Transport officials say track speed restrictions are expected to continue on parts of Auckland’s train network over the next several weeks and into March.
Auckland Transport (AT) has cancelled another 19 services between 3pm and 6pm due to KiwiRail speed restrictions, the agency said earlier this afternoon.
“Due to KiwiRail train speed restrictions, there will be some delays and cancellations to services today. Trains are running on all lines at reduced frequencies,” it told passengers.
“Scheduled buses are accepting train tickets to and from impacted stations.”
The latest travel warning follows a tortured series of weeks for train users with unplanned disruptions occurring nearly every weekday — many resulting from heat-related track restrictions.
Today’s cancellations mean some passengers will have to wait longer for their next service during rush hour, with a gap of 20 minutes instead of 10 minutes between trains.
Meanwhile, the successive cancellation of two services leaving the CBD at around 3pm meant a long wait for some passengers with a gap of an hour between Southern line trains.
Issues over the city’s trains came to a head yesterday as the high temperature of tracks were blamed for the cancellation of dozens of services.
Speaking to 1News, AT public transport managing director Stacey van der Putten said track-related speed restrictions were expected to continue over the next month.
“It’s possible that we’ll be seeing much of the same over the coming weeks. Throughout the rest of February, and through to March.
“Yesterday, we had 54 services that were cancelled relating to speed restrictions of some kind … we could expect much the same unless some of those issues are resolved.”
She explained the reason for the cancellations: “There are other speed restrictions across the network at the same time, so you get a cumulative impact.
“Once you get to the afternoon peak, where you have 11 minutes of time penalty, you can’t run that 10-minute frequency of timetable.
She added: “The operator is trying not to cancel consecutive services on each line.”
Yesterday, Mayor Wayne Brown lashed out at the bosses of AT, KiwiRail, and train operator Auckland One Rail in a letter.
He wrote that, “Aucklanders have reached the end of their patience with train cancellations.
“Today it was apparently because of weather. It cannot be a surprise to any of you that Auckland gets warm in February.
“The communication between all three of your agencies has been muddled, often blamed each other, and been described to me as an ‘omnishambles’.
“I could use other language to describe it.”
The mayor requested the three transport bosses attend a meeting with him, and invited Transport Minister Simeon Brown.
Several hundred train services usually operate every weekday in Auckland.