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Wellington train outage to affect evening rush hour

Evening train services will be affected due to a power fault near the Wellington Railway Station this morning that may mean damaged trains must be towed away.

Commuters wait for trains at Wellington Railway Station after a power fault this morning. Photo: RNZ / Emma Hatton

Buses are replacing all Wellington trains after a power issue that temporarily suspended all services in and out of the capital this morning.

Metlink said that the problem was caused by damage to the overhead which damaged 15 trains, and all the trains which had been through the damaged section would also need to be checked for damage.

It tweeted about 7.20am that trains on the Johnsonville, Kāpiti, Hutt Valley and Melling lines had been suspended.

The power problem was fixed on the lines between Wellington and Kaiwharawhaura 20 minutes later, it said. Some services then resumed, but about 9.30am it announced buses would be replacing trains on all lines.

The buses are running on a half-hourly Saturday timetable and passengers can use a train pass on regular bus services.

KiwiRail group chief operating officer Todd Moyle apologised for the delay and said crews were investigating the cause of the fault and working out how long it might take to fix.

Metlink, which manages the train fleet, said the trains that travelled through the fault this morning were all parked at different stations and were being visually checked to see if they were safe to move to a depot. If they were not, they would need to be towed away.

Due to the lack of trains, even if rail services return before the afternoon peak begins, services would be running at a reduced capacity this afternoon and evening.

Metlink is asking commuters to keep an eye on its website and social media.

An electronic sign warns of delays after the power fault suspended some trains this morning. Photo: RNZ / Emma Hatton

A commuter on the Kāpiti line, Sarah, managed to get into the city during the period when services had resumed, but the delay made her almost an hour late for work.

"I'm supposed to be at my studio by 8.15am, it just so happens that the one day that I don't get the train at 6.30am and I get a sleep in, I end up sitting there a bit longer than expected."

The replacement buses are running to a half-hourly timetable.

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