Power was cut to thousands of homes, trains were delayed, and rail warning systems went haywire during a widespread outage in Masterton yesterday.

Dean Stevenson, Powerco acting network operations manager, said an equipment fault was blamed for the outage, which struck soon after 10am yesterday when supply was lost to the Akura, Awatoitoi and Tinui substations in the wider Masterton district.

Homes and businesses that bore the brunt of the mid-morning outage were located in Bruce Rd, Kaipororo Rd, Kakaumu Rd, Kopuaranga, Masterton, Masterton north, Matahiwi Rd, Mikimiki, Mt Bruce, Opaki, Paierau Rd, Rangitumau, Solway, Upper Manaia Rd, and Upper Plain Rd.

Mr Stevenson said power was restored about a half hour later to the 4200 homes and premises that had lost power in Wairarapa and Tararua.

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An investigation has been launched into the cause of the fault.

The outage in central Masterton was confined to two brief cuts in power, while supplies were completely lost in other areas of the town.

KiwiRail spokesman David Miller said the outage had delayed the 10.25am passenger service from Masterton to Wellington, which left the Masterton station 10 minutes late and the Carterton station 20 minutes late.

"Trains travelled through Masterton at a reduced speed of 10 kilometres per hour as a safety precaution, which has resulted in delays on the Wairarapa Line."

He said warning lights and bells at level crossings in the Masterton district were hit in the power cut as well.

"The back-up power system activated at seven level crossings in the Masterton area and they 'failed to safe' and remained active until electricity was restored," he said.

A KiwiRail worker was stationed at the Akura - Lincoln Rd level crossing yesterday, controlling traffic and directing drivers over the level crossing.