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Commuter chaos as Auckland train services cancelled across city

NZ Herald ,
Publish Date
Fri, 5 May 2023, 7:09AM
Photo / NZME
Photo / NZME

Commuter chaos as Auckland train services cancelled across city

NZ Herald ,
Publish Date
Fri, 5 May 2023, 7:09AM

Train line services across Auckland have been cancelled this morning - some until further notice - due to power line issues.

A significant fault with KiwiRail’s overhead power lines at Grafton has forced the city’s rail network to come to a halt ahead of rush hour.

KiwiRail chief operations officer Siva Sivapakkiam said the fault was discovered at around 4am and for safety reasons, power had to be switched off between Penrose, Swanson and Britomart, and electric trains could not operate.

“Our technicians have been on site this morning and have assessed and repaired a fault. We are aiming for the power to be switched back on shortly, so that train services can resume.

“KiwiRail has been working to fix the fault as quickly as possible, and has been keeping Auckland Transport informed.”

Auckland Transport group manager metro services Darek Koper said KiwiRail advised them the issue would be resolved in the next hour or two but “unfortunately, there will still be flow-on cancellations and delays all morning” as a result of the enormous disruption to public transport services so far.

No trains in or out of Britomart station on Friday morning. Photo / Michael Craig

No trains in or out of Britomart station on Friday morning. Photo / Michael Craig

Koper said tens of thousands of Aucklanders relied on the rail network every day to get to school, work and access essential services.

“It is hugely disappointing and frustrating that we are not able to operate our services, as usual, this morning.

“Because of the short notice of this outage, our teams have only been able to arrange for a small number of rail replacement buses, so we’re encouraging our train customers to consider using one of our scheduled bus services instead this morning.”

Koper said once power was restored and trains were back on their usual service, AT would be seeking more detailed answers from KiwiRail about the cause of this morning’s outage and what steps it would take to prevent such issues from happening again in future.

Currently, all services on the Western and Onehunga lines had been cancelled because there was no power along these lines due to an electrical issue at Grafton, Koper said.

“At this stage, we have only been able to source one rail replacement bus for each of these lines.

“Services on the Southern and Eastern lines are running as far as Ōtahuhu, with a limited number of rail replacement buses operating between Ōtahuhu and Britomart.

“Rail Replacement buses on the Eastern Line due to KiwiRail’s Rail Network Rebuild closure are operating as normal today.”

Early morning buses from Henderson were noticeably full this morning following the last-minute closure of Western line rail services, according to one commuter.

And Uber fares have been hiked this morning for those wanting to catch a ride from the western suburbs to central Auckland.

On some routes, fares were almost three times higher than a usual trip.

An Uber X from Mt Albert to Britomart Train Station would cost $60 and one from New Lynn to Britomart Station $75.

Auckland Transport issued a travel alert earlier warning passengers.

 “All Southern and Eastern line services have been cancelled between Ōtāhuhu and Britomart,” the alert says.

“All Western and Onehunga line services have also been cancelled until further notice due to a KiwiRail track infrastructure problem.”

Passengers are told to use their AT app for more information and live updates.

Auckland Transport sent a notice to commuters just before 6am alerting them of the situation.

Passengers have been told that rail replacement buses are operating between Britomart and Ōtāhuhu at a 30-minute frequency.

”Additional alternative transport is being arranged.”

National MP and Party transport spokesperson Simeon Brown called the news “devastating” for Auckland commuters.

“KiwiRail needs to urgently explain what has gone wrong here and when this will be fixed.

”People quite simply won’t use Public Transport if it isn’t reliable.

A second alert told passengers buses will replace some train services from Sunday to Wednesday.

more to come -

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