Rush Time Stress


Trains were backed up entering the Britomart tunnel around rush hour as a result of this afternoon’s major problems.

One reader at one stage spotted 6 waiting , another 4.

It’s been a while since we’ve had a major meltdown but tonight’s rush period commuters are having to deal with some uncertainty as timetables were throw out.

A meltdown this afternoon -  described both as a mechanical fault or as Newmarket signals problems- has had a flow-on effect to the rush period traffic.

When commuters rushed into Britomart to catch their usual train, they found the electronic boards not displaying any train schedule - just a message about post-GST fare increases.

And when they reached the platform floor, they found a sign telling them to mill around until there was an announcement as rush hour trains started to resume.

I overheard some people thinking it was a fare evasion ticket check on the platform and start fiddling around for their their ticket or heading to the ticket office to buy one.
No such luck.
The Britomart announcer did her best to tell people when a train was going but as there were no messages on the boards, there was considerable confusion.
The couple of Britomart info people were also flat out handling inquiries.
Annoying the only message on the Maxx site seemed to be about New Lynn’s lift still being out of action.

And in Wellington at rush hours, there have been delays caused by signal issues -andthe  4.33pm Wairarapa service from Wellington today & the 6.25am Wairarapa service from Masterton tomorrow will be running with reduced seating capacity due to a mechanical fault.

And then the 6.30 between Wellington and Paraparaumu is running up to 26 minutes late due to a medical emergency.

So did you make it home?




  1. Andrew says:

    I must have arrived at the end of it. My westbound train left at ~5:55 and passed a train outside Vector, another train just after the old Auckland station, then FOUR trains stacked up behind one another from Mainline Steam up to the Parnell Tunnel. I’ve never seen that in Auckland before.

  2. Andy says:

    Wow. I wonder if anyone got any photos?

  3. karl says:

    Would more Britomart capacity have avoided this?

  4. Miggle says:

    My train was delayed for half an hour, trains were backed up all the way to Parnell waiting to get into Britomart. Couple of businessmen were getting snippy at the staff, don’t know what they were trying to achieve. Props to the clippy who explained to them how the CBD rail tunnel would improve things.

  5. GJA says:

    I got to the station at around 16:50. The 16:38 Eastern Line arrived around 3-4 minutes later, but it sat on the platform for well over 10 minutes. There were no support staff on the Westpac side of Britomart, so it was quite confusing, not even a whiteboard with a message on it. The electronic timetable only showed the train times for the trains after 17:00, so we had no idea which platform to go to.

    They stacked three trains in on platform 3, which didn’t help with the confusion. Not sure what the new Onehunga passengers thought of the trains today

  6. Sam says:

    I counted 7 trains between Britomart and the edge of the Domain at 6:20…. we passed one about every 15 seconds on the way up through Parnell. They did pretty good considering the chaos I reckon- there were plenty of train movements considering they completely through the timetable out the window and just ran trains sequentially (at least it appeared that way).

  7. Lisa says:

    Communication and organisation of these delays was extremely poor. Considering the large number of people gathered, communicate with passengers should have been paramount. It is the company’s responsibility to ensure the crowd is under control, and adequately informed. I do not believe there was any evidence of crowd control, nor adequate communication.

  8. GJA says:

    We’ve had quite a few “outages” on the rail system (it is however getting better), but Veolia / MAXX / Britomart / Kiwirail, should have an outage plan in place. In other words how do they deal with an outage?

    Sure the scheduling is one thing, but how you communicate to the passengers is another. It does not help announcing that the 4:38 is about to arrive on platform 3, when the current time is 4:55. It just adds to the confusion. They should rather announce that the next Eastern Line will be arriving on platform 3, shortly. In the background they can still talk amongst themselves and refer to it as the 4:38, but keep it to themselves.

    We are in 2010, we have computers that can switch to plan B and display the appropriate information, don’t we?


Leave a Comment


XHTML: You can use these tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>