Rimutaka rail line shut

Up to 1000 commuters seeking to get to Wellington from Wairarapa have been left to their own devices this morning as the rail service remains out of action.

A Wairarapa-bound train was derailed as it came out of a tunnel at Maymorn, 40km north of Wellington, around 6.17pm yesterday.

About 300 passengers were shifted to the rear three carriages and taken back to Upper Hutt where buses met them to complete the trip.

"We apologise to our customers, both for a difficult night and in advance for the service disruption that has been forced on us," passenger general manager Ross Hayward said.

Kiwirail said it was unable to charter enough buses to take up the slack leaving people to make their own way to work today.

"Given the uncertain nature of the weather and the difficulty we would have finding buses to ferry as many as a thousand passengers to Wellington, we made the decision to suspend services and review the situation at noon," Mr Hayward said.

Kiwirail spokesman Kevin Ramshaw told Radio New Zealand he would be surprised if the line would be opened today

"We've got crews on their way so we'll have a better idea this morning.

"But just looking at it, the sheer logistics of getting a crane, getting the locomotive re-railed and moved, then the line open again, is something that's going to take some time."

Roads were also affected by Wellington's weather yesterday with a slip closing SH1 during peak hour traffic.

Around 5.30pm a tree came down at Pukerua Bay, 35km northeast of Wellington, bringing the slip with it.

The nearest alternate route, Paekakariki Hill road, was also closed about 6.30pm as a large amount of gravel washed onto the road.

The Rimutaka Hill Road was closed from 8pm last night but was reopened in time for the morning rush.

Detours were in place this morning on SH53 between Featherston and Martinborough due to high water at Waihenga Bridge.

In Taranaki a slip has closed SH43 at Tangarakau Gorge, southwest of Taumarunui, with long delays predicted.

- NZPA

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