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Delays to commuter rail services ‘unacceptable’

Delays to commuter rail services ‘unacceptable’ – WRC

The Wellington Regional Council says heat-related delays to commuter rail services are unacceptable and an urgent solution has to be found.

Tranz Rail plans to have completed de-stressing rails in the region by early January but there is serious doubt whether the Land Transport Safety Authority will allow the lifting of the present speed restrictions.

Chris Turver, Chairman of the Passenger Transport Committee, says because the situation is so serious an urgent meeting is being sought with the Minister of Transport to brief him on the situation and seek his intervention. “Unless this problem can be overcome the future of rail passenger services in the region may be at risk.” Cr Turver says the continuing delays to commuter rail services due to speed restrictions, imposed as a result of heat, are unacceptable. Commuters are entitled to a reliable rail service and the present daily lottery of heat-related speed restrictions means commuters have no idea when they will reach home. This is particularly so for those commuters from the Wairarapa where delays of over an hour have regularly occurred.

“If Tranz Rail meets its undertaking to complete the de-stressing by early January, the underlying problem would be solved and it would be illogical to refuse to allow normal speeds to resume,” says Cr Turver.

Meanwhile, Wellington Regional Council is serving notice on Tranz Rail Ltd that it must either provide timely bus services for its suburban rail services caught out by the speed restrictions or face reductions in contract payments for its reduced levels of service.

“Ratepayers cannot be penalised by paying for services which are not being provided,” Cr Turver says.

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