase the Wairarapa Line to up to 7 peak time services at 15-minute frequency from Masterton, which will enable doubling of patronage by 2040.

Level Crossings

We are currently reassessing the risk at the 40 private and public vehicle and pedestrian level crossings along the Wairarapa Line.

Level crossing upgrades will take place progressively over the next three years and will be coordinated with other rail infrastructure works wherever possible to minimise disruption to road users and pedestrians.

Get in touch

An overview of the Wellington Metro Upgrade programme, including the Wairarapa Line upgrade project can be found on the KiwiRail website here.

Visit Metlink for more details on train services.

You can also contact us at wgtnupgrade@kiwirail.co.nz