The refurbished Epuni Station on the Hutt Valley Line will re-open to passengers on Tuesday 22 September.
Wellington Region Rail Programme Director David Gordon thanked passengers for their patience during construction.
“We initially thought Epuni wouldn’t be completed until October but good progress means we’ve been able to re-open the Station ahead of schedule,” David Gordon said.
Epuni Station has been closed to passengers since mid-August to allow the platform to be upgraded. The 1700m platform area has been re-sealed with the addition of passenger safety features such as yellow tactile strips at the platform edge.
Electrical ducting was also installed in preparation for the introduction in future of a real-time passenger information system by Greater Wellington Regional Council.
Work is still continuing on Petone station as part of the service upgrade.
“Passengers have been understanding about the amount of work that has been happening during the year – with the upgraded platform open for use, hopefully they will start to see some of the benefits of all the work we’ve been doing.”
The work is part of the wider rail upgrade, the Wellington Region Rail Programme, a joint initiative between KiwiRail (Tranz Metro and ONTRACK) and GWRC to improve passenger rail services.
Again people who use the Hutt Valley Rail line suffered in their return home last night as travel plans were thrown into chaos yet again as the TransMetro services were disrupted from 4pm yesterday.
A power fault about 4pm yesterday forced the cancellation of half the peak hour trains (about 100 services) scheduled to leave Wellington railway station last night. Thousands were left waiting on Platforms for non existent trains, and choas rained at peak travel time after 5pm.
Thanks to Mike for the photo taken at 5pm at Wellington Station.
Hutt Rail has had repeated problems in the last month (July 10) and earlier in June, beside the major problem with derailment only last week at Maymorn Upper Hutt, and commuters are reaching breakpoints with many saying that they are looking at alternatives. (Snapper anyone!)
Several people have expressed their concerns to HuttNZ and again I suggest that these should be forwarded to TranzMetro email. It was equally noted that the TranzMetro information txt service did not inform anyone of delays yesterday, and when they do of late, it has lost its relevance. (Realtime please!!)
KiwiRail chief executive Jim Quinn apologised to affected passangers.
“We take this service incredibly seriously and we feel gutted whenever the public are letdown….even when its something outside of our control”
Transport woes continued again this morning for Hutt Valley train commuters, with a service from Taita being cancelled due to mechanical problems.
KiwiRail spokesman Kevin Ramshaw says the cancellation did not cause big problems, as it was an early service.
“There are trains going through there all the time because it’s on the Hutt Valley line, so there were alternative trains to take,” he said.
“I don’t think that had any material effect on the network. Everything else is running fine.”
It shows clearly that this service is on its last legs, and the apathetic approach Kiwirail have toward current problems, roll on 2010 when the new trains are due. But equally expect further disruptions to integrate this new service as the closing of Epuni Station for six weeks illustrates. Just Hurry Up Kiwirail!
This weekends fine weather has enabled KiwiRail to complete the recovery of the Train Engine derailed on Thursday night following the atrocious weather and the resulting landslip that caused the derailing.
A regional initiative announced back in April to increase the police presence on trains is gaining momentum, with Lower Hutt police riding trains almost every day.
Each day, two to three constables from the police community engagement team usually jump on a train, check out the carriages and chat to passengers. Constable Paula Harris says the initiative started about six to eight weeks ago, with a training session from KiwiRail.
“We got taught basic safety stuff like how to move through carriages safely, holding onto the handrails,” she says.
Rail staff appreciate seeing police on trains, she says.
“They say sometimes they have problems on the Friday or Saturday night services with disorderly behaviour so we try and get onto those. For us, it’s an opportunity to raise our profile and be more visible. Public transport takes a lot of people everyday so it’s about getting used to seeing us, where people usually don’t.”
Though curious looks and questions of “Is something wrong?” were the most frequent reactions, Ms Harris and the team were hoping people would get used to the police presence and approach them if anything was needed.
In a recent survey conducted by Hutt City Council, 58 per cent of people said they felt at risk of being a victim of crime or sustaining an injury at train stations. And 51 per cent felt they were at risk on all public transport. A police presence, while rated below security wardens and better lighting, was listed as one of the top requirements for people to feel safer. Ms Harris was hoping to address that by having police on trains.
“It’s a chance to check out problems like tagging around stations.
“We get off at a station, have a look around, check for anti-social behaviour and get on the next train.”
Wellington Community Policing Manager Inspector Karen Smith says having police patrol the trains and platforms was a natural extension of the work they already do in the community.
The Upper Hutt Council is planning an upgrade to the tune of $800,000 in the area around the railway station the problem being that it is a minimum of 4 years away not planned until 2013-14.
The direct responsibility of the station building and platform belongs to the Greater Wellington Regional Council which also has the station on an upgrade plan to roughly coincide with the UHCC plans.
A recent submission by Ms Tamsin Sommerville (UHCC Policy Mgr) to the GWRC highlighted the need for a coordinated approach
“The attractiveness and usability of this train station is of vital importance to Upper Hutt economic development and community well being. The problem is the station has been in a bad state of repairs for many years. It has been identified and highlighted by police, youth surveys and older adult forums as a major hot spot for crime.”
Recently UHCC upgraded the subway but without a coordinated approach the public perception of safety in using public transport is hindered. 2014 is a long time away.
It would appear that the Hutt Valley region has suffered strongly from under investment in Rail infrastructure as has been highlighted here before. The arrival next year of the new trains will mitigate this situation. Given the current economy one can but hope that several plans for rail are fast tracked to help the vast majority of commuters who use this service.
Wellington’s Matangi train project has reached a milestone with formal sign-off of the design aspects by all partners – KiwiRail, the Rail and Maritime Transport Union, Rotem-Mitsui and Greater Wellington Regional Council.
Greater Wellington’s Public Transport divisional manager, Wayne Hastie, said a mock-up of a Matangi cab and half a carriage, based at the Woburn railway workshops, was an enormous help in approval of the design process. “We were able to change certain features and introduce some new ones first-hand, which was really useful.”
A range of groups, from train drivers through to passengers with disabilities and baby buggy owners, visited the mock-up which has been here since last November. The groups had given very constructive feedback.
“Everyone is pleased with the final design, so now it’s all systems go for the building of the trains,” says Ross Hayward, General Manager, KiwiRail Passenger Group. The 48 two-car trains are due to start arriving from 2010.
A unique and popular feature is a low-floor multi-functional area in the trailer car. This area will improve access and has room for wheelchairs, buggies and bikes.
Other features of the new trains include air-conditioning, passenger-operated doors, public address systems and electronic display screens.
While the trains are being built in Korea, a great deal of preparatory work is going on around the region. Eleven new substations are being built, signalling is being upgraded, and station platforms are being modified to accommodate the wider new trains.
Another line is being added into Wellington railway station to reduce delays. New depot and maintenance facilities will also be built for the new trains.